Walworth County

Walworth County is a county located in the U.S. state of Wisconsin. As of the 2020 census, the population was 106,478. Its county seat is Elkhorn. The county was created in 1836 from Wisconsin Territory and organized in 1839. It is named for Reuben H. Walworth.

Walworth county lies along the northern line of Illinois, its eastern side about twenty-seven miles from the slightly irregular shore of Lake Michigan. It is twenty-four miles square, its center in latitude 42° 41′ north, and longitude 88° 32′ west. The bordering counties are Rock on the west, Jefferson and Waukesha north, Racine and Kenosha east, Boone and McHenry south.

Communities and Historic Sites

Walworth County Map

Allen’s Grove

Allen’s Grove is an unincorporated community and census-designated place in Walworth County, Wisconsin, United States. It is located approximately two miles west of Darien, in the Towns of Darien and Sharon, at 42°34′49″N 88°45′45″W. It was first named a CDP at the 2020 census, which showed a population of 174..
Pliny and Sidney Allen came from Rochester, New York, in 1844, and having reached the western border of the county in their search for a favorable site on which to build a village of their own, they bought more than one thousand acres of land, mostly in sections 1 of Clinton, 6 of Sharon, and 31 of Darien, on the high ground west of the south branch of Turtle creek. In May, 1845, they came again with their brothers, Harvey and Philip, Jr., bringing also their families and three or four more, unrelated mechanics, sixty-five in all. They lodged at Darien the aged father and their sister and others not hardened to the work of chopping and building, quickly made ready their cabins, and Allen’s Grove at once became a village. In July Philip Allen, Sr., died. In August a religious society was formed. The next year brought the eldest brother, Asa Keyes Allen, his son, Dr. Joseph C. Allen, and son-in-law, Ezra P. Teale, all from Ypsilanti. These two younger men built a store and stocked it with general goods to the amount of six thousand dollars. In that year Preston H. Allen was born, but it is not told who were his parents, whether he was a son or a grandson of one of the brothers; and in that year Preston W. Smith married Frances Schofield. Mary Wallingford taught the rudiments in a room over the store. In 1847 a public school house was built.
The village was formally platted in 1852, with Clinton street, its northern limit lying along the Darien line.
Excerpt from History of Walworth County Wisconsin by Albert Clayton Beckwith


Belle’s Corners

Belle’s Corners is where U.S. Highway 14, Brick Church Road and Six Corners Road intersect in the town of Walworth.
William Belle’s log cabin faced Highway 14 with its back to Brick Church Road and included his home, store and post office.
Belle came to the county in 1837 from Albany County, N.Y., and first lived at what is now Glenwood Springs. In 1839 he bought 80 acres of prairie and 40 acres of timber and later acquired an additional 80 acres at Belle’s Corners.
The first post office in the area was located in Belle’s log home. He served as postmaster for 14 years.


Big Foot Prairie

Big Foot Prairie was the prairie opening at the head of Geneva Lake (once known as Big Foot Lake, but renamed in honor of Geneva Lake in New York State); the prairie straddled the state line between Walworth, Wisconsin and Big Foot, Illinois.
In the early days there was no rural free mail delivery and people came from miles around to the Big Foot post office for mail which was brought in twice a week by horse and buggy from Harvard and Elkhorn.



Bloomfield is a town in Walworth County, Wisconsin, United States. The population was 1,778 at the 2020 census. The village of Bloomfield was formed from part of the town on December 20, 2011. The census-designated place of Lake Ivanhoe and unincorporated community of North Bloomfield are located in the town.
On January 23, 1844, Township 1, Range 18 east, being the southeast quarter of the town of Geneva, was, by act of Legislature, set off and incorporated under the name of Bloomfield. Bloomfield is the extreme southeastern town in Walworth County, and is bounded north by the town of Lyons ; south by the town of Richmond, Illinois ; east by the town of Wheatland, Kenosha County ; and west by the town of Linn. It contains thirty-six square miles of varied and diversified country, well watered, and admirably adapted to agricultural pursuits, Bloom Prairie, in the southwestern portion of the town, being considered the richest land in the county.
The surface of the country is rolling prairie, interspersed with openings of oak, and broken by ranges of hills and sharp hillocks, with swamps covered with a growth of tamarack or larch on the lower lands.
Excerpt from History of Walworth County, Wisconsin 1882


Blooming Prairie schoolhouse

Blooming Prairie

Blooming Prairie was north of and near the center of Darien township. The first post office in the town of Darien was established in 1838, on Blooming Prairie. The area was settled by Christopher Chesebro. The Chesebro Farm Cemetery (aka Blooming Prairie Cemetery) is located on Hwy 89 near School Section road. Blooming Prairie School District, No. 2, was set off September 21, 1840. The 1889 Blooming Prairie School has been moved to the Walworth County Fairgrounds and in the Spring and Fall of the year, classes are offered at the school to give children an idea of what school was like many years ago. The school at the Walworth County Fairgrounds will be open from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm. during the County Fair. The area was named by two early settlers who were struck by the beauty of the prairie covered with lady’s slippers, shooting stars, and other wild flowers.




“A cabin of logs was at once decided upon, and immediately commenced, yet it was some two weeks before the exceptionally cold weather yielded sufficiently to admit of filling in the crevices between the logs, so as to make it habitable. After two weeks of dreary waiting, the cold so far abated as to admit of digging up the earth to the south side of the cabin, and, with hot water, obtained a plastic mud, with which, with wooden paddles, the chinking was done, and the new residence was thus completed. The inhabitants of the whole town were Rockwell, Bradley, Latham and Ogden —four- persons— who occupied the new building, the first dwelling of Elkhorn. the future county seat of Walworth County.

“The larger question next became the paramount subject of solicitude and inquiry; so Milo Bradley improvised a hand-sled, with which he and Ogden made a trip to Spring Prairie for supplies. Be it borne in mind that flour, meal and salt pork were, at that time, the standard necessaries of the day. Having successfully made the trip, they there also learned that one Alpheus Johnson, who had a cabin in what was then and is now called the Dwinnell Settlement, in La Fayette, had a few potatoes, and it was decided to add that excellent vegetable to their frugal fare. Accordingly, the next day Ogden, equipped with the hand-sled, made his way through the brush for the much-coveted luxury. The trip was void of success. The old man positively denied the suspicion of having any potatoes. As he was slowly wending his way homeward, he discovered in the softening crust of snow, coon tracks, which were but another confirmation of the maxim that Providence or Hercules helps the persevering. A new field of enterprise was here opened; he followed the trail until he found where the coon had ensconced himself for his night’s repose. Returning to the cabin for an axe and re-enforcements, the siege of the coon commenced. The coons had probably heard of the discussion of one of his relatives with Capt. Scott, and, being like-minded, surrendered. Two of them were captured and brought alive to town, and, for a few days, the colonists fared sumptuously on “baked coon.” But at that time, the example of the boy and the woodchuck had not materialized, but the analogy of being “out of meat” had. The day of such a luxury was drawing to a close; so Hollis Latham started on foot for Milwaukee for the purpose of purchasing provisions. He went by the way of Skunk’s Grove, Racine County, near what is now Franksville, and contracted with Mr. Joseph Nickson to haul out some provisions. Reaching Milwaukee, the provisions were purchased, and Nickson agreed to be at Elkhorn as soon as Latham, who determined to return by the way of Mukwonago, a nearer route. When he arrived here, no Nickson had appeared, and the sequel showed that Nickson on his return by way of his home, had concluded to accept an invitation to a wedding in Kenosha County, and it was some ten days before he put in an appearance. In the meantime, having nothing except the rib bones of some salt pork, Ogden’s rifle was brought into requisition, to the detriment of the prairie chickens, of which, with the rib bones, they made a stew: and the chickens feeding at that season of the year upon hazel buds, they were about as savory as the celebrated political crow, which politicians sometimes diet upon, and it is a notable fact that at this day, none of the old settlers at that period enthuse worth a cent during the chicken season.”

