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The Selkirk Project

Swiss from Manitoba to the United States circa 1823-1826

By Maralyn A. Wellauer

I am actively collecting data on a select group of early Swiss emigrants who left Europe in 1821 and traveled together to Lord Selkirk's colony on the Red River of the North in Western Canada. Presently, the location is near present-day Winnipeg, Manitoba. Beginning in 1823, entire families relocated to areas in the Minnesota and Wisconsin territories, Illinois, and Missouri. Others remained in the colony until 1826, when they too left for the United States.

I am most interested in evaluating the extant primary source material relating to the migration, to identify the individual members of the group by name, age, occupation, and social status; and to determine the fate of the families. Of particular interest are personal accounts contained in contemporary letters, diaries, and colonial papers.

The majority of the first group of Swiss in Wisconsin originated in Cantons Bern and Neuchatel and were members of this group. Approximately 44 families participated in this emigration, including Abram Perret (a.k.a. Abraham Perry,) the founder of the city of St. Paul, Minnesota, the renowned artist, Peter Rindisbacher, and the father of the famed Civil War General Augustus Louis (A.L.) Chetlain.

This project focuses around a core group of immigrants and 15 families with the following surnames:

Aebersold, Brickler, Chatelain, Fournier, Hofmann, Langet, Marchand, Monnier, Ostertag, Polander, Quinche, Rindisbacher, Scheidegger, Schirmer, Stramm, and Varing.

Correspondence relating to this group is welcomed. Please contact:

Maralyn A. Wellauer, Editor
The Swiss Connection
2845 North 72nd Street
Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53210-1106

Telephone: (414) 778-1224
Fax (414) 778-2109

All contributions will be acknowledged.