Grant County, Wisconsin

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Grant County, Wisconsin
Map of Wisconsin highlighting Grant County
Location in the U.S. state of Wisconsin
Map of the United States highlighting Wisconsin
Wisconsin's location in the U.S.
Founded 1837
Seat Lancaster
Largest city Platteville
 • Total 1,183 sq mi (3,064 km2)
 • Land 1,147 sq mi (2,971 km2)
 • Water 36 sq mi (93 km2), 3.1%
 • (2010) 51,208
 • Density 45/sq mi (17/km²)
Congressional district 3rd
Time zone Central: UTC-6/-5

Grant County is a county located in the U.S. state of Wisconsin. As of the 2010 census, the population was 51,208.[1] Its county seat is Lancaster.[2]

Grant County comprises the Platteville, WI Micropolitan Statistical Area. It is in the tri-state area of Illinois, Iowa, and Wisconsin, and is crossed by travelers commuting to Madison from a number of eastern Iowan cities, and by residents of northern Illinois traveling to the Twin Cities or La Crosse, Wisconsin.


Native American period

What is now Grant County was largely uninhabited prior to contact with Europeans, as it was a border region between the territories of the Kickapoo, Menominee, and Illinois tribes. The only Native American group to have a permanent settlement in the area was the Meskwaki, sometimes known as the Fox, who had a temporary village in what is now the extreme northeast of the county during the mid-1700s.

Spanish period

Between 1520 and 1620 this area was nominally ruled by Spain, though no Spaniard or anyone who claimed loyalty to Spain had ever come within five hundred miles of the region during this time, and as such, Spanish authority went completely unfelt in what is now Grant County, Wisconsin.

French period

The first Frenchmen to reach what is now Grant County were Jacques Marquette and Louis Joliet who explored the region in the spring of 1673, when they set out from what would later become Green Bay. No permanent settlement was made. In 1680 Louis Hennepin also passed through the region that would later become Grant County, also making no permanent settlement. In 1689 Nicholas Perrot passed through the territory and claimed it for the King of France. The first known settlement by a European came in 1725 when a trading post was established by Pierriere Marin. Later the French would abandon it.

British period

The British technically ruled the region during the period in between the French and Indian War and the American Revolution, though no effort was made to settle or administer the region which would eventually become Grant County. After the French abandoned the trading post established by Marin, the next person of European descent to see what is now Grant County was Captain Jonathan Carver, an English colonial from Connecticut who passed through what is now Grant County in 1776 during an attempt to discover the Pacific Ocean.

United States period

In 1783 the British government acknowledged the jurisdiction of the United States over the land east of the Mississippi River, including what is now Grant County. There were no permanent settlers of either European or Native American descent in what is now Grant County since the French trading post established by Marin was abandoned, both Native Americans of the region and the European and White American fur traders who passed through were nomadic, and left no records. Grant County was created as part of Wisconsin Territory in 1837.[3] It was named after an Indian trader; his first name, origins, and eventual fate are all unknown.[4]


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 1,183 square miles (3,060 km2), of which 1,147 square miles (2,970 km2) is land and 36 square miles (93 km2) (3.1%) is water.[5]

Major highways

Adjacent counties


2000 Census Age Pyramid for Grant County.
Historical population
Census Pop.
1840 3,926
1850 16,169 311.8%
1860 31,189 92.9%
1870 37,979 21.8%
1880 37,852 −0.3%
1890 36,651 −3.2%
1900 38,881 6.1%
1910 39,007 0.3%
1920 39,044 0.1%
1930 38,469 −1.5%
1940 40,639 5.6%
1950 41,460 2.0%
1960 44,419 7.1%
1970 48,398 9.0%
1980 51,736 6.9%
1990 49,264 −4.8%
2000 49,597 0.7%
2010 51,208 3.2%
Est. 2014 51,829 [6] 1.2%
U.S. Decennial Census[7]
1790–1960[8] 1900–1990[9]
1990–2000[10] 2010–2014[1]

As of the census[11] of 2000, there were 49,597 people, 18,465 households, and 12,390 families residing in the county. The population density was 43 people per square mile (17/km²). There were 19,940 housing units at an average density of 17 per square mile (7/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 98.23% White, 0.52% Black or African American, 0.13% Native American, 0.46% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 0.14% from other races, and 0.50% from two or more races. 0.56% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 52.0% were of German, 9.2% English, 8.8% Irish, 6.6% American and 6.4% Norwegian ancestry according to Census 2000.

There were 18,465 households out of which 30.50% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 56.10% were married couples living together, 7.50% had a female householder with no husband present, and 32.90% were non-families. 26.00% of all households were made up of individuals and 12.10% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.51 and the average family size was 3.03.

In the county, the population was spread out with 23.70% under the age of 18, 14.60% from 18 to 24, 24.80% from 25 to 44, 21.60% from 45 to 64, and 15.30% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females there were 103.00 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 102.00 males.

Government and infrastructure

The Wisconsin Secure Program Facility (WSPF), a Wisconsin Department of Corrections prison for men, is located in Boscobel in Grant County.[12][13]





Census-designated places

Unincorporated communities

Ghost town

Notable people

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 18, 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. "Wisconsin: Individual County Chronologies". Wisconsin Atlas of Historical County Boundaries. The Newberry Library. 2007. Retrieved August 13, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. History of Grant County, Wisconsin: Including Its Civil, Political ...By Castello N Holford page 7, 8 and 9
  5. "2010 Census Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. August 22, 2012. Retrieved August 4, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2014". Retrieved June 4, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved August 4, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Retrieved August 4, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. Forstall, Richard L., ed. (March 27, 1995). "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved August 4, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. April 2, 2001. Retrieved August 4, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2011-05-14.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. "Boscobel city, Wisconsin." U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved on October 10, 2010.
  13. "Wisconsin Secure Program Facility." Wisconsin Department of Corrections. Retrieved on October 10, 2010.
  14. "Willard H. Burney (1857-1943)". The Political Graveyard. Retrieved October 6, 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  15. "B. W. Countryman (b. 1867)". Political Graveyard. Retrieved October 10, 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  16. "Jim Fagan, Snowshoes, Saloons, and Salvation: The Life And Times Of a 19th Century Colorado Pioneer Preacher, December 20, 2004". Retrieved January 18, 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  17. "William Garner Waddel". Political Graveyard. Retrieved November 23, 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links

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