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138 Wisconsin 1880

  • 3125


This new map of the state of Wisconsin is beautifully drawn and expertly hand colored. It depicts Wisconsin county boundaries in great detail, with very specific latitude and longitude lines running through at various points. Lake Michigan can be seen on the right, as well as a portion of Minnesota, Illinois, Michigan, and Lake Superior as well. The map gives a few clues to those who have an astute eye.

A closer look reveals just how much progress had been made. By this time in the mid 1850s, several areas south of the Wisconsin River had been surveyed, as well as the Fox River itself. Surveying rivers was always a primary concern whenever new territory was discovered because it served as a navigational guide for the explorer, and would later usually serve as a trade route of sorts. Having accurate mapping of a river system, meant an efficient trade route. Evidence of this can be found on the map as great attention is paid to river tributaries and surrounding topography.

Another closer look will reveal that there are several large counties in the northern part of the state that appear as though they have yet to be surveyed. Those larger counties were previously home to several different Native American tribes including the Oneidas, Sioux, Chippewa, Menonies, and Winnebagos.

Since they were newer additions to the state, they had not been surveyed with much detail yet.

Even so, this is considered to be one of the best maps of early Wisconsin ever produced in full color.

Thomas Cowperthwait and Company are credited with this. They took over the publication demands of S. A. Mitchell's ̢‰â?ÒUniversal Atlas̢‰â?À? in the year 1850. Mitchell's company went defunct and Cowperthwait took advantage of the moment buy buying most of the engraving plates used for production. From that point on, his company continued to update current maps and produce new maps that were considered to be some of the best commercial cartographic work during the 19th century.

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