Lead Mining in Southwestern Wisconsin

Although southwestern Wisconsin is best known today for its rich farmlands, place names such as Mineral Point and New Diggings evoke an earlier time when local mines produced much of the nation's lead. In the early nineteenth century, Wisconsin lead mining was more promising and attractive to potential settlers than either the fur trade or farming. Its potentially quick rewards lured a steady stream of settlers up the Mississippi River and into Grant, Crawford, Iowa, and Lafayette counties in the early nineteenth century. By 1829, more than 4,000 miners worked in southwestern Wisconsin, producing 13 million pounds of lead a... more...

Original Documents and Other Primary Sources

Link to article: Recollections of Wisconsin slaves by pioneer settlers.Recollections of Wisconsin slaves by pioneer settlers.
Link to article: Mining in the lead region, 1670-1829Mining in the lead region, 1670-1829
Link to article: Life in the lead region, 1823-1824Life in the lead region, 1823-1824
Link to article: Theodore Rodolf recounts his life in the lead region in the 1830sTheodore Rodolf recounts his life in the lead region in the 1830s
Link to article: Ho-Chunk chief Spoon Decorah looks back over a long life.Ho-Chunk chief Spoon Decorah looks back over a long life.
Link to article: The eccentric poet who became Wisconsin's second state geologist.The eccentric poet who became Wisconsin's second state geologist.
Link to article: Recollections of a young mother in the Lead Region, 1826-1841Recollections of a young mother in the Lead Region, 1826-1841
Link to article: A Shullsberg miner looks back on 50 years in the Lead RegionA Shullsberg miner looks back on 50 years in the Lead Region
Link to article: Why Wisconsin is called the Badger StateWhy Wisconsin is called the Badger State
Link to article: A memoir of Indian agent Joseph StreetA memoir of Indian agent Joseph Street
Link to article: A look at the lives and work of "farmer-miners"A look at the lives and work of "farmer-miners"
Link to book: Folklore and folktales collected by Charles E. BrownFolklore and folktales collected by Charles E. Brown
Link to images: Prairie du Chien merchant and judge James H. Lockwood, 1856.Prairie du Chien merchant and judge James H. Lockwood, 1856.
Link to images: Pictures of lead mines and mining, 1836-1950Pictures of lead mines and mining, 1836-1950
Link to images: Wisconsin's first Territorial Governor, Henry DodgeWisconsin's first Territorial Governor, Henry Dodge
Link to images: Pictures and maps of sites in the Lead Region, 1833-1840.Pictures and maps of sites in the Lead Region, 1833-1840.
Link to manuscript: The new Indian agent describes tensions in the Lead Region in 1827.The new Indian agent describes tensions in the Lead Region in 1827.
Link to manuscript: Moses Strong describes mining near Mineral Point, 1847Moses Strong describes mining near Mineral Point, 1847
Link to manuscript: A miner describes his experiences in the lead mines, 1855A miner describes his experiences in the lead mines, 1855
Link to map: The lead region, as settlers swarmed onto Indian lands in the 1820s.The lead region, as settlers swarmed onto Indian lands in the 1820s.
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