The first ever commercially successful typewriter, the Sholes and Glidden typewriter, was invented in Milwaukee in 1867.
Jefferson County, located in south-central Wisconsin, has a rich history dating back thousands of years to when Native American tribes first inhabited the region. The Ho-Chunk (Winnebago) and Menominee tribes were among those that lived in the area before European settlers arrived. In the early 19th century, during the era of westward expansion, American fur traders and prospectors arrived in the region, establishing a trading post along the Rock River.

The county was officially created in 1836 and named after Thomas Jefferson, the third president of the United States. The first European settlers moved into the area shortly after the establishment of the county, primarily coming from New England and New York. They began to cultivate the land, establishing farms and small communities. The town of Watertown, located in the northwestern part of the county, quickly became the county seat and a significant center of trade and commerce.

Throughout the 19th century, Jefferson County experienced significant growth and development. The construction of the Milwaukee and Mississippi Railroad, later known as the Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific Railroad, in the 1850s, played a crucial role in connecting the county with larger markets in Milwaukee and Chicago. This led to increased industrialization and population growth in towns like Fort Atkinson, Johnson Creek, and Lake Mills.

In the 20th century, Jefferson County continued to evolve as technology and transportation advanced. World War II brought economic opportunities as industries expanded to support the war effort. The county also became a popular recreational destination, with the establishment of beautiful parks, lakes, and natural areas. Today, Jefferson County remains an attractive place to live, offering a mix of rural and suburban settings, a vibrant agricultural community, and a rich historical heritage.

This timeline provides a concise overview of the key events in the history of Jefferson County, Wisconsin.

  • 1836: Jefferson County, Wisconsin is established as a county
  • 1841: The first courthouse is built in Jefferson
  • 1850: The population of Jefferson County reaches 22,000
  • 1860-1865: Jefferson County residents actively participate in the American Civil War
  • 1900: The city of Watertown becomes the largest city in Jefferson County
  • 1920: The county experiences significant growth in manufacturing and agriculture
  • 1942-1945: During World War II, Jefferson County contributes to the war effort
  • 1963: The first Interstate highway, Interstate 94, is completed in the county
  • 1990: The population of Jefferson County reaches 68,000
  • 2000: The city of Fort Atkinson celebrates its 150th anniversary