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Bill Thayer

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This webpage reproduces a section of
Notes on the Wisconsin Territory

Albert Miller Lea

first published in 1836
and reprinted by
The State Historical Society of Iowa

The text is in the public domain.

This page has been carefully proofread
and I believe it to be free of errors.
If you find a mistake though,
please let me know!


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Chapter 1
This site is not affiliated with the US Military Academy.

 p. iii  Preface

In the following Notes, the Author designs to place within the reach of the public, correct information in regard to a very interesting portion of the Western country, especially of that part of it known as the "Iowa District," one of the divisions of the new Territory of Wisconsin.

That the reader may know what degree of confidence he may place in these Notes, he ought first to be made acquainted with the means of information possessed by the Author.

He has been employed in his professional duties for more than a year, within the limits of the country represented by the accompanying map. During that time, he has travelled extensively, and has been sedulous in collecting information from surveyors, traders, explorers, and residents. The whole route of the dragoons during the summer of 1835, as designated on the map, was meandered with a compass, and the distances estimated by the time and rate of travelling them; and in like manner, the Des Moines river was reconnoitred from Racoon river to the mouth, and the route thence to Rock-Island, by the west side of the Mississippi. In addition to these sources of information, he has procured from the proper bureaus at Washington, the maps sent in by the surveyors of the several Indian boundaries laid down, and of the far-famed Half-Breed Tract of the Sauk and Fox Indians.

The author is under obligation to several gentlemen for valuable information: among the number are Captain Boone, of the Dragoons; Major William Gordon, of Iowa District; and Hon. George W. Jones of Wisconsin. They will please accept his thanks for their kindness.

 p. iv  The reader will perceive that the following "Notes," are confined to such subjects only as are interesting, particularly to the emigrant, the speculator, and the legislator. The author reserves for another work, the notice of such topics connected with that country, as are better suited to the more general reader.

 p1  Letter

To the Author,
from the Hon. Geo. W. Jones,
Delegate in Congress from the Territory of Wisconsin

House of Representatives,
Washington City, April 26th, 1836

Lieut. A. M. Lea,
My Dear Sir,

The perusal of your "Notes on the Iowa District of Wisconsin Territory," which you had the kindness to lend me, has afforded me much pleasure, and I cannot but offer you, at least, my thanks for the favour.

Your account of the country is certainly interesting and candid, as I was confident it would be, when I heard that you were writing on the subject, from the fact of your having explored the country in person, from your liberal and just views of the "far north-west," and from the ample means which you have had of obtaining information.

Your Map, too, accompanying the "Notes," gives so correct a view of the situation of the rivers, towns, &c. that I should have said it was taken from actual survey, if I had not known that no survey had ever been made, except that of the Indian boundary lines.

The country which you have described, is undoubtedly not surpassed as a farming and mining country, by any in the known world; and the manner in which you have set forth its advantages, must ensure to your work an extensive circulation. The numerous applicants that have come to me from the east, the south, and the west, for information in relation to this country, I take pleasure in  p2 referring to your Notes, with the hope that you will very soon publish them to the world. You have said much for the country, but I do not believe that you could have said too much in commendation of its fertility and natural resources.

I am, with very great regard,

Your obliged humble servant,

Geo. W. Jones,
Of Sinsinawa Mound, Wisconsin Territory.

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Page updated: 11 Jan 12