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The utility of a Work, like the one now presented to the public, will not be questioned. The State of Wisconsin has grown into importance with unexampled rapidity, and is now so far advanced in settlement and improvement that some compilation of correct and authentic information, in relation to its natural features and advantages, seems to have become of the highest interest and necessity—to the citizen as a detailed description of his State—to the immigrant as a Guide Book in the selection of a home.
As this is the first publication of the kind which has ever appeared in relation to Wisconsin, its preparation, from materials scattered and undigested, has necessarily been attended with many difficulties and great labor. No pains, however, have been spared to make it, as far as possible, a correct and complete description of the State, historical and geographical, and of the peculiar characteristics of its different districts.
Through circulars, and otherwise, the author has consulted every Postmaster in the State, as well as a large number of other residents, known to be familiar with the portion in which they reside, and from them he has derived much of the information for his descriptions of cities, villages, and post offices. The notices of the legal history and situation of counties and towns, are the result of the most careful examination of the laws, journals, and records of the Territory and State. The description of lakes, rivers, &c., and of the face of the country, to a great extent has been compiled from maps and documents of the General Government and from other authentic publications, and from reliable sources furnished directly for this Work, Much valuable information has also been received from conversation and correspondence with the members of the
legislature, and others, from every section of the State, for the past three years. By the method pursued a knowledge has been acquired of every portion of Wisconsin which it would not have been possible to have gained in any other manner. Perfect accuracy in all cases is neither claimed or expected, but it is hoped that these means have insured as great a degree, as is possible, in a new State of which much remains unoccupied and undeveloped, and but little settled long enough to be described with that certainty and complete familiarity that would be expected in an older State.
Notwithstanding great care has been taken in perfecting this Work, several mistakes have been discovered in the printed edition, a list of which will be found in the Errata. Many omissions were necessarily made in the body of the Work, which are inserted in the Appendix, but mostly prepared in such a manner as not to give that accuracy of description that is desirable. It is not supposed that it is free from other errors and omissions. Should such be dis- . covered, the Author will consider it a great favor to have them pointed out to him, by letter or otherwise, as it is his wish to make any future editions, if called for, as full and exact as may be.
With these introductory and explanatory remarks the WISCONSIN GAZETTEER is submitted to the public, confidently trusting that it may receive sufficient patronage to render a reasonable compensation for the labor and money expended in its compilation and publication.
In conclusion, the Author desires to tender his sincere thanks to all who have aided him; and to extend his grateful acknowledgments to Governor Farwell, General Smith, Chancellor Lathrop, I. A. Lapham, and Lyman C. Draper, for their kindness and courtesy, and the valuable assistance he has received from each of them, in the prosecution of this undertaking.
MADISON, W18., June 1st, 1853.
Situation, Bounds, Extent and Area.-History of Territory and State.-Face of the
Country, Soil, &c.—Antiquities. -Climate and Health.-Productions.- Manufactures — Trade.--Education. ---Government.--Civil Divisions.--Improvements.Public Lands.-Miscellaneous.
SITUATION, EXTENT, BOUNDS AND AREA.— The State of Wisconsin embraces all of that portion of the Northwestern Territory lying north of the parallel of latitude 42° 30' and west of Lake Michigan, excepting a portion of said Territory north and east of the Menomonee River of Green Bay, belonging to and forming the Upper Peninsula of Michigan; and another portion lying west of the River St. Croix, included in and constituting a portion of the Territory of Minnesota. Its greatest extent from north to south is two hundred and eighty-five miles, and from east to west two hundred and fifty-five miles.
Wisconsin is bounded on the north by Minnesota and Michigan, on the northeast, and east in Lake Michigan by Michigan, on the south by Illinois, and on the west by Iowa and Minnesota; or according to the Constitution, as follows, to wit: “Beginning at the northeast corner of the State of Illinois, that is to say, at a point in the centre of Lake Michigan, where the line of forty-two degrees and thirty-nine minutes of north latitude crosses the same; thence running with the boundary line of the state of Michigan, through Lake Michigan, Green Bay, to the mouth of the Menomonee river; thence up the channel of the said river to the Brule river; thence up said last mentioned river to Lake Brole; thence along the sonthern shore of Lake Brule, in a direct line to the centre of the channel between Middle and South Islands, in the Lake of the Desert; thence in a direct line to the head waters of the Montreal river, as marked upon the survey made by Captain Cram; thence down the main channel of the Montreal river to the middle of Lake Superior; thence through the centre of Lake Superior to the mouth of the St. Louis river; thence up the main channel of said river to the first rapids in the same, above the Indian village, according to Nicollet's map; thence due south to the main branch of the river St. Croix; thence down the main channel of said river to the Mississippi; thence down the centre of the main channel of that river to the northwest corner of the state of Illinois; thence due east with the northern boundary of the state of Illinois, to the place of beginning, as established by an act to enable the people of the Illinois territory to form a constitution and state government, and for the admission of such state into the Union on an equal footing with the original states,' approved April 18th, 1818.”
The area of Wisconsin in land is 53,924 square miles, or 34,511,360 square acres.
HISTORY.—Wisconsin was first visited by French Missionaries in 1660, in October of which year Mesnard reached Che-goi-megon, on Lake Superior. In 1672, Aloues and Dablon visited Green Bay, and the country between the Fox river and the south end of Lake Michigan. In the year following, on the 13th of May, Marquette, a Jesuit Missionary, and Joliet, an agent of the government of France, with five other Frenchmen, embarked from their Mission, near Mackinac, and arrived at Green Bay, where they found an Indian village and procured guides to accompany them up Fox river to the Portage with the Wisconsin. They descended this river to its mouth, where they arrived on the 17th of June, 1673, and made the first discovery of the Upper Mississippi river. The Territory remained under the government
of the French, who claimed it, until 1763, when, at the treaty of · Paris, it was ceded to Great Britain, who retained it until the In
dependence of the United States was acknowledged by that county in 1783, when it was claimed by Virginia, as a part of the Illinois country conquered by Col. George Rogers Clark. It however remained in the possession of Great Britain until 1796, when it was surrendered in accordance with Jay's treaty, ratified the previous year. On the first day of March, 1784, it was ceded by Virginia to the United States. By the celebrated ordinance passed the 13th of July, 1787, a government was provided for the Territory northwest of the Ohio river, which territory was divided into two separate governments, the western called Indiana, by an act passed May 7th, 1800. An act dividing the Indiana Territory and organizing Illinois, was passed and approved February 3d, 1809. By the act of Congress to enable the people of Illinois to form a State government, approved April 18th, 1818, all that portion of said territory north of the parallel of latitude 42° 30' west of the middle of Lake Michigari, was attached to the Territory of Michigan, which had been set off from Indiana in 1805.
In 1835, Michigan having assumed a State government, John S. Horner, Secretary and Acting Governor, convened a session of the legislature, at Green Bay, from the remainder of said Territory. No business was transacted, except the passage of several Memorials to Congress, among which was one asking for the organization of the Territory of Wisconsin, with the seat of government at Cassville, on the Mississippi.
An act establishing the Territorial government of Wisconsin, was passed and approved April 20th, 1836, and the Territory fully organized July 4th, 1836.
On the 12th day of June 1838, an act was passed dividing the Territory of Wisconsin, and establishing that portion on the west side of the Mississippi (which had been attached to Michigan in 1834,) into a separate government, under the name of Iowa.
In 1836, Governor Dodge, by proclamation dated September 9th, convened the legislature at Belmont, now in Lafayette county, on the 25th day of October in that year. The second session was held at Burlington, now in the State of Iowa, Nov.