Madison was selected as the capitol of the newly created Wisconsin Territory in November, 1836, when the city was still in the planning stages. Former federal judge James Duane Doty purchased the land on which Madison stands earlier that year, and platted two cities on the more than one thousand acre parcel he had purchased.
While Doty lobbied aggressively to have his new city selected as the capitol of the territory, it was the location of the proposed city that brought about the decision, being halfway between Milwaukee and Prairie du Chien, and central to northeastern Green Bay and the lead mining regions in the southwest.
Doty named one of the platted cities Madison, after President James Madison who had only recently died, on June 28, 1836. He also gave the streets of Madison the names of the other 39 signers of the constitution. The first capitol building was built in 1837.
When Wisconsin became a state in 1848, Madison remained its capitol.
It was determined in the 1840's that Wisconsin contained valuable lead reserves. This gained much attention at the time and lured many to the territory to take advantage of the state's mining interests.
Many railroads built lines in Wisconsin in the 1850's including the Milwaukee & Mississippi Railroad, later known as the Milwaukee Railroad. The Milwaukee & Horicon Railroad completed a 14 mile track between Horicon and Waupun in 1855.
This map of Wisconsin and parts of adjacent states was published in 1857 by Jasper Vliet. It shows cities, towns, counties, waterways, and railroad network of 1857.