The New International Encyclopædia/Wisconsin

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WISCON′SIN. A north central State of the United States, popularly called the ‘Badger State.’ It is bounded on the north by Lake Superior and upper Michigan, on the east by Lake Michigan, on the south by Illinois, and on the west by Iowa and Minnesota, the greater part of the western boundary being formed by the Mississippi River. Its greatest length, between latitudes 42° 30′ and 47° 3′ N., is 315 miles, and its greatest breadth, between longitudes 86° 49′ and 92° 54′ W., 294 miles. These dimensions include the Apostle Islands, in Lake Superior, and the islands at the entrance to Green Bay, in Lake Michigan. Wisconsin has an area of 56,040 square miles, including 1590 square miles of water, and it ranks twenty-first in size among the States.

Topography. The surface of Wisconsin is a nearly level plain or undulating plateau with three faces or slopes, divided by a T-shaped ridge or line of highest elevation. The longitudinal arm of this ridge runs southward through the centre of the State. It is very flat, the land sloping gradually from an altitude of a little over 1000 feet along the summit of the ridge to somewhat less than 600 feet on the shore of Lake Michigan and to somewhat more than 600 feet at the Mississippi, a slope of 400 feet in 100 miles. The transverse arm of the ridge is higher and more abrupt, being sometimes called the Penokee Mountains or Range. It stretches parallel with Lake Superior, about 30 miles south of it, and extends eastward into the northern peninsula of Michigan. Its general elevation is between 1500 and 1600 feet, and the highest point within the State is about 1700 feet above sea level. This ridge falls rapidly northward to an altitude of 600 feet on the shore of Lake Superior. A peculiar diagonal valley runs across the State from southwest to northeast, guiding the course of the lower Wisconsin and Fox River, and occupied in the northeast by Green Bay and Lake Winnebago. It is bounded on the south by a somewhat bold escarpment. Otherwise there are no sharp irregularities in the surface except the cliffs along the river valleys in the southwestern part of the State, and the rounded drumlins, mounds, or morainic peaks and ridges composed of glacial drift, which are scattered over the remaining area.

The drainage systems are of course, determined by the three plateau slopes described above. North of the Penokee Range a number of short streams fall into Lake Superior. Those on the eastern slope, flowing into Lake Michigan, are larger, and include the Menominee, which forms part of the northeastern boundary and flows into Green Bay, the Fox, which drains Lake Winnebago and also enters Green Bay, and the Milwaukee River, which flows directly into Lake Michigan. The western and southern slopes of the State, including the greater part of its area, are drained by tributaries of the Mississippi, of which the principal are the Saint Croix, forming part of the northwestern boundary, the Chippewa, and the Wisconsin, the last being the largest river within the State. Several streams rise in the southern part of the State and flow southward into Illinois, all of them joining the Mississippi. The chief of these are the Rock River and the Des Plaines and Fox rivers, two headstreams of the Illinois. The longitudinal divide is so flat that some of its lakes and swamps send their waters in both directions, west to the Mississippi and east to the Great Lakes; this is especially noticeable at Portage, where the waters of the Wisconsin and Fox rivers unite during the floods. A multitude of lakes are scattered over the northern and eastern parts of the State, but only one, Lake Winnebago (q.v.), is of considerable size.



County Map
 County Seat.   Area in 

1890. 1900.

