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Sheboygan County, Wisconsin Genealogy & History

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History of Sheboygan County


     Sheboygan County is delightfully situated on the western shore of Lake Michigan, whose waters form the eastern boundary of the State of Wisconsin. This county lies about midway between the southern and northern limits of the State, on the eastern border, and is the fifth in the lake shore tier of counties, reckoning from the southern line of the State. Two principal points of land beautifully indent the shore here, forming the bay at the mouth of the Sheboygan River, which has been improved by the construction of an excellent harbor. The county embraces towns 13 to 16 north, inclusive, and Ranges 20 to 23 east, inclusive. It is composed of fifteen towns, nine of which are the usual size of six miles square, and six are fractional. Two of the latter are larger than standard measurement, and four are smaller. About 515 square miles, or nearly 330,000 acres are embraced by the boundaries of the county, comparatively little of it being unproductive land. A large marsh in the northwestern section is being reduced to use by drainage. The Kettle range of hills, which traverse the eastern border of the State, cross the western portion of the county obliquely, abruptly breaking the generally undulating surface. Glacial action trended evidently toward these hills on either side, the lines deflecting in a southerly direction. Several small lakes dot the landscape in different sections of the county, the principal of which are Sheboygan, Elkhart, Cedar and Random Lakes. Some of these are attracting attention as places of summer resort. The county is abundantly supplied with streams of water, the most important of which are the Sheboygan, Mullet, Onion and Pigeon Rivers, with many tributary creeks The courses of the streams are generally very circuitous flowing in all directions of the compass. Good water-power is supplied by many of the stream, which is utilized for manufacturing purposes. Timber was originally very abundant, both of pine and hard woods. The pine has been sawed into lumber, and most of the hard wood timber suited to manufacturing uses has been appropriated. The soil, with the exception of the gravel hills before mentioned, is rich and fertile, and adapted to a varied agricultural industry. The cultivation of the cereals yields liberal returns while experience shows that no section of the State serves better for the production of dairy products. Sheep-raising has also proved remunerative in the past. A peculiar quality of soil and condition along the shore of Lake Michigan is its capacity of producing a very superior article of green peas, which are eagerly sought by the markets of East and West, and of which thousands of barrels are annually shipped. Their production in standard quality seems to be limited to at comparatively narrow belt near the shore of the lake. Handsome cream-colored brick, of fine quality, are made from red clay in certain localities. Limestone is quarried and burned in the valley of Pigeon River, at a point about three miles northwest of the city of Sheboygan. It is of a blue tint, very hard, free from fossils, and makes a very pure article of lime. The geological formation is accurately shown by the boring of the artesian well in the park in Sheboygan, which was sunk to a depth of 1,475 feet. The surface drift reaches 92 feet in depth, and is underlaid by 719 feet of Niagara limestone, 240 feet of Cincinnati shale, 213 feet of Trenton and Galena limestone, and 212 feet of St. Peter sandstone. Water of a strongIy saline character, tinctured with various mineral substances, was here found in abundance, with a pressure sufficient to carry it more than a hundred feet above the top of the ground. Other investigation shows that beneath the St. Peter sandstone lie strata of Lower Magnesian limestone and Potsdam sandstone, resting upon the original Archean formation. Lake Michigan lies 578 feet above the ocean. The surface of the ground at Lighthouse Point is forty-six feet above the lake, and at the post office in Sheboygan, fifty-three feet above. Higher altitudes are reached, receding from the lake, the highest point being in the town of Sherman, where a height of 473 feet is attained.

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