Walworth County Historical Society

Walworth County

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. Its sixteen townships were in 1838 included in five towns, of which Delavan was the southwestern quarter of the county, Elkhorn the northwestern quarter, Geneva the southeastern quarter, while the northeastern quarter was justly divided between Spring Prairie and Troy. In 1842 a census was taken for reapportionment of legislative representation. Sheriff Mallory and Under Sheriff Oatman performed this work, and Mr. Davis recorded their returns in Vol. 1, pp. 422-446, of Mortgages. It is evident from the face of this record that the returns were clerically well made. Mr. Davis was a shrewd and competent business man, but his spelling and writing were rather old fashioned, even for seventy years ago. He followed his copy with faithful intent, and the list of eight hundred and seventy-five names has as few errors as most of such records. Only the heads of households are shown by name, with number of males and females set against each name. It is plain that many unmarried men thus missed entry by name; for several households numbered from twelve to twenty-five. The sum of this enumeration, if the register's crabbed figures are rightly read and added, was four thousand six hundred and eighteen. The five towns had become nine, and a tenth was foreshown by returning two sheets for Troy. Richmond and Whitewater had been taken from Elkhorn; Darien and Walworth (the latter including Sharon) from Delavan; while Geneva and Spring Prairie were unchanged. In a year or more afterward each land-office division had been named and organized for home rule. The village of Elkhorn, laid out in 1837, spread itself loosely into four sections, lying in as many towns. This was soon found inconvenient for various county purposes, and in 1846 section 1 of Delavan, section 6 of Geneva, section 31 of Lafayette, and section 36 of the town of Elkhorn were set off as a new town and village of Elkhorn, and the larger remnant of the old town was renamed Sugar Creek. Thus, the list of towns became complete: Bloomfield, Darien, Delavan, East Troy, Elkhorn, Geneva, Hudson, Lafayette, Lagrange, Linn, Richmond, Sharon, Spring Prairie, Sugar Creek, Troy, Walworth, Whitewater. In 1865 Hudson was newly named Lyons. (In the newer county of St. Croix the names of Hudson, Richmond, Springfield and Troy are repeated.)

Excerpt from History of Walworth County Wisconsin by Albert Clayton Beckwith

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