The house was not entirely finished till the middle of the summer, but sufficiently so for the occupancy of a numerous family, on the arrival of the Bradley families early in June. It was, for the times, a veiy pretentious structure. Its size was 18×30 feet. It was a story and a half high. It had two outside doors, the main entrance being on the south side, the other at the southeast corner, on the east end. The whole east half of the lower floor was in one room, being kitchen, dining-room and general sitting-room. The west half was divided into three small rooms. The upper floor was unpartitioned and constituted a grand dormitory, sheets being hung up to define personal rights and insure privacy. It was guiltless of paint, and a stove funnel, stuck through the roof, did duty as a chimney. A small dairy or cheese-room was subsequently attached to the northeast corner of the house. The order of architecture was undefinable, and suggested comfort and utility more than aesthetic taste. It has given way to more modern and convenient dwellings, but is still remembered as the abode of comfort by the early settlers, and the welcome place of sojourn of many a weary traveler of the early days.

Rockwell returned from Indiana with his drove of stock early in June—about the 5th. He brought some twenty-five cows, three yoke of oxen and a horse. They were not what a farmer of Walworth County would to-day call a fancy lot; there is not, probably, in all the county, among the thousands, twenty-five as scurvy as those which constituted Rockwell’s drove. As they were safe from the disgrace of comparison, there being no others near, they were satisfactory to their owners, and were put to grazing on the fresh-grown grass of Elkhorn Prairie. The colony luxuriated on bread and milk till the women might arrive. It is not believed that either of the men attempted to churn before that time.

Soon after Rockwell’s return, Daniel E. Bradley arrived in Racine with the families of himself and Milo. The ox-team was immediately dispatched for them, and they reached Elkhorn and took up quarters in the frame house, not yet plastered, June 12, 1887. This addition of women and children made the colony complete. The families who arrived with Mr. Daniel E. Bradley consisted of three women-—Mrs. Daniel E. Bradley and daughter (now Mrs. Hollis Latham), and Mrs. Milo E. Bradley, with six children, the oldest of whom, then a youth of fourteen years, is the present Postmaster of Elkhorn—Mr. Henry Bradley. The census taken at that time showed the population (all inmates of the new house) to number fourteen, viz., five men, three women and six children. Mr. Bradley, Sr., with his wife, constituted the head of the united family. Business began in earnest. Some twenty-five acres of prairie were broken during the latter part of June, partly on the claim of the company on Section 5, in what is now the town of Geneva, and a few acres on each of the claims of Latham and Ogden, on Sections 6 and 1, within the present limits of the town of Elkhorn. So the first land broken by the plow for cultivation was by Messrs. Latham and Ogden on their respective claims. The crops that year consisted principally of corn, with a bounteous crop of rutabaga turnips, taken from six acres, which helped the cows through the following winter.

Bradley’s house, besides being the home of the colony, was “Bradley’s” tavern at Elkhorn designated that locality. Bradley’s house, besides being the home of the colony, was a tavern and a favorite stopping place for travelers. It was the first tavern in Elkhorn, and in subsequent sketches it should be so understood. Travelers never asked Mr. Bradley to “show them a room” there was only one, embracing all up-stairs they were only too glad to be shown a bed.
Excerpt from History of Walworth County Wisconsin by Albert Clayton Beckwith


Brooks Cove

The group of lakes now named Beulah lies in sections 4. 5, 8. 9, 16, 17. 18. The outlet of these lakes finds its way through Mukwonago to Fox river. Lake Beulah station, Wisconsin Central Railway, in section 12. is a bit more than three miles from the namesake lakes, eighty-five miles from Chicago, and thirty-live miles (by rail) from Milwaukee. These lakes have long been known to local campers, boaters, fishers, and swimmers,—the latter favored by the irregular shore lines. At Hately’s Bay (or Brooks Cove) on the upper lake, in section 17, the bottom drops away rapidly to the depth of sixtyseven feet within a lew rods of shore, and for more than a quarter-mile toward the Opposite shore the water is sixty or more feet deep.
Excerpt from History of Walworth County, Wisconsin 1882


Cedar Point

Thirteen sections of the town of Linn are more or less lake-covered. Of section 7 only Cedar Point, at the east side of the entrance to Williams bay, about six acres of high and dry land are heaved up from the general submergence of that section.
Excerpt from History of Walworth County Wisconsin by Albert Clayton Beckwith


Village of Darien

Located in southern Wisconsin near the Illinois/Wisconsin border, Darien is a small community of 1,588 residents fifty miles from the Cities of Milwaukee and Madison. Among other things, agriculture plays a large role in the community using the latest technology for large grain farming. The Downtown Wisconsin Street Business District is now listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

In 1837 John Bruce built a house near the road to Beloit at the central part of section 27. This modest mansion also served as a wayside inn, until 1843, when his son, James R. Bruce, built a hotel with such substantial frame and workmanship that it still serves the purpose of a public house. Henry Frey built a store in 1844, and filled it with a large stock of goods. A postoffice had been established there in 1839. A hamlet grew slowly about these buildings until 1856, in which year Mr. Frey, Hiram A. Stone and Edward Topping platted the village of Darien, through the middle of which the railway came that year from Racine and onward to Beloit. The new station at once became an important point for shipping the abundant grain crops of Darien and other towns, and as busy a distributing point for the trade in pine lumber. Less grain than then is now raised and forwarded, but the station has not lost its relative importance. Before 1862 five grain houses were built, severally by Parker M. Cole, Hiram Onderdonk, John Williams, John Bruce and M. Bushnell Stone. These have been operated by men who knew how to draw and hold trade.

