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List of Wisconsin counties

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List of Wisconsin counties

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The state of Wisconsin in the United States has 72 counties. The land that eventually became Wisconsin was transferred from British to American control with the 1783 signing of the Treaty of Paris.[1] It was an unorganized part of the Northwest Territories until 1802 when all of the land from St. Louis north to the Canadian border was organized as St. Clair County.[1] When Illinois was admitted to the union in 1818, Wisconsin became part of the Territory of Michigan and divided into two counties: Brown County in the northeast along Lake Michigan and Crawford County in the southwest along the Mississippi River.[1] Iowa County was formed in 1829 from the Crawford County land south of the Wisconsin River.[1] Brown County's southern portion was used to form Milwaukee County in 1834.[1] The state of Wisconsin was created from Wisconsin Territory on May 29, 1848, with 28 counties.

Counties in Wisconsin are governed by county boards, headed by a chairperson. Counties with a population of 500,000 or more must also have a county executive. Smaller counties may have either a county executive or a county administrator.[2] As of 2011, 13 counties had elected county executives: Brown, Chippewa, Dane, Fond du Lac, Kenosha, Manitowoc, Milwaukee, Outagamie, Portage, Racine, Sawyer, Waukesha, and Winnebago. 23 had an appointed county administrator, 34 had an appointed administrative coordinator, and 2 had neither an executive nor an administrator. Waukesha County had both an executive and an administrator.[3]

Each county has a county seat, often a populous or centrally located community, where the county's governmental offices are located. Some of the services provided by the county include: law enforcement, circuit courts, social services, vital records and deed registration, road maintenance, and snow removal. County officials include sheriffs, district attorneys, clerks, treasurers, coroners, surveyors, registers of deeds, and clerks of circuit court; these officers are elected for four-year terms. In most counties, elected coroners have been replaced by appointed medical examiners. State law permits counties to appoint a registered land surveyor in place of electing a surveyor.

The most populous county in the state is Milwaukee County at 947,735 people at the 2010 census.[4] Its population is bolstered by the city of Milwaukee's 594,833 people.[4] The county with the least population is Menominee County with 4232 residents; the Menominee Indian Reservation is co-extensive with the county.[4] Pepin County is the smallest in area, with 231.98 square miles (600.8 km2); Marathon is the largest, having 1,544.91 square miles (4,001.3 km2).[4]

The Federal Information Processing Standard (FIPS) code, which is used by the United States government to uniquely identify states and counties, is provided with each entry.[5] Wisconsin's code is 55, which when combined with any county code would be written as 55XXX. The FIPS code for each county links to census data for that county.[6]

List of counties

FIPS code
County seat
Formed from

Adams County 001 Friendship 1848 Portage County John Quincy Adams
President of the United States
20,875 645.65 sq mi
(1,672 km2)

Ashland County 003 Ashland 1860 unorganized territory Ashland
Henry Clay's
estate in
16,157 1,045.04 sq mi
(2,707 km2)

Barron County 005 Barron 1859 Polk County Henry D. Barron
state senator
and circuit court judge.
45,870 862.71 sq mi
(2,234 km2)

Bayfield County 007 Washburn 1845 Ashland County Henry Bayfield
Royal naval officer and
first to survey
Great Lakes area
15,014 1,477.86 sq mi
(3,828 km2)

Brown County 009 Green Bay 1818 Michilimackinac Major General Jacob Brown
commanding general of the
United States Army
during the War of 1812
248,007 529.71 sq mi
(1,372 km2)

Buffalo County 011 Alma 1853 Trempealeau County The Buffalo River
which flows through the county.
13,587 671.64 sq mi
(1,740 km2)

Burnett County 013 Siren 1856 Polk County Thomas P. Burnett
state legislator
15,457 821.85 sq mi
(2,129 km2)

Calumet County 015 Chilton 1836 unorganized territory The French word for a Menominee
peace pipe.
48,971 318.24 sq mi
(824 km2)

