Sheboygan County

What is now the county of Sheboygan was owned by the Indians until taken possession of by the French in the seventeenth century. It so remained until it passed to Great Britain as a result of the Seven Years war in 1763. At the close of the Revolutionary war, in 1783, it became the possession of the United States. In 1789 it was made a part of the Northwest Territory, and in 1800 a part of Indiana Territory. In 1809 it was included in Illinois Territory and so remained until 1818, when it was attached to Michigan Territory. On April 20, 1836, it was included in the territory of Wisconsin. By the act of January 11, 1805, all territory east of the line due north from the south end of Lake Michigan to the northern boundary of the United States was constituted Michigan Territory.

By the act of congress approved April 18, 1818,

"all that part of the Illinois Territory which is situated north of and not included within, the boundaries described by this act (creating the state of Illinois) to the state thereby authorized to be formed, shall be and hereby is attached to and made a part of the Michigan Territory from and after the formation of the said state (of Illinois), subject nevertheless, to be hereafter disposed of by congress according to the right reserved in the fifth article of the ordinances as aforesaid."

Brown county, Michigan Territory, was given the following boundaries:

"Bounded on the north by the county of Michilimacinac as established by an act of the governor of said territory of this date; on the east by the said county of Michilimacinac, and by the western boundary of the said territory as the same was established by the act of congress, passed January 11, 1805, entitled 'An act to divide the Indiana Territory into two separate governments;' on the south by the states of Indiana and Illinois; and on the west by a line to be drawn due north from the northern boundary of the state of Illinois, through the middle of the portage between the Fox river and the Ouisconsin (Wisconsin) river to the county of Michilimacinac, into a separate county to be called the county of Brown, October 26, 1818."

"And I do establish the seat of government of the said county of Brown, at such point on the Fox river and within six miles of the mouth thereof, as may be selected by a majority of the judges of the county court of said county." (Lewis Cass, Governor of Michigan Territory.)

The county court was ordered held on the second Monday of July of every year.

In 1824 a bill was drawn by J. D. Doty, dividing Michigan Territory into two separate governments, one of which was to be called Chippewa. One section was as follows:

"That the seat of government of said Territory shall be established at or near the village of Munnominnee (so-called), on the east bank of the Fox river, eleven miles above Fort Howard (Green Bay). Atad the legislature of said territory shall cause the public buildings to be erected at such point near the said village as they deem most suitable ; and five thousand acres of land located by the governor to be below the Grand Kaukalan, on said river, is hereby given to the said legislature for the use of the territory, the proceeds of which shall be applied to the erection of the said territorial buildings."

In May, 1832, Morgan L. Martin was councilman from the seventh district, composed of the counties of Chippewa, Michilimacinac, Brown, Crawford and Iowa. There was introduced in congress about this time a bill to establish the territory of Huron or Wisconsin.

The act of December 9, 1836, fixed the seat of justice for Brown county, either at Navarino, Astor or De Pere, as might be decided by the voters.

On September 6, 1834, the boundaries of Brown county were fixed. All that part of Brown county to which the Indian title had been extinguished was attached to and constituted a part of the township of Green Bay. South of Brown county to the Illinois line was made Milwaukee county, which was attached to Brown county for judicial purposes. Approved September 6, 1834.

December 7, 1836, the county of Sheboygan was created, set off from Brown county and attached thereto for judicial purposes. The boundaries of the new county under the creative act of the legislature were described as "all that district of country lying within the present limits of Sheboygan county," and from its earliest organization, the county of Sheboygan has embraced the same territory as at present, and for the first ten years after its formation the town of Sheboygan occupied all the territory included in the county. Hence, as new towns were formed, they were all set off from the town of Sheboygan. It might be well here to state that Sheboygan has always been the county seat.


Information gathered and adapted from History of Sheboygan County, Wisconsin, Past and Present
Carl Zillier, Editor
Pubished by The S.J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1912, Chicago, IL

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