The village is on slightly uneven ground, but has no difficult street grades. It is generally a few feet higher than at the station, where it is 945 feet above sea level. It is 9.4 miles from Elkhorn, 65.9 miles from Milwaukee (by rail), 84.7 miles from Chicago. It is as yet unincorporated, and has about four hundred inhabitants. (In October, 1911, the village rejected a proposition to incorporate by a decisive majority.)
Excerpt from History of Walworth County Wisconsin by Albert Clayton Beckwith

City of Delavan

Delavan is a city in Walworth County, Wisconsin, United States. The population was 8,505 at the 2020 census. It is located 45 miles southwest of Milwaukee. The city is located partially within the Town of Delavan, but the two entities are politically independent.

Colonel Phoenix, his brother, and his cousin, platted their village and settled in it in 1837, and they had not long to wait for lot buyers and neighbors. The Colonel’s early death, and that of his brother, about two years later, were most regrettable, for their character and practical abilities gave them influence and weight; but these events did not arrest progress. The cousin remained a few more years and left the county before the village was incorporated.

Among the earlier business men were James Aram, W. Wallace Bradley, Col. Caleb and Edwin Croswell, Nicholas M. Harrington. Joseph D. Monell. Jr., George Passage, Aaron H. Taggart, Thomas Topping and Hezekiah Wells. Rev. Henry Topping came in 1839 to Darien and was induced to settle at Delavan in 1841, in which year came also Dr. Henderson Hunt.

No village can exist permanently without a blacksmith. In 1840 Alonzo McGraw came thus to confirm the site of the coming city. W. Willard Isham came in 1845 as a wagonsmith, and with Charles H. Sturtevant as wheelwright and partner, important trade was soon brought to Delavan. As the village and neighboring farm lands were settled men came in from their fields and resumed the mechanical or commercial occupations to which they had been bred but which they had dropped awhile. One intimately acquainted with men of the first half-century of the county would find many farmers who had been bred to village occupations, and a few who had seen human life far more broadly.

Excerpt from History of Walworth County Wisconsin by Albert Clayton Beckwith


Town of Delavan

Is there a Difference between the Town or City of Delavan?

Yes. The Town of Delavan is our town, which, for the most part, surrounds Delavan Lake and the inlet and includes businesses like the Village Supper Club, Waterfront, the Inn Between, Delavan Lake Yacht Club, JoJo’s Pizza and their Taco Truck, The Dancing Horses Theatre, Scoop’s Place, Lollipups, Gage Marine, Delavan Lake Resort, Rig-a-Tony’s, Bronze Bootique, the Kringle Company, The Belfry House and Opus Restaurant, Boxed & Burlap, and much more.

When Walworth County was first created in 1838 the Town of Delavan encompassed the southwest quarter of the county. The Town of Walworth, which included Sharon, was set off in 1839
and Darien was removed in 1840. Then on February 2, 1846, Section I of the township was given to the new town of Elkhorn.
When the township was first established in 1836, the Phoenix brothers named it for E. C. Delavan. Delavan never was in this area; he was born, raised and died in Schenectady, NY. He made a fortune as a wine merchant and then became active in the temperance movement.
The Phoenix brothers wanted to create a temperance community. There was a temperance clause in all township deeds that no alcoholic beverages would be consumed or sold on their premises. This included alcohol, malt beverages, spirits, wine and hard cider. The temperance clause held until 1845 when liquor made its first (at least, public) appearance.
Others who came to this township in 1836 were Luke Taylor, Allen Perkins and Wm. Phoenix. Soon after Gyms, Edwin and Henry Barlow, S. S. Barlow (who later became Attorney General of
Wisconsin), Wm. Hollinshead, Isaac Burson, and Charles Bailey came.
According to Butterfield’s History of Walworth County, the first town meeting was held on April 5,1842. Ira Utter was the Moderator and Benjamin F. Hart, the Clerk. The group decided that there would be one Assessor and two Constables chosen. They voted to pay town officers $1 a day unless it was otherwise proscribed by law. The first election was held that day with fifty six votes being


Village of East Troy

East Troy is a Village in Walworth County, Wisconsin, United States. The population was 5,673 at the 2020 census.

Jacob Burgit and Austin McCracken laid out their village in 1847, on each side of the territorial road from Milwaukee to Janesville, making Main street of that part of the highway lying within village limits. Running from its eastern beginning nearly southwest by westerly (making an angle of 58½° with the meridian line), this street makes an angle of 157° at its Church street crossing and leaves the western limit at an angle of 8½° with an east and west line. This one irregularity lends a slightly metropolitan aspect to the village plat, the other streets lying in the direction of section lines. The site was well chosen, affording short drainage lines, and the soil permitting dry cellars of any desired depth. Lots were sold on easiest terms to buyers, and as there were already a few dwellings and stores, the village had a healthy and hopeful infancy.

In the first period of railway building one line from the lake to the river parsed by ten miles northward and another about as far southward, and the Milwaukee & Beloit Company, in 1857, brought but delusive hope to villagers. Several years later a line from Chicago crossed the township five miles eastward, and the branch line from Elkhorn to Eagle is nearly as far westward. East Troy for more than forty years lay in a rail-less area. The village worked, hoped, waited, and respected itself, and at last rejoined the long lost world in 1907 by way of an electric line to Milwaukee. In spite of this long want of railway connection the village was always fair in the eyes of visitors, and its quickened prosperity has added something to its earlier attractions.
Excerpt from History of Walworth County Wisconsin by Albert Clayton Beckwith



City of Elkhorn

Elkhorn is a city in Walworth County, Wisconsin, United States. It is located 45 miles southwest of Downtown Milwaukee, 85 miles from Downtown Chicago, and 75 miles from the State Capital in Madison. As of the 2022 census, it was home to 10,317 people. It is the county seat.

In the early 1800s, Colonel Samuel Phoenix, who spotted a rack of elk antlers caught in a tree, proclaimed the area as “Elk Horn”. The area’s pristine beauty and fertile soils drew the attention of Daniel Bradley, his brother Milo, and LeGrand Rockwell in their quest to create a village. By 1846 when the first town meeting was held, Elkhorn boasted a population of 539.

Located at the center of Walworth County, Elkhorn was designated as the County seat in 1846. As the County seat, Elkhorn serves as the host community for governance and justice, financial and service organizations, and facilities and events. A beautiful park surrounds the County Government Center, a focal point for the Elkhorn downtown. It is where families gathered to say goodbye to their soldiers during World War II. Later the park became the setting for unique Christmas decorations, which resulted in being known as the “Christmas Card Town.”

“The Christmas Card Town” reputation is recognized every year through a series of oil paintings created by resident artist Jan Castle Reed depicting the City’s historical landmarks. The “Christmas Card Town” began with a series of the watercolor paintings done in the 1950s by Cecil Johnson for Ford Motor Company, which were later used for Christmas Cards. The tradition continues through the artistic talents of Jan Castle Reed and the sponsorship of the Elkhorn Area Chamber of Commerce.

In 1851, it became the home of the Walworth County Fair, deemed as one of the best county fairs in the nation. Today, the event draws over 100,000 visitors to the City. For more information on the County Fair or other activities on the fair grounds, contact the Walworth County Agricultural Society.