Adams D 5  Friendship 682  6,889  9,141
Ashland C 2  Ashland 930 20,063 20,176
Barron A 3  Barron 878 15,416 23,677
Bayfield B 2  Washburn  1,497    7,390 14,392
Brown E 4  Greenbay 518 39,164 46,359
Buffalo B 4  Alma 662 15,997 16,765
Burnett A 3  Grantsburg 881  4,393  7,478
Calumet F 4  Chilton 317 16,639 17,078
Chippewa B 3  Chippewa Falls 1,938  25,143 33,037
Clark C 4  Neillsville 1,200  17,708 25,848
Columbia D 5  Portage 776 28,350 31,121
Crawford B 5  Prairie du Chien 557 15,987 17,286
Dane D 5  Madison 1,188  59,578 69,435
Dodge E 5  Juneau 884 44,984 46,631
Door F 4  Sturgeon Bay 454 15,682 17,583
Douglas A 2  Superior 1,319  13,468 36,335
Dunn A 4  Menomonie 844 22,664 25,043
Eau Claire B 4  Eau Claire 620 30,673 31,692
Florence E 3  Florence 498  2,604  3,197
Fond du Lac E 5  Fond du Lac 720 44,088 47,589
Forest E 3  Crandon 1,421   1,012  1,396
Gates B 3  ...... ... ...... ......
Grant C 6  Lancaster 1,157  36,651 38,881
Green D 6  Monroe 576 22,732 22,719
Green Lake D 5  Dartford 364 15,163 15,797
Iowa C 6  Dodgeville 763 22,117 23,114
Iron C 2  Hurley 786 ......  6,616
Jackson C 4  Black River Falls  978 15,797 17,466
Jefferson E 5  Jefferson 548 33,530 34,789
Juneau C 4  Mauston 790 17,121 20,629
Kenosha E 6  Kenosha 274 15,581 21,707
Kewaunee F 4  Kewaunee 327 16,153 17,212
La Crosse B 5  La Crosse 475 38,801 42,997
Lafayette C 6  Darlington 634 20,265 20,959
Langlade D 3  Antigo 855  9,465 12,553
Lincoln D 3  Merrill 885 12,008 16,269
Manitowoc F 4  Manitowoc 590 37,831 42,261
Marathon D 4  Wausau 1,532  30,369 43,256
Marinette E 3  Marinette 1,396  20,304 30,822
Marquette D 5  Montello 451  9,676 10,509
Milwaukee F 5  Milwaukee 228  236,101    330,017  
Monroe C 5  Sparta 915 23,211 28,103
Oconto E 4  Oconto 1,080  15,009 20,874
Oneida D 3  Rhinelander 900  5,010  8,875
Outagamie E 4  Appleton 634 38,690 46,247
Ozaukee F 5  Port Washington  226 14,943 16,363
Pepin A 4  Durand 238  6,932  7,905
Pierce A 4  Ellsworth 543 20,385 23,943
Polk A 3  Balsam Lake 933 12,968 17,801
Portage D 4  Stevens Point 800 24,798 29,483
Price C 3  Phillips 1,241   5,258  9,106
Racine E 6  Racine 323 36,268 45,644
Richland C 5  Richland Center 576 19,121 19,483
Rock D 6  Janesville 706 43,220 51,203
St. Croix A 3  Hudson 711 23,139 26,830
Sauk E 5  Baraboso 820 30,575 33,006
Sawyer B 3  Hayward 1,342   1,977  3,593
Shawano D 4  Shawano 1,135  19,236 27,475
Sheboygan E 5  Sheboygan 510 42,489 50,345
Taylor C 3  Medford 965  6,731 11,262
Trempealeau  B 4  Whitehall 934 18,920 23,114
Vernon B 5  Viroqua 792 25,111 28,351
Vilas D 3  Eagle River 907 ......  4,929
Walworth E 6  Elkhorn 562 27,860 29,259
Washburn B 3  Shell Lake 834  2,926  5,521
Washington B 5  Westbend 423 22,751 23,589
Waukesha E 5  Waukeskha 562 33,270 35,229
Waupaca D 4  Waupaca 749 26,794 31,615
Waushara D 4  Wautoma 639 13,507 15,972
Winnebago E 4  Oshkosh 472 50,097 58,225
Wood C 4  Grand Rapids 785 18,127 25,865

Climate. Owing to the proximity of the Great Lakes, the climate is more tempered than that of the more western interior States, and the range of temperature is not excessive, though the winters are very cold and prolonged. The mean temperature for January is 12.8° at Bayfield, in the extreme northern part of the State, 15.5° at La Crosse, on the Mississippi, and 19.3° at Milwaukee, on the southeastern lake shore. For July the mean is 67° at Bayfield, 73° at La Crosse, and 69.2° at Milwaukee, showing that the summers are cooler on the lake shore than at corresponding latitudes in the interior. The maximum temperature is generally between 90° and 95°, and seldom exceeds 100°; the average minimum is between 10° and 25° below zero. The average annual precipitation for the State is 31 inches, which is very evenly distributed through the State, being only slightly greater in the east than in the west. The greatest amount falls between July and October. Thunderstorms are frequent in summer, but in winter the air is dry and clear, and the snowfall light.

