Rural Baraboo

George W. Archibald 1946

Fanny Morley 1859 - 1888

Yellow Thunder - Wakąjazi late 1700s - 1874

George W. Archibald

Born -  1946, New Glasgow, Nova Scotia, Canada


Just a few miles north of Baraboo lies a collection found nowhere else on the planet. Members of all fifteen species of the world’s cranes can be found in one place at the International Crane Foundation (ICF).  The story of ICF began in 1971 at Cornell University with two students who shared a passion for cranes. Ornithology students Ron Sauey and George Archibald envisioned an organization that would combine research, captive breeding and reintroduction, landscape restoration and education to safeguard the world’s 15 crane species. In 1973, with the generosity of the Sauey family of Baraboo – who rented their horse farm to Ron and George for $1 a year! – the International Crane Foundation was “hatched.”  Since its inception, ICF has developed unique collaborations and led effective community-based conservation programs, important research projects and innovative captive breeding and reintroduction efforts. These endeavors have inspired international cooperation, helped improve livelihoods for people around the world and lead to the protection of millions of acres of wetlands and grasslands on the five continents where cranes live. 

George Archibald, Ph.D., co-founder of ICF  is a Canadian, born in Nova Scotia in 1946. He graduated with a degree in biology from Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, and with a doctorate from Cornell University in New York. Archibald’s visionary leadership in international conservation efforts for nearly 50 years has given flight to crane conservation worldwide. Archibald pioneered innovative breeding techniques that allowed many rare crane species to reproduce in captivity for the first time. He forged scientific exchanges and field conservation programs in the 1970s with Chinese and Russian biologists in an era when it was a rare occurrence for a western scientist. Archibald is renowned for his energy, optimism and stimulating new ways of thinking about seemingly intractable problems. He leverages the charisma of cranes to unite people from diverse cultures and backgrounds to work together to solve problems facing our fragile planet. He has recruited, inspired and mentored countless individuals worldwide in the name of cranes. By focusing on the magic of cranes, people eagerly engage in the protection and restoration of entire ecosystems. Most recently, he has been involved in conservation programs in Bhutan, Ethiopia, Mongolia, and Turkey. In 1984, Archibald was awarded a MacArthur Fellows Program grant for his work with cranes. In 1987, he was added to the UN's Global 500 Roll of Honour. In 2012, he was made a Member of the Order of Canada.

Today, the International Crane Foundation’s impact reaches across the globe with a regional base in China and shared program offices with partner organizations in Cambodia, India, South Africa, Texas, Vietnam and Zambia. ICF has approximately 80 team members who work with a network of hundreds of specialists in over 50 countries on five continents and at the nearly 300-acre global headquarters north of Baraboo. The ICF campus hosts a captive flock of approximately 100 cranes, and more than 25,000 people annually visit the live crane exhibits, research library, visitor center and two miles of nature trails.  With 11 of the world’s 15 crane species facing extinction the work of ICF is ongoing and more important than ever.

Fannie Morley

Born -  born June 10, 1859, Town of Baraboo

Died -  May 13, 1888, Sandwich Isles

Today Wisconsin may be known as the dairy state but that wasn’t always the case. Wisconsin was known for wheat production in the 1850s and 1860s and for a short time was even the leading producer of hops. Dairy farming started in the mid-1800s but didn’t take off until later. By 1899 nine out of ten farms in Wisconsin raised dairy cows. Before refrigeration cheese was often made to make a product that was transportable and marketable. Mass produced butter followed cheese and Sauk County produced some of the best. The very best was made by Fannie Morley.

Morley was born northeast of Baraboo in 1859 as the third of eight children to Nelson and Adeline Morley. She attended the local schools and then began teaching school as many young women of her age did. When she was about 20 however she quit teaching to take charge of her father’s dairy operations. The Morleys had about 70 cows at the time and the family excelled at making butter. Unlike home production which consisted  of churning an old fashioned butter churn by hand, the Morleys made butter in 125 pound batches with modern tanks and methods. Nelson Morley, Fannie’s father, had built a three story stone building as a cheese factory just across from their farm on Terrytown Road. After a few years it was turned into a creamery for making butter. Fannie Morley’s butter won the Sweepstakes Prize at the 1879 International Dairy Fair in New York City for the best butter made at any time or place. Fannie became famous in the dairy industry. Her picture was even reproduced in the Wisconsin Dairymen’s Association Report for 1881 along with a five page technical article she wrote about butter making.

Fannie didn’t stay on the farm forever to make butter.  In 1886 she sailed for Honolulu in the Sandwich Isles to be a music teacher at a girls seminary. She grew up in a musical family and already had a love for teaching. She also went for her health. Unknown ailments she had been fighting in Wisconsin followed her to the more mild climate and steadily grew worse. Compounding her illness was her constant concern about how her parents would worry about her. In the spring of 1888 she became increasingly ill and despite the best care, she died just shy of her 29th birthday. It took weeks for the news to get to her parents and about three months for her body to be brought back to Baraboo for burial.