Elkhorn’s motto, “Living in Harmony” reflects its traditional “hometown” values and the community’s musical background from source band instrument manufacturers and repair, historical significance of composer Joseph Philbrick Webster of Civil War days and the Elkhorn-Holton Band.

The city of Elkhorn lies above sea-level, at the railway station 996 feet, at the court-house 1,031 feet, at points in the farthest northwest quarter 1,038 feet. It was for long supposed and said that it is on the highest ground in the county, which is nearly true, but not so nearly as to warrant the slight misstatement. Sharon and Walworth villages are nearly as high and the Yerkes Observatory is on ground higher by twelve feet. The point in the short high ridge of section 19, Geneva, is about one hundred feet higher than any part of Elkhorn. The rise from the station northward to Park street is of nearly uniform slope. The greater part of the city is built on practically level ground. The surface of the town was mostly of blackprairie mould, a spade-thrust deep, which gave rise to a harmless sarcasm; in effect, that sixteen fine cornfields were spoiled to make a needless city. The gravel next below is so mixed and underlaid with clay as to make the natural surface drainage worse than that of any city or village of the county, excepting Walworth. But it has become practicable, after many years, to secure dry cellars for new buildings. Good sewers are possible whenever the citizens are able and willing to bear their cost, as there is a fair descent southward to Jackson’s creek. A once considerable pond or marsh in the northeastern quarter has so far shrunk as to leave but twenty-five acres, at the northern line, slightly under water.
Excerpt from History of Walworth County Wisconsin by Albert Clayton Beckwith



FAIRFIELD, P. O., (Maxson’s Mill), in town of Bradford, county of Rock, on section 13, town 2 N., of range 15 E. It is 11 miles southeast from county seat, and 50 miles east of south from Madison. Population 100, 12 dwellings, 2 stores, 1 grist mill, and Presbyterian and Baptist denominations. It is on Turtle Creek, 16 miles from Beloit, and on the county line between Rock and Walworth, 9 miles from the state line. The first settler was Joseph Maxson.
From Wisconsin Gazetteer, Containing the Names, Locations, and Advantages, of the Counties, Cities, Villages, Post Offices, and Settlements, Together with a Description of the Lakes, Water Courses, Prairies, and Public Localities, in the State of Wisconsin. by John W. Hunt 1853


Village of Fontana

Fontana-on-Geneva Lake is a village located on Geneva Lake in Walworth County, Wisconsin, United States. The population was 3,120 at the 2020 census.

The highlands which bound and overlook Geneva lake are at its head continued in wanton curvatures for about a mile southwestward in section 15 of Walworth. Recession of the water by some prehistoric bursting of the eastern wall left a very uneven bottom about a half-mile wide, whose numerous springs suggest the probable character of the whole lake floor. In or near this basin-like part of section 14 James Van Slyke built his cabin in 1836 and marked claims wheresoever he listed. In July. 1840, he sold part of his domain to John Cumming, who, in January, 1845, sold it to Richard Montague, from whom Carlos L. Douglass bought in 1856.

It is not now known at Walworth when or where James Van Slyke went from that town or from this earth. Tradition preserves an impression that his wife was in most ways his superior. This may do him much less than justice. As Mr. Payne’s friend in 1836 he was in small favor with the Brink party. At Fontana he may not have stood as high as his half-heroic wife in Bigfoot’s esteem, but the noble red man’s standards of measurement are his own. From the scanty record of the family as landowners it is learned that in March, 1845, Charlotte Van Slyke bought for twenty-five dollars, of R. Wells Warren, lot 8 in block 19 (next west of the park), in the village of Geneva; and that in March, 1859, Dolphus S. Van Slyke and Lovina, his wife, Fernando D. Joy and Mary S., his wife, James S. Chambers and Rosalie W., his wife, and D. J. Van Slyke, as “sole heirs of Charlotte Van Slyke, of Walworth, deceased,” sold the same lot to Dan Wright. Also, that in 1851, Catharine Van Slyke received a deed of real estate in Walworth from Elizabeth Cummings, and that in one or more papers Catharine’s name is joined, her name placed first, with that of Dolphus S. Van Slyke. The child born at Geneva in 1836 died in 1856, but it is thought not at the home of her parents.
Excerpt from History of Walworth County Wisconsin by Albert Clayton Beckwith


Village of Genoa City (Original name Genoa Junction)

Genoa City is a village located in Kenosha and Walworth counties in the U.S. state of Wisconsin, 43 mi south-southwest of Milwaukee, located on the Illinois–Wisconsin border. The population was 2,982 at the 2020 census. It was named after Genoa, New York, which was named after Genoa in Italy.

This village of about three hundred inhabitants is situated in the southeastern part of the town (Bloomfield), near the northern State line of Illinois, and on the east side of Nippersink Creek. The Rockford & Kenosha Railroad passes through the village, and the Chicago & Northwestern along its eastern line. It is not incorporated. (Note: Genoa Junction became incorporated in 1901) Genoa contains a postoffice, one flour mill, a planing mill, lumber yard, two carriage shops, one general blacksmith and repairing establishment, a good hotel, three general stores, one drng and grocery store, one hardware store, one tailor, one shoemaker, and two saloon-keepers.

Genoa Flour Mills,—The original building was erected in 1851, by James F. Dickerson. It then had two (2) run of stone; it now has four, with a capacity of 50 bbls. of flour and 350 bu. of feed per day. The main building is three-and-one-half stories, 60 X 80 ft., with three wings, and the property is valued at $15,000. J. A. Pierce, of Sugar Creek, is the owner, but the mill is operated by G. W. Pierce. The particular brands manufactured are: ” Snow Bank ” and ” Cook’s Delight.” The mill is operated by water power, there being a fall of 16 ft. at this point.

W. J. Miller & Sons,—These flourishing wagon and carriage works were established by Mr. Miller in 1850. Besides manufacturing these articles he does a general repairing and blacksmithing business. The above partnership was formed in 1872, and additions were made to his buildings three years ago. The ” Miller Wagon,” so called, is standard.

Planing Mill,—The planing mill was built in 1869, and since then has been owned and operated by Robert Wegg. The property is valued at about $4,000. Mr. Wegg employs from 5 to 8 hands.

A neat little hotel, the Manor House, was built in 1871, and is the only one in the village. It is owned by Eli Manor, and conducted by his son, F. A.

This little village, which contains so many germs of growth, was first platted by James F. Dickerson, May 9 and 10, 1850. Mr. Dickerson died in a few years, and Adolph Freeman married his widow. In 1855-6, two additions to the original plat were made by Mr. Freeman.
Excerpt from History of Walworth County, Wisconsin 1882



Honey Creek

Village settlement began early and hopefully at Honey Creek in section 1. Spring Prairie in sections 29 and 30. Vienna in section 18, and Voree in the northeastern corner of section 36.