Soil and Vegetation. With the exception of a rocky area in the Penokee highland and an area of poor sandy soil in the central part of the State, the soils of Wisconsin are of good quality. In the northern and eastern sections they are composed of glacial drift and alluvium, forming a rich sandy or clayey loam, while in the southwest there is a very fertile soil formed by disintegration of Silurian limestone. The southern and western parts of the State belong to the prairie region, but in the north and east there are extensive forest belts, which, however, have been much depleted. The forests are largely coniferous—pine, fir, and hemlock—but there is a considerable admixture of deciduous trees, especially on the southern and eastern outskirts, and the composition of the forests in general resembles that of the northern Appalachian region.

Geology. The whole State is of very ancient formation, the uppermost strata being of Silurian or Devonian age. In the north central portion there is a large area of Archæan granites, gneiss, syenite, and other crystalline rocks belonging chiefly to the Laurentian period. They are bounded on the north by rocks of the Algonkian system, which extend to the shores and under the bottom of Lake Superior. On the south the Archæan rocks disappear under extensive beds of Potsdam sandstone which cover a large area in the central part of the State, and which in turn disappear under the Silurian strata. The latter extend along the entire western shore of Lake Michigan and across the southern boundary into Illinois, with isolated patches along the banks of the Mississippi. The most widely exposed member of the series is the Niagara limestone, whose northern escarpment, a continuation of the Niagara escarpment, forms the southern wall of the diagonal valley occupied by Green Bay and the lower Wisconsin River. The Pleistocene ice sheet extended far beyond the limits of Wisconsin, and covered the greater part of it with a layer of drift, but left a large, isolated driftless area in the southwestern quarter of the State. The most important mineral deposits are lead and iron ores. The former are found, associated with zinc and copper, in the Galena or Trenton limestone in the northwestern part of the State, and the iron ores in the Clinton series in eastern Wisconsin, and in the Archæan and Algonkian regions in the north. Granite, sandstones, and limestones are abundant, and cement rock occurs in the neighborhood of Milwaukee. Diamonds have been found in the glacial drift in various parts of the State.

Mining. Wisconsin is rising in importance as an iron-mining State. In 1901, 738,868 long tons of ore were obtained, making the State seventh in rank. There were 725,496 tons of red hematite and 13,372 tons of brown hematite. The ore is obtained mainly from the Gogebic and Menominee ranges in the northern part of the State. From the early days of the settlement of the State lead has been mined in the southwestern counties. Increasing quantities of limestone are quarried, the value of the output in 1901 being $1,225,448. Granite and sandstone are also quarried. Bricks and tiles are manufactured from local clays, the value of these products in 1901 being $1,234,144.

Agriculture. In 1900 there were 19,862,727 acres, or 57 per cent. of the State's area, included in farms. Of this area 11,247,972 acres were improved. The average size of farms has remained almost constant since 1860, the average in 1900 being 117 acres. The farms are largest in the western part of the State. In 1900, 86.5 per cent. of the farms were owned by the persons who operated them. In the northern part of the State there is much forest and stump land; besides the rigorous climate makes that region less favorable to general agriculture than the southern part of the State. Corn is confined almost wholly to the southern part. Oats is the most common of the cereal crops, and increased its area over 45 per cent. in the decade 1890-1900. The area devoted to wheat in the census year 1900 was much less than that of 1880. Wisconsin is one of the foremost States in the production of the hardy cereals, barley, rye, and buckwheat. The principal barley area is in the east central part of the State. The State ranks high also in the production of potatoes and of dry peas. The production of tobacco is growing in importance. All temperate zone plants thrive abundantly. In Wood, Waushara, and other south central counties cranberries are cultivated. The number of fruit trees more than doubled in the decade 1890-1900. In the latter year there were 2,557,265 apple trees, or 86.1 per cent. of the total number of fruit trees.

The following table shows the acreage of the principal crops for the census years indicated:

CROPS 1900 1890

Hay and forage  2,397,982  ......
Oats  2,365,115   1,627,161
Corn 1,497,474  1,120,341
Wheat 556,614  744,080
Barley 555,747  474,914
Rye 362,193  275,058
Buckwheat 39,713  77,458
Potatoes 256,931  ......
Dry peas 68,819  ......
Dry beans 12,819  ......
Tobacco 33,830  ......

