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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Near Belmont in Lafayette County, Wisconsin — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)
 

The First Capitol

 
 
The First Capitol Marker image. Click for full size.
By Gordon Govier, July 14, 2010
1. The First Capitol Marker
Inscription.
Wisconsin's Territorial Government
On April 20, 1836, Congress passed an act establishing the Wisconsin Territory, composed of the present states of Wisconsin, Iowa, Minnesota, and the eastern halves of North and South Dakota. President Andrew Jackson signed the bill immediately, and a week later nominated fellow Democrat Henry Dodge as governor of the new territory.
The Legislators
Governor Dodge ordered the county sheriffs to conduct a census. He then allotted legislative seats in each of the territory's six counties--Iowa, Brown, Crawford, Milwaukee, Des Moines and Dubuque--based on the results. After scheduling an election, Dodge summoned the elected members to meet in Belmont, an uninhabited town in Iowa County.

"And I do further order & direct that the Members elected from the several counties for Representatives and Council shall convene at Belmont in the County of Iowa on the 25th day of October, next ensuing for the purpose of organizing the first session of the Legislative Assembly of said Territory."
- Henry Dodge, 1836


The Legislature
The first legislature of Wisconsin Territory convened in Belmont from October 25 to December 9, 1836. Thirty-nine men from across the territory
The First Capitol Historic Site image. Click for full size.
By Gordon Govier, July 14, 2010
2. The First Capitol Historic Site
assembled in the Council House by day, often locked in heated debate. By night, they crowded into a single lodging house. Over the 46 day period, the Legislature organized government and judiciary for the territory, laying the foundation for the future state of Wisconsin.
Madison: The Capital
At the session in Belmont, the Legislature chose Madison as the capital of Wisconsin Territory, and agreed to hold sessions in Burlington, (Iowa) until 1839. While both Belmont and Burlington had capitol buildings where the Legislature met, the territorial government never designated them as capitals or seats of governments. Wisconsin, therefore, has only had one capital in its history - Madison.
 
Location. 42° 46.089′ N, 90° 21.773′ W. Marker is near Belmont, Wisconsin, in Lafayette County. Marker is at the intersection of County Route G and County Route B, on the right when traveling west on County Route G. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Belmont WI 53510, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 7 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Land, Lead, and Politics (here, next to this marker); Governor Tommy G. Thompson's 1998 Address At Wisconsin's First Capitol (here, next to this marker); Belmont, Wisconsin Territory, 1836
Wisconsin's First Capitol Historic Buildings image. Click for full size.
By Gordon Govier, July 14, 2010
3. Wisconsin's First Capitol Historic Buildings
(about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); 1998 Wisconsin Assembly (about 400 feet away); World's Largest M (approx. 2.3 miles away); Platteville Started Here (approx. 6.1 miles away); Main Street Commercial Historic District Platteville (approx. 6.3 miles away); First State Normal School (approx. 6.4 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Belmont.
 
Categories. GovernmentNotable Places
 
The First Capitol image. Click for full size.
By Robert L Weber, April 22, 2011
4. The First Capitol
The First Capitol image. Click for full size.
By Robert L Weber, April 30, 2011
5. The First Capitol
The First Capitol image. Click for full size.
By Robert L Weber, April 30, 2011
6. The First Capitol
First Capitol Marker image. Click for full size.
By Robert L Weber, April 30, 2011
7. First Capitol Marker
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on July 19, 2010, by Gordon Govier of Monona, Wisconsin. This page has been viewed 998 times since then and 22 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on July 19, 2010, by Gordon Govier of Monona, Wisconsin.   4, 5, 6, 7. submitted on May 8, 2011, by Bob (peach) Weber of Prescott Valley, Arizona. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.
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