Honey Creek, on the stream so named, lies partly in Racine county, in which part is the Wisconsin Central Railway’s station. The village has three stores, a church, and a cemetery. Among remembered pastors of the union church were George H. Hubbard, George E. Moore, and Frederick T. Bohl. The postoffice has two free delivery routes. The school is of two grades, and its district is partly of Rochester.

Excerpt from History of Walworth County Wisconsin by Albert Clayton Beckwith


La Grange

Town 4 north of range 16 east was set off March 21, 1843, from the town of Elkhorn and named for an estate or country-seat of the hereof three revolutions, Marquis de Lafayette. It lies next southward from Palmyra, in Jefferson county; and the city of that name has trade relations and some personal interests with part of the town on this side of the line. Lagrange is generally about nine hundred fifty-five feet above sea-level. It is within the lower loop of the great Kettle moraine, and its numerous pot-like depressions are characteristic of that great glacial deposit. Some of these are (or have been) miniature lakes. The group of lakes named Lauderdale, from owners of adjacent land, is in the southeastern corner, section 36, and from it Honey creek takes its course across the Troy and Spring Prairie to Fox river. A branch of the Scuppernong flows northward, from section 18, and through sections 7 and 6.
Excerpt from History of Walworth County Wisconsin by Albert Clayton Beckwith


City of Lake Geneva

Lake Geneva is a resort city on Geneva Lake in southeastern Wisconsin. The lakeside Shore Path is dotted with Gilded Age mansions, many built by wealthy Chicagoans. Nearby, the 19th-century Black Point Estate and Gardens was the summer home of Chicago beer magnate Conrad Seipp. The Queen Anne–style house has Victorian furnishings. Local beaches include Big Foot Beach State Park, which has trails and picnic areas.

Solomon Juneau, in May, 1836, had told Charles A. Noyes, just arrived from Chicago, of golden possibilities lying between the lake and Rock river, and especially of the mill section at Geneva lake. He said that Hodgson and Brink had left two of their men to make such improvements as were needful to secure their claim to the whole section, and that as soon as their surveying contract should be finished they were going there to improve the water power and to build a town. The prospects looked fair to Mr. Noyes and with his cousin, Orrin Hatch Coe, he again left Chicago, reaching the disputed claim about May 21st, after much wandering in five counties. He found there three log houses, all occupied. One of these, just within the town of Linn, was Thomas Hovey’s; one, southeast of the outlet, was occupied by Hodgson and Brink’s men; and one, across the outlet, by Christopher Payne.

Ostrander and Henry explained that they had been to Milwaukee for provisions and had overstayed by three weeks for a “little spree with the boys.” Returning, they had found that Payne and Mosher had been a fortnight in possession, within which time they had built their cabin, and that they were indisposed to heed an informal notice to quit. Payne some time afterward admitted that he had seen Brink’s claim marks, but thought them somebody’s tomfoolery. Noyes and Coe bought a quarter interest in the whole claim for five hundred dollars, of Ostrander and Henry, who acted as agents and in their own behalf as co-claimants. Hodgson ratified the sale, though he could not for some weeks return in treat or fight with Payne. Noyes having advised compromise, to which Payne was not averse, he staked out a race as a first step in mill building. In the following night, without consulting Noyes, Messrs. Ostrander and Henry tore out Payne’s framework for a dam across the outlet. The next day Coe went eastward for money and Noyes soon set out for a millwright at Milwaukee. They had previously cut and hauled logs for two houses, and Noyes enjoined his men not to overstep the the north and south quarter line temporarily dividing the rival claimants. At his return from Milwaukee he found his caution had been disregarded and one house was finished.
Excerpt from History of Walworth County Wisconsin by Albert Clayton Beckwith


Town of Linn

Linn is a town in Walworth County, Wisconsin, United States. The population was 2,687 at the 2020 census. The unincorporated communities of Linton and Zenda are located within the town.
Town I north, range 17 east, was set off from Geneva, January 23, 1844, and was named for Dr. Lewis Field Linn, of Missouri, who from 1833 to his death, October 3, 1843, was Colonel Benton’s colleague in the Federal Senate, and of whose character and ability the Colonel wrote most appreciatively. It may be noted that at the naming of the town Doctor Linn’s death was yet fresh in the memory of the territorial Democracy. Next southward lie the towns of Hebron and Alden, in Illinois. About one-sixth of the town’s area is covered by Geneva lake, of which fair body of cold, pure, deep water much the greater part is in Linn. The area of that part of the town lying north of the lake is about two and one-half square miles. Thirteen sections of this town are more or less lake-covered. Of section 7 only Cedar Point, at the east side of the entrance to Williams bay, about six acres of high and dry land are heaved up from the general submergence of that section. The greatest lake depths are found near the line of section 7 of Linn and section 12 of Walworth. Williams bay, an almost rectangular indentation, a scant half-mile wide, and reaching a large half-mile northward, is wholly in section 6. The shores of the lake are high and uneven, were once thickly wooded, and are not now bare nor in any way unsightly, though architects and landscape makers have somewhat changed their primitive aspect.
Excerpt from History of Walworth County Wisconsin by Albert Clayton Beckwith


Town of Lyons

Lyons is a town in Walworth County, Wisconsin, United States. The population was 3,648 at the 2020 census. The unincorporated communities of Lyons and Springfield are located within the town.

Town 2 north, range 18 east, was set off from the town of Geneva by Act of January 23, 1844, and was named Hudson. James C. and Thomas K. Hudson came in 1846 and William Hudson lived there before 1860; but, as their names are not found in earliest records it is not very probable that they named their town. It is rather likelier that men of Columbia county, New York, chose thus to remind themselves, of their old home. A few years later the city of Hudson, in St. Croix county, seemed to have the stronger right to the name, and in 1865 the name of the older town was changed to Lyons, to avoid some geographical confusion. The village of Lyonsdale had been founded, named for the early settling Lyon family and, as Lyons, had become a railway station and gave its name to the township.
Excerpt from History of Walworth County Wisconsin by Albert Clayton Beckwith



Millard is an unincorporated community in the town of Sugar Creek.

The town (Sugar Creek) contained, according to the Federal census of 1880, 980 inhabitants, ninetenths of whom are farmers or constitute their families. There is in the town one post office —”Millard,” formerly ” Barker’s Corners.” There is no mill in the town. There is one cheese factory, owned by a stock company, on Section 1; one store at Millard post office, kept by E. A. Hastings, who is the post-master.
Excerpt from History of Walworth County Wisconsin 1882


Pell Lake

Pell Lake is a neighborhood and former census-designated place in Walworth County, Wisconsin, United States. The population was 3,722 at the 2010 census. On December 20, 2011, Pell Lake became part of the newly incorporated village of Bloomfield.