Chippewa County 017 Chippewa Falls 1845 Crawford County The Ojibwe nation of
Native Americans
(historically referred to as Chippewa)
62,415 1,008.37 sq mi
(2,612 km2)

Clark County 019 Neillsville 1853 Crawford County George Rogers Clark
Revolutionary War general
34,690 1,209.82 sq mi
(3,133 km2)

Columbia County 021 Portage 1846 Portage County Christopher Columbus
navigator and explorer
56,833 765.53 sq mi
(1,983 km2)

Crawford County 023 Prairie du Chien 1818 unorganized territory William Harris Crawford
United States Senator from Georgia
and Secretary of the Treasury
16,644 570.66 sq mi
(1,478 km2)

Dane County 025 Madison 1836 unorganized territory Nathan Dane
delegate to the First Continental Congress
488,073 1,197.24 sq mi
(3,101 km2)

Dodge County 027 Juneau 1836 unorganized territory Henry Dodge
Territorial Governor of Wisconsin
88,759 875.63 sq mi
(2,268 km2)

Door County 029 Sturgeon Bay 1851 Brown County A dangerous water passage near
Door Peninsula
known as
Porte des Morts or
"door of the dead"
in French
27,785 481.98 sq mi
(1,248 km2)

Douglas County 031 Superior 1854 unorganized territory Stephen Douglas
United States Senator
44,159 1,304.14 sq mi
(3,378 km2)

Dunn County 033 Menomonie 1854 Chippewa County Charles Dunn
state senator
chief justice
of Wisconsin Territory
43,857 850.11 sq mi
(2,202 km2)

Eau Claire County 035 Eau Claire 1856 Chippewa County City of Eau Claire
French for
"clear water"
98,736 637.98 sq mi
(1,652 km2)

Florence County 037 Florence (CDP) 1881 Marinette and Oconto Counties Florence Julst
the first white woman
to settle in the area
4,423 488.20 sq mi
(1,264 km2)

Fond du Lac County 039 Fond du Lac 1836 unorganized territory French for
"foot of the lake"
101,633 719.55 sq mi
(1,864 km2)

Forest County 041 Crandon 1885 Langlade and Oconto Counties Forest which covered
the area when it was settled
9,304 1,014.07 sq mi
(2,626 km2)

Grant County 043 Lancaster 1836 unorganized territory Probably a trader named Grant
who made contact with area natives in 1810
but about whom little
else is known
51,208 1,146.85 sq mi
(2,970 km2)

Green County 045 Monroe 1836 unorganized territory Nathanael Greene
quartermaster general during
the American Revolutionary War
36,842 583.96 sq mi
(1,512 km2)

Green Lake County 047 Green Lake 1858 Marquette District Green Lake
located within the county
19,051 349.44 sq mi
(905 km2)

Iowa County 049 Dodgeville 1829 unorganized territory Iowa tribe of
Native American
23,687 762.58 sq mi
(1,975 km2)

Iron County 051 Hurley 1893 Ashland and Oneida Counties Local iron deposits 5,916 758.17 sq mi
(1,964 km2)

Jackson County 053 Black River Falls 1853 La Crosse County Andrew Jackson
President of the United States
20,449 987.72 sq mi
(2,558 km2)

Jefferson County 055 Jefferson 1836 Milwaukee County Thomas Jefferson
President of the United States
83,686 556.47 sq mi
(1,441 km2)

Juneau County 057 Mauston 1856 Adams County Solomon Juneau
founder of what would become
26,664 766.93 sq mi
(1,986 km2)

Kenosha County 059 Kenosha 1850 Racine County Native American word
meaning "place of the pike"
166,426 271.99 sq mi
(704 km2)

Kewaunee County 061 Kewaunee 1852 Manitowoc County Either a Potawatomi
word meaning
"river of the lost"
or an Ojibwe word meaning
"prairie hen"
"wild duck" or
"to go around"
20,574 342.52 sq mi
(887 km2)

