Hibbard, Benjamin Horace, 1870-1955 / The history of agriculture in Dane County, Wisconsin
Chapter IV: Selection of land, pp. 105-113 PDF (2.2 MB)
106 BULLETIN OF THE UNIVERSITY OF WIsCoNSIm. made by the speculators in i836 with a view to owning corner lots in the law-making city. From the entry-book it is seen that a small quantity of land was sold in i835. A Mr. Rowan en- tered thirty-five acres on the east side of Lake Monona and settled upon it, and several sections were bought the same year by speculators. In i836 the land around the Four Lakes was taken, each buyer hoping the capital would be located in his neighbor- hood, or at any rate that a popular summer resort would grow up on the lake shore, and thus contribute to his prosperity. A few hundred acres along the Wisconsin River were taken by men, who in their mental vision, saw a great commercial center near where Prairie du Sac now stands. Mr. Brigham and others took land near Blue Mounds in hopes of fortunes from digging lead. Thus nothing can be predicated as to the sort of land chosen by the real tiller of the soil until such purchasers began to arrive in 1839 or '4o, and little can be known of the motives governing selection after i854 because the unoccupied land was by that time very scarce. The difficulties in the way of definite results in this chapter can hardly be exaggerated. In the first place the geological maps are not scrupulously accurate and it cannot always be determined from them whether a particular piece of land is hilly or level, prairie or woods. In the next place there was often a variety of considerations that resulted in a particular selection; perhaps it was a choice between having neighbors or being isolated; per- haps a choice between congenial neighbors and those with whom even conversation was almost impossible. Nearness to a highway, to a river thought to be navigable, even to places where it seemed game would be abundant, turned the scale against odds which would now seem of greater weight; but oftener than either or all of these, the question of securing a convenient supply of wood and water was the controlling influence. Again the settlers "squatted" on the claims until they were compelled to enter them, that is until the land came into the market, and thus the time of entry may or may not show the order in which different claims were taken. There were innumerable springs in the hilly districts and small streams were numerous.45 It was possible to do without flour "A large share of these are dry of late.
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