ebook  History of Watertown, Wisconsin


Territorial Roads


1839      Laws of Wisconsin

An Act to provide for laying out and establishing Territorial Roads . . .


Sec. 2. That John Richards, Garriet Vliet and Augustus A. Bird are appointed commissioners to lay out and establish a territorial road commencing at Milwaukee, thence by the dwelling house of Frederick B. Otis in the town of Lisbon, Hatchers mill in the town of Summit, Goodhue’s mill in Watertown, and thence to Madison in the county of Dane. 


Sec. 3. That Nathaniel F. Hyer, William M. Dennis and John Stroud are appointed commissioners to lay out and establish a territorial road from Fort Winnebago by the nearest and most practicable route to terminate at or near the dwelling house of James Rogan in the town of Watertown.  --  Milwaukee Sentinel, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, January 22, 1839, Page 1.


According to documents from the Wisconsin Historical Society, Nathaniel Hyer was a Milwaukee judge.  Hyer later founded the town of Aztalan when a number of his relatives immigrated to Wisconsin.  He assisted in laying out many of the territorial roads and in surveying for the Milwaukee and Rock River canals.  In 1845, he bought land in Dane County and two years later was named postmaster for the town of Dunkirk near Stoughton.


Territorial and State Roads


Between 1836 and 1848, over 240 territorial roads were created under the authority of the Wisconsin Territorial Legislature. Earlier roads may have been constructed under the authority of the Michigan Legislature. The 1836 Legislature specifically directed that no territorial funds should be paid for laying out, surveying, opening, or constructing the territorial roads. Instead the expense had to be assumed by individual towns or local and private support.  Many of the roads constructed during this period branched off the already-constructed military roads and ran from various settlements along Lake Michigan to the Wisconsin River, as well as to Mineral Point and the lead region in southwestern Wisconsin.


Three territorial roads were constructed in 1836. One linked Jane's Ferry (Janesville), Rockport, Centerville, New Mexico (Monroe), and White Oak Springs with the Illinois state line. A second connected Southport (Kenosha) to Jane's Ferry. A heavily traveled third route connected Milwaukee, Madison, and Blue Mounds. More than 200 additional roads were constructed during the next 12 years . . .



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History of Watertown, Wisconsin