Adams County Chamber of Commerce & Tourism
500 Main St
PO Box 295
Friendship, WI 53934
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In many important ways, the history of Adams County is linked closely with the history of transportation and the resources in search of which travelers set forth. Beginning with the native peoples who first settled the area, its western border on the Wisconsin River and its prominent natural landmarks placed Adams County along trading routes.
European-American settlement did not begin in earnest until 1838 when a small tract was ceded to Jared Walsworth and his Menomonee wife. His tavern, located along the Pinery Road, the overland route of the northern pine forests, induced the first wayfarers to stay in Adams County. In 1848, the same year Wisconsin became a state, the Menomonee relinquished their claim to the entire Wisconsin River Valley.
By 1860 the population reached six thousand, mainly relocated Easterners attracted by the ready supply of white pine for buildings and heating their homes. The tumbling water of the county’s many creeks and rivers powered their sawmills.
The railroads, however, continued to skirt Adams County until the next century. As a result, the population increased very little until immigrants from Germany, Bohemia, and Poland, drawn by the promises of inexpensive and fertile farmland, settled here in the 1890s.