List of counties in Wisconsin

The U.S. state of Wisconsin is divided into 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 Territory 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.

Wisconsin counties (clickable map)

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 In most counties, elected coroners have been replaced by appointed medical examiners.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 4,232 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[6] County seat[7] Est.[8] Formed from[9] Etymology[9] Population[4][7] Area[4] Map
Adams County 001 Friendship1848Portage CountyJohn Quincy Adams (1767-1848), President of the United States (1825-29) 20,875 645.65 sq mi
(1,672 km2)
Ashland County 003 Ashland1860La Pointe CountyAshland, Henry Clay's estate in Kentucky 16,157 1,045.04 sq mi
(2,707 km2)
Barron County 005 Barron1859Polk CountyHenry D. Barron, state senator and circuit court judge. 45,870 862.71 sq mi
(2,234 km2)
Bayfield County 007 Washburn1845St. Croix CountyHenry 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 Bay1818unorganized territoryMajor General Jacob Brown (1775-1828), commanding general of the United States Army during the War of 1812 248,007 529.71 sq mi
(1,372 km2)
Buffalo County 011 Alma1853Trempealeau CountyThe Buffalo River, which flows through the county. 13,587 671.64 sq mi
(1,740 km2)
Burnett County 013 Siren1856Polk CountyThomas P. Burnett, state legislator 15,457 821.85 sq mi
(2,129 km2)
Calumet County 015 Chilton1836Brown County, WisconsinThe French word for a Menominee Ceremonial pipe. 48,971 318.24 sq mi
(824 km2)
Chippewa County 017 Chippewa Falls1845Crawford CountyChippewa Indians 62,415 1,008.37 sq mi
(2,612 km2)
Clark County 019 Neillsville1853Crawford CountyGeorge Rogers Clark (1752-1812), Revolutionary War general 34,690 1,209.82 sq mi
(3,133 km2)
Columbia County 021 Portage1846Portage CountyChristopher Columbus (1451-1506), navigator and explorer 56,833 765.53 sq mi
(1,983 km2)
Crawford County 023 Prairie du Chien1818unorganized territoryWilliam Harris Crawford (1772-1834), United States Senator from Georgia (1807-13) and Secretary of the Treasury 1816-25 16,644 570.66 sq mi
(1,478 km2)
Dane County 025 Madison1836Crawford, Iowa, and Milwaukee CountesNathan Dane (1752-1835), delegate to the First Continental Congress (1785-88) 488,073 1,197.24 sq mi
(3,101 km2)
Dodge County 027 Juneau1836Brown and Milwaukee CountiesHenry Dodge (1782-1867), Territorial Governor of Wisconsin (1845-48) 88,759 875.63 sq mi
(2,268 km2)
Door County 029 Sturgeon Bay1851Brown CountyA 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 Superior1854La Pointe CountyStephen Douglas (1813-61), United States Senator 1847-61 44,159 1,304.14 sq mi
(3,378 km2)
Dunn County 033 Menomonie1854Chippewa CountyCharles Dunn, state senator and chief justice of Wisconsin Territory 43,857 850.11 sq mi
(2,202 km2)
Eau Claire County 035 Eau Claire1856Chippewa CountyCity of Eau Claire French for "clear water" 98,736 637.98 sq mi
(1,652 km2)
Florence County 037 Florence1881Marinette and Oconto CountiesFlorence 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 Lac1836Brown CountyFrench for "foot of the lake" 101,633 719.55 sq mi
(1,864 km2)
Forest County 041 Crandon1885Langlade and Oconto CountiesForest which covered the area when it was settled 9,304 1,014.07 sq mi
(2,626 km2)
