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.

Crawford County, Wisconsin

Crawford County Education, Geography, and History

Crawford County, Wisconsin Courthouse

Crawford County is a county located in southwest part of the state of Wisconsin. Based on the 2010 census, the population was 16,644. Its county seat is Prairie du Chien.

Etymology - Origin of Crawford County Name

Crawford County was named in honor of William H. Crawford (1772-1834), secretary of the treasury under Monroe. Wis. Hist. Colls, i, p. 112; Gannett, Place Names, p. 85. The county was, in fact, named for Fort Crawford, which took its title from Secretary Crawford. This fortification was built in 1816 by Maj. Willoughby Morgan,. Wis. Hist. Colls., ii, p. 122.

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


County QuickFacts: CensusBureau Quick Facts

Crawford County History

John W. Hunt's 1853 Wisconsin Gazetteer

 "CRAWFORD, County, is located at the junction between the Wisconsin and Miississippi rivers, and is bounded on the north by Bad Ax [Vernon], on the east by Richland, on the southeast by Grant, and on the west by the Mississippi, which separates it from the State of Iowa. It was established October 16, 1818, when it embraced all of the territory between the Mississippi and "a line drawn due north from the northern line of the State of Illinois, through the centre of the Portage between the Fox and Wisconsin rivers to the Michilimacinac," and derived its name from Hon. Wm. H. Crawford, formerly Secretary of War, and afterwards Secretary of the Treasury. Its limits have now been so far reduced that it is one of the smallest counties in the State. The seat of jiustice is at Prairie du Chien, one of the oldest settlements in the State, on the Mississippi river, about three miles above the mouth of the Wisconsin, and is one of the most beautiful locations in the west. The surface of the country is broken by a ridge running between the two great rivers. The soil, for the most part, is good, producing wheat, oats, and most other grains, which find a ready home market, in supplying the lumber traders, military posts, and the great tide of emigration which is now turned to this and the neighboring counties of La Crosse and Bad Ax [Vernon]. It is watered by the Kickapoo river and its branches, and small streams emptying into the Mississippi and Wisconsin rivers. Between the Kickapoo river and Richland county, is one of the finest tracts of country in the State. It is well supplied with pure water; and good timber is found along the banks of the small streams, and in groves, scattered at convenient distances, to be useful for the rapidly increasing population. A fine village has been regularly laid out midway between the mouth of the Kickapoo and the Richland county line, on the Wisconsin river, called Boyd'stown. It has a good landing. There is much pine timber in this county, on and near the banks of the Kickapoo, from which large quantities of lumber are manufactured, finding an outlet to a market by said river, and the Wisconsin and Mississippi. Copper has been found in the northern part of the county, in such quantities and appearance as to indicate the near presence of a vast body of that mineral. Near the west bank of the Kickapoo, in town 8, has been found considerable quantities of lead, and there is no doubt that if a geological survey was made, that lead, rivalling in quantity and purity that raised in the counties of Iowa, Grant and Lafayette, would be discovered. The estimated population of Crawford county in 1825, including most of the present State and a portion of Minnesota, was 492. The population in 1830 was 692; 1836, 854.; 1838,1,220; 1840, 1,502; 1842, 1,409; 1846, 1,444; 1847, 1,409; S1850, (including Bad Ax and La Crosse,) 2,399; 1850: within its present limits, 1,407. Farms, 81; manufactories, 14; dwellings, 665. The above will give but little information in regard to the increase of population, as new counties were set off between nearly every taking of the census. The present population of the county is upwards of 3,000."

From: Handbook of Wisconsin by S. Silas, 1855
pg. 57-58

This County formerly embraced all north of the Wisconsin River, but has been so far divided and shorn, as to become one of the smallest. It lies in the angle made by the Wisconsin and Mississippi Rivers, and is watered by the Kickapoo, passing through nearly the centre. The County Seat is Prairie du Chien, one of the oldest settlements of the State, and for a long time a military post. Until recently this place has languished, the weight of immigration having gone further up the River. But the near approach to completion of the Milwaukee and Mississippi Rail Road has given it new life, and it is now increasing as rapidly as many of its younger brethren. It is the most beautifully located place on the Mississippi River. The surface of the country is broken by a ridge passing north and south between the Mississippi and Kickapoo. The County is well supplied with fine water, and good timber is found along the streams. There is an excellent pinery on the Kickapoo, and a number of mills are located there. The land is generally good, and between the Kickapoo and Richland County, excellent. Like Bad Ax, the County has not received the attention it deserves.

Copper has been found in this County, and there seems to be no reason why Crawford should not prove to be as rich in mineral resources as either of the Counties south of the Wisconsin. Large quantities of lead have been already found though there has been but little search made. When the Milwaukee and Mississippi Rail Road is finished to Prairie du Chien, its Western terminus, the resources of Crawford will be more fully developed, and it will receive the attention it deserves.

There is much good Government land not yet taken up. It is in the Mineral Point land district.

Geography: Land and Water

As reported by the Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 1,552 km2 (599 sq mi). 1,483 km2 (573 sq mi) of it is land and 69 km2 (27 sq mi) (4.43%) of it is water, including 77 lakes.

Three rivers run through the county:

  • The Kickapoo River, nicknamed "the crookedest river in Wisconsin" was carved out by glacial run-off. It is considered one of the best Class 1 paddling rivers in the Midwest.
  • The Wisconsin River borders the county's southern edge. Although it is the busiest river in the state, its run within the county is tranquil, with high bluff escarpments and sandy islands.
  • The Mississippi River, serves as the county's western border. The steep limestone cliffs are interspersed with bluffs and prairies.

Neighboring Counties

Bordering counties are as follows:

  • Vernon County - north
  • Richland County - east
  • Grant County - south
  • Clayton County, Iowa - southwest
  • Allamakee County, Iowa - west


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