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Provided, always, and this admission is upon the express condition, that the said State shall consist of and have jurisdiction over all the territory included within the following boundaries, and over none other, to wit:
Beginning at the point where the above-described northern boundary of the State of Ohio intersects the eastern boundary of the State of Indiana, and running thence with the said boundary line of Ohio, as described in the first section of this act, until it intersects the boundary line between the United States and Canada in Lake Erie; thence with the said boundary line between the United States and Canada, through the Detroit river, Lake Huron, and Lake Superior, to a point where the said line last touches Lake Superior; thence in a direct line through Lake Superior to the mouth of the Montreal river; thence through the middle of the main channel of the said river Montreal, to the middle of the Lake of the Desert; thence in a direct line to the nearest headwater of the Menomonie river; thence through the middle of that fork of the said river first touched by the said line, to the main channel of the said Menomonie river; thence down the center of the main channel of the same, to the center of the most usual ship channel of the Green bay of Lake Michigan; thence through the center of the most usual ship channel of the said bay to the middle of Lake Michigan; thence through the middle of Lake Michigan, to the northern boundary of the State of Indiana, as that line was established by the act of Congress of the nineteenth of April, eighteen hundred and sixteen; thence due east, with the north boundary line of the said State of Indiana, to the northeast corner thereof; and thence, south, with the east boundary line of Indiana to the place of beginning.
The above-described boundaries remain unchanged.
Wisconsin was organized as a Territory July 3, 1836, and admitted as a State May 29, 1848.
As originally constituted its area comprised all that part of the former Territory of Michigan which lay west of the present limits of the State of Michigan. (See fig. 17.) The limits are defined in the act for its organization as follows: 80
Bounded on the east, by a line drawn from the northeast corner of the State of Illinois, through the middle of Lake Michigan, to a point in the middle of said lake, and opposite the main channel of Green Bay; and through said channel and Green Bay to the mouth of the Menomonie river; thence through the middle of the main channel of said river, to that head of said river nearest to the Lake of the Desert; thence in a direct line to the middle of said lake; thence through the middle of the main channel of the Montreal river, to its mouth; thence with a direct line across Lake Superior to where the territorial line of the United States last touches said lake northwest; thence on the north with the said territorial line to the White-earth river; on the west, by a line from the said boundary line following down the middle of the main channel of White-earth river to the Missouri river, and down the middle of the main channel of the Missouri river to a point due west from the northwest corner of the State of Missouri; and on the south, from said point, due east to the northwest corner of the State of Missouri; and thence with the boundaries of the States of Missouri and Illinois, as already fixed by acts of Congress.
59 For a general description of the boundaries of Wisconsin and a historical sketch of the acts by which they were fixed see Thwaites, R. G., Wisconsin State Hist. Soc. Coll., vol. 11, pp. 451-501, Madison, 1888.
805 Stat. L. 11.
In 1838 all that part of the territory lying west of the Mississippi and a line drawn due north from its source to the international boundary—that is, all that part which was originally comprised in the Louisiana Purchase and the Red River drainage basin south of the 49th parallel—was organized as the Territory of Iowa. (See Iowa, p. 203.)
When the Territory of Wisconsin was organized it was supposed that there was an almost continuous water-boundary line between Michigan and Wisconsin from Green Bay to Lake Superior. Congress in 1838 ordered the running and marking of this boundary,61 but it was soon discovered that the line could not be run as described, for the head of the Montreal River is more than 50 miles from the Lake of the Desert (now called Lac Vieux Desert), which was supposed to be its source. It was therefore recommended that the boundary location be changed to the position later described in the Wisconsin enabling act of 1846 62 and in greater detail in the Michigan constitution of 1850, which reads as follows: 83 through Lake Superior to the mouth of the Montreal river; thence through the middle of the main channel of the said river Montreal to the head waters thereof; thence in a direct line to the center of the channel between Middle and South islands in the Lake of the Desert; thence in a direct line to the southern shore of Lake Brule; thence along said southern shore and down the river Brule to the main channel of the Menominee river; thence down the center of the main channel of the same to the center of the most usual ship channel of the Green Bay of Lake Michigan.
The line through Lake Superior is thus described in the Wisconsin enabling act of 1846 : 64
thence down the main channel of the Montreal River to the middle of Lake Superior; thence through the centre of Lake Superior to the mouth of St. Louis River.
The straight parts of the boundary were surveyed and marked, in 1847, from a point where the Balsam River and the Pine River unite to form the Montreal, S. 74° 27' E. to the Lake of the Desert, a distance of 50 miles 67 chains 6 links. The southern part of the line begins at the lower end of Lake Brule and runs N. 59° 38' W. for 13 miles 37 chains 66 links to an intersection with the former line in the Lake of the Desert.65
Suit was commenced by Michigan in the United States Supreme Court in October, 1923, for a redetermination of the Michigan
61 5 Stat. L. 244. 62 9 Stat. L. 56–57. 63 Thorpe, F. N., op. cit., vol. 4, p. 1945. 64 9 Stat. L. 56-57. Thorpe, F. N., op. cit., vol. 7, p. 4072. BU See General Land Office files, Boundaries, No. 39, 1 and 2.