Grant County 043 Lancaster1837Iowa CountyProbably 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 Monroe1837Iowa County and unorganized territoryNathanael Greene (1742-86), quartermaster general during the American Revolutionary War 36,842 583.96 sq mi
(1,512 km2)
Green Lake County 047 Green Lake1858Marquette CountyGreen Lake located within the county 19,051 349.44 sq mi
(905 km2)
Iowa County 049 Dodgeville1829Crawford CountyIowa tribe of Indians 23,687 762.58 sq mi
(1,975 km2)
Iron County 051 Hurley1893Ashland and Oneida CountiesLocal iron deposits 5,916 758.17 sq mi
(1,964 km2)
Jackson County 053 Black River Falls1853La Crosse CountyAndrew Jackson (1767-1845), President of the United States 1829–37 20,449 987.72 sq mi
(2,558 km2)
Jefferson County 055 Jefferson1836Milwaukee CountyThomas Jefferson (1743-1826), President of the United States (1801-09) 83,686 556.47 sq mi
(1,441 km2)
Juneau County 057 Mauston1856Adams CountySolomon Juneau (1793-1856), founder of what would become Milwaukee 26,664 766.93 sq mi
(1,986 km2)
Kenosha County 059 Kenosha1850Racine CountyIndian word meaning "place of the pike" 166,426 271.99 sq mi
(704 km2)
Kewaunee County 061 Kewaunee1852Door CountyEither 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 Crosse1851Crawford CountyIndian game of lacrosse 114,638 451.69 sq mi
(1,170 km2)
Lafayette County 065 Darlington1846Iowa CountyGilbert du Motier marquis de La Fayette (1757-1834), a French general in the American Revolutionary War 16,836 633.59 sq mi
(1,641 km2)
Langlade County 067 Antigo1879Oconto CountyCharles 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 Merrill1874Marathon CountyAbraham Lincoln (1809-65), President of the United States 1861-65 28,743 878.97 sq mi
(2,277 km2)
Manitowoc County 071 Manitowoc1836Brown CountyMunedoo-owk, an Ojibwe word meaning "the place of the good spirit" 81,442 589.08 sq mi
(1,526 km2)
Marathon County 073 Wausau1850Portage CountyMarathon, Greece 134,063 1,544.98 sq mi
(4,001 km2)
Marinette County 075 Marinette1879Oconto CountyMarie Antoinette Chevalier, Indian wife of an early fur trapper 41,749 1,399.35 sq mi
(3,624 km2)
Marquette County 077 Montello1836Brown CountyFather Pere Jacques Marquette(1637-75), missionary and explorer 15,404 455.60 sq mi
(1,180 km2)
Menominee County 078 Keshena1959Menominee Indian Reservation, Shawano, and Oconto CountiesMenominee Indians 4,232 357.61 sq mi
(926 km2)
Milwaukee County 079 Milwaukee1834Brown CountyMahnawaukee-Seepe, an Indian word meaning "gathering place by the river" 947,735 241.40 sq mi
(625 km2)
Monroe County 081 Sparta1854La Crosse CountyJames Monroe (1758-1831), President of the United States (1817-25) 44,673 900.78 sq mi
(2,333 km2)
Oconto County 083 Oconto1851Brown CountyAn Indian settlement and the Oconto River, whose name means "plentiful with fish" 37,660 997.99 sq mi
(2,585 km2)
Oneida County 085 Rhinelander1885Lincoln CountyOneida Indians 35,998 1,112.97 sq mi
(2,883 km2)
Outagamie County 087 Appleton1851Brown CountyOutagamie Indians 176,695 637.52 sq mi
(1,651 km2)
Ozaukee County 089 Port Washington1853Washington CountyThe Ojibwe word for the Sauk nation 86,395 233.08 sq mi
(604 km2)
Pepin County 091 Durand1858Dunn CountyPierre and Jean Pepin du Chardonnets, explorers 7,469 231.98 sq mi
(601 km2)
Pierce County 093 Ellsworth1853Saint Croix CountyFranklin Pierce (1804-69), President of the United States (1853-57) 41,019 573.75 sq mi
(1,486 km2)
