On October 26, 1818 Brown County’s boundary lines became the first to be established west of Lake Michigan. Crawford County was founded on the same day. However, Brown County is considered Wisconsin’s first because “b” comes before “c” in the alphabet.
Two hundred years ago Brown County was much larger, encompassing almost half of the future state of Wisconsin. Today the county spans 530 sq. miles and is home to more than 260,000 people. Discover more about Brown County's history by visiting our special exhibit "Our Brown County!"
How did Brown County get its name?
Brown County, along with several other municipalities across the country, is named in honor of General Jacob Jennings Brown. General Brown was born to a Quaker family in Pennsylvania in 1775. He moved to New York and served as a Judge and solider in the state militia. During the War of 1812, Brown earned the rank of Major General. For his heroics, he was named Commanding General of the Army by Congress, and served in the government until his death in 1828.
Over the last 10 months the museum has focused on celebrating this 200 years of history. We opened “Our Brown County” the exhibit. We have participated in parades and events across the county celebrating this particular moment.
It’s a great thing- a bicentennial celebration- but what does it really mean? To me (a curator of history) it means everything. It’s all of these moments in history stacked on top of each other to create the moment we’re living in now. I love learning about the people our streets and schools are named after and the effect they had on the community that is still felt today. I respect that fact that I wouldn’t be living here without the Homestead Act or the Green Bay Packers. Both are different parts of our community’s history but both influence people lives more than they know.
Knowing our history and respecting the work of the people before us allows us to connect on a deeper level to our community and take pride in it. After all, this is the place you’ve chosen to live, work, and play. I invite you think of some of these things and participate in this special moment in Brown County's history.