Jefferson County Online
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The following is a chapter from "The History of Jefferson County, Iowa", Pages 264-265, published by the Western Historical Company of Chicago in 1879.



It has a mean length of 260 miles, and a maximum breadth of 215. Land area, 53,924 square miles, or 34,511,360 acres. Wisconsin lies at a considerable altitude above sea-level, and consists for the most part of an upland plateau, the surface of which is undulating and very generally diversified. Numerous local eminences called mounds are interspersed over the State, and the Lake Michigan coast-line is in many parts characterized by lofty escarped cliffs, even as on the west side the banks of the Mississippi form a series of high and picturesque bluffs. A group of islands known as The Apostles lie off the extreme north point of the State in Lake Superior, and the great estuary of Green Bay, running far inland, gives formation to a long, narrow peninsula between its waters and those of Lake Michigan. The river-system of wisconsin has three outlets -- those of Lake Superior, Green Bay, and the Mississippi, which latter stream forms the entire southwest frontier, widening at one point into the large watery expanse called Lake Pepin. Lake Superior receives the St. Louis, Burnt Wood, and Montreal Rivers; Green Bay, the Menomonee, Peshtigo, Oconto, and Fox; while into the Mississippi empty the St. Croix, Chippewa, Black, Wisconsin, and Rock Rivers. The chief interior lakes are those of Winnebago, Horicon, and Court Oreilles, and smaller sheets of water stud a great part of the surface. The climate is healthful, with cold Winters and brief but very warm Summers. Mean annual rainfall 31 inches. The geological system represented by the State, embraces those rocks included between the primary and the Devonian series, the former containing extensive deposits of copper and iron ore. Besides these minerals, lead and zinc are found in great quantities, together with kaolin, plumbago, gypsum, and various clays. Mining, consequently, forms a prominent industry, and one of yearly increasing dimensions. The soil of Wisconsin is of varying quality, but fertile on the whole, and in the north parts of the State heavily timbered. The agricultural yield comprises the cereals, together with flax, hemp, tobacco, pulse, sorghum, and all kinds of vegetables, and of the hardier fruits. In 1870, the State had a total number of 102,904 farms, occupying 11,715,321 acres, of which 5,899,343 consisted of improved land, and 3,437,442 were timbered. Cash value of farms, $300,414,064; of farm implements and machinery, $14,239,364. Total estimated value of all farm products, including betterments and additions to stock, $78,027,032; of orchard and dairy stuffs, $1,045,933; of lumber, $1,327,618; of home manufactures, $338,423; of all live-stock, $45,310,882. Number of manufacturing establishments, 7,136, employing 39,055 hands, and turning out productions valued at $85,624,966. The political divisions of the State form 61 counties, and the chief places of wealth, trade, and population, are Madison (the capital), Milwaukee, Fond du Lac, Oshkosh, Prairie du Chien, Janesville, Portage City, Racine, Kenosha, and La Crosse. In 1870, the total assessed valuation reached $333,208,838, as against a true valuation of both real and personal estate aggregating $602,207,329. Treasury receipts during 1870, $886,696; disbursements, $906,329. Value of church property, $4,749,983. Education is amply provided for. Independently of the State University at Madison, and those of Galesville and of Lawrence at Appleton, and the colleges of Beloit, Racine, and Milton, there are Normal Schools at Platteville and Whitewater. The State is divided into 4,802 common school districts, maintained at a cost, in 1870, of $2,094,160. The charitable institutions of Wisconsin include a Deaf and Dumb Asylum, an Institute for the Education of the Blind, and a Soldiers' Orphans' School. In January, 1870, the railroad system ramified throughout the State totalized 2,779 miles of track, including several lines far advanced toward completion. Immigration is successfully encouraged by the State authorities, the larger number of yearly new-comers being of Scandinavian and German origin. The territory now occupied within the limits of the State of Wisconsin was explored by French missionaries and traders in 1639, and it remained under French jurisdiction until 1703, when it became annexed to the British North American possessions. In 1796, it reverted to the United States, the government of which latter admitted it within the limits of the Northwest Territory, and in 1809, attached it to that of Illinois, and to Michigan in 1818. Wisconsin became independently territorially organized in 1836, and became a State of the Union, March 3, 1847 (sic - May 29, 1848). Population in 1870, 1,064,985, of which 2,113 were of the colored race, and 11,521 Indians, 1,206 of the latter being out of tribal relations.

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