The stone cheese and butter factory Fannie Morley’s father built on Terrytown Road in 1867 still stands although in deteriorating condition. It is one of the oldest surviving dairy related buildings in the state.

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Yellow Thunder - Wakąjazi

Born -  late 1700s

Died – February, 1874, Town of Delton, Sauk County, Wisconsin

In December of 1843 Army Captain Edwin Sumner reported to his superiors that the Ho-Chunk chief named Yellow Thunder was, “…one of the principal Winnebagos (Ho-Chunk) who persists in remaining on the east side of the Mississippi.”  Yellow Thunder, who had already been forcibly deported from Wisconsin in 1840 with his band, returned to the area around Portage to once again make his home just a few years later.

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Yellow Thunder – Wakąjazi – was a Ho-Chunk chief during one of the most turbulent times in modern Ho-Chunk tribal history. He was born sometime in the latter half of the 18th century and belonged to the Thunderbird Clan of the Ho-Chunk tribe. His band had a village at Yellow Banks along the Fox River. Little is known of his early life but in 1828 he was part of a delegation of 15 Ho-Chunk chiefs and one Ho-Chunk woman who were escorted on a tour of the eastern United States which culminated with a visit to the White House to meet with President John Quincy Adams. The trip was meant to impress upon the Ho-Chunk chiefs the might and power of the United States. The one woman who was on the trip was She Who Follows, the daughter of Chief White Crow. She was the wife of Chief Yellow Thunder and after the trip she was often known as Washington Woman. The trip came about during the aftermath of the Winnebago War or Winnebago Uprising in 1827 in which some of the Prairie LaCrosse band of Ho-Chunk Indians attacked white settlers in Prairie du Chien and along the Mississippi River. The uprising resulted in the construction of Fort Winnebago at Portage and an 1829 treaty in which the Ho-Chunk ceded their land in south central Wisconsin.

Three year later in 1832 the Blackhawk War broke out which was led by Sauk Chief Blackhawk. The Ho-Chunk were not largely involved but the in the aftermath of the conflict they signed another land cession treaty ceding all of their land south of the Wisconsin River in exchange for land in Iowa. The treaty was unpopular and only a limited number of Ho-Chunk moved out of Wisconsin territory.

In October of 1837 Yellow Thunder was part of a delegation of 20 chiefs and warriors that were sent to Washington under the pretense of speaking with the President about their homeland in Wisconsin. The delegation sent was selected because they did not have the official power to sign any treaty for the tribe. After they arrived though, they were repeatedly pressured to sell all remaining lands east of the Mississippi. With winter approaching and no means to pay for the return trip home by themselves if they didn’t cooperate, the delegation, including Yellow Thunder, finally signed the treaty on November 1 with protests that they did not have the authority to sell their lands. The delegation was also deliberately misled into thinking the treaty gave the Ho-Chunk 8 years to move when instead it read only 8 months.

Over the next few years the Ho-Chunk were slow to move to the reservation west of the Mississippi. By 1840, settlement north and west of the Wisconsin and Fox Rivers including in Sauk County was putting pressure on federal officials to move the Ho-Chunk. Yellow Thunder was already known as one of the leaders of the treaty-resisting faction that refuse to move. In May of 1840 Yellow Thunder was invited to Fort Winnebago at the portage to get provisions but was incarcerated along with his wife Washington Woman when they arrived. He was released after promising to bring his band to the fort for removal to lands west of the Mississippi, which he did. After a few years Yellow Thunder was back in the Portage area and was rounded up again in 1843. Late in 1846 Yellow Thunder returned to Wisconsin once more only to be rounded up again and deported in 1848.

In 1849 Yellow Thunder tried a different tactic to remain in Wisconsin. In company with fur trader and Indian interpreter John T. de la Ronde he went to the US Land Office in Mineral Point, Wisconsin and inquired whether it was permitted for Indians to purchase land. After being told it was possible he entered and paid for forty acres in the Town of Delton in Sauk County. This made him a legal land owner under the US system of land ownership. His property, which became known as Yellow Thunder’s 40, became a haven for other Ho-Chunk Indians who returned to Wisconsin from reservations west of the Mississippi. For the rest of his life Yellow Thunder remained active in tribal affairs. In 1863 he was one of eight chiefs that met with Wisconsin Governor Edward Salomon to smoke the peace pipe and discuss relations.

Yellow Thunder died in February of 1874 near the Wisconsin River just north of his forty acres and he was buried near his wife. In 1909 a small stone monument to Chief Yellow Thunder and his wife Washington Woman was constructed along highway A about half a mile from his property. Yellow Thunder’s story is one of perseverance and resilience in the face of great adversity.