Topographical Map of Wisconsin Territory


This is the first large-scale map of the Wisconsin Territory based on actual surveys. The map was compiled and published by the surveyors Samuel Morrison, Elisha Dwelle, and Joshua Hathaway and engraved on three copperplates. In 1785, the United States Congress passed the Land Survey Ordinance, which provided for a system of square townships six miles on a side, divided into 36 one-square-mile sections. The map shows townships in the Wisconsin Territory surveyed by 1837. Also depicted are roads, trails, natural land forms, vegetation, mill sites, and the lead and copper deposits known at the time. The long lots in Green Bay and Prairie du Chien reflect the French system of land holdings along riverfronts. Maps such as these helped immigrants and settlers understand the survey system and locate the land they bought. A prospective buyer could go to any U.S. Government Land Office and look in tract books that contained detailed descriptions of the land. As the inscription states, the map once belonged to the American writer Eugene Field (1850–95).

Last updated: March 21, 2016