Reeder’s Grove

To John Reeder is due the credit of having been the first settler in this (Sharon) town. He located on Section 27, in what is now Reeder’s Grove, as early certainly as in February, 1837. He remained here but a short time, and built a small log shanty. Mr. Reeder was an Englishman, and had his family with him. Good authority says “that, late one afternoon, Mr. Reeder noticed two horses following up the old army trail that led across the county from the head of Geneva Lake, and about a mile north from where he had located. In a few moments afterward, he saw two men following the same trail and in the same direction. This led him to think that he probably had some neighbors in that vicinity; so, early the next morning, he started out to see if he could find them. He soon reached the present village of Darien, where he found and made the acquaintance of John Bruce and a companion, who were then engaged in erecting a small cabin. On the preceding night, their horses had broken loose, and they followed and caught them, and were the men that Mr. Reeder had seen.” The same authority says that at one time, soon after he located here, Mr. Reeder went to Chicago for provisions. He was delayed longer than he expected on account of bad roads, etc., and when he returned his family had been for four days with nothing to eat but a few dry crusts of bread. Mr. Reeder did the first breaking in the town of Sharon. He afterward removed into the town of Walworth, where he resided until a few years ago, when he removed to the village of Delavan, where he died.
Excerpt from History of Walworth County Wisconsin 1882


Town of Richmond

Richmond is a town in Walworth County, Wisconsin, in the United States. As of the 2020 census, the town population was 1,901. The unincorporated communities of Lake Lorraine, Richmond, and Turtle Lake are located in the town.
Town 3 north, range 15 east, was at first included in largest Elkhorn. At an extra session of the territorial Legislature by an act dated August 18, 1840, this town was made a part of Whitewater. Five months later, January 12, 1841, it was set off as the town of Richmond. Among the first-comers to the town were Thomas and T. Perry James and Robert Sherman, from Richmond, Washington county, Rhode Island, and their influence, just then, was sufficient to place another Richmond in the field of American geography.
Excerpt from History of Walworth County Wisconsin by Albert Clayton Beckwith


Village of Sharon

Sharon is a village in Walworth County, Wisconsin, United States. The population was 1,586 at the 2020 census. The village is adjacent to the Town of Sharon.

Alan A. Southard and William D. Van Nostrand came to the centre of section 33 as early as 1842, but not to found a city. In 1855 the Chicago & Northwestern Railway Company’s surveyors laid its line from Harvard to Janesville through this section, and fixed the locus of its station seventy-one miles from Chicago. Robert Campbell, a man of Oshkosh, bought forty acres and platted the village. The rails were laid to Janesville in 1856. In the same year George Milmine built a store and in 1857 Seymour Rice built a hotel. In 1858 a postoffice was established, with John Hodgson among the mail sacks. William P. Allen relieved him in 1801 and gave way to Wilson R. Herron in 1868. Edward Bilyea followed, then Mr. Herron again, Frank L. Menu about 1893, Clayton II. Underhill about 1897, Frank C. Densmore from 1905 till now. This office has two free delivery routes, which supply the greater part of the town, a small part of Illinois and a smaller part of Rock county. Harry H. Bidwell, first railway station agent, died December 13, 1859. Dr. Reuben Willson was the earliest resident physician.

About 1848 a school house was built within the later village limits. Additional provision was made as needed, and house and grounds are now valued at twenty five thousand dollars. The high school began in 1878, with W. A. Germain as principal. Rev. James G. Schaefer had moved the men of Sharon, in 1866, to active interest in advanced education. In 1807 the Sharon Academy was built and was opened in December with nearly one hundred pupils, under direction of Mr. Schaefer and Prof. E. S. Chadwick, of Beloit. This school closed in 1878, after an active and useful career, and the high school soon resumed this temporarily suspended work. The public school house was burned in 1880, rebuilt in 1884 and extended about 1908. Its total value, with broad grounds, is about twenty-five thousand dollars. Nine teachers are now employed.
Excerpt from History of Walworth County Wisconsin by Albert Clayton Beckwith


Town of Springfield

Springfield is a town in Dane County, Wisconsin, United States. The population was 2,929 at the time of the 2020 census. The unincorporated communities of Ashton, Ashton Corners, Kingsley Corners, Martinsville, and Springfield Corners are located in Springfield.
The highway from Lake Geneva to East Troy, by way of the village of Spring Prairie, is crossed by the railway 2.8 miles west of Lyons, on the south side of section 7. This road was for many years, before and after a station was made there, an important mail route, and hence a convenient point for retail trade, grain and wool buying, and lumber-selling. In the mid seventies considerable shipments of dressed poultry were made, largely to Boston buyers. Changes in the industries of the county, with consequent effects on the business of villages, have checked the growth of Springfield, though it is not yet a wholly deserted village. A fire in 1910 destroyed the station building. After more than a year of delay it was rebuilt, better than before, and this with a long line of wide cement platform shows that Springfield is yet of some importance to the railway company. Amid the discontinuances of small postoffices the office at this place remains as one of the fourth class, indispensable for local and northern service. That part of the road between the station and Lake Geneva, about three and one-half miles, is a stage and mail route on which three trips are made daily, from the lake. For many years Ansel Knowles (died August 19, 1875), of Lake Geneva, made these trips through sunshine, rain and snow, and became well and favorably known to thousands of passengers.

The village was platted by Henry T. Fuller in 1855. There was once a prosperous cheese factory there, a hotel, and an Episcopal chapel, the service of which was supplied in turn by the clerical and lay professors from DeKoven Hall, Racine College. Among the more easily recalled active business men were Edwin Booth, Edwin Moorhouse, and Asa W. Phelps.
Excerpt from History of Walworth County Wisconsin by Albert Clayton Beckwith


Town of Sugar Creek

Sugar Creek is a town in Walworth County, Wisconsin, United States. The population was 3,902 at the 2020 census. The unincorporated communities of Millard and Tibbets are located in the town. The unincorporated community of Abells Corners is also located partially in the town.
Township 3 north of range 16 east retained the name of Elkhorn after Lagrange, Richmond, and Whitewater were set off and new-named, and until a new town of Elkhorn was created February 2, 1846. The larger town, after thus losing section 36, was so called from its principal water course, the name of which translates the Pottawattomie compound, Sis-poquet-sepee. From some immemorial time the numerous sugar-maple trees along the valley of the creek had been tapped and the Indians had practiced at least one art of white men’s civilization—that of sap-boiling. The creek rises near the west line of the town, in section 19, crosses eastwardly to the southeast corner of section 13, turns nearly northward, and leaves the town by section 12. Holden’s lake, Otter lake, Silver, and a few pot-holes make up nearly the rest of the drainage and reservoir system of the town. The ancient valley of the creek is wide, and for many years more or less marshy; but most of it is now usefully occupied. As a whole, the town is well drained and contains several of the finest farms of the county. Among the higher points above sea-level, as officially shown, are those in sections 4. 5, 9, 23, respectively 931, 945, 918 and 890 feet.