Stock-Raising. The importance of stock-raising is implied in the large acreage of hay and forage, shown in the above table. In the following table it will be seen that stock-raising is characterized by the great relative importance of dairy cows and other cattle. The State has advanced to the front rank among the dairy States. There was an increase of 55.5 per cent. in the production of milk in the decade preceding 1900. In the census year 1900, $15,717,043 was received by the farmers from sales of milk and $4,508,775 from sales of butter. The industry has developed most in the southeastern counties. The raising of horses and swine is also rapidly assuming larger proportions, but sheep-raising has reached a standstill. The following table shows the number of domestic animals on farms:

ANIMALS 1900 1890

Dairy cows 998,397  792,620
Other cattle 1,315,708  855,327
Horses 555,756  460,740
Mules and asses  4,918  5,752
Sheep 986,212  984,972
Swine  2,014,631   1,347,750

Forests and Forest Products. Originally the State was densely forested, except in limited districts in the south. In the north the forests consist of conifers, in the south of hard woods. White pine is the most common of the conifers. Two-thirds of the cut consists of this species and Wisconsin has been the country's chief source for white pine. Hemlock and spruce rank next in importance. In 1900 the woodland, including stump land, was estimated at 31,750 square miles, or 58 per cent. of the State's area. The merchantable timber is mainly in the northern part of the State. But few States have equaled Wisconsin in the amount of lumber marketed. The industry first became prominent about 1870. Between 1880 and 1890 it increased the value of its product over four times, placing it second in rank in the latter year. (See table on p. 594.) Although there was a decrease in the decade 1890-1900, the State ranked first in the latter year. Since 1900 the large lumbermen have been leaving the State to renew their activity in other forest regions.

Manufactures. The State's wealth in iron, timber, and farm resources has been much to its advantage in its industrial development. The value of products was 45 per cent. greater in 1900 than in 1890, the value in 1900 being $360,818,942. The capital invested in that year was $330,568,779, and the wage-earners engaged in the industry numbered 142,076. or 69 per cent. of the total population. Much of the grain from the Northwest naturally crosses the State in transit eastward, and has thus enabled a large milling industry to develop in Wisconsin. The number of bushels of wheat consumed in the mills in the census year 1900 was nearly twice as great as the State's production of the grain. The foundry and machine shops of Milwaukee produce large quantities of gas and steam engines, and machinery for the equipment of lumber, flour, and paper mills, breweries, and mines. The raw materials are supplied mainly by the local iron and steel industry. This latter industry has the advantage of the rich iron ore resources of the State, but labors under the disadvantage of having to import its coal. One of the most rapidly growing industries is the factory production of butter, in which the State holds second rank. One of the most widely known industries is the manufacture of malt liquors, which centres in Milwaukee. In 1900 the State ranked fourth in value of malt liquors. Slaughtering and meatpacking are becoming important. There is a large and important group of industries which is largely dependent upon the State's forest resources. The most flourishing of these is the tanning, currying, and finishing of leather, the tan bark being secured from local sources. Almost equally flourishing is the manufacture of paper and wood pulp. The wood-pulp mills are located on the large streams which afford power for their operation. The quality of the water is unexcelled for paper-making purposes. The spruce and hemlock are the varieties of wood most used. The manufacture of agricultural implements, carriages and wagons, and furniture are other branches of industry which belong in this group. For the lumber industry, see the section Forests and Forest Products above.

The following table is taken from the census of 1900:

INDUSTRIES  Year  Number of
Value of products,
including custom
 work and repairing 

 Total for selected industries for State 
 1900  6,397  91,674  $263,982,867 
1890 4,511  86,536  188,743,254 
Increase, 1890 to 1900
Per cent. of increase
...... 1,886  5,138  $75,239,613 
...... 41.8  5.9  39.9 
Per cent. of total of all industries in State 
1900 39.5  64.5  73.2 
1890 43.3  72.1  75.9 

