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|Territory: Apr 20, 1836|
|Statehood: May 29, 1848|
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Today’s Wisconsin counties did not always exist in the present form. They went through many different changes in the space of a few short years. Wisconsin Counties were first formed while part of the Michigan Territory, and after that the Wisconsin Territory.
Wisconsin Territorial Counties
The Wisconsin Territory was created by an act of the United States Congress on April 20, 1836. The new territory initially included all of the present day states of Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Iowa , as well as parts of North Dakota and South Dakota.
Wisconsin county governments were generally established in three phases.
- The first phase, known as “establishment,” defined a specific area as a county.
- The second phase, known as “organization for county purposes,” created a land registry office, a fiscal structure, and a governing body.
- The third phase, known as “organization for judicial purposes,” created a system of law enforcement, including a county court.
In certain counties, all of those phases went into effect at the same time. However, the process took several years in other counties.
The State of Wisconsin was created as the 30th state on May 29, 1848.
Wisconsin Counties Today
Wisconsin has counties that no longer are in existence. A lot of these counties were established and disbanded within the 19th century; county borders have modified very little since 1900 in the vast most of states.
Fun Facts about Wisconsin Counties
Counties by Year
- Brown and Crawford Counties was the original 2 counties created on October 26, 1818.
- Menominee County was the last county created on May 1, 1961.
County Size Facts
- Marathon County (1,545 sq mi) is the largest county in Wisconsin.
- Pepin County (232 sq mi) is the smallest county in Wisconsin.
County Population Facts
- Menominee County (4,232) is the least populated county in Wisconsin.
- Milwaukee County (947,735) is the most populated county in Wisconsin.
Wisconsin City Facts
Wisconsin’s 10 largest cities (2010 est.) are:
- Milwaukee (594,833) is in Milwaukee County
- Madison (233,209) is in Dane County
- Green Bay (104,057) is in Brown County
- Kenosha (99,218) is in Kenosha County
- Racine (78,860) is in Racine County
- Appleton (72,623) is in Calumet County, Outagamie County and Winnebago County
- Waukesha (70,718) is in Waukesha County
- Oshkosh (66,083) is in Winnebago County
- Eau Claire (65,883) is in Chippewa County and Eau Claire County
- Janesville (63,575) is in Rock County
Boundary Changes of Wisconsin Counties from 1790-1961
This Interactive Map of Wisconsin Counties show the historical boundaries, names, organization, and attachments of every county, extinct county and unsuccessful county proposal from 1790 to 1961.
List of Wisconsin Counties
|County||Date Formed||Parent County||County Seat|
|Ashland||1860||La Pointe County||Ashland|
|Bayfield||1845||St. Croix County||Washburn|
|Brown||1818||unorganized territory||Green Bay|
|Burnett||1856||Polk and Douglas Counties||Siren|
|Chippewa||1845||Crawford County||Chippewa Falls|
|Crawford||1818||unorganized territory||Prairie du Chien|
|Dane||1836||Crawford, Iowa and Milwaukee Counties||Madison|
|Dodge||1836||Brown and Milwaukee Counties||Juneau|
|Door||1851||Brown County||Sturgeon Bay|
|Douglas||1854||La Pointe County||Superior|
|Eau Claire||1856||Chippewa County||Eau Claire|
|Florence||1882||Marinette and Oconto Counties||Florence|
|Fond du Lac||1836||Brown County||Fond du Lac|
|Green Lake||1858||Marquette County||Green Lake|
|Jackson||1853||La Crosse County||Black River Falls|
|La Crosse||1851||Crawford County||La Crosse|
|Menominee||1961||Oconto and Shawano Counties||Keshena|
|Milwaukee||1834||Brown amd Iowa Counties||Milwaukee|
|Monroe||1854||La Crosse County||Sparta|
|Outagamie||1851||Brown and Winnebago Counties||Appleton|
|Ozaukee||1853||Washington County||Port Washington|
|Pierce||1858||St. Croix County||Ellsworth|
|Polk||1853||St. Croix County||Balsam Lake|
|Portage||1836||Brown, Crawford, Iowa and Milwaukee Counties||Stevens Point|
|Price||1879||Chippewa and Lincoln Counties||Phillips|
|Richland||1842||Crawford and Sauk Counties||Richland Center|
|Sauk||1840||Crawford, Dane and Portage Counties||Baraboo|
|Sawyer||1883||Ashland and Chippewa Counties||Hayward|
|St. Croix||1840||Crawford County and unorganized territory.||Hudson|
|Shawano||1853||Oconto, Waupaca and Winnebago Counties||Shawano|
|Taylor||1875||Chippewa, Clark, Lincoln and Marathon Counties||Medford|
|Trempealeau||1854||Buffalo, Chippewa, Jackson and La Crosse Counties||Whitehall|
|Vilas||1893||Oneida County||Eagle River|
|Washburn||1883||Burnett County||Shell Lake|
|Washington||1836||Brown and Milwaukee Counties||West Bend|
|Waupaca||1851||Brown and Winnebago Counties||Waupaca|
|Winnebago||1840||Brown, Calumet, Fond du Lac and Marquette Counties||Oshkosh|
|Wood||1856||Portage County||Wisconsin Rapids|
List of Old Former / Extinct Wisconsin Counties
At least 5 Wisconsin counties that were established no longer exist. These are important for genealogy research purposes.
The below counties formerly within the area of the State of Wisconsin no longer exist:
- Bad Ax County: Formed on March 1, 1851. Renamed Vernon County in 1862
- Dallas County: Formed in 1859. Renamed Barron County in 1874
- Gates County: Formed in 1901 from Chippewa County. Renamed Rusk County in 1905
- La Pointe County: Formed in 1845 from St. Croix County. Renamed Bayfield County in 1866
- New County: Formed in 1879 from Oconto County. Renamed to Langlade County in 1881
COUNTY County, Wisconsin
Created on DATE from LAND. COUNTY County was renamed to COUNTY County on November 7, 1907.