The only actual settler in 1836 was John Davis, who built a cabin near Silver lake in sections 13, 14, passed the cold winter there, and a year later sold his claim to Asa Blood and went away.
Excerpt from History of Walworth County Wisconsin by Albert Clayton Beckwith



Tibbets is an unincorporated community located in the town of Sugar Creek, Walworth County, Wisconsin, United States. The Sugar Creek Town Hall is in the community.
Samuel Holmes Tibbets was born in Halifax, Vermont 6 December 1806. In 1840, young Tibbets came to Sugar Creek Township, Walworth County, Wisconsin and staked a claim on some land. He returned to Canada to bring his wife and infant daughter, Clarissa. In Canada, the pioneer Tibbets bought a span of horses and a covered wagon; after a long, hard six weeks trip, the family arrived in Wisconsin.
There sad news welcomed him. During his absence, someone had dispossessed him of his claim. He had only $16 left. He bought some land one-half mile east of the crossroads store and school house later named Tibbets in his honor. He build a home and wooden tavern and livery stable which served as a stopping place for teams of oxen and horses hauling loads from Milwaukee to Janesville, Wis. This early road is now County Highway Trunk A.
Excerpt from Samuel Holmes Tibbets bio (WCHS)

Capt. George Washington Kendall kept a tavern in 1839 at the corners, since known as Tibbets. in section 10. He sold this place in 1843 to Francis Rublee, who passed it by deed to bis son, Francis M. Rublee, in 1845. During the latter’s ownership his brother. Martindale, began to build of lime and gravel concrete, as is told; but before his work was finished the place passed by sheriff’s sale in 1853 to John D. Cowles, who completed and occupied the Gravel Tavern. This landmark fronted northward on the territorial road from Milwaukee to Janesville. and on a section-line road leading to Elkhorn. In 1859 Mr. Cowles sold the property to Freeborn Welch, one of the jolliest sons of St. Boniface. When tavern custom wholly ended Mr. Welch made of it his dwelling. His heirs sold the house and ground in 1907 to John and Matthew J. Newman, who pulled down the ancient walls and built a fine dwelling in present century style and added barn, silo, and other out-buildings suitable to a well-managed dairy farm. A few rods eastward along the territorial road Samuel H. Tibbets built a bouse, about 1842, which for some time served as a wayside inn, and for ten years as a postoffice. Captain Kendall had been postmaster from 1840 to 1842.

In 1889 a newly established postoffice, named Tibbets, received a triweekly mail from Whitewater and Elkhorn.
Excerpt from History of Walworth County Wisconsin by Albert Clayton Beckwith


Town of Troy

Troy is a town in Walworth County, Wisconsin, United States. The population was 2,355 at the 2020 census. The unincorporated communities of Adams, Little Prairie, and Troy Center are located in the town. The ghost town of Mayhews was also located in the town.

As one of the five towns constituted by the act of January 2, 1838, Troy included the next eastward township, set off March 21, 1843, as East Troy. The present town is No. 4 north, range 17 east. It is not known why it was so called, but it may have been that its discoverer preferred a short and easily spelled name. About the time of the separation from East Troy the Legislature conferred upon that town the old name and renamed the older town Meacham. To this the sensible Major objected and to such purpose that the two towns were immediately named as at present.
Excerpt from History of Walworth County Wisconsin by Albert Clayton Beckwith


Troy Center

Troy Center is an unincorporated community located in the town of Troy, in Walworth County, Wisconsin, United States. Troy Center is 3.5 miles west-northwest of East Troy.
Troy Center, in sections 14. 15, was a creation of the railway company which in 1871 needed a station there, at a meeting of highways. In that year Charles D. Haven and Daniel A. Olin, for the company, bought of James Gardiner Briggs 359-37 acres. In the same year these three men joined in a deed “to the public” of land included in a village plat. A postoffice was established, a hotel, stores, warehouse, blacksmith shop were built and thirty or more comfortable homes made there. Charles Wyman built the first house. John A. Schwartz built the first store, George Dewitt built the hotel, and William H. Dewitt built the warehouse, afterward owned and occupied by Nathaniel M. Bunker and Lindsey J. Smith, and now by John A. and Albert A. Schwartz. As early as 1837 George W. Blanchard, Albon M. Perry and Soldan Powers formed a little group of settlers about a half mile north of the station, but from this no village resulted.
Excerpt from History of Walworth County Wisconsin by Albert Clayton Beckwith



Vienna, on Sugar creek, was at first called Martinsburg, from the related Martin families who settled near that point. Judge Martin’s saw mill gave place to a good grist mill, which in 1853 became the property of Edward Zahn, who improved it greatly and for several years made his flour locally famous. His sons, Cornelius and Victor, continued the business for a few years. The mill was disused and then burned. Winslow Page Storms built the Vienna House in 1848 and used it for many years as a tavern and a store, and as a postoffice. It long ago became a private dwelling; for men go to Spring Prairie to buy, to Burlington for prescriptions, and each to his own door or gate for mail. A little burial ground lies a bit more than a half mile southwest of the village, on the way to Spring Prairie and to Burlington. Little more than tradition now remains of Vienna and its past and prospective greatness.
Excerpt from History of Walworth County Wisconsin by Albert Clayton Beckwith



Voree is an unincorporated community in the Town of Spring Prairie in Walworth County, Wisconsin, United States. It is best known as the headquarters of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, a denomination of the Latter Day Saint movement.

Voree was the creation of Jesse James Strang, who came in 1844 from Nanvoo and began to build a city and temple. It is not told whether he found the name for his holy city in the Book of Mormon, or whether it was revealed to him in another way. He assembled about three hundred disciples, great and small, of whom he was ruler, chief priest, and prophet. He appointed a day and hour, and September 13, 1845, he found his credentials directly beneath a large tree, on the edge of a high bank of White river, in the form of three gold-colored plates on which had been scratched mathematical and astronomical symbols. These he interpreted as a revelation and a heavenly commission. Eighteen more plates were found later. Laban Piatt, Aaron Smith, James M. Van Nostrand, Jared B. Whelan and Edward Whitcomb witnessed these revelations. He printed a newspaper, for which he wrote long “poems”: but he did not finish his temple. In 1847 he flitted with his disciples to Beaver Island, in Mackinaw strait, and in 1856 his body was brought for burial after a conflict with a federal marshal’s force. He had a few relatives in the town of Spring Prairie and this, with the natural advantages of rich land and good water power, may have determined the place of the city so short-lived, of which but a few fading memories are left.
Excerpt from History of Walworth County Wisconsin by Albert Clayton Beckwith


Village of Walworth

Walworth is a village in Walworth County, Wisconsin, United States. The population was 2,759 at the 2020 census. The village is located within the Town of Walworth.

The village of Walworth was platted by Carlos L. Douglass and grew until the business check of 1857. Its first tavern was at the house of Christopher Douglass, and was kept a few years later by Carlos L. Douglass, who presently engaged in larger affairs. At some time not recorded nor clearly remembered the Red Lion tavern was built and served its purpose until the new order of village life came in, when a handsome little three-storied house, built of brick, well finished and furnished within and well managed, supplied the later needs. It is named the Wayside Inn. Between it and the school house lies a little park, around three sides of which part of the stores and shops are ranged. As the town grants no licenses for sale of liquor, the school and hotel are not too near together.