Agricultural implements
1900 51  3,289  $7,886,363 
1890 51  2,765  5,015,512 
Boots and shoes, factory product
1900 40  2,507  4,791,684 
1890 32  2,036  2,972,233 
Carriages and wagons
1900 436  3,402  6,956,341 
1890 500  3,251  5,947,499 
Cars and general shop construction, and repairs
 by steam railroad companies
1900 46  4,502  6,306,823 
1890 22  2,148  2,221,152 
Cheese, butter, and condensed milk, factory product 
1900 2,018  1,780  20,120,147 
1890 966  1,373  6,960,711 
Clothing, men's, factory product
1900 89  2,327  4,393,092 
1890 27  2,662  3,909,726 
Flouring and grist-mill products
1900 717  1,412  26,327,942 
1890 497  1,770  24,252,297 
Foundry and machine-shop products
1900 272  12,670  22,252,730 
1890 155  4,987  8,467,290 
Furniture, factory product
1900 78  7,775  8,721,823 
1890 46  2,909  3,616,517 
Iron and steel
1900 12  1,921  8,905,226 
1890 1,890  6,501,761 
Leather, tanned, curried and finished
1900 42  5,262  20,074,373 
1890 38  2,487  11,161,850 
Liquors, malt
1900 147  3,904  19,394,709 
1890 107  2,859  14,193,057 
Lumber and timber products
1900 1,066  21,701  57,634,816 
1890 1,119  41,305  60,966,444 
Lumber, planing mill products,
 including sash, doors and blinds
1900 123  4,377  8,400,695 
1890 88  3,480  6,295,810 
1900 17  366  4,089,715 
1890 15  339  2,472,018 
Paper and wood pulp
1900 47  4,240  10,895,576 
1890 27  1,779  4,475,368 
Printing and publishing, newspapers and periodicals
1900 495  2,679  4,103,415 
1890 379  2,218  3,256,897 
Slaughtering and meat packing, wholesale
1900 11  1,361  13,601,125 
1890 15  737  8,393,754 
1900 62  3,930  4,238,242 
1890 59  3,645  3,925,781 
1900 628  2,269  4,888,030 
1890 359  1,896  3,737,577 

Transportation and Commerce. The first railway in the State was built in 1850. The total mileage in 1860 was 985; in 1870, 1525; in 1897, 6232; and in 1900, 6592. The Chicago, Milwaukee and Saint Paul, the Chicago and Northwestern, the Wisconsin Central, the Chicago, Saint Paul, Minneapolis and Omaha, the Minneapolis, Saint Paul and Sault Sainte Marie, the Green Bay and Western, and the Chicago, Burlington and Northern are the principal lines in operation. Water communication is afforded by the Great Lakes, and by the Mississippi, Wisconsin, Fox, Chippewa, and other rivers. The foreign commerce of the State is small, amounting in 1902 to $1,687,509 (exports, $337,538), but the coastwise and river traffic is considerable. Milwaukee is the chief port of entry. Other important trade centres are Sheboygan, Fond du Lac, and Superior for the Great Lakes, and Prairie du Chien for the Mississippi.

Banks. The condition of the national, State, savings, and private banks of Wisconsin in 1902 is shown in the following table, based on the report of the Comptroller of Currency:

National State
 July 7, 1902 
 July 7, 1902 
 June 30, 1902 

Number 99  173  137 
Capital  $11,425,000   $1,429,000  ......   $1,132,000 
Surplus 3,219,000  1,302,000  ......  190,000 
Cash, etc.  6,916,000  3,583,000  $8,116  713,000 
Loans 64,867,000  45,831,000  412,200  8,635,000 
Deposits 76,256,000  58,963,000  719,000  11,503,000 

Constitution and Government. The present Constitution is the original one under which the State came into the Union. Voters must be citizens or foreigners who have declared their intention of becoming citizens of the United States, or civilized Indians not members of any tribe, and who have resided in the State one year and in the district a period prescribed by law. Proposed amendments must be passed by a majority of the members elected to either House at two successive sessions of the Legislature and afterwards receive a majority vote of the people. A proposal to call a constitutional convention must receive a majority vote of both Houses and be approved by a majority of the popular vote.

Legislative. The Assembly has a maximum and minimum limit of 100 and 54 respectively, and the Senators must be not more than one-third nor less than one-fourth of the number of the members of the Assembly. Elections are biennial, on the Tuesday after the first Monday of November. The salary of members is $500 and mileage for each regular session, and mileage alone for extra sessions. The Legislature meets, according to statutory provision, on the first Monday in January; the sessions are not limited in duration. The power of impeachment rests with the Assembly, and the trial of impeachment with the Senate.

Executive. The Governor, Lieutenant-Governor, Secretary of State, Treasurer, and Attorney-General are elected for a term of two years. The Governor has the usual pardoning power, and a veto which may be overridden by a two-thirds vote of each House. The Governor receives $5000 per year. The Lieutenant-Governor and Secretary of State are respectively eligible to the Governorship in case of vacancy in that office.

Judiciary. There is a Supreme Court of five members elected for ten years. The Legislature determines judicial circuits, in each of which a judge is elected by the people.

Local. Sheriffs, coroners, registers of deeds, and district attorneys are elected in the counties every two years. Sheriffs cannot serve two successive terms.

