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)
PRE-TERRITORIAL ANNALS OF WISCONSIN. the twenty-sixth of October, i818. The county of Michilimackinac not only included all of the present State of Wisconsin lying north of a line drawn due west from near the head of the Little Noquet bay, but territory east and west of it, so as to reach from Lake Huron to the Missis- sippi river. Its county seat was established "at the Borough of Michilimackinac." The whole area in Michigan Territory south of the county of Michilimackinac and west of Lake Michigan formed the two counties of Brown and Crawford: the former to include the area east of a line drawn due north and south through the middle of the portage between the Fox river of Green bay and the Wisconsin; the latter to include the whole region west of that line. Prairie dat Chien was designated as the county seat of Crawford; Green Bay, of Brown county. On the 22d of December, 1826, a county named Chippewa was formed from the northern portions of Michilimackinac, including the southern shores of Lake Superior throughout its entire length, and extending from the straits leading from' that lake into Lake Huron, west to the western boundary line of Michigan Territory, with the county seat " at such point in the vicinity of the Sault de Ste. Marie, as a majority of the county commissioners to be appointed shall designate." Embraced within this county, its southern boundary being the parallel 46 31' north latitude,- was all the territory of the present State of Wisconsin now bordering on Lake Superior. Immediately upon the erection of Brown and Crawford counties, they were organized, and their offices filled by appointment of the governor. County courts were established, consisting of one chief and two associate justices, either of whom formed a quorum. They were required to hold one term of court annually in their respective counties. These county courts had origi-. nal and exclusive jurisdiction in all civil cases, both in law and equity, where the matter in dis- pute exceeded the jurisdiction of a justice of the peace, and did not exceed the value of one thousand dollars. They had, however, no jurisdiction in ejectment, They had exclusive cog- nizance of all offenses the punishment whereof was not capital, and the same power to issue remedial and other process, writs of error and mandamus excepted, that the supreme court had at Detroit. Appeals from justices of the peace were made to the county courts. The establishing of Indian agencies by the General Government; the holding of treaties with some of the Indian tribes; the adjustment of land claims at Green Bay and Prairie du Chien; the appointment of postmasters at these two points, were all indications of a proper interest being taken by the United States in the affairs of the country. But a drawback to this region, was the fact that,'in all civil cases of over a thousand dollars, and in criminal cases that were capital, as well as in actions of ejectment,- and in the allowance of writs of error, and man- damus, recourse must be had to the supreme court at Detroit; the latter place being the seat of government of Michigan Territory. However, in January, 1823, an act of congress provided for a district court, and fo6r the appointment of a judge, for the counties of Brown, Crawford, and Michilimackinac. This court had concurrent jurisdiction, civil and criminal, with the supreme-court of the Territory, in most cases, subject, however, to have its decisions taken to the latter tribunal by a writ of error. The law provided for holding one term of court in each year, in each of the counties named in the act; so, at last, there was to be an administration of justice at home, and the people were to be relieved from all military arbitrations, which frequently had been imposed upon them. James Duane Doty was appointed judge of this court at its organiza- tion. A May term of the court was held in Prairie du Chien; a Jtqne term in Green Bay; a, July term in "the Borough of Michilimackinac,".in each year. In 1824, Henry S. Baird, of Brown county, was appointed district attorney. Doty held the office of judge until May, 1832, when he was succeeded by David Irvin. This court continued until 1836, when it was abrogated by the organization of the Territory of Wisconsin. For a long time it had been known that there were lead mines in what is now the south- 3T
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