Marker 545: Wallis Rowan and his Cabin

© Photographed August 22, 2013
Erected 2012 by Wisconsin Historical Society,
Poynette Area Historical Society,
Estate of Robert Stiemke
Dedicated September 29, 2012
Poynette, Columbia County, Wisconsin
43° 23.131′ N, 89° 24.341′ W

Wallis/Wallace Rowan (1800-1847) was born in Kentucky of Scotch Irish descent. He was a lead miner, trader, innkeeper, land speculator, farmer, and mill owner. In 1818 he married Elizabeth “Betsy” Metcalf in Illinois. By 1828 Rowan was in Blue Mounds, working at Ebenezer Brigham’s lead mine and store. He then began trading with the Indians, first on the north side of Lake Mendota and later at Winnequah Point on Lake Monona, at Cross Plains, and at this spot.

This marker is near the site of a cabin built by Rowan in 1833, three years before he filed a legal land claim in Green Bay. The structure consisted of two log buildings with an open space of about ten feet between them, all covered by the same roof. It stood near the intersection of the newly surveyed Military Road and the Indian trail that ran from Four Lakes (Madison) to the portage between the Fox and Wisconsin Rivers (Portage). The Rowan family used the cabin as their home, as a trading post, and as an inn for travelers until they moved to Baraboo in Sauk County in 1840.

Rowan’s property was part of the town of Pauquette, platted by Rowan, A.S. Hooe, and James D. Doty in 1837. The town was named after Pierre Pauquette (1796-1836), who was a friend of Doty, a trusted trader, and interpreter for the Ho-Chunk at the portage, but the plat was never developed. In 1850 Samuel Thomas was the owner of Rowan’s trading cabin, which was being used as a post office with John Thomas as the postmaster. In 1851 Samuel B. Pinney platted the village of Poynette using much of the same land as the Pauquette plat. The cabin has been gone for years, but Rowan Creek still flows just a few hundred yards to the north.
The marker is located in Old Settlers Park, 400 West Mill Street, at its intersection with West John Street, Poynette, Wisconsin 53955.
Portage Daily Register, September 12, 2012: Monument tells a personal story of Poynette history

Poynette Press: Finding Wallis Rowan: Poynette pioneer honored with historic (sic) marker

 Marker can be seen to the right of this photo.

The marker is located in Poynette, Wisconsin.

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