Wisconsin boundary, the claim being made that the surveys of 1840– 1847 were not in accord with the descriptions. The change from the previously accepted boundary to that proposed by Michigan would have resulted in a loss to Wisconsin of about 255,000 acres of land, but the court by decree dated March 1, 1926,66 confirmed Wisconsin's title to the disputed area, principally because
The rule, long settled and never doubted by this court, is that long acquiescence by one State in the possession of territory by another and in the exercise of sovereignty and dominion over it is conclusive of the latter's title and rightful authority.
A resurvey of the Michigan-Wisconsin line was completed in 1929 by commissioners representing the two States. There are now 160 concrete monuments on this 65-mile line. This work was executed in accordance with the Supreme Court decree of November 22, 1926.
The boundary from Lake Brule to the mouth of the Menominee is practically that described in the enabling act and follows the channels of the Brule and Menominee wherever they are free from islands;
wherever islands are encountered above Quinnesec Falls the line follows the channel nearest the Wisconsin mainland, so as to throw all such islands into Michigan; and
wherever islands are encountered below Quinnesec Falls the line follows the channel nearest the Michigan mainland, so as to throw all such islands into Wisconsin.
Through Green Bay the line was fixed as claimed by Wisconsin and includes in that State Washington, Detroit, Plum, Rock, and some smaller islands.
On March 3, 1847, a supplementary act for the admission of Wisconsin was passed by Congress, in which the western boundary of the proposed State was described as follows:
That the assent of Congress is hereby given to the change of boundary proposed in the first article of said constitution, to wit: leaving the boundary line prescribed in the act of Congress entitled “An Act to enable the People of Wisconsin Territory to form a Constitution and State Government, and for the Admission of such State into the Union,” at the first rapids in the river St. Louis; thence in a direct line southwardly to a point fifteen miles east of the most easterly point of Lake St. Croix; thence due south to the main channel of the Mississippi River or Lake Pepin; thence down the said main channel, as prescribed in said act.
This act had it been accepted would have given the State an area considerably less than it now has.
The first constitution, completed December 16, 1846,67 accepted the boundaries as described in the enabling act of August 6, 1846, but proposed that Congress consent to the change as described in the later act above referred to. This constitution was rejected by popu
B8 270 U. S. 295; 272 U. S. 398.
07 The full text of this constitution is given by Quaife, M. M., Wisconsin State Hist. Soc. Coll., vol. 27, pp. 732–753, Madison, 1919.
lar vote April 5, 1847 (14,119 ayes, 20,231 noes)-not, however, because of unsatisfactory boundaries.
A second constitution dated February 1, 1848, with the boundaries also as described in the act of August 6, 1846, was accepted by the people but with the proviso (art. 2, sec. 1) that, if Congress approved, the boundary line should run southwesterly from the foot of the rapids of the St. Louis River to the mouth of the Rum River, thence down the Mississippi River as previously described. This boundary would have added materially to the area of the State had it been accepted by Congress.
Congress accepted the constitution dated February 1, 1848, without action on the proviso and by act approved May 29, 1848,68 admitted Wisconsin as a State.
The admission of Wisconsin to statehood left an area of more than 30,000 square mile west of the St. Croix River, east and north of the Mississippi River, practically without a government. The settlers organized a temporary government and elected a Delegate to Congress who was admitted as the representative of the “Territory of Wisconsin.” This area became a part of the Territory of Minnesota by congressional act of March 3, 1849.
The State of Minnesota in 1916 instituted a suit against Wisconsin in the United States Supreme Court in order to have that part of the State boundary line from St. Louis Bay up the St. Louis River to the falls near Fond du Lac finally determined. The court handed down an opinion March 8, 1920,69 and on October 11, 1920,"o appointed commissioners to survey and mark the line. The survey was made on the ice during the winter of 1920–21, and the commissioners' report was confirmed by the court February 27, 1922.1 The line surveyed was 18.4 miles in length and was almost entirely over water. Rectangular coordinates were computed for each angle, and suitable reference marks were established on shore.
The meridian boundary between Wisconsin and Minnesota from the St. Louis River to the St. Croix River was surveyed and marked in 1852 under the General Land Office.
For the southern boundary see Illinois, page 194.
The name of the Territory of Louisiana was changed in 1812 72 to Territory of Missouri. At that time the Territory included all the original Louisiana Purchase, except the State of Louisiana. (See fig. 18.)
88 9 Stat. L. 233. 60 252 U. S. 273. 70 254 U. S. 14.
71 258 U. S. 149. 72 2 Stat. L. 743.