American History and Genealogy Project

State of Wisconsin

Page 736

 Wisconsin is bounded n. by the British possessions; n. e. by Montreal and Menomonee rivers, and a line connecting their sources, separating it from northern Michigan; e. by Lake Michigan, separating it from Michigan proper; s. by Illinois; and w. by the Mississippi, separating it from Iowa ter. It is between 42° 30' and 49° 30' n. lat., and between 86° 50' and 96° w. long.; being 600 miles long and 150 broad. It contains about 90,000 square miles, or 57,600,000 acres. It contained in 1840, 30,945 inhabitants: of these 18,757 were white males; 11,992 do. females; 101 were colored males; 84 do. females. Employed in agriculture, 7,047; in commerce, 479; in manufactures and trades, 1,814; in mining, 794; navigating the ocean, rivers, lakes, &c., 223; learned professions, &c., 259.

It is divided into 22 counties, which, with their population in 1840, and their capitals, were as follows:

County, Population, Capital

Brown, 2,107, Green Bay Marquette, 18, Marquette
Calumet, 275, Calumet Milwaukee, 5,605, Milwaukie
Crawford, 1,502, Prairie du Chien Portage, 1,623, Fort Winnebago
Dane, 314, Madison Racine, 3,475, Racine
Dodge, 67, Dodge C. H. Rock, 1,701, Rockport
Fond du Lac, 139, Fond du Lac St. Croix, 809, St. Croix C. H.
Grant, 3,926, Lancaster Sauk, 102, Prairie du Sac
Green, 933, Monroe Sheboygan, 133, Sheboygan
Iowa, 3,978, Mineral Point Walworth, 2,611, Elkhorn
Jefferson, 914, Jefferson Washington, 343, Washington
Manitouwoc, 235, Manitouwoc Winnebago, 135, Oshkosh.

Madison, between the third and fourth of the 4 lakes which discharge their waters into Rock river, in Dane county, is the seat of government.

The surveyed part, south of Green Bay, Fox, and Wisconsin rivers, is composed of timbered and prairie lands, with some swamps or wet prairies, having a vegetable soil of from 1 to 10 feet deep. North of the Wisconsin commences a hilly region, swelling as it proceeds north into a mountainous country, with a rugged and broken surface, creating many rapids and falls in the streams, and affording many wild and picturesque views. Near the sources of the Mississippi is an elevated table land, abounding with lakes and swamps, in which fish are abundant and wild rice grows. Bordering on the Mississippi and Wisconsin rivers the soil is rich, and the surface is generally covered with a heavy growth of timber. The white pine is found on the Upper Mississippi. All the productions common in this latitude can be cultivated with success, and the great range of pasturage on the prairies, renders the country peculiarly favorable for raising cattle.

Page 737

In 1840 there were in this territory 5,735 horses and mules; 30,269 neat cattle; 3,462 sheep; 51,383 swine; value of poultry produced $16,167. There were produced 212,116 bushels of wheat; 11,062 of barley; 406,514 of oats; 1,965 of rye; 10,654 of buckwheat; 379,359 of Indian corn; 419,608 of potatoes; 6,777 pounds of wool; 1,474 do. of wax; 135,288 do. of sugar. The products of the dairy were valued at $35,677.

The southwestern part, of Wisconsin is exceedingly rich as a mineral region, which extends into Illinois and Iowa. Lead ore, yielding 75 per cent, of metal, is abundant; and copper ore is also extensively found. The former has long been, and the latter is beginning to be wrought. Iron ore also exists.

The principal rivers are the Mississippi, washing its western border; the Wisconsin, 500 miles long, a large tributary of the Mississippi; Chippeway river, which enters the Mississippi further n. w., and is a large river; Rock river, which rises and runs partly in this state; Neenah or Fox river, which passes so near the Wisconsin that in time of high water the country between them is often overflowed, and can be passed in boats, passes through Lake Winnebago, and enters Green bay: though obstructed by rapids, boats pass up it 180 miles.

There are many lakes and ponds in this state, particularly in its northern parts. The 4 lakes near Madison, are pleasant sheets of water. Winnebago lake is 24 miles long and 10 broad, and has an outlet to Green bay. Green bay is a branch of Lake Michigan, and is partly in this territory; and Lake Michigan bounds it on the e.

The most important place in this state is Milwaukie, on Lake Michigan. It is extensively visited by steamboats, and is an important commercial centre. It is the only good harbor between Chicago and Green bay. Green Bay is near the mouth of Neenah or Fox river, at the head of Green bay, and has a good harbor and an extensive trade. Racine and Sheboygan on Lake Michigan, and Prairie du Chien on the Mississippi, just above the mouth of the Wisconsin, are considerable places.

There were in this territory in 1840, 1 commercial and 7 commission houses engaged in foreign trade, with a capital of $63,000; 178 retail drygoods and other stores, with a cap. of $661,550; 133 persons employed in the lumber trade, with a cap. of $21,180; 62 persons engaged in internal transportation, who, with 3 butchers, packers, &c., employed a capital of $14,100.

The amount of home-made or family manufactures was $12,567. There were 1 furnace, cap. $4,000; 49 smelting houses produced 15,129,350 pounds of lead, employing 220 persons, with a cap. of $664,600; 3 distilleries and 3 breweries employed a cap. of $14,400; 4 flouring m., 29 grist m., 124 saw m., cap. $561,650; 7 brick, 509 wooden houses were built, and cost $212,085; 6 printing offices and 6 weekly newspapers employed a capital of $10,300. Total capital in manufactures $635,926.

No college has been established in this territory. There were in 1840, 2 academies, with 65 students; and 77 common and primary schools, with 1,937 scholars.

In Jan., 1840, this territory had 1 bank, with a capital of $100,000, and a circulation of $109,185.

The government was organized in 1836. The governor is appointed by the president of the United States, with the advice and consent of the senate, and is ex-officio superintendent of Indian affairs. The legislative assembly consists of a council of 13 members, elected for 4 years; and a house of representatives of 26 members, elected for 2 years. Their pay is 3 dollars a day, and 3 dollars for every 20 miles travel. The Congress of the United States have appropriated $20,000 for the erection of public buildings, and $5,000 for a library.

This territory has a few works of internal improvement. The United States commenced, in 1838, the Portage canal, 1¼ miles long, to connect the Wisconsin and Fox rivers, which completes a steamboat navigation from Lake Michigan to the Mississippi. The Milwaukie and Rock River canal, 60 miles in length, to connect Rock river with Lake Michigan, is in progress.

Table of Contents

Source: A Complete Descriptive And Statistical Gazetteer Of The United States Of America, By Daniel Haskel, A. M and J. Calvin Smith, Published By Sherman & Smith, 1843

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