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.
V.--Wisconsin as a state, pp. 52-109 PDF (28.8 MB)
HISTORY OF WISCONSIN. The first charitable institution in Wisconsin, incorporated by the State, was the "Wisconsin Institute for the Education of the Blind." A school for that unfortunate class had been opened in Janesville, in the latter part of 1859, receiving its support from the citizens of that place and vicinity. By an act of the legislature, approved February 9, 1850, this school was taken under the care of the Institute, to continue and maintainait, at Janesville, and to qualify, as far as might be, the blind of the State for the enjoyment of the blessings of a free government; for obtaining the means of subsistence; and for the discharge of those duties, social and political, devolving upon American citizens. It has since been supported from the treasury of the State. On the seventh of October, 1850, it was opened for the reception of pupils, under the direction of a board of trustees, appointed by the governor. The Institute, at the present time, has three departments: in one is given.instruction such as is usually taught in common schools; in another, musical training is imparted; in a third, broom-making is taught to the boys,-sewing, knitting and various kinds of fancy work to the girls, and seating cane-bottomed chairs to both boys and girls. On the thirteenth of April, 1874, the building of the Institute was destroyed by fire. A new building has since been erected. The taking of the census by the United States, this year, showed a population for Wisconsin of over three hundred and five thousand-the astonishihg increase in two years of nearly ninety- five thousand! In 1840, the population of Wisconsin Territory was only thirty thousand. This addition, in ten years, of two hundred and seventy-five thousand transcended all previous experience in the settlement of any portion of the New World, of the same extent of territory. It was the result of a steady and persistent flow of men and their families, seeking permanent homes in the young and rising State. Many were German, Scandinavian and Irish; but the larger proportion were, of course, from the Eastern and Middle States of .the Union. The principal attractions of Wisconsin were the excellency and cheapness of its lands, its valuable mines of lead, its extensive forests of pine, and the unlimited wa-er-power of its numerous streams. By the Revised Statutes of 1849, Wisconsin was divided into three congressional districts- the second congressional apportionment- each of which was entitled to elect one representative in the congress of the United States. The counties of Milwaukee, Waukesha, Walworth and Racine constituted the first district; the counties of Rock, Green, La Fayette, Grant, Iowa, Dane, Sauk, Adams, Portage, Richland, Crawford, Chippewa, St. Croix and La Pointe, the second district; the counties of Washington, Sheboygan, Manitowoc, Brown, Winnebago, Calumet, Fond du Lac, Marquette, Columbia, Dodge and Jefferson, the third district. At the general election in the Autumn of this year, Charles Durkee, of the first district; Benjamin C. Eastman, of the second; and John B. Macy, of the third district, were elected to represent the State in the thirty-second congress of the United States. Durkee, it will be remembered, represented the same district in the previous congress: he ran the second time as an independent candidate. Eastman and Macy were elected upon democratic tickets. The General Government this year donated to the State all the swamp and overflowed lands within its boundaries. The year 1850 to the agriculturist of Wisconsin was not one of unbounded prosperity, owing to the partial failure of the wheat crop. In the other branches of agriculture there were fair returns. The State was visited during the year by cholera; not, however, to a very alarming extent. The fourth session of the legislature of the State commenced on the 8th of January, i851. Frederick W. Horn was elected speaker of the assembly. The majority in the legisla- ture was democratic. Governor Dewey, in his message, referred to the death of the president of the United States, Zachary Taylor; said that the treasury and finances of the State were in a 68-
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