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Wisconsin Counties
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Wisconsin Counties

There are seventy-two counties in the state of Wisconsin. Wisconsin became part of the Territory of Michigan and divided into two counties: Brown County in the northeast along Lake Michigan and Crawford County in the southwest along the Mississippi River. The state of Wisconsin was created from Wisconsin Territory on May 29, 1848, with 28 counties.

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Vernon County, Wisconsin

Vernon County Education, Geography, and History

Vernon County, Wisconsin Courthouse

Vernon County is a county in the state of Wisconsin. Based on the 2010 census, the population was 29,773. Its county seat is Viroqua

Etymology - Origin of Vernon County Name

The original name of this county was Bad Ax, so designated from a stream therein, tributary to the Mississippi. Bad Ax was a translation of the French voyageur term, La mauvaise hache, but the origin of the name is unknown. The inhabitants of the county felt that this name created an unpleasant impression; it was thereupon, at the suggestion of Judge William F. Terhune, changed to Vernon, implying the greenness of its wheat fields, arid carrying a suggestion of Washington's home at Mount Vernon. "Butterfield, History of Vernon County" (Springfield, 1884), p. 132.

[Source: Kellogg, Louise Phelps. "Derivation of County Names" in Proceedings of the State Historical Society of Wisconsin for 1909, pages 219-231.]

Demographics:

County QuickFacts: Census Bureau Quick Facts

Vernon County History

Vernon County was renamed from Bad Axe County in 1862. Bad Axe County had been formed 11 years before, from portions of Richland and Crawford counties.

Miwaukee to St. Paul in 1855

Bad Axe previous name of modern Vernon Co., in western Wisconsin. Description from John W. Hunt's 1853 Wisconsin Gazetteer: "BAD AX, County, is bounded on the north by LaCrosse, on the east by Sauk and Richland, on the south by Richland and Crawford, and on the west by the Mississippi river, and was set off from Crawford and organized March 1, 1851. The county seat was established by a vote of the electors of the county on the 29th day of Jane, 1852, at Viroqua, near the centre of the county. ¿ The streams are the Bad Ax, Kickapoo and Racoon rivers, with their tributaries, and small streams emptying into the Mississippi. A large quantity (41,807 acres,) of that portion of school lands known as the 500,000 acre grant, is situated in Bad Ax county, the soil of which is good, and produces good crops of wheat, oats, corn, &c. This county is comparatively new, and contained in 1850 less than 700 inhabitants. During the last two years the population has increased very fast."

[Source: King, Rufus. "Miwaukee to St. Paul in 1855" at Turning Points in Wis. History (www.wisconsinhistory.org/turningpoints/).]

John W. Hunt's 1853 Wisconsin Gazetteer

 "BAD AX [Vernon], County, is bounded on the north by LaCrosse, on the east by Sauk and Richland, on the south by Richland and Crawford, and on the west by the Mississippi river, and was set off from Crawford and organized March 1, 1851. The county seat was established by a vote of the electors of the county on the 29th day of Jane, 1852, at Viroqua, near the centre of the county. The streams are the Bad Ax, Kickapoo and Racoon rivers, with their tributaries, and small streams emptying into the Mississippi. A large quantity (41,807 acres,) of that portion of school lands known as the 500,000 acre grant, is situated in Bad Ax county, the soil of which is good, and produces good crops of wheat, oats, corn, &c. This county is comparatively new, and contained in 1850 less than 700 inhabitants. During the last two years the population has increased very fast."

[Source: Hunt, John W. Wisconsin Gazetteer (Madison, 1853)]

Geography: Land and Water

As reported by the Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 816 square miles (2,114 km2), of which, 795 square miles (2,059 km2) of it is land and 22 square miles (56 km2) of it (2.64%) is water.

Neighboring Counties

Bordering counties are as follows:

  • La Crosse County - north western
  • Monroe County - north
  • Juneau County - northeast
  • Sauk County - east
  • Richland County - southeast
  • Crawford County - south
  • Allamakee County, Iowa - southwest
  • Houston County, Minnesota - west

Education

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