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with flowers of every hue, and skirted on all sides by woodland copse, roll on through many long miles from Jackson county, northeast to Iroquois county, with a width varying from one to a dozen or more miles. The uniform level of the prairie region is supposed to result from the deposit of waters by which the land was ages ago covered. The soil is entirely free from stones, and is extremely fertile. The most notable characteristic of the prairies, their destitution of vegetation, excepting in the multitude of rank grasses and flowers, will gradually disappear, since nothing prevents the growth of the trees but the continual fires which sweep over the plains. These prevented, a fine growth of timber soon springs up; and as the woodlands are thus assisted in encroaching upon and occupying the plains, settlements, and babitations will follow, until the prairie tracts are overrun with cities and towns. Of the thirty-five and a half millions of acres embraced within the state, but thirteen millions, or little more than one-third, were improved in 1860, showing that despite her wonderful progress in population and production, she is yet only in her infancy: Excepting the specialty of the prairie, the most interesting landscape scenery of this state is that of the bold, acclivitous river shores of the Mississippi, the Ohio, and the Illinois rivers." * Lake Michigan forms the northern part of the eastern boundary. Chicago, the principal city, is situated near the southern end of the lake, and possesses a very large lake trade. The other towns on Lake Michigan are : Otsego, Waukegan, Rockland, and Evanston. The Mississippi river forms the western boundary of this state, and receives the waters of the Rock, Illinois, and Kaskaskia rivers, besides those of several smaller streams. The important places on the Mississippi, beginning on the north, are Galena, Rock Island, Oquawka, Quincy, Alton, East St. Louis, and Thebes. The Ohio river forms the southern boundary, and empties into the Mississippi, at the extreme southern end of the state. The city of Cairo is situated at the confluence of these two rivers, and is an important place. The Illinois river is the largest in the state. It is formed by the confluence of the Des Plaines and Kankakee, which unite at Dresden, in Grundy county, southwest of Lake Michigan. It flows across the state in a southwestern direction, and empties into the Mississippi about 20 miles from Alton. It is about 320 miles long, and has been rendered navigable at all seasons, to Ottawa, 286 miles from the Mississippi. Peoria, 200 miles from its mouth, is the most important town on the river. The Fox and Sangamon rivers are its principal branches. The former rises in Wisconsin, and is 200 miles long. It is a fine mill stream; the latter rises in the east-central part of the state, and flows west into the Illinois. It is 200 miles long, and is navigable at high water for small steamers. The Rock river rises in Fond du Lac county, in Wisconsin, about 10 miles south of Lake Winnebago, and flows southward into Illinois, near the centre of the northern part of the state. It then turns to the southwest and flows across the state into the Mississippi, at Rock Island City. It is 330 miles long, and though interrupted in several places by rapids, could be rendered navigable at a small expense; steamers have ascended it to Jefferson, Wisconsin, 225 miles. It flows through one of the most beautiful and fertile portions of Illinois. The Kaskaskia river rises in Champaign county, in the eastern part of the centre of the state, and flows southwest into the Mississippi a few miles below the town of Kaskaskia. It is 300 miles long, and is navigable for steamers for a considerable distance. The Vermillion, Embarrass, and Little Wabash rivers, small streams, flow into the Wabash from this state. Sey. eral small lakes lie in the northern part of the state."*
* Appleton's Hand-Book of American Travel.
"There are extensive deposits of lead in the extreme northwestern part of this state, and extending into Wisconsin and Iowa. The principal mines lie in the vicinity of Galena. Copper exists in large quantities in the northern part of the state. Bituminous coal abounds. Iron is also found in abundance in the north, and to a limited extent in the south, and it is said that silver has been discovered in St. Clair county. There are a number of salt springs in the state, and a variety of medicinal springs. The other minerals are zinc, lime, marble, freestone, gypsum, and quartz crystals. The climate is not very severe, but is subject to sudden changes. Deep snows are not of general occurrence, but occasionally take place, and at long intervals the rivers are frozen over.”
*"The Great Republic.”
SOIL AND SURFACE.
Topography - Climate — Minerals — Soil and Productions.
THE STATE of Wisconsin has an area of 53,924 square miles, and is situated between 42° 30' and 46° 55' N. latitude, and be. tween 87° and 92° 50' W. longitude. It is bounded on the north by Michigan, Lake Superior and Minnesota; on the east by Lake Michigan; on the south by Illinois, and on the west by Iowa and Minnesota. Its extreme length, from north to south, is about 285 miles, and its greatest breadth, from east to west, about 255 miles.
