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Whitbeck, R. H., 1871-1939 (Ray Hughes) / The geography and economic development of southeastern Wisconsin
(1921)

Chapter IX. Walworth County,   pp. 212-228 PDF (4.3 MB)


Page 212


0
212       GEOGRAPHY OF SOUTHEASTERN WISCOZ'S N
CHAPTER IX'
WALWORTH COUNTY
The present Walworth County was included in Milwaukee
County until 1836, and in Racine County until 1839. It is four
townships square and has an area of 562 square miles'. Each
of the 16 townships is supposed to be 6 miles square and to
have an area of 36 square miles; this would make the area of
the county 576 square miles, or 14 more than the actual arca.
When the first settlers came in 1835, the region was one of
alternating prairies and oak openings.  The larger prairies
are shown in Fig. 11; many smaller ones are not shown. It is
said that the oak openings were "as free from underbrush as
an orchard". The first settlers selected their claims so as to
include both prairie and woodland. The prairies received
definite names, many of which are still used, as: Round prairie,
Heart prairie, Meacham's prairie, Elkhorn prairie, Geneva
prairie, Spring prairie, Gardner's prairie, Turtle prairic, and
Sugar Creek prairie.
The most important Indian village in the county was at the
head of what is now Lake Geneva, then called Bigfoot Lake.
The village was called Bigfoot, for it was the residence of the
Potawatomie-chief, Bigfoot, and consisted of some sixty fami-
lies. The stolid chief and his followers were required to leave
their village and hunting grounds in 1836, for the I.'otawato-
mies had ceded their lands to the U. S. Govermnent and had
agreed to removal across the Mississippi.
Settlers came in with a rush during 1836, and settlements
soon grew up at Geneva, Spring Prairie, Delavan, Troy, and
East Troy, though some of the places bore different names at
the beginning.  Spring Prairie was the most important of
these early settlements. In the fall of 1836, there were 35 fam-
ilies in the county. Game was exceedingly abundant and
formed a valuable item of food.  One settler at Troy is re-
ported to have shot 98 deer during the winter of 1838-39. In
1836 the nearest post office was at Racine; in 1837, one was es-
U. S. Census.
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21
OC&LA L'11"t, t, %J wjv.... 0 _,.  -0 .-   -_      -
an orchard". The first settlers selected their claims so as to
include both prairie and woodland. . The prairies received
definite names, many of which are still -used, as: Round prairie,
Heart prairie, Meacham's prairie, Elkhorn prairie, Geneva
prairie, Spring prairie, Gardner's prairie, Turtle prairic., and
Sugar Creek prairie.
The most important Indian village in the county -%ras at the
1jead of what is now Lake Geneva, then called Bigfoot Lake.
The village was called Bigfoot, for it was the residence of the
Potawatomie -chief, Bigfoot, and consisted of some sixty fami-
lies. The stolid chief and his followers were requi-Ifed to le-Ave
their village and hunting grounds in 1936, for the Potawato-
mies had ceded their lands to the U. S. Govermnent and had
-agreed to removal across the Mississippi.
Settlers came in with a rush during 1836, and settlements
soon grew up at Geneva, Spring Prairie, Delavan, Troy, and
East Troy, though some of the places bore different names at
the beginning.   Spring Prairie was the mos t important of
these early settlements. In the fall of 1836, there were 35 fam-
ilies in the county. Game was exceedingly abmidwit and
formed a valuable item of food.   One settler at Troy is re-
ported to have shot 98 deer during the winter of 1838-39 .  in
1836 the nearest post office was at Racine; in 1837, one was es-
'U. S. Census.
"41
' U. S. Census.
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1.
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