The Wisconsin Territory
- Where to Go
- The Best of Milwaukee and Madison
- The Best Wisconsin Weekends
- A Perfect Week in Door County
- Wisconsin for Recreationists
- Rustic Road Tripping
- Made in Milwaukee
- Madison Weekend
- Sports: The Packers and Beyond
- Out on the Town in Milwaukee
- Say Cheese!
- Four Days in the Mad City
- A Wisconsin Family Road Trip
- Wisconsin’s Best Brews
The Northwest Ordinance of 1787 established many of the borders of present-day Wisconsin; Thomas Jefferson had initially envisioned dividing the region into 10 states. Later, before the War of 1812, Wisconsin became part of first the Indiana Territory and then the Illinois as the Northwest was chiseled down. In 1818, the Illinois Territory was further hacked to create the Michigan Territory. Finally, in 1836, the Wisconsin Territory was established, taking in all of modern Wisconsin, the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, Iowa, Minnesota, and parts of North and South Dakota.
Despite the loss, the Black Hawk fiasco had another effect contrary to the Sauk leader’s intentions: The well-publicized battles put Wisconsin on the map. This, combined with the wild mining operations in the southwestern part of the state, burgeoning lumber operations along the Great Lake coast, and discovery of the fecund soils outside of Milwaukee, ensured Wisconsin’s status as the Next Big Thing. The new Erie Canal provided immigrants a direct route to this new land. By 1835, 60,000 eager settlers were pushing through the Erie Canal each year, and most were aiming for what the following year became the Wisconsin Territory. Two years later, in 1838, when the chunk of Wisconsin Territory west of the Mississippi was lopped off, more than half of the 225,000 settlers were in Wisconsin proper. With the enforcement of Indian land cessions after Black Hawk’s defeat, up to three billion acres became available for government surveyors; the first land title sales started in 1834. Wisconsin had fully arrived—and it still wasn’t even a state.
© Thomas Huhti from Moon Wisconsin, 5th Edition