Wisconsin Counties
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Wisconsin Counties

There are seventy-two counties in the state of Wisconsin. Wisconsin became part of the Territory of Michigan and divided into two counties: Brown County in the northeast along Lake Michigan and Crawford County in the southwest along the Mississippi River. The state of Wisconsin was created from Wisconsin Territory on May 29, 1848, with 28 counties.

Jefferson County, Wisconsin

Jefferson County Education, Geography, and History

Jefferson County, Wisconsin Courthouse

Jefferson County is a county located in the state of Wisconsin. Based on the 2010 census, the population was 83,686. Its county seat is Jefferson.

Jefferson County comprises the Watertown-Fort Atkinson, WI Micropolitan Statistical Area, which is also included in the Milwaukee-Racine-Waukesha, WI Combined Statistical Area.

Etymology - Origin of Jefferson County Name

Organized by the Territorial Legislature in February 1839, and named Jefferson County "on petition of Patrick Rogan, Peter Rogan, James Rogan, Judge Hyer and others who were from Jefferson County, New York."

[Source: Newspaper clipping in the card file at the WHS Library reference desk]


County QuickFacts: CensusBureau Quick Facts

Jefferson County History

John W. Hunt's 1853 Wisconsin Gazetteer

 "JEFFERSON, County, is bounded on the north by Dodge, east by Waukesha, south by Walworth and Rock, and west by Dane,. and is four townships square, containing 576 sections. It was set off December 7, 1836... The county seat is at the. village of Jefferson, opposite the forks of the Crawfish with Rock river, and near the centre of the county. Its streams are, Rock, Crawfish, and Bark river, and Johnson's, Scupernong, Whitewater, Waterloo, Duck, and Battle creek. The northeastern portion of the county is covered by the best growth of hard timber in the State, the southeast by prairie, and the remainder by openings. The surface of the western portion of the county is level or gently undulating. The excellent farming land, being well watered and timbered, together with its location and enterprizing inhabitants, entitle it to a position among the best counties in the State. The population in 1838 was 468; 1840, 914; 1842, 1,638; 1846, 8,680; 1847, 11,464:; 1850, 15,339. Dwellings, 2,933; manufactories, 25; farms, 1,042."

From: Handbook of Wisconsin by S. Silas, 1855
pg. 76-78

Population 26,866; in 1850 15,000; increase 11,866.

This County lies on Rock River, is abundantly watered by that and its numerous braches, which also affords extensive water power. These are improved at Watertown, the best in the County, at Jefferson and at Fort Atkinson. It has but little prairie, and is more heavily timbered than the Southern Counties generally. There is a heavy belt of hard timber occupying most of the towns of Watertown, Farmington, Ixonia, Concord, and Hebron. The soil in the Southern part is inclined to sandy, but is good, and well adapted to the growth of fruit, and the cultivation of those products requiring a warm soil. There are no public lands to any amount in the County.

Watertown, on the northern line of the County, is a flourishing city, the water power there being the best and largest in that portion of the State. Its growth has been steady, and it is the centre of a heavy business. The Milwaukee and Watertown Rail Road is completed to this city. Since the Road has been commenced, Watertown has increased with almost unexampled rapidity, and now stands in population, including the township, second in size in the State, only to Milwaukee. The population of the five wards lying in the County of Jefferson is 6,283.

Fort Atkinson, Jefferson, Aztalan, Palmyra, and Lake Mills are places of activity. No County ha so many prosperous villages, which indicates a prosperous country around them.

Besides the Watertown Rail Road, this County is traversed by the Milwaukee and Mississippi, the Wisconsin Central, and the Rock River Valley Rail Roads--the Milwaukee and Mississippi and Milwaukee and Watertown being the only ones completed.

Geography: Land and Water

As reported by the Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 583 square miles (1,509 km2), of which, 557 square miles (1,443 km2) of it is land and 26 square miles (67 km2) of it (4.42%) is water.

Neighboring Counties

Bordering counties are as follows:

  • Dodge County - north
  • Waukesha County - east
  • Walworth County - southeast
  • Rock County - southwest
  • Dane County - west


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