Polk County 095 Balsam Lake1853Saint Croix CountyJames Polk (1795-1849), President of the United States (1845-49) 44,205 913.96 sq mi
(2,367 km2)
Portage County 097 Stevens Point1836Brown, Crawford, Iowa, and Milwaukee CountiesPassage between the Fox and Wisconsin Rivers 70,019 800.68 sq mi
(2,074 km2)
Price County 099 Phillips1879Chippewa and Lincoln CountiesWilliam T. Price(1824-86), United States Congressman(1883-86) 14,159 1,254.38 sq mi
(3,249 km2)
Racine County 101 Racine1836Milwaukee CountyRacine, 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 Center1842Iowa CountyThe rich soil of the area 18,021 586.15 sq mi
(1,518 km2)
Rock County 105 Janesville1836Milwaukee CountyRock River, which flows through the county 160,331 718.14 sq mi
(1,860 km2)
Rusk County 107 Ladysmith1901Chippewa CountyJeremiah McLain Rusk (1830-93), Governor of Wisconsin 1882-89 14,755 913.59 sq mi
(2,366 km2)
Sauk County 111 Baraboo1840Crawford, Dane and Portage CountiesSauk Indians 61,976 830.9 sq mi
(2,152 km2)
Sawyer County 113 Hayward1883Ashland and Chippewa CountiesPhiletus Sawyer (1816-1900), United States Representative (1865-75) and Senator (1881-93) from Wisconsin 16,557 1,257.31 sq mi
(3,256 km2)
Shawano County 115 Shawano1853Oconto CountyAn Ojibwe word meaning "southern" 41,949 893.06 sq mi
(2,313 km2)
Sheboygan County 117 Sheboygan1836Brown CountyShawb-wa-way-kun, an Indian word meaning "great noise underground" 115,507 511.27 sq mi
(1,324 km2)
St. Croix County 109 Hudson1840Crawford County, and unorganized territoryAn early French explorer named St. Croix, about whom little is known 84,345 722.33 sq mi
(1,871 km2)
Taylor County 119 Medford1875Clark, Lincoln, Marathon and Chippewa CountiesWilliam Robert Taylor (1820-1909), Governor of Wisconsin 1874-76 20,689 974.88 sq mi
(2,525 km2)
Trempealeau County 121 Whitehall1854Crawford and La Crosse CountiesTrempealeau 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 Viroqua1851Richland and Crawford CountiesMount Vernon, home of George Washington 29,773 791.58 sq mi
(2,050 km2)
Vilas County 125 Eagle River1893Oneida CountyWilliam Vilas (1840-1908), officer in the Civil War United States Postmaster General (1885-88) United States Secretary of the Interior (1888-89) and Senator from Wisconsin (1891-97) 21,430 856.60 sq mi
(2,219 km2)
Walworth County 127 Elkhorn1836Milwaukee CountyReuben Hyde Walworth (1788-1867), jurist from New York 102,228 555.13 sq mi
(1,438 km2)
Washburn County 129 Shell Lake1883Burnett CountyCadwallader Washburn (1818-82), Governor of Wisconsin (1872–74) and Representative from Wisconsin (1867–71) 15,911 797.11 sq mi
(2,065 km2)
Washington County 131 West Bend1836Brown and Milwaukee CountiesGeorge Washington (1732-99), American Revolutionary War leader (1775–83) and first President of the United States (1789–97) 131,887 430.70 sq mi
(1,116 km2)
Waukesha County 133 Waukesha1846Milwaukee CountyWaugooshance, a Pottawatomi word meaning "little foxes" 389,891 549.57 sq mi
(1,423 km2)
Waupaca County 135 Waupaca1851Brown and Winnebago Countieswau-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 Wautoma1851Marquette CountyAn Indian word meaning "good earth" 24,496 626.15 sq mi
(1,622 km2)
Winnebago County 139 Oshkosh1840Brown, Calumet, and Fond du Lac CountiesWinnebago Indians 166,994 434.49 sq mi
(1,125 km2)
Wood County 141 Wisconsin Rapids1856Portage CountyJoseph Wood (1809-90), state legislator (1856-58) 74,749 793.12 sq mi
(2,054 km2)

