Hibbard, Benjamin Horace, 1870-1955 / The history of agriculture in Dane County, Wisconsin
Chapter V: The size of farms and estates, pp. 185-191 PDF (1.4 MB)
188 BULLETIN 01' THE UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN. railroad bonds and the like taking precedence. The soldiers were inclined to do business on a larger scale than they had been con- tented with before, and this tendency was manifested in at least two lines; they either sold their small farms and went west or they bought out their neighbors and so increased their acres. These causes together with financial changes resulted in a rise in the price of land finally, and by I88o the large farms of over five hundred acres had risen to forty-three, the greatest num- ber since the early days of speculation. The average size of farms for the county at this date was one hundred twenty-eight acres. The falling off of large farms during the period since i88o will easily come within the more detailed discussion of the different parts of the county. SIZE OF ESfATLS IN A FEW REPRESENTATIVE_ TOWNS. The data on which the following comparisons are based are taken from the manuscript census reports of I870, from the Dane County Atlas, by Foote & Company, of i890, and the Atlas by L. W. Gay & Company, 1899. These are fortunate dates, the first being about on the dividing line between the wheat period and the time of diversified farming, and the atlases dropping in so closely to the census dates since that time.88 Eight towns chosen with reference to physiographic and social conditions have been considered separately at these dates: Albion and Christiana in the southeastern, Vermont and Perry in the southwestern part of the county, the others variously located. The estates are divided into seven groups, which happens to be the same number used for farms in the census, the main differ- ence being the more minute classification of the estates of over one hundred acres. The towns of Albion and Christiana lie almost wholly within the rich Trenton limestone area which has proved to be the choicest tobacco district of the state. Vermont and Perry are in the 'driftless" portion of the county, are rough and broken, and in consequence have gradually turned to dairying. Vienna and 8"The federal census reports do not give town returns, and the mannscripts are not to be had subsequently to 1870 because of the mortgage statistics and kindred matter which Is thought to require secrecy. The state census reports contribute nothing of value on the subject.
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