It is a long trek back through the years of pioneer history to the time when Shawano County comprised a vast and trackless forest and contained perhaps one of the finest stands of pine in the world.
Chief Sawanoh lived upon the banks of what is now Shawano Lake. His band is said to have been the first residents in this area. The City, County, and Shawano Lake are all named after Chief Sawanoh (the South), a Menominee Chief.
His band lived on the lake when it was filled with wild rice, sturgeon, and waterfowl as well as being surrounded by beautiful forests filled with game. He is known to have traveled extensively; however, Shawano Lake was his bands' traditional gathering area and favorite place to live.
After the Menominee Indian Reservation was established in 1854, Sawanoh's band settled on the west bank of the Wolf River near Keshena.
In 1672, Father Menard and Father Allouez founded a mission known as St. Mark's at the junction of Shawano Creek and the Wolf River.
One hundred years ago Shawano was almost exclusively a timber county, covered with dense forest of pine and hardwoods, and all interests centered on it's value for lumber.