University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
The State of Wisconsin Collection

Page View

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)

Page 37

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,
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
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-

Go up to Top of Page