Madison is the capital. The State has eleven representatives in the National House of Representatives.

Finance. The Constitution places the usual restrictions upon all expenditures. The State, with the assent of a majority of all members elected to either branch of the Legislature, may contract a public debt to defray extraordinary expenses, but the amount must not exceed $100,000. A debt of $2,251,000 was created to meet the State expenditures incurred during the Civil War. The balance on hand in the treasury on September 30, 1902, was $496,408.74. The receipts for the year ending on that date aggregated $5,321,304.89, and the expenditures $5,124,553.12. The chief sources of revenue are railroad license fees, taxation, and insurance companies' license fees. The valuation of all property in 1902 was $1,504,346,000.

Militia. In 1900 the State had 425,825 men of military age. The organized militia in 1901 numbered 2773.

Population. The following figures show the growth of the population by decades: 1840, 30,945; 1850, 305,391; 1860, 775,881; 1870, 1,054,070; 1880, 1,315,497; 1890, 1,686,880; 1900, 2,069,042. In 1900 Wisconsin ranked thirteenth in population among the States of the Union. The State has a very large foreign-born population, numbering, in 1900, 515,971, or 24.9 per cent. of the total population. It probably has the largest proportion of German blood of any State. That nationality began to come to the United States in large numbers during the first decade of the period of rapid colonization—1840-50—and settled in large numbers, especially in the southeastern half of the State. In 1900 there were 242,777 foreign-born Germans. The Norwegians came later and went farther to the northwest. There were 61,575 foreign-born Norwegians in 1900. The early settlements in the lead-mining region of the southwest were made by Southerners by way of the Mississippi River, but they were soon overwhelmed in numbers by the New England element. In 1900 there were 8372 Indians, 2542 negroes, and 217 Chinese. The males numbered 1,067,562 and the females 1,001,480. In 1900 there was an average of 38 persons to the square mile. The largest cities were as follows: Milwaukee, 285,315; Superior, 31,091; Racine, 29,102; La Crosse, 28,895; Oshkosh, 28,284; Sheboygan, 22,962; Madison, 19,164; Green Bay, 18,684; Eau Claire, 17,517; Marinette, 16,195; Fond du Lac, 15,110; Appleton, 15,085; Ashland, 13,074; Janesville, 13,185; Warsaw, 12,354; Manitowoc, 11,786; Kenosha, 11,606; Beloit, 10,436.

Religion. The Catholics are the strongest sect. Other leading organizations include the Lutherans, Methodists, Baptists, Congregationalists, and Presbyterians.

Education. The public schools are under the control of a State Superintendent of Public Instruction. The school and university lands and the revenues accruing from them are, however, under the supervision of a board consisting of the Secretary of State, the Treasurer, and the Attorney-General. Each town and city is required to raise annually by tax a sum of not less than one-half the amount received by them from the income of the school fund. In the census year 1900 there was a school population of 730,685, and an actual attendance of 427,624, or 58.5 per cent. The per cent. of illiterates in the population of ten years of age and upward was 4.7. Wisconsin is one of the leading States as regards the facilities it offers for higher education. Among the principal institutions are the University of Wisconsin (q.v.), at Madison; Northwestern University, at Watertown; Beloit College (q.v.), at Beloit; Lawrence University (q.v.), at Appleton; Ripon College (q.v.), at Ripon; and Marquette College and Concordia College, at Milwaukee. The Milwaukee Medical College and the Wisconsin College of Physicians and Surgeons are prominent among the professional schools. Normal schools are located at Milwaukee, Oshkosh, Platteville, River Falls, Stevens Point, West Superior, and Whitewater.

Charitable and Penal Institutions. The State charitable and penal institutions are under the control of a State Board of Control, which is appointed by the Governor. This board appoints superintendents, wardens, stewards, and general matrons, and a number of minor officials upon the nomination of superintendents or wardens. Staple supplies used by the institutions are purchased by the board. The State has originated a new system for caring for its chronic insane, namely, in county asylums which are supported by both State and county. In 1900 there were 27 of these institutions with inmates aggregating 3394. The building of two more county asylums has been authorized. The State insane asylums at Mendota and Winnebago and the Home for Feeble Minded at Chippewa Falls contained in the aggregate 1464 inmates (1900). In October, 1900, the School for the Deaf at Delavan had 190 pupils, the School for the Blind at Janesville 105 pupils, the Industrial School for Boys at Waukesha 328, and the State Public School (children's home) at Sparta 147. On the same date there were 1103 males and 430 females in the poorhouses of the State. Three Milwaukee institutions, an insane asylum, house of correction, and industrial school for girls, are semi-State institutions, as is also the Veterans' Home at Waupaca. There is a State reformatory near Green Bay, with 115 convicts, and a State prison at Waupun, with 496 inmates.

