Hibbard, Benjamin Horace, 1870-1955 / The history of agriculture in Dane County, Wisconsin
Chapter III: The purchase of land from the government, pp. 91-104 PDF (3.3 MB)
92 BULLETIN OF THIE UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN. degree than where their holdings were more or less interspersed with actual home-seekers; but there seems to be no available testi- mony on the subject. At all events, the entry-book shows num- bers of whole sections side by side sold to one man in i836, while, in later instances, equally large purchases are distributed over perhaps a quarter of a town. By act of congress June 23, 1834, that part of Wisconsin east and south of the Fox and Wisconsin Rivers was divided into two land districts. The division line between them passed through what is now Dane county, that part west of the line between ranges eight and nine being in the Wisconsin land district, and the portion east in the Green Bay district. The Green Bay district was cut in two by act of June 15, I836, and the southern part was called the Milwaukee district. A few pieces of land in Dane countv had been entered at Green Bay previously to this date, but with this exception the entries were made at Milwaukee and at Mineral Point. The method of selling government land was the same as had been followed almost from the beginning of public land sales, although sonic very important modifications had been imposed by the buvers themselves. The land was offered at auction to the highest bidder, with the minimum price set at one dollar and a quarter.s It rarely happened, however, that the bids were above this minimum no matter how desirable the land or how numerous and keen the bidders. The buyers soon came to see that such an auction was an example of one-sided competition for as soon as the dollar and a quarter bid was made, no matter how little they had in common beyond the desire to buy at the cheapest figure, they managed to cooperate with great success for securing this result. That these organizations were wholly voluntary no one pretends. Neither can it be supposed that all the bidders present subscribed to the requirements for membership in the organiza- tion, but circumstantial evidence is abundant to show that the speculator rarely "volunteered" to over-bid the humble settler who came with perhaps fifty dollars to pay for a forty, although it would appear that any bid above the minimum would secure him the land. The commissioner of the general land office at Washington in a circular letter dated April II, i836, complains 17there was no "double minimum" land In Dane county.
Based on date of publication, this material is presumed to be in the public domain.| For information on re-use, see http://digital.library.wisc.edu/1711.dl/Copyright