La Crosse County 063 La Crosse 1851 unorganized territory Native American
game of lacrosse
114,638 451.69 sq mi
(1,170 km2)

Lafayette County 065 Darlington 1846 Iowa County Gilbert du Motier
marquis de La Fayette
a French general
in the American Revolutionary War
16,836 633.59 sq mi
(1,641 km2)

Langlade County 067 Antigo 1879 unorganized territory Charles de Langlade
(1729 – c.1800)
American Revolutionary War veteran
and United States Indian Agent
in Green Bay
19,977 870.64 sq mi
(2,255 km2)

Lincoln County 069 Merrill 1874 Marathon County Abraham Lincoln
President of the United States
28,743 878.97 sq mi
(2,277 km2)

Manitowoc County 071 Manitowoc 1836 unorganized territory Munedoo-owk, a Ojibwe word meaning "the place of the good spirit" 81,442 589.08 sq mi
(1,526 km2)

Marathon County 073 Wausau 1850 Portage County Marathon, Greece 134,063 1,544.98 sq mi
(4,001 km2)

Marinette County 075 Marinette 1879 Oconto County Marie Antoinette Chevalier, Native American wife of early an fur trapper 41,749 1,399.35 sq mi
(3,624 km2)

Marquette County 077 Montello 1836 Marquette District Father Pere Jacques Marquette
missionary and explorer
15,404 455.60 sq mi
(1,180 km2)

Menominee County 078 Keshena 1959 Menominee Indian Reservation,Shawano, and Oconto Counties Menominee nation of Native Americans 4,232 357.61 sq mi
(926 km2)

Milwaukee County 079 Milwaukee 1834 unorganized territory Mahnawaukee-Seepe
a Native American word meaning
"gathering place by the river"
947,735 241.40 sq mi
(625 km2)

Monroe County 081 Sparta 1854 La Crosse County James Monroe
President of the United States
44,673 900.78 sq mi
(2,333 km2)

Oconto County 083 Oconto 1851 unorganized territory A Native American settlement and the Oconto River, whose name means "plentiful with fish" 37,660 997.99 sq mi
(2,585 km2)

Oneida County 085 Rhinelander 1885 Lincoln County Oneida nation of Native Americans 35,998 1,112.97 sq mi
(2,883 km2)

Outagamie County 087 Appleton 1851 Brown County Outagamie nation of
Native Americans
176,695 637.52 sq mi
(1,651 km2)

Ozaukee County 089 Port Washington 1853 Milwaukee County The Ojibwe word for the Sauk nation 86,395 233.08 sq mi
(604 km2)

Pepin County 091 Durand 1858 Dunn County Pierre and Jean Pepin du Chardonnets, explorers 7,469 231.98 sq mi
(601 km2)

Pierce County 093 Ellsworth 1853 Saint Croix County Franklin Pierce (1804-69), President of the United States (1853-57) 41,019 573.75 sq mi
(1,486 km2)

Polk County 095 Balsam Lake 1853 Saint Croix County James Polk
President of the United States
44,205 913.96 sq mi
(2,367 km2)

Portage County 097 Stevens Point 1836 unorganized territory Passage between the Fox and Wisconsin Rivers 70,019 800.68 sq mi
(2,074 km2)

Price County 099 Phillips 1879 Chippewa and Lincoln Counties William T. Price
United States Congressman
14,159 1,254.38 sq mi
(3,249 km2)

Racine County 101 Racine 1836 unorganized territory Racine, the French word for "root", after the Root River, which flows through the county 195,408 332.5 sq mi
(861 km2)

Richland County 103 Richland Center 1842 Iowa County The rich soil of the area 18,021 586.15 sq mi
(1,518 km2)

Rock County 105 Janesville 1836 unorganized territory Rock River, which flows through the county 160,331 718.14 sq mi
(1,860 km2)

