Farming and Rural Life

Although Native Americans have farmed in Wisconsin since the Woodland Period (about 3,000 years ago), the European settlers who arrived in the 19th century were not at first drawn to farming. Instead the lure of underground mineral wealth attracted the first few thousand settlers to the lead region of southwest Wisconsin in the 1820s.

Everything began to change in the 1830s when government surveyors began laying out townships and making detailed examinations of the Wisconsin landscape. Armed with copies of the surveyors' notes, land seekers and speculators began to purchase land from government land offices, paving the way for Wisconsin's... more...

Original Documents and Other Primary Sources

Link to article: A man recalls his years on a hop farm in Sauk CountyA man recalls his years on a hop farm in Sauk County
Link to article: Farming developments in Sauk County (1917)Farming developments in Sauk County (1917)
Link to article: Juliet Severance argues for farm women's education, 1886Juliet Severance argues for farm women's education, 1886
Link to article: An Immigrant Who Became a Northwoods MissionaryAn Immigrant Who Became a Northwoods Missionary
Link to article: A Made-to-Order Farm to lure settlers northward, 1921A Made-to-Order Farm to lure settlers northward, 1921
Link to article: An overview of Wisconsin agriculture in 1909An overview of Wisconsin agriculture in 1909
Link to article: A Sauk Co. farmer recalls turning from wheat to dairy in the 1850s.A Sauk Co. farmer recalls turning from wheat to dairy in the 1850s.
Link to article: The early days of commercial cranberry growing in Wisconsin.The early days of commercial cranberry growing in Wisconsin.
Link to artifacts: A gas powered tractor for small-scale farmersA gas powered tractor for small-scale farmers
Link to book: Three new flour mills open in Superior in 1893Three new flour mills open in Superior in 1893
Link to book: An 1888 milling catalogue from the Allis CompanyAn 1888 milling catalogue from the Allis Company
Link to book: A pamphlet on farming in Northern Wisconsin, 1904A pamphlet on farming in Northern Wisconsin, 1904
Link to book: A post-season report on farm laborers, 1960A post-season report on farm laborers, 1960
Link to book: Folklore and folktales collected by Charles E. BrownFolklore and folktales collected by Charles E. Brown
Link to images: Advertisements for farm equipmentAdvertisements for farm equipment
Link to images: Photographs of cranberry harvesting, 1895-1977.Photographs of cranberry harvesting, 1895-1977.
Link to manuscript: A Wisconsin farmer's diary, 1872-1878, account book, and lettersA Wisconsin farmer's diary, 1872-1878, account book, and letters
Link to manuscript: Ma Ingalls describes family life in 1861Ma Ingalls describes family life in 1861
Link to manuscript: A Wisconsin farmer's diary, 1861-1865A Wisconsin farmer's diary, 1861-1865
Link to manuscript: A Wisconsin farmer's diary, 1866-1871A Wisconsin farmer's diary, 1866-1871
Link to manuscript: "Aunt Nellie" offers advice to farm women, 1912-1918"Aunt Nellie" offers advice to farm women, 1912-1918
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