History. At the time the region now included within the State was first made known to Europeans it was the border land between the hunting grounds of the Algonquian tribes, which were gradually pushing westward, and the Dakotas or Sioux, the great body of whom already lay beyond the Mississippi. In 1634 Champlain, Governor of New France, dispatched Jean Nicolet, a coureur des bois, westward along the Great Lakes to make treaties with the remote tribes of Indians, and to encourage them to trade with the French. Nicolet first set foot upon what is now the State of Wisconsin late in 1634 or early in 1635. He landed first at Green Bay, where he found a large Indian settlement, thence ascended the Fox River to a point beyond its passage through Lake Winnebago, and then turned southward. He probably proceeded as far south as the site of Chicago, and returned east by way of Lake Michigan. The next white explorers in the Wisconsin region of whom we have any record were Radisson and Groseilliers, two fur traders, who reached the country in 1658-59. They followed in the track of Nicolet, but probably crossed the Fox-Wisconsin portage, and descended the latter river almost, if not quite, to its mouth. Recent investigations make it seem more than probable that they were actually the first discoverers of the Upper Mississippi. In the winter of 1661 they built a stockade on the south shore of Chequamegon Bay, near the present site of Ashland. On the same spot Father Allouez in 1665 established the La Pointe Mission—the first in Wisconsin. Subsequently (1669) he built the Mission of Saint Francis Xavier at the Rapides des Pères on the Fox River, on the site of the city of De Pere. Here was built the first church in Wisconsin and about this mission grew up the first white settlement of any permanence. In 1673 Louis Joliet and Père Marquette, setting out from the Saint Francis Mission, sailed up the Fox and descended the Wisconsin to the Mississippi. In 1674 Marquette made a canoe trip from Green Bay to the site of what is now Chicago along the shores of Lake Michigan. In the years that followed the region became one of the principal fields of activity of the coureurs des bois, prominent among whom were Nicolas Perrot and Daniel Greysolon du Lhut, from whom the city of Duluth takes its name. La Salle (q.v.) thoroughly explored the Wisconsin region before he attempted his remarkable trip down the Mississippi which ended in his tragic death. Although the region became dotted with trading posts and missions, there was no permanent settlement in Wisconsin until toward the middle of the eighteenth century, when the De Langlade family established themselves at Green Bay. In the French and Indian War Charles de Langlade led a body of coureurs des bois and Wisconsin Indians to the aid of the French, and commanded them in the battle which resulted in Braddock's defeat. After the Revolution, in which De Langlade and the Wisconsin Indians remained true to the British, although by the terms of the treaty Wisconsin became part of the United States, the British continued to exercise authority in the region. Nor did Jay's treaty of 1794, in spite of its provisions for the surrender of the outposts, result in a change of authority. During the War of 1812 the French and Indians took the field against the Americans, and an expedition starting from the British fort at Green Bay assaulted and captured an American garrison at Prairie du Chien.

For a decade after the close of the war the fur trade remained the principal business of the inhabitants of the region between Lake Michigan and the Mississippi River and the growth in population was slow, the number of white inhabitants as late as 1824 being not more than 6000 or 7000. The authority of the United States was firmly established in 1816, when several detachments of the Regular Army were sent into the Territory, and forts built at Green Bay (Fort Howard) and at Prairie du Chien. In 1820-21 several bands of Oneida and Brotherton Indians from New York State were settled in the Territory. In 1822 the opening of the lead diggings in the southwestern part of the Territory was followed by an influx of immigrants, largely Southerners, many of whom brought their slaves with them. By 1828 the population of the lead region was over 10,000. An uprising of the Winnebago under Red Bird in 1825 was suppressed with little bloodshed, and no further trouble was experienced from the Indians until the outbreak of the Black Hawk War (q.v.) in 1832. After the defeat of Black Hawk a large immigration of agricultural settlers from New England and New York set in and the movement for the erection of Wisconsin as a separate Territory was begun in earnest. Wisconsin had formed a part of the old Northwest Territory from 1787 to 1800, of Indiana Territory from 1800 to 1805, of Michigan Territory from 1805 to 1809, of Illinois Territory from 1809 to 1818, and in the latter year was again placed under the jurisdiction of Michigan Territory. In 1836, on the admission of Michigan into the Union, Wisconsin—including then the present States of Iowa and Minnesota and parts of the Dakotas—was erected into a Territory. Belmont and Burlington were successively temporary Territorial capitals; the Legislature met at Madison for the first time in 1838. The next decade was a period of wonderful growth in population. In 1844 at Ripon was founded ‘The Wisconsin Phalanx,’ a communistic settlement organized on the Brook Farm plan. This proved one of the most successful communities of the sort ever attempted. At about the same time a Mormon settlement was planted in Racine and Walworth counties.

