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(story icon)1949

Territorial Capitol, Belmont

After Wisconsin Territory was formed, the lawmakers met at Belmont with Henry Dodge, the first governor. They wanted to choose a capital city. The men present talked about many cities, but they could not agree. One man who was there was Judge Doty, who had his own idea. He hired a surveyor to lay out a "city" for him between Lake Mendota and Lake Monona in southern Wisconsin. He called the "city" Madison in honor of the fourth president of the United States, who died in the summer of 1836.

Judge Doty worked hard to have Madison chosen as the capital and we may be glad that he succeeded. It is one of the most beautiful of all the cities in our beautiful state.

When Madison was chosen as our capital, there was no city there--just beautiful lakes, hills, and woodlands. Judge Doty asked Roseline Peck to move from Blue Mounds to Madison and set up a tavern so the workers on the capitol building would have some place to live.

The Peck family was to live in a house which Judge Doty said they would find on a hill with a view of all four lakes.

Eben, Roseline, and little Reuben packed up and started for "Madison." At night they slept on the ground beneath the wagon. Finally they saw the lakes ahead. Then it started to rain. Roseline put a bed-quilt over her head, and she and the boy Reuben crouched beneath it. The cold April rain poured down. The bed-quilt leaked. Eben went to look for the house. All he found was a pile of logs--not even a roof over them. The Pecks, cold and wet, camped out for a week or so until they could build a cabin. They were Madison's first settlers.

Peck's Tavern, Madison Wisconsin

Doty was the second governor of Wisconsin Territory. He tried hard to have the boundaries of Wisconsin left as they had been planned at first. Study the map below and you will see that if he had had his way, Wisconsin would now include the great cities of Chicago, Minneapolis, and Duluth. We would have the iron and copper mines of Upper Michigan as well as the iron of northeastern Minnesota. We may be sorry that we lost so much, but Wisconsin still is as large as most of the other states, and we should be happy to have so beautiful and so rich a state.

Wisconsin grew in population. Its people wanted good government, good schools for their children, improvements to help all who lived here. Soon there was talk about becoming a state.