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.

Outagamie County, Wisconsin

Outagamie County Education, Geography, and History

Outagamie County, Wisconsin Courthouse

Outagamie is a county in the northeast region of the state of Wisconsin. Based on the 2010 census, the population was 176,695. Its county seat is Appleton.

Outagamie County is included in the Appleton, WI Metropolitan Statistical Area, which is also included in the Appleton-Neenah-Oshkosh, WI Combined Statistical Area. It was named for the historic Meskwaki (Fox) Indians

Etymology - Origin of Outagamie County Name

Outagamie bears a Wisconsin Indian tribal name. It is the Chippewa appellation for the Foxes, who were first visited by the French in the Wolf River valley. The term is variously interpreted as "dwellers of either shore" and "dwellers on the side of a stream." The name given by the Chippewas to their ancient enemies, the Foxes. Baraga's orthography is, odagamig, an adverb, "people living on the other shore - of a river, or a lake.

[Source: Wis. His. Colls, xii p. 396 Legler, Wisconsin Place Names, p. 32 Card file at the WHS library reference desk]


County QuickFacts: CensusBureau Quick Facts

Outagamie County History

Outagamie County was created in 1851 by separation from Brown County. Outagamie County, covering 640 square miles, is located in east-central Wisconsin, along the Fox River, near the northern end of Lake Winnebago. The region was once the hunting and fishing grounds for several Native American tribes including the Menominee, Outagamie and Winnebago. The name Outagamie is derived from a Native American word meaning "dwellers on either shore" or "dwellers on the other side of the stream".

In 1634 French explorer Jean Nicolet was the first European to the area, soon followed by French fur traders. One of these traders, Charles Grignon, built his mansion in the woods in 1837 and it is the oldest home in Outagamie County. Other ethnic groups settling here include Dutch, German, Polish, Irish and more recently Hmong and Laotian. The original French fur traders nicknamed the Outagamie tribe "les renards", meaning foxes. Hence the name for the Fox River, and the term Fox Cities for the 14 interconnected communities along the Fox River-Lake Winnebago waterway.

A large concentration of the county's 155,000 residents is within the Fox Cities which is the focal point of the region's commerce and industry. The Fox Cities, with a population of 180,000, is the third largest metropolitan area in the State of Wisconsin, and one of the fastest growing.

John W. Hunt's 1853 Wisconsin Gazetteer

 "OUTAGAMIE, County, is bounded on the north by Oconto and a portion of Waupacca, east by Brown, south by Calumet and Winnebago, and west by Waupacca, and is 24 miles north and south by 27 miles east and west. It was established Feb. 17, 1851, from Brown The seat of justice is about half way between the villages of Appleton and Grand Chute, and about a mile fiom each. The general surface of the county is level and covered with a heavy growth of timber, such as maple, elm, ash and hickory, with but little or no waste lands. The soil is good, but the agricultural existence of the county is so recent, little can be said of its capabilities. All the crops that have been tested here have succeeded beyond the expectations of the farmer. The population, now numbering about 4,000, is composed of good, rural, and industrious settlers, mostly from New England and New York. It is watered by the Lower Fox on the southeast, and by Wolf river on the west, and Duck Creek on the northeast. ..."

OUTAGAMIE--Population 4,940.
From: Handbook of Wisconsin by S. Silas, 1855
pg. 91-93

Lies on the Lower Fox and Wolf Rivers, and has a combination of advantages, in water power, navigable streams, and excellent land, not excelled by any other County in the State. Some few years since, through the munificence of Mr. Lawrence, of Boston, an institution of learning was endowed, and located at Appleton, then covered with the forest and without a resident. In 1848 there were few settlers in Outagamie County except on the River. By a judicious selection of the site, and by improvement of the largest and best water power in the State, Appleton has sprung up to a village of about 1500 inhabitants, while the whole County has kept nearly equal pace with the village. There is much good land still unoccupied in the County, but as this, with Waushara and Waupacca Counties are the favorite resort of immigrants, this land will not long remain in market. By some returns made this year, from the towns of Ellington and Kaukauna, the yield of wheat is about 30 bushels to the acre. This wheat is of a superior quality to that grown in the southern part of the State.

Appleton the County Seat, contains 1,477 inhabitants at the census in June 1855, situated on Fox River, in the very heart of the most beautiful, healthful, fertile and rapidly settling portion of the Fox River Valley, and is 27 miles from Green Bay, 6 by water navigation, and 5 by plank road from Lake Winnebago. It is also connected by plank road with Green Bay, and a plank road is being built which will connect it with the Wolf and Upper Wisconsin Rivers. It is the principal point of trade for a large part of Outagamie, Calumet, Winnebago and Waupacca Counties, and its manufacturing, mechanical and merchantile business already exceeds a quarter of a million of dollars per year. Its water power is the most immense in its extent and value to be found in the State, and is being rapidly used and improved by mills, manufactories and machinery. In the distance of one mile, the aggregate fall of water is 44 fee. Its University, under the charge of the Methodist Episcopal Church, is considered the handsomest public edifice in Wisconsin. It is under efficient management; and, during the last collegiate year, numbered over 300 pupils. Its public schools would reflect honor on many an older town. The population is chiefly American, and is noted throughout the west for Temperance, Morality, Intelligence and Enterprise. The country around Appleton is rich and fertile, and destined to be densely settled by a farming population.

To the enterprise and vigor of the Crescent, a journal published in Appleton, in calling attention to the resources of Outagamie, the County owes much.

Geography: Land and Water

As reported by the Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 644 square miles (1,669 km2), of which, 640 square miles (1,658 km2) of it is land and 4 square miles (11 km2) of it (0.63%) is water.

Neighboring Counties

Bordering counties are as follows:

  • Shawano County - north
  • Brown County - east
  • Calumet County - southeast
  • Winnebago County - southwest
  • Waupaca County - west


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