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The area’s first settlers arrived at current-day Jefferson on December 18, 1836.

The city’s early settlers were of English descent, coming from New York and other eastern U.S. areas. Soon thereafter, immigrants came primarily from Germany and Eastern Europe. In 1838, the new settlement’s population surged with the arrival of prominent residents W. Sanborn, A. Ebenezer and M. Seaton.

The burgeoning community continued to grow and prosper over the years, earning village incorporation on April 13, 1857. After an act of the Wisconsin legislature, the Village of Jefferson obtained approval for incorporation as a city on March 19, 1878. At the time Jefferson was incorporated as a city, it boasted a population of just under 3,000 residents.

historic building

The city’s small-town atmosphere was characterized by such features as kerosene lamps, coal and wooden stoves, barns, hitching posts, dirt streets and a horse-watering tank located in the center of Main Street.

Today, Jefferson encompasses a growing population of more than 7,900 people. It was the vision, labor and perseverance of diligent residents and elected officers throughout Jefferson’s history that have made Jefferson a “good city today” and a “better city in the future.”

The Jefferson Historical Society Standing as the local history resource, the Jefferson Historical Society serves the City of Jefferson and possesses a substantial archive of photographs and a collection of historic artifacts. The Historical Society and its collection can be discovered on the lower level of City Hall.

For more information, contact the Jefferson Historical Society at (920) 674-7731 or visit

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