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
(1880)

Butterfield, C. W.
V.--Wisconsin as a state,   pp. 52-109 PDF (28.8 MB)


Page 58


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-


Go up to Top of Page