Rusk County 107 Ladysmith 1901 Chippewa County Jeremiah McLain Rusk (1830-93), Governor of Wisconsin 1882-89 14,755 913.59 sq mi
(2,366 km2)

Sauk County 111 Baraboo 1840 unorganized territory Sauk nation of Native Americans 61,976 830.9 sq mi
(2,152 km2)

Sawyer County 113 Hayward 1883 Oconto County Philetus Sawyer
United States Representative
and Senator
from Wisconsin
16,557 1,257.31 sq mi
(3,256 km2)

Shawano County 115 Shawano 1853 Oconto County A Ojibwe word meaning "southern" 41,949 893.06 sq mi
(2,313 km2)

Sheboygan County 117 Sheboygan 1836 unorganized territory Shawb-wa-way-kun, a Native American word meaning "great noise underground" 115,507 511.27 sq mi
(1,324 km2)

St. Croix County 109 Hudson 1840 unorganized territory An early French explorer named St. Croix, about whom little is known 84,345 722.33 sq mi
(1,871 km2)

Taylor County 119 Medford 1875 Clark, Lincoln, Marathon and Chippewa Counties William Robert Taylor (1820-1909), Governor of Wisconsin 1874-76 20,689 974.88 sq mi
(2,525 km2)

Trempealeau County 121 Whitehall 1854 Crawford and La Crosse Counties Trempealeau Mountain (from the French for "mountain with its foot in the water"), a bluff located in a bend of the Trempealeau River,[10] which flows through the county 28,816 732.97 sq mi
(1,898 km2)

Vernon County 123 Viroqua 1851 Richland and Crawford Counties Mount Vernon, home of George Washington 29,773 791.58 sq mi
(2,050 km2)

Vilas County 125 Eagle River 1893 Oneida County William Vilas (1840-1908)
officer in the Civil War
United States Postmaster General
United States Secretary of the Interior
and Senator from Wisconsin
21,430 856.60 sq mi
(2,219 km2)

Walworth County 127 Elkhorn 1836 unorganized territory Reuben Hyde Walworth
jurist from New York
102,228 555.13 sq mi
(1,438 km2)

Washburn County 129 Shell Lake 1883 Burnett County Cadwallader Washburn
Governor of Wisconsin
and Representative from Wisconsin
15,911 797.11 sq mi
(2,065 km2)

Washington County 131 West Bend 1836 unorganized territory George Washington
American Revolutionary War leader
and first President of the United States
131,887 430.70 sq mi
(1,116 km2)

Waukesha County 133 Waukesha 1846 Milwaukee County Waugooshance
a Pottawatomi word meaning
"little foxes"
389,891 549.57 sq mi
(1,423 km2)

Waupaca County 135 Waupaca 1851 Brown and Winnebago Counties wau-pa-ka-ho-nak
a Menominee word
meaning "white sand bottom" or
"brave young hero"
52,410 747.71 sq mi
(1,937 km2)

Waushara County 137 Wautoma 1851 Marquette County A Native American
word meaning
"good earth"
24,496 626.15 sq mi
(1,622 km2)

Winnebago County 139 Oshkosh 1840 land of the Menominee
and Ho Chunk Native Americans[11]
Winnebago nation of Native Americans 166,994 434.49 sq mi
(1,125 km2)

Wood County 141 Wisconsin Rapids 1856 Portage County Joseph Wood
state legislator
74,749 793.12 sq mi
(2,054 km2)

Renamed and proposed counties

Five counties in Wisconsin have been renamed and one was proposed.

County Dates Etymology Fate
Bad Ax County ?–? Renamed to Vernon County in 1862.[12]
Dallas County ?–? Renamed to Barron County in 1869.[13]
Gates County ?–? Renamed to Rusk County in 1905.[14]
La Pointe County ?–? Renamed to Bayfield County in 1866.[15]
New County ?–? Renamed to Langlade County in 1880[16]
Tuskola County ?–? proposed county to come from Washington County in 1850[9]

See also


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