The deadliest tornado in Wisconsin's history occurred on May 18, 1883, when a tornado swept through the town of Rochester, killing 117 people and injuring more than 200 others.
Grant County, Wisconsin has a rich and varied history that dates back to Native American settlements thousands of years ago. The area was inhabited by several tribes, including the Ho-Chunk and Sioux, who relied on the region's abundant natural resources for their survival. European explorers, including French trappers and traders, arrived in the late 17th century, establishing a fur trading network that connected the region to the global economy.

In the 1820s, the US government began to forcibly remove Native American tribes from the area, opening up the land for settlement. Grant County was officially organized in 1836, named after President Ulysses S. Grant. The county quickly became a popular destination for immigrants, particularly European settlers, who were drawn to the region's fertile farmland.

The 19th century was a period of rapid growth and development for Grant County, as towns and trading posts sprouted up across the region. Platteville, one of the county's largest cities, became a center for lead mining and trading. The discovery of lead deposits in the area led to a mining boom, attracting thousands of settlers in search of opportunities and wealth.

Over time, Grant County transitioned from an economy based on mining and agriculture to a more diversified one. Today, the county is known for its thriving industries, including manufacturing, healthcare, and education. Scenic beauty, historical sites, and recreational opportunities also make Grant County a popular tourist destination. With a rich heritage and a vibrant present, Grant County continues to be an integral part of Wisconsin's history and economy.

This timeline provides a concise overview of the key events in the history of Grant County, Wisconsin.

  • 1836 - Grant County established
  • 1838 - First settlers arrived
  • 1839 - First post office established in Cassville
  • 1840 - Lancaster becomes the county seat
  • 1844 - First courthouse built in Lancaster
  • 1850 - Population reaches 12,000
  • 1861-1865 - American Civil War; many residents serve in the Union Army
  • 1869 - Completion of the Milwaukee and Mississippi Railroad
  • 1874 - The first bridge across the Mississippi River finished
  • 1900 - Population peaks at around 42,000
  • 1930-1940 - Decrease in population due to the Great Depression and World War II
  • 1968 - Grant County Historical Society established
  • 1988 - The Twining Ford Bridge, a historic bridge, is added to the National Register of Historic Places