3¢ Wisconsin Centennial
Issue Date: May 29, 1948
City: Madison, WI
Printed by: Bureau of Engraving and Printing
Printing Method: Rotary Press
Perforations: 11 x 10 1/2
Color: Dark violet
U.S. #957 commemorates the 100th anniversary of Wisconsin’s admission to the Union. The stamp pictures the state capitol and an outline of Wisconsin.
Wisconsin’s Road to Statehood
The French explorer Jean Nicolet was the first white person to set foot in Wisconsin in 1634. Nicolet was searching for a water route to China, and believed he may have reached that distant country when he landed on the shore of present-day Green Bay. The explorer came ashore dressed in a colorful robe and firing two pistols, making quite an entrance, but was disappointed when he was greeted by Winnebago Indians and not Chinese officials. Nicolet then returned to New France, today’s Quebec, reporting that America was much larger than anyone had guessed.
Around 25 years later, on a mission to procure furs, Pierre Esprit Radisson and Médard Chouart, Sieur des Groseilliers, explored Wisconsin. In 1660, Father René Ménard became the first missionary to reach Wisconsin. Ménard established a mission near today’s Ashland. Father Claude Jean Allouez came to the area in 1665 and established several missions. Assisted by Father Louis André, he established a mission at today’s De Pere.
The French had long maintained friendly relations with the Indians in Wisconsin. However, in 1712, a war broke out between the French and the Fox Indians over control of the Fox and Wisconsin Rivers. The French won the war in 1740, but had severely weakened their defenses and damaged their relations with other Native American tribes in the area. The French and Indian War began in 1754. This conflict between France and Great Britain and their Indian allies ended in a British victory with the Treaty of Paris in 1783. As a result, France lost Canada and nearly all of its possessions east of the Mississippi River, including Wisconsin.
With the Quebec Act of 1774, the British made Wisconsin a part of Quebec. This angered Americans and helped to spark the American Revolution in 1775. That war ended with the 1783 Treaty of Paris, which gave all the land east of the Mississippi and south of the Great Lakes, which included Wisconsin, to the United States.
From 1800 to 1809, Wisconsin was part of the Indiana Territory, from 1809 to 1818 it was part of the Illinois Territory, and from 1818 to 1836 it was part of the Michigan Territory. During the 1820s, settlers poured into the southern part of the state. Lead was discovered, and a demand for lead to use in paint and shot made mining more profitable. Many miners lived in shelters that were dug into the sides of hills – earning them the nickname “badgers.” This name came to be used for all Wisconsinites.
On April 20, 1836, Congress established the Wisconsin Territory. Madison became the capital of the territory, and Henry Dodge became the territorial governor. The Wisconsin Territory included part of present-day Minnesota, Iowa, and North and South Dakota. When the Iowa Territory was created in 1838, the Mississippi River became Wisconsin’s western border.
On May 29, 1848, Wisconsin joined the Union. At that time, its borders were established as they are today. The state’s population was growing fast. In 1840, 30,945 white settlers lived in Wisconsin – by 1850, 305,391 whites lived there. These settlers came from all over the U.S. and from various other nations, as well.