Monday, October 17, 2011

Reasons That Triggered Immigration and Land Surveys

Wisconsin did not become a state until 1848.  You may ask, "how could our early Somers pioneers build a house, church or school in the 1830's"?  Truthfully, the early European settlers "squatted" on native land which understandably provoked conflict. 

In 1833 the Indians ceded land to the the U.S. Government
Indians occupied this area until they ceded their land to the U.S. Government.  In 1833 the Potawatomi sold the last of their land in northern Illinois and all land in southeastern Wisconsin to the United States at a treaty council in Chicago in 1833. During the treaty council, the Potawatomi living north of Milwaukee at Manitowoc and Sheboygan protested that the Menominee had improperly sold Potawatomi lands to the United States in 1831.  They argued that the Menominee had no rightful claim to the lands along Lake Michigan's western shore.  The United States treaty commissioners agreed and included a provision in the 1833 treaty promising to pay the Potawatomi for these lands as part of the overall treaty agreement.
In exchange for signing the 1833 treaty, the Illinois and Wisconsin Potawatomi were given $5 million acres of land in Iowa, $100,000  in goods and provisions, $14,000 in cash every year for twenty years, $150,0000 to set up grist mills and buy agricultural implements, and $70,000 for establishing schools.  Additionally, the government paid off $250,000 of debts the Potawatomi incurred with local fur traders.
According to the terms of the 1833 Treaty of Chicago, the Potawatomi had to leave Wisconsin by 1838.  Many did so and ultimately went to a reservation in Kansas.  However, others moved into northern Wisconsin, specifically Forest County.
(Source: "Potawatomi Treaties and Treaty Rights at

1836 U.S. Land Survey Creates Land Parcels for Sale
After the 1833 Treaty of Chicago was signed, the U.S. Government conducted a Land Survey of this area which was completed in February 1836.  The surveys served two purcpoases, both related to the sale of land.  First the land was virtually an unknown wilderness and description was necessary to plat parcels into management pieces for sale to the growing number of Europeans who were eager to buy land and settle here.  People interested in buying land would go to the Federal Land Office, located in Milwaukee.  There they would study the plat map and read the surveys or notes.  The map and notes would describe the property of intrest  in detail:  rivers, streams, marshes, swamps, prairie and oak savannahs, hills, shorelines, waterways, transportation routes, Indian trails, wagon roads, cabins, trading posts, streets, and general topography.  All this correslated to the land sale.  If the land was purchased, a Land Patent document was issued as proof of purchase.  These surveys triggered the opportunity to own land and thus opened the floodgates for European immigration to the Wisconsin Territory.
(Source:  U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management)

No comments:

Post a Comment