Walworth remained little more than a hamlet until the electric railway was built from Harvard in 1899, followed in 1901 by the Chicago, Milwaukee & St, Paul railway line from Chicago to Janesville. In the latter year it was incorporated as a village, and it is now one of the handsomest of four such municipalities in the county. The street-ways are raised with good gravel forever out of the fertile mud and the walks are generally of cement. It has been lighted with gasoline since 1905 and its water works began service in 1911. It is not too far from Geneva lake to receive some benefits from summer sojourners, for the electric line reaches the lake shore at Fontana, a ride of two and one half miles.

Savery & Uden began to publish the Walworth Times in 1904. Their successors have been Walter V. McAfferty, Edward M. Holston and Charles Clarke. Edward and Maurice Morrissey (with Hiram S. Bell as temporary editor), Herbert E. Miles, and since 1907 Frank F. Perrin. The paper is non-partisan.

The Farmers’ Mutual Fire Insurance Company of Walworth was incorporated in January, 1878, for business in that town. Its risks in force at the end of 1910 were 461, amounting to $788,990. Losses paid since 1878 amount to $16,496. Its present officers are Carlos S. Douglass, of Fontana, president; Martin F. Schacht, of Walworth, secretary.

The Walworth State Bank was incorporated in 1903. Its capital is $15,000, and deposits $190,000. Carlos S. Douglass is president and Frank E. Lawson, cashier.
Excerpt from History of Walworth County Wisconsin by Albert Clayton Beckwith


City of Whitewater

Whitewater is a city located in Walworth and Jefferson counties in the U.S. state of Wisconsin. Located near the southern portion of the Kettle Moraine State Forest, Whitewater is the home of the University of Wisconsin–Whitewater. As of the 2020 census, the city’s population was 14,889.

At the first town meeting, held April 5. 1842, besides the, officers named in the official lists for the town, Capt. Asad Williams and Azor Kinney were chosen assessors; William H. Wheeler collector; Doctor Magoon, Zerah Mead, Calvin Pike, road commissioners; Harrison Bishop, Drs, Clarke and Magoon, school commissioners; Leander Birge, Charles Robinson, William H. Wheeler, constables; Norman Pratt, Samuel Prince, Thomas Van Horn, fence-viewers; Sidney S. Workman, sealer of weights and measures. In that year Nehemiah B. Parsons and Jedidiah Brown opened a newly built hotel, the Whitewater Exchange. In the next year Brown withdrew from the business and the house was let to Daniel Niemann. In 1842 also a cemetery was laid out; Solmous Wakely bought the Stanton store; Freeman Liberty Pratt improved the Powers tavern and made it the Whitewater Hotel; Richard O’Connor came with another stock of assorted goods; Alender O. Babcock, Warner Parle and Frederick C. Patterson formed a lawyer partnership; Corydon Pratt moved his kit into his own shop from the Matthew Hicks dwelling; Mr. Patterson taught school; a debating society formed; the Baptists organized their society; several new houses were built. Mr. Cravath noted that in this year spring wheat sold at 36 cents to 40 cents; winter wheat, 40 cents to 46 cents; butter, 16 cents; eggs, 8 cents; calicoes, 18 cents to 37 cents. He also observed that fifteen calico dress patterns were sold within the year and that about fifty bonnets were charged at 37½ cents a piece and trimmed at 12½ cents to a half dollar each. Men of 1912 may well sigh for a return of that good old time, when a small family could live on $240 for a year.

Congregationalists organized in 1843, having already built a church. More merchants and mechanics came to add the enlivening element of competition to village trade. In this year stage coaches ran from Milwaukee through Whitewater to Janesville.

In 1844 there were six stores, two hotels, three smithies, two cabinet shops, a grocery, a grist-mill, a saw-mill, a law office, a wagon-maker, a tailor, a shoemaker, a gunsmith, a cooper and twenty-nine dwellings. At such steady rate, without reckless or indecent haste, Whitewater grew throughout the pioneer period, which may be held as having ended with the coming of the first jolting railway train from Milwaukee. In that year the assessed valuation of village lots was $2,761. Buildings thereon were exempted from taxation, as was all personal property except merchandise, which was then valued at $5,200. The late Henry George may have taken a leaf from the book of a Whitewater assessor. In this year, September 4th, Dr. James Tripp, the father and friend of the village, died at one day less than forty-nine years old.
Excerpt from History of Walworth County Wisconsin by Albert Clayton Beckwith


Village of Williams Bay

Williams Bay is a village in Walworth County, Wisconsin, located on Geneva Lake. The population was 2,953 according to the 2020 Census. That population nearly doubles in the summer with seasonal residents and tourists who enjoy swimming, boating, kayaking, paddle boarding, fishing, local reastaurants and walking on the lake path. Winters in Williams Bay offer ice skating, ice fishing, ice boating and snowmobiling.

Williams Bay is home to Yerkes Observatory which houses the world’s largest refracting telescope ever constructed and used for astronomical observations, and George Williams College of Aurora which offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degree programs, while also hosting the famous Music by the Lake summer festival series.

The bay named by or for Capt. Israel Williams cuts almost rectangularly into section 6 of Linn, leaving on its west side a strip of that section about five-eighths of a mile long from south to north and, say forty rods wide. From the head of the bay to the town line of Geneva is one-third of a mile. From the Linn strip the ground slopes upward into section 1 of Walworth. The village of Williams Bay lies on the Linn strip and the Walworth slope, with such varied contour as to make the site practicable and pleasing to home-keepers and summer visitors. The village settlement began about 1879. Mr. Simmons noted that in 1893 the place “began to attract attention of such as were seeking summer homes.” At the head of the bay the Chicago & Northwestern Railway Company made one of its terminal stations, six miles from Lake Geneva, ninety-two miles from Chicago by way of Elgin and Crystal Lake. The first trains arrived and departed June 1, 1888. A postoffice was established in 1892, with Mrs. Marie R. (Barnhart) Williams, 1902, Mrs. Josephine Barnhart, 1898, Miss Anna Peterson, 1907, as postmasters. James L. Tubbs platted the village in 1897 for Mrs. Lucretia S., widow of Royal Joy Williams.
Excerpt from History of Walworth County Wisconsin by Albert Clayton Beckwith



Zenda is an unincorporated community in the Town of Linn, Walworth County, Wisconsin, United States. It is located south of Lake Geneva and just north of the Illinois border.

There was no village in the town (Linn); but in 1901 the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railway Company built its Chicago and Janesville line across sections 36, 35, 27, 28. 29, 30, making a station named Zenda, in the southeast quarter of section 28, where a village may grow about its store and creamery and add its own to some larger history of Linn.
Excerpt from History of Walworth County Wisconsin by Albert Clayton Beckwith



(262) 723-7848


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Walworth County Historical Society


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