Renamed and proposed counties

Five counties in Wisconsin have been renamed and two have been proposed.

County Dates[11] Etymology Fate
Bad Ax(e) County 1851–1862 The Bad Axe River, Battle of Bad Axe
(County variably named with 'Ax' or 'Axe' depending on source)
Renamed Vernon County in 1862.[12]
Century County 2011 Proposed in 1997 for creation after the year 2000; the name was selected to represent "a new county for a new century".[13] Because of issues with delivery of services by the county government, some residents of Marshfield proposed a new county to be created from several towns in Clark, Marathon, and Wood Counties, the city of Marshfield, and the village of Spencer.[13]
Dallas County 1859–1869 George M. Dallas
Vice President of the United States
Renamed Barron County in 1869.[14]
Gates County 1901–1905 Milwaukee land speculator James L. Gates[15] Renamed Rusk County in 1905.[16]
La Pointe County 1845–1866 Renamed Bayfield County in 1866.[17]
New County 1879–1880 A new county formed from part of Oconto County Renamed Langlade County in 1880[18]
Tuskola County 1850 proposed county to come from Washington County in 1850[9] Within modern Washington and Ozaukee counties

See also


  1. Curtiss-Wedge, Franklyn (1919). History of Buffalo and Pepin Counties, Wisconsin, Volume 1. Higginson Book Company. pp. 3–4.
  2. Wisconsin Legislative Reference Bureau. State of Wisconsin 2011-2012 Blue Book. Madison: Joint Committee on Legislative Organization, 2011, p. 736.
  3. Wisconsin Legislative Reference Bureau. State of Wisconsin 2011-2012 Blue Book. Madison: Joint Committee on Legislative Organization, 2011, p. 732.
  4. "Wisconsin QuickFacts". U.S. Census Bureau. Archived from the original on 2013-03-03. Retrieved 2013-03-04. (2010 Census)
  5. "FIPS Publish 6-4". National Institute of Standards and Technology. Retrieved 2008-02-11.
  6. "EPA County FIPS Code Listing". US Environmental Protection Agency. Retrieved 2008-02-11.
  7. "NACo - Find a county". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2008-02-11.
  8. Wisconsin Legislative Reference Bureau. State of Wisconsin 2011-2012 Blue Book. Madison: Joint Committee on Legislative Organization, 2011, p. 731.
  9. Carver, Jonathon (1910). Proceedings of the State Historical Society of Wisconsin at its Fifty-Seventh Annual Meeting (1st ed.). Madison WI: Democrat Printing Company. (WV County Founding Dates and Etymology). Other editions available at ISBN 1130567257 and Google Books
  10. Elkins, Winston (1985). Trempealeau and the Mississippi River Dam. Trempealeau County, WI: Trempealeau County Historical Society.
  11. "Interactive Map of Wisconsin County Formation History". Retrieved 2014-09-15.
  12. History of Vernon County, Wisconsin. Viroqua, WI: Union Publishing. 1884. p. 132. (Bad Ax County). Other editions available: ISBN 1178120341 and Google Books
  13. "New county only solution to poor service, some say". The Journal Times. September 28, 1997. Retrieved 2017-01-09.
  14. "Dictionary of Wisconsin History". Wisconsin Historical Society. Retrieved 2013-02-27.
  15. Gannett, Henry (1905). The Origin of Certain Place Names in the United States. Govt. Print. Off. p. 135.
  16. Rusk County Museum Archived 2013-10-22 at the Wayback Machine
  17. Wisconsin Historical Society-La Pointe County, Wisconsin (obsolete)
  18. 'History of Langlade County, Wisconsin from U.S. Government Survey to Present Time, With Biographical Sketches,' Robert Dessueran, Bernier Bros Publishing Co., Antigo, Wisconsin: 1922, History of Langlade County, Chapter V: Organization of Langlade County, pg. 12
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