Gresham, Wisconsin is a small village located in Shawano County. Despite its small size, the area has been the site of several significant historical events. From Native American settlements to events during the Civil War, Gresham has seen its fair share of history.
1. The Battle of Shawano: During the Black Hawk War of 1832, Chief Black Hawk and his followers were pursued by General Henry Atkinson and his troops. After several skirmishes, the Battle of Shawano occurred on August 11, 1832, near present-day Gresham. It was one of the last battles of the war and resulted in a victory for the U.S. forces.
2. The Arrival of German Immigrants: In the mid-1800s, a wave of German immigrants came to the area around Gresham, seeking farming opportunities. They established the town of Germantown (now Gresham), which became an important center of commerce and industry.
3. Logging Industry: The logging industry played a major role in the development of the Gresham area. Loggers arrived in the mid-1800s to harvest the rich stands of timber in the region. The industry helped to build the local economy, attracting newcomers to the area and creating jobs for locals.
4. Civil War Veterans: Several Civil War veterans settled in the Gresham area after the war. One notable veteran was John W. Freeman, who served in the 26th Wisconsin Infantry and became a prominent community leader. He helped to establish the village of Gresham and served as its first postmaster.
5. The Gresham Tornado: On June 22, 1908, a tornado struck the town of Gresham, causing significant damage and killing eight people. The storm also destroyed the local school but did not diminish the town’s spirit. The community came together to rebuild, and the school was quickly replaced with a new building.
6. Prohibition: During the Prohibition era, many distilleries were shut down in the Gresham area. However, bootlegging and illegal alcohol sales continued, with local residents finding ways to evade the law. The region became known for its high-quality moonshine, which was smuggled to nearby cities.
7. Native American Heritage: The area around Gresham has a rich Native American heritage. The Menominee Indian Reservation is located to the east of Gresham and has played a significant role in the history of the region. Native American tribes have lived in the area for thousands of years and continue to be an important part of the community.
In conclusion, the Gresham area has a rich and varied history. From the Battle of Shawano and the arrival of German immigrants to logging, Civil War veterans, and Prohibition, the area has seen many important events. As the region continues to grow and evolve, its historical legacy remains an integral part of its identity.
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