U.S. General Land Office surveyors' field notes and plats for Wisconsin
G.L.O. Surveyors' notes and plats
The Ordinance of 1787 dictated that the new lands (including Wisconsin) should be surveyed. Teams of General Land Office surveyors traversed the landscape on lines one-mile apart, noting when they entered or left fields, swamps, timber or other major landscape or vegetation types. At the end of each section line, the surveyor would write a brief description of the mile of line just traversed. This description included the surface of the land, the quality of the soil, the tree species along the line in order of dominance, and the undergrowth. These notes consequently contain a wealth of data about Wisconsin before it was developed. From the notes, land office staff drew maps of each township's topography and landcover. To see the notes, the maps, and information on how the survey worked, follow the link below.
Explorers, Traders, and Settlers|
The Northwest Ordinance, 1787
|Creator: ||U.S. General Land Office.
|Pub Data: ||The original records are owned by the Wisconsin Commissioners of Public Lands. They were digitized by the University of Wisconsin-Madison Digital Collections Center.
|Citation: ||U.S. General Land Office. "Wisconsin Public Land Survey Records: Original Field Notes";
Online facsimile at:
Visited on: 3/9/2014