Concerning the topography, minerals, soil and climate, and productions of Wisconsin, I condense from my history of that state already published, the following sketch :
There are no mountains in Wisconsin. The whole surface may, with a few unimportant exceptions, be regarded as a vast plain, broken only by the cliffs fringing the streams and lakes. This plain has an elevation of from six hundred to fifteen hundred feet above the ocean. The highest lands are located along the headwaters of the tributaries of lake Superior, which, near the sources of the Montreal river, are about eighteen hundred feet above the level of the sea. From this important watershed, the land slopes continuously toward the lake, as also toward the south, to the lower Wisconsin river. From the latter point, there is another slope, still to the south, drained by the waters of Rock river and its tributary streams.
The waters of the Wisconsin and Fox rivers approach and mingle at Portage City. Near this point they are connected by a canal, from which there is a descent of a hundred and ninety-five feet to Green Bay, and a hundred and seventy-one feet to the Mississippi at Prairie du Chien.
In the southwestern part of the state there are numerous mounds, some of them of considerable proportions. Among the latter are the Blue, seventeen hundred and twenty-nine feet above the sea; the Platte, twelve hundred and eighty.one feet above the sea; and the Sinsinewa Mounds, eleven hundred and sixty-rine feet above the sea. These elevations formerly served as guides to the adventurer, marking certain well known points, which accounts for their frequent mention in the early annals of the territory. There is also a class of ancient earthworks still visible in Wisconsin, containing many peculiarities.
They have been made to represent quadrupeds, birds, reptiles, and even the human form. In the vicinity of the well known Blue Mounds, there is a specimen of these earthworks, representing a man. It is a hundred and twenty feet long, with a body over thirty feet wide, and a well shaped head. Its elevation is six feet above the surrounding prairie. The mound at Prairieville is a very faithful and interesting representation of a turtle. The body is nearly sixty feet in length, and the shape of the head is still well preserved. Not far from the Four Lakes, there are over a hundred small mounds of various shapes and dimensions; and, in the same neighborhood, fragments of ancient pottery, of a very rude kind, have been found. A well formed mound near Cassville represents the mastadon; which has given rise to many speculative opinions, among which is that very reasonable one, that the ancients who built these earthworks were contemporaries with that huge animal. This theory is strengthened by the pres. ence of mastodon bones in these mounds. But we will return, for the present, to notice more particularly the surface of the country.
The southeastern portion of the state is broken by ravines bordering the streams; but these are depressed only a little below the surrounding level. The prairies are destitute of trees or shrubs, and are richly covered with grass, interspersed with beautiful flowers of all shades and colors. The oak openings are also a remarkable feature of this portion of the state, as also the tracts of woodland which border the streams, and the natural meadows. As one proceeds north to the Fox and Wisconsin rivers and Green Bay, the timber increases in quantity and value, and the
soil changes gradually from the vegetable mould of the prairie to the sandy loam. The surface of the country becomes comparatively uneven, changing from forest to rolling prairie, from prairies to swamps, and from swamps to extensive marshes. And still north, in the vicinity of lake Superior, it partakes somewhat of a rugged mountainous appearance.
In the geological structure, there is nothing remarkable, beyond that met with in the surrounding states. Limestone underlies a great portion of the southern part of the state. In the mineral districts we encounter the cliff limestone, and in other parts the blue.* The northern part seems to be composed of primitive rocks, for the most part of granite, slate and sandstone. Commencing a little south of the Wisconsin river, and along the Mississippi as far back as the falls of its tributaries, sandstone, with layers of limestone above and below, is the principal rock, and forms the cliffs on the Mississippi below St. Anthony's Falls for over thirty miles. The streams in this region are considerably obstructed by changing beds of sand. "From Lake Michigan, westward to the other sections named, is a limestone region, in many parts well timbered, while in others a considerable portion is prairie. Underlying the blue limestone is a brown sandstone, which crops out on the sides of the hills; but no lead has ever been found in it. A section through Blue Mounds would give the following result, descending vertically : hornstone, 410 feet ; magnesian lime, or lead-bearing rock, 169 feet; saccharoid sand stone, 40 feet ; sandstone, 3 feet; lower limestone (at the level of the Wisconsin), 190 feet. The elevations of different parts of the southern section of the state are given by Chancellor Lathrop: at Blue Mounds, 1,170; head waters of the Rock river, 316; egress of the same river from the state, 1,280 ; and portage between the Fox and the Wisconsin rivers at 223 above the level of lake Michigan and the Wisconsin river.+
The minerals of Wisconsin constitute one of its most distinguishing features. A portion of the celebrated lead region, extending from Illinois and Iowa, is included in the southwest part of Wisconsin. The whole region occupies an extent of nearly 2,880 square miles, about three-fourths of which is in Wiscon* Lippincott's Pronouncing Gazetteer.