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and rocky soil of New England, and some of the worn out Southern States, to support his family, judge for himself, whether it is better to emigrate to Wisconsin, or stay where he is; whether it is better to struggle for existence, and feel the cold grasp of poverty, or roll in plenty and live at eaSe. Let those who reside in cities, and cannot find profitable employment, come here, and raise their food out of the bosom of the earth. Thousands have made the experiment, and to-day are among the wealthiest and most respected of our citizens. We might present to our readers the testimony of hundreds of farmers, in regard to their experience, the capability of the soil, and the amount raised to the acre, but our limited space forbids. In the second part of this work, on Lake Superior, will be found some interesting reports from farmers in the northern part of the State, bordering on the lake. Persons desirous of settling here should not form their opinions of the capability of Wisconsin, in an agricultural point of view, upon the figures given in the census reports of 1850, as if they furnished a fair criterion by which to judge. It must be borne in mind, that since those statistics were made up, nearly five hundred miles of railroad have been built in the State; that its population has increased from 305,538, to at least 1,000,000; that the number of acres now under cultivation is at least double that of 1850; that all the recent improvements in agricultural implements are in general use; and farmers stimulated to industry by the late unprecedented high prices. They also must not forget that, with all this increase of population, hardly one-fourth of the arable lands of the State are under cultivation. The conclusions drawn from the census reports of 1850, would be of the most fallacious character, and do great injustice to the resources of our noble State.
GEOLOGY OF WISCONSIN–ROCKS-LEAD – COPPER–ZINCIRON – BUILDING STONE – ANTIQUITIES.
THE greatest source of wealth of the State of Wisconsin is undoubtedly its vast mineral possessions. The mines on the south shore of Lake Superior are believed to be equal in richness and extent to those of Michigan, which produced, in 1856, upwards of ten million pounds of copper, and twenty thousand tons of iron. Part of this region has been recently explored, and the most incredible quantities of copper, mixed with silver, have been found; also zinc, in vast deposits, among the copper. Wisconsin is equally rich in iron; but, like the zinc, it is a mere drug. Indeed, for some unaccountable reason, it is thought better to import from England into this country millions of dollars’ worth yearly, when we have literally mountains of it here in every direction, and of a much superior quality. As the northern part, bordering on the lake, is now being rapidly settled, new discoveries are made daily, and it is a matter of great importance that the State should order a new Geological Survey, to determine the extent of its mineral wealth, for the benefit of the agricultural interests, by disclosing the different characters of the soil, and their adaptability to certain crops The lead region of Wisconsin contains mines which are supposed to be inexhaustible, and decidedly the richest in the known world; it is confined principally to the southwestern part of the
State. Many other minerals are also found, and good marble and building stone are abundant in almost every part. The mineral treasures that underlie our soil are, as yet, but in the infancy of their development; we are situated at the head of the two great natural channels of internal navigation, which penetrate to the heart of the continent— the Mississippi on the one hand, connecting us with the Gulf of Mexico; and the Lakes upon the other, leading to the Atlantic. By each of these routes, the greater portion of the produce of our mineral districts finds its way to market. There are several very accurate and complete descriptions of the geology of Wisconsin, and, instead of attempting to give an account of it, I will embody, in this part of my work, the official reports of Dr. Owen, already published, which include a large part of the State. My own observations of the country, geologically, being very cursory and partial, and the survey of Dr. Owen, under the orders of Government, furnishing a very satisfactory description of the country, I subjoin it entire. “Throughout the Western States, generally, the secondary formation prevails, covered up in various locations, sometimes to a considerable depth, by recent alluvial and diluvial deposits. “This secondary series of rocks comprehends various subdivisions of distinct character, and invariable succession, which, in their turn, have been again subdivided. “Of these groups, the mountain limestone particularly claims our attention, as almost all the rocks of Wisconsin are referable to that division. “In this State these subdivisions generally vary in thickness from one hundred to one thousand feet, with the exception of the cliff limestone, which, in some districts, is hardly distinguishable, and, in general, does not exceed one hundred feet in thickness. “Now, this cliff limestone, so sparingly developed elsewhere, swells, in the Wisconsin lead region, into the most remarkable, most important, and most bulky member of the group. It attains to a thickness of upward of five hundred and fifty feet, while the underlying blue limestone (which, in Ohio, is usually from eight hundred to one thousand feet in thickness) shrinks, in many places, to less than one hundred feet, and, in others, seems wholly wanting; while, at the same time, the black slate, commonly found above the cliff limestone, seems also deficient. “The general geological character of the country explored may, then, be thus briefly summed up. It belongs to that class of rocks called, by recent geologists, secondary, and, by others, occasionally included in the transition series. It belongs, further, to a division of the class of rocks described, in Europe, as the mountain limestone, or, sometimes, as the carboniferous, metalliferous, or encrinital limestone. And it belongs, yet more especially, to a subdivision of this group, known popularly, where it occurs in the West, as the cliff limestone. “This last is the rock formation in which the lead, copper, iron, and zinc, of the region under consideration, are almost exclusively found; and its unusual development, doubtless, much conduces to the extraordinary mineral riches of this favored State. “In the northern portion of the district surveyed, an interesting and somewhat uncommon feature in the geology of Western America presents itself. I refer to the strata (of considerable depth) which crop out along a narrow strip of the northern boundary-line of this district, and which are chiefly observable in the bluffs on both sides of the Wisconsin river, whence (Schoolcraft and others say) they extend north even to the Falls of St. Anthony.
“The actual dip of the rocks throughout the district, according to the observations made by Dr. Locke, is from nine to ten feet per mile, but it is occasionally much greater.
“The importance of observations on the dip of the rocks, forming, as they do, the materials to calculate the thickness of each stratum at any given spot, is very great. Indeed, such observations are indispensable, before an accurate estimate can be formed of the value and extent of a mineral tract. They indicate, with much fidelity, the depth to which, at different points, a productive vein of ore is likely to extend.
“The lead region lies, as will be remarked, chiefly in Wisconsin, including, however, a strip of about eight townships of land in Iowa; and including, also, about ten townships in the northwestern corner of Illinois. The portion of this lead region in Wisconsin includes about sixty-two townships.
“This lead region is, in general, well watered; namely, by the Peccatonica, Apple, Fever, Platte and Grand rivers, the head waters of Blue river and Sugar creek: all these streams being tributaries of the Mississippi.
“The northern boundary of the Wisconsin lead region is nearly coincident with the southern boundary-line of the blue limestone, where it fairly emerges to the surface. No discoveries of any importance have been made after reaching that formation; and when a mine is sunk through the cliff limestone to the blue limestone beneath, the lodes of lead shrink into insignificance, and no longer return to the miner a profitable reward for his labor.