The history of Columbia County, Wisconsin, containing an account of its settlement, growth, development and resources; an extensive and minute sketch of its cities, towns and villages--their improvements, industries, manufactories, churches, schools and societies; its war record, biographical sketches, portraits of prominent men and early settlers; the whole preceded by a history of Wisconsin, statistics of the state, and an abstract of its laws and constitution and of the constitution of the United States
Butterfield, C. W.
III.--Pre-territorial annals of Wisconsin, pp. 29-41 PDF (6.5 MB)
4HISTORY OF WISCONSIN. so much of the region northwest of the Ohio, as had been settled by Virginians or might after- ward be settled by them. But as, previous to her yielding all rights to territory beyond that. river, she had not carried her arms into the region north of the Illinois or made settlements upon what is now the soil of Wisconsin, nor included any portion of it within the bounds of an organ- ized county, it follows that her dominion was not actually extended over any part of the area ,included within the present bpundaries of this State; nor did she then claim jurisdiction north of the Illinois river, but on the other hand expressly disclaimed it. Virginia and all the other claimants finally ceded to the United States their rights, such as they were, beyond the Ohio, except two reservations of limited extent; and the General Govern- ment became the undisputed owner of the,"Great West," without any internal claims to posses- sion save those of the Indians. Meanwhile, the United States took measures to extend its juris-. diction over the whole country by the passage of the famous ordinance of 1787, which established a government over "the territory of the United States, northwest of the River Ohio." But this organic law was, of course, nugatory over that portion of the region occupied by the British, until their yielding possession in 1796, when, for the first time, Anglo-American rule commenced, ;though nominally, in what is now Wisconsin. By the ordinance just mentioned, "the United States, in congress assembled," declared that the territory northwest of the Ohio should, for the, purposes of temporary government, be one district, subject, however, to be divided into districts, as: future circumstances might, in the opinion of Congress, make it expedient. It was ordained that a governor, secretary and three judges should be appointed for the Territory; a general assembly was also provided for; and it was declared that religion, morality, and knowledge, being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind, schools and the means of education should forever be encouraged. It was also ordained that there should be neither slavery nor involuntary servitude in the said Territory, "otherwise than in the punishment of crimes whereof the party shall have*been duly convicted." Thus was established the first Magna Charta for the five great States since that time formed out of " the territory northwest of the River Ohio," and the first rules and regulations for their government. Under this act of Congress, Arthur St. Clair was appointed governor of the Northwestern Territory, as it was called, and Samuel H. Parsons, James M. Varnum, and John Armstrong, judges,-the latter not accepting the office, John Cleves Symmes was appointed in his place. Winthrop Sargeant was appointed secretary. At different periods, counties were erected to include various portions of the Territory. By the governor's proclamation of the 15th of August, 1796, one was formed to include the whole of the present area of Northern Ohio, west of Cleveland; also, all of what is now the State of Indiana, north of a line drawn from Fort Wayne " west-northerly to the southern part of Lake Michigan;" the whole of the present State of Michigan, except its extreme northwest corner on Lake Superior; a small corner in the north- east, part of what is now Illinois, including Chicago; and so much of the present State of Wis- consin as is watered by the streams flowing into Lake Michigan, which of course included an extensive portion, taking in many of its eastern and iAterior counties as now constituted. This vast county was named Wayne. So the few settlers then at the head of Green bay had their local habitations, constructively at least, in "Wayne county, Northwestern Territory." It was just at that date that Great Britain vacated the western posts, and the United States took quiet possession of them. But the western portion of what is now Wisconsin, including, all its territory watered by streams flowing northward into Lake Superior, and westward and southwestward into the Mississippi, was as-yet without any county organization; as the county of St. Clair, including tihe Illinois country to the southward, reached no farther north than-the mouth of Little Macki- naw creek, where it empties into the River Illinois, in what is now the State of Illinois. The 34
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