In 1847, a bill having passed Congress for the admission of Wisconsin as a State, a constitutional convention was held, but the instrument drawn up was rejected by popular vote. In the following year a second Constitution was prepared, submitted, and adopted and Wisconsin was formally admitted to the Union, May 29, 1848. The extensive German and Scandinavian immigration which began about 1840 increased annually for a dozen years after the admission of the State, and at one time, shortly after 1848, when the revolutionary movements of that year in Europe had driven thousands of cultured Germans to this country, the project was formed of concentrating German immigration in Wisconsin and making it a German State. The early history of the State was marked by scandals in connection with the sale of public lands and the granting of railroad charters, but before the outbreak of the Civil War a better tone pervaded political life. The anti-slavery sentiment in the State was strong, and at Ripon in 1854 began one of the earliest movements which resulted subsequently in the organization of the Republican Party. In the same year occurred the noteworthy rescue of the fugitive slave Grover, at Milwaukee, which resulted in prolonged litigation, one of the most interesting points of which was the development of a pronounced nullification sentiment among the Republican and Free-Soil elements of the population, and which reached its climax when the State Supreme Court decided that the Fugitive Slave Law was unconstitutional in the State. Wisconsin's share in the Civil War was noteworthy. The State furnished a total of 91,379 men, more than the required quota, the ratio being 1 man to every 9 of its inhabitants. In 1871 the northeastern portion of the State was visited by destructive forest fires, and in 1894 the northwestern part of the State suffered from a similar visitation. In 1886 labor riots at Milwaukee necessitated the calling out of the State militia, which came into armed conflict with the mob. The first Republican Governor was elected in 1856, when Coles Bashford was chosen after a bitter contest. Since that time the State has been Republican in every Presidential election except that of 1892. Democratic fusion with the Greenback movement in 1874 resulted in the defeat of the Republican candidate for Governor, since which year, with the exception of 1890 and 1892, when the issue was again complicated by a school law which alienated the support of the Germans, the State has been regularly Republican.

Governors of Wisconsin

Henry Dodge 1830-41
James Duane Doty 1841-44
Nathaniel P. Tallmadge 1844-45
Henry Dodge 1845-48
Nelson Dewey Democrat 1848-52
Leonard J. Farwell Whig 1852-54
William A. Barstow Democrat 1854-56
Arthur McArthur (acting) 1856
Coles Bashford Republican 1856-58
Alexander W. Randall 1858-62
Louis P. Harvey 1862
Edward Salomon 1862-64
James T. Lewis 1864-66
Lucius Fairchild 1866-72
Cadwallader C. Washburn 1872-74
William R. Taylor,  Democrat Greenback  1874-76
Harrison Ludington Republican 1876-78
William E. Smith 1878-82
Jeremiah M. Rusk 1882-89
William D. Hoard 1889-91
George W. Peck Democrat 1891-95
William H. Upham Republican 1895-97
Edward Scofield 1897-1901
Robert M. La Follette 1901-

Bibliography. Lapham, Wisconsin (Milwaukee, 1844-46); Smith, History of Wisconsin (2 vols., Madison, 1854); Strong, History of the Territory of Wisconsin (Madison, 1885); Thwaites, Story of Wisconsin (Boston, 1890), in Story of the States series; Legler, Leading Facts in the History of Wisconsin (Milwaukee, 1898); Butterfield, Discovery of the Northwest by Jean Nicolet in 1634 (Cincinnati, 1881); Hebberd, History of Wisconsin Under the Dominion of France (Madison, 1890); Thwaites, Historic Waterways (Chicago, 1888); and publications of the Parkman Club (Milwaukee) and of the Wisconsin State Historical Society.