Jefferson History

The City of Jefferson is centrally located in Jefferson County, and is the county seat.  Located at the convergence of the Crawfish and Rock Rivers, and the intersection of two state highways (26 & 18)  Jefferson is a great place to locate your business.

On December 18, 1836, at the close of the Blackhawk War, the first settlers came to a place they later named Jefferson.  The frame of a house fashioned at Bark Mills (Hebron) was brought up the river on a scow and elevated on a piece of ground that is the present site of The Jefferson House.  In the spring of 1839, William Sanborn, one of Jefferson’s early settlers foresaw a growth pattern for Jefferson, and built a two-story frame building on Main Street to serve as a hotel.  After it burned down, a nearly identical building called the Sawyer House was built at the same location, but was razed in 1911-12 to clear the site for the present First Merit Bank.

Jefferson was incorporated from a village to a city on March 19, 1878.  At the time of its incorporation as a city, Jefferson had a population just under 3,000.  There were kerosene lamps, coal and wood stoves, barns, hitching posts, dirt streets and a horse-watering tank in the middle of Main Street.  As of 2016, Jefferson has a population of 7,900.

Early settlers to Jefferson were of English descent and came from New York and other eastern states.  Soon thereafter, immigrants came primarily from Germany and Eastern Europe.