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Curtiss-Wedge, F.; Jones, Geo. O. (ed.) / History of Dunn County, Wisconsin

Chapter IV: jurisdiction and county boundaries,   pp. 27-30

Page 29

HISTORY OF DUNN COUNTY                          29
The Senate Journal shows that this bill was, on January 30, reported to that
body as having been passed by the Assembly;-that on the thirty-first the Senate
heard the bill read a third time and passed it.
Again, by the Assembly Journal it appears that on February 1, the bill was
reported back from the Senate as passed, and that on February 2, it was reported
by the Assembly enrollment ccmmittee as correctly enrolled.
The bill thus passed by both houses was approved by Governor William A.
Barstow on the third dav of February. 1854, and became"An Act to organize the
Count of Dunn," knon as Chapter 7, laws of 1854, and was published February
19, 183;4.
The area of the county is given in the bill as that now comprised in the present
county of Dunn together with all of the territory of Pepin County as now con-
stituted. The act provided for the election in November, 1854 of "the proper
county offices for county government, (not including clerk of Circuit Court nor
County Judge)." The officers elected were to enter upon their duties January 1,
1855. For judicial purposes the county was attached to the county of Chippewa.
The county seat was designated as" located at Colburn's at or near the ferry across
the Red Cedar River, near its mouth."
Mfr. Gibson on January 19, seems to have paved the way for Mr.. Newcomb's
petition, for he on that day moved that his bill to attach a part of Chippewa County
to Pierce and Buffalo counties be laid on the table. Mr. Gibson's other bill to
attach a part of Chippewa County to Buffalo County became a law. It detached
but a small part of one government township lying to the southeast of Dunn County.
The present generation may never know the log-rolling that brought all this
about. But note the celerity of action. The petition was presented January 21,
and on February 2, 13 days after, the act was signed and approved by the governor.
In 1856 Mr. Gibson, then a state senator, introduced in the Senate on March 14
a bill to organize the county of Dunn for judicial purposes. This bill took the usual
parliamentary course through the Senate, was sent to the Assembly and returned
to the Senate as passed by the Assembly, and from the Senate presented to the
governor for his signature. The governor on March 31, 14 days from the in-
troduction of the bill, signed and approved the act which became Chapter 91, Laws
of 1856.
By this act the county became fully organized for judicial purposes from and
after the first day of January, 1857, and was to constitute a part of the Eighth
Judicial Circuit.
What is here given is but a brief abstract of the legislative procedure by which
Dunn County became a political subdivision of the state. The present generations
lack the historical setting; a knowledge of the social and political conditions that
prompted the effort thatinaugurated the legislative action.
Records state that William B. Newcomb and others petitioned the legislature
to act. But, why did they petition, and who were the others who joined in the
petition" The petition itself was doubtless cast aside as it cannot now be found in
the state archives. It, of course, would if found show the names of the signers, and
perhaps disclose the conditions then existing or the reasons then offered to show
why the Legislature should dismemberChippewa County and out of the territory
taken away establish the county of Dunn.
One suggestion made as a demand for the organization of this county is that the
government of this part of the territory of Chippewa County was inefficient and
weak, both as to civil and criminal matters. No records of the proceedings of the
county board of Chippewa County, nor of the action of its officers prior to the time
of the organization of Dunn County can be found; it is generally understood that
no permanent record was ever made. This absence of records and failure to keep
records lends weight to the suggestion of an inefficient and weak government.
It may have been that taxes were not equitably levied or that public moneys
were not impartially expended;-that roads were not judiciously laid or properly
kept up; that political offices were not fairly distributed or that political patronage
was not satisfactorily dispensed. In any event the county was duly created and

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