Wisconsin – pace of settlement, 1852, 1865, 1880

The pace of pioneering and settlement was extraordinary.  An enormous number of Northern Europeans, mostly German, emigrated to the old Northwest Territories at this time. It was one of the more fortuitous events in the history of agriculture.  Germans were among the best farmers in the world, and a huge amount of the best raw land for farming became available exactly at the time the Germans were motivated to emigrate.  Observe the three Wisconsin maps below from 1852, 1860, and 1880 (click on them to enlarge them) and note how rapidly the land is surveyed (townships defined), communities increased in number, and rail extended. Note the vast northern portion of the state that remains largely uninhabited by 1880.  That region held the seemingly endless virgin pine forests that were the genesis of major lumber companies through several decades of logging.