How-To Essay #7 - Why Did They Come?

"I was wondering if anyone could tell me if there was any kind of promotional deal around the time of the 1850s to
entice people to settle in Wisconsin. It seems to me that most of the people in that area arrived around then or in the 1840s."
The Black Hawk War drove out or killed the most war waging Indians, the lead mining boom in southwestern Wisconsin
brought a lot of people into Wisconsin, but until the Federal government changed the law (about 1836) it was not possible to own land - only to stake a mining claim.
Before the prairies west of the Mississippi River were ever broken to the plow, Wisconsin was the major wheat growing
area in the United States (1836-1860). The invasion of the chinch bug and loss of the loessial soil cap due to erosion caused by poor farming practices put an end to wheat production in Wisconsin.
The lumber boom (1830-1890) with clear cutting of mature stands of mostly white pine brought large numbers of people
and the resulting cleared land (except for the stumps) brought many farmers behind it.
The dairy industry developed after about 1850 as the deforested areas grew grass for grazing and cattle could harvest
around the stumps left behind before they rotted enough to make them easier to remove. There was a famine in Ireland in the 1840's that drove a large number of farmers who knew dairying to the USA. The consolidation of the numerous German states from 1848-1870 drove a lot of Germans who knew dairying to the USA.
There was a large influx of immigrants with farming backgrounds from Switzerland, Luxemburg, and Holland that brought
a lot more farmers. The Hottentot expulsion from France caused a large number of farmers to settle in Wisconsin.
By 1890 there had been so much emigration from Europe that the original settlers of Wisconsin who had come from the
eastern US and were mostly English in background became a minority.
Online references:
WIGenWeb-Rock County website
WI-ALHN-Rock County website
(c)2002 Lori Niemuth* <>
*Please be aware that I'm not a genealogy, history or geology expert. I welcome any corrections or additions.
©2002 ALHN-Rock County, Wisconsin
Last updated: September 8, 2002