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Grant County, Wisconsin facts for kids

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Grant County
Grant County Courthouse, Armand D. Koch, architect, 1902
Grant County Courthouse, Armand D. Koch, architect, 1902
Map of Wisconsin highlighting Grant County
Location within the U.S. state of Wisconsin
Map of the United States highlighting Wisconsin
Wisconsin's location within the U.S.
Country  United States
State  Wisconsin
Founded 1837
Seat Lancaster
Largest city Platteville
 • Total 1,183 sq mi (3,060 km2)
 • Land 1,147 sq mi (2,970 km2)
 • Water 36 sq mi (90 km2)  3.1%
 • Total 51,208
 • Estimate 
 • Density 43.287/sq mi (16.713/km2)
Time zone UTC−6 (Central)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−5 (CDT)
Congressional district 3rd

Grant County is a county located in the U.S. state of Wisconsin. As of the 2010 census, the population was 51,208. Its county seat is Lancaster. Grant County comprises the Platteville, WI Micropolitan Statistical Area. It is in the tri-state area of Illinois, Iowa, and Wisconsin, and is crossed by travelers commuting to Madison from a number of eastern Iowan cities, and by residents of northern Illinois traveling to the Twin Cities or La Crosse, Wisconsin.


Native American period

What is now Grant County was largely uninhabited prior to contact with Europeans, as it was a border region between the territories of the Kickapoo, Menominee, and Illinois tribes. The only Native American group to have a permanent settlement in the area was the Meskwaki, sometimes known as the Fox, who had a temporary village in what is now the extreme northeast of the county during the mid-1700s.

Spanish period

Between 1520 and 1620 this area was nominally ruled by Spain, though no Spaniard or anyone who claimed loyalty to Spain had ever come within five hundred miles of the region during this time, and as such, Spanish authority went completely unfelt in what is now Grant County, Wisconsin.

French period

The first Frenchmen to reach what is now Grant County were Jacques Marquette and Louis Joliet who explored the region in the spring of 1673, when they set out from what would later become Green Bay. No permanent settlement was made. In 1680 Louis Hennepin also passed through the region that would later become Grant County, also making no permanent settlement. In 1689 Nicholas Perrot passed through the territory and claimed it for the King of France. The first known settlement by a European came in 1725 when a trading post was established by Pierriere Marin. Later the French would abandon it.

British period

The British technically ruled the region during the period in between the French and Indian War and the American Revolution, though no effort was made to settle or administer the region which would eventually become Grant County. After the French abandoned the trading post established by Marin, the next person of European descent to see what is now Grant County was Captain Jonathan Carver, an English colonial from Connecticut who passed through what is now Grant County in 1776 during an attempt to discover the Pacific Ocean.

United States period

In 1783 the British government acknowledged the jurisdiction of the United States over the land east of the Mississippi River, including what is now Grant County. There were no permanent settlers of either European or Native American descent in what is now Grant County since the French trading post established by Marin was abandoned, both Native Americans of the region and the European and White American fur traders who passed through were nomadic, and left no records. Grant County was created as part of Wisconsin Territory in 1837. It was named after an Indian trader; his first name, origins, and eventual fate are all unknown.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 1,183 square miles (3,060 km2), of which 1,147 square miles (2,970 km2) is land and 36 square miles (93 km2) (3.1%) is water.

Major highways

  • US 18.svg U.S. Highway 18
  • US 61.svg U.S. Highway 61
  • US 151 (WI).svg U.S. Highway 151
  • WIS 11.svg Highway 11 (Wisconsin)
  • WIS 35.svg Highway 35 (Wisconsin)
  • WIS 80.svg Highway 80 (Wisconsin)
  • WIS 81.svg Highway 81 (Wisconsin)
  • WIS 133.svg Highway 133 (Wisconsin)


  • KPVB - Platteville Municipal Airport serves the county and surrounding communities.
  • 73C - Lancaster Municipal Airport enhances county service.

Adjacent counties


Historical population
Census Pop.
1840 3,926
1850 16,169 311.8%
1860 31,189 92.9%
1870 37,979 21.8%
1880 37,852 −0.3%
1890 36,651 −3.2%
1900 38,881 6.1%
1910 39,007 0.3%
1920 39,044 0.1%
1930 38,469 −1.5%
1940 40,639 5.6%
1950 41,460 2.0%
1960 44,419 7.1%
1970 48,398 9.0%
1980 51,736 6.9%
1990 49,264 −4.8%
2000 49,597 0.7%
2010 51,208 3.2%
2020 (est.) 51,021 −0.4%
U.S. Decennial Census
1790–1960 1900–1990
1990–2000 2010–2020
USA Grant County, Wisconsin age pyramid
2000 Census Age Pyramid for Grant County.

As of the census of 2000, there were 49,597 people, 18,465 households, and 12,390 families residing in the county. The population density was 43 people per square mile (17/km2). There were 19,940 housing units at an average density of 17 per square mile (7/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 98.23% White, 0.52% Black or African American, 0.13% Native American, 0.46% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 0.14% from other races, and 0.50% from two or more races. 0.56% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 52.0% were of German, 9.2% English, 8.8% Irish, 6.6% American and 6.4% Norwegian ancestry.

There were 18,465 households, out of which 30.50% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 56.10% were married couples living together, 7.50% had a female householder with no husband present, and 32.90% were non-families. 26.00% of all households were made up of individuals, and 12.10% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.51 and the average family size was 3.03.

In the county, the population was spread out, with 23.70% under the age of 18, 14.60% from 18 to 24, 24.80% from 25 to 44, 21.60% from 45 to 64, and 15.30% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females there were 103.00 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 102.00 males.





Census-designated places

Unincorporated communities

Ghost town

Notable people

  • Willard H. Burney, member of the Nebraska House of Representatives
  • B. W. Countryman, member of the South Dakota House of Representatives
  • John Lewis Dyer, Methodist circuit rider missionary in Minnesota and Colorado; lead miner in Grant County prior to 1848
  • William Garner Waddel, member of the South Dakota Senate

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Condado de Grant (Wisconsin) para niños

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