De Pere - Encyclopedia

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DE PERE, a city of Brown county, Wisconsin, U.S.A., on both sides of the Fox river, 6 m. above its mouth, and 109 m. N. of Milwaukee. Pop. (1890) 3625; (1900) 4038, of whom 1025 were foreign-born; (1905, state census) 4523. It is served by the Chicago & North-Western and Chicago, Milwaukee & St Paul railways, by interurban electric lines and by lake and river steamboat lines, it being the head of lake navigation on the Fox river. Two bridges here span the Fox, which is from 3 m. to 2 m. in width. It is a shipping and transfer point and has paper mills, machine shops, flour mills, sash, door and blind factories, a launch and pleasure-boat factory, and knitting works, cheese factories and dairies, brick yards and grain elevators. There is an excellent water-power. De Pere is the seat of St Norbert's college (Roman Catholic, 1902) and has a public library. North of the city is located the state reformatory. On the coming of the first European, Jean Nicolet, who visited the place in 1634-1635, De Pere was the site of a polyglot Indian settlement of several thousand attracted by the fishing at the first rapids of the Fox river. Here in 1670 Father Claude Allouez established the mission of St Francis Xavier, the second in what is now Wisconsin. From the name Rapides des Peres, which the French applied to the place, was derived the name De Pere. Here Nicolas Perrot, the first French commandant in the North-West, established his headquarters, and Father Jacques Marquette wrote the journal of his journey to the Mississippi. A few miles south of the city lived for many years Eleazer Williams (c. 1787-1857), the alleged "lost dauphin" Louis XVII. of France and an authority on Indians, especially Iroquois. De Pere was incorporated as a village in 1857, and was chartered as a city in 1883.

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