kids encyclopedia robot

Jefferson, Wisconsin facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts
Quick facts for kids
Jefferson, Wisconsin
Downtown Jefferson
Downtown Jefferson
The Gemütlichkeit City
Location of Jefferson in Jefferson County, Wisconsin.
Location of Jefferson in Jefferson County, Wisconsin.
Country  United States
State  Wisconsin
County Jefferson
 • Type Mayor - Council
 • Total 6.03 sq mi (15.61 km2)
 • Land 5.82 sq mi (15.08 km2)
 • Water 0.21 sq mi (0.54 km2)
801 ft (244 m)
 • Total 7,973
 • Estimate 
 • Density 1,371.69/sq mi (529.60/km2)
Time zone UTC-6 (Central (CST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC-5 (CDT)
Zip Code
Area code(s) 920
FIPS code 55-37900
GNIS feature ID 1567111

Jefferson is a city in Jefferson County, Wisconsin, United States, and is its county seat. It is at the confluence of the Rock and Crawfish rivers. The population was 7,973 at the 2010 census. The city is partially bordered by the Town of Jefferson.


Jefferson's location was selected to make use of the water power and transportation opportunities offered by the Rock River. It was the furthest point a steamboat could navigate the Rock in 1839. Later bridges built downstream prevented such navigation.

Jefferson's founders were settlers from New England, particularly Connecticut, rural Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine, as well some from upstate New York born to parents who had migrated there from New England shortly after the American Revolution. These people were "Yankees" descended from the English Puritans who settled New England in the 1600s. They were part of a wave of New England farmers who headed west into what was then the wilds of the Northwest Territory during the early 1800s. Most arrived as a result of the completion of the Erie Canal as well as the end of the Black Hawk War.

When they arrived in what is now Jefferson there was nothing but dense virgin forest and wild prairie, the New Englanders built farms, roads, and government buildings and established post routes. They brought many of their Yankee New England values, such as a passion for education, establishing many schools as well as staunch support for abolitionism. They were mostly members of the Congregationalist Church though some were Episcopalian. Due to the second Great Awakening some had converted to Methodism and others had become Baptists before moving to what is now Jefferson. Jefferson, like much of Wisconsin, would be culturally very continuous with early New England culture for most of its early history.

During World War II, Camp Jefferson, a prison camp for German POWs, was erected at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds. The Jefferson County Fairgrounds hosted horse buggy racing prior to the renovations to the new fairgrounds.


Jefferson is located at 43°0′11″N 88°48′28″W / 43.00306°N 88.80778°W / 43.00306; -88.80778 (43.003091, -88.807855).

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 5.93 square miles (15.36 km2), of which 5.72 square miles (14.81 km2) is land and 0.21 square miles (0.54 km2) is water.

Jefferson's elevation is 797 ft (243 m) at the center of downtown.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1850 550
1860 1,369 148.9%
1870 2,176 58.9%
1880 2,115 −2.8%
1890 2,287 8.1%
1900 2,584 13.0%
1910 2,582 −0.1%
1920 2,572 −0.4%
1930 2,639 2.6%
1940 3,059 15.9%
1950 3,625 18.5%
1960 4,548 25.5%
1970 5,429 19.4%
1980 5,647 4.0%
1990 6,078 7.6%
2000 7,338 20.7%
2010 7,973 8.7%
2019 (est.) 7,986 0.2%
U.S. Decennial Census

2010 census

As of the census of 2010, there were 7,973 people, 3,132 households, and 1,989 families living in the city. The population density was 1,393.9 inhabitants per square mile (538.2/km2). There were 3,378 housing units at an average density of 590.6 per square mile (228.0/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 91.2% White, 0.7% African American, 0.4% Native American, 0.7% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 5.4% from other races, and 1.5% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 11.8% of the population.

There were 3,132 households, of which 32.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 47.8% were married couples living together, 10.4% had a female householder with no husband present, 5.3% had a male householder with no wife present, and 36.5% were non-families. 29.8% of all households were made up of individuals, and 13.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.42 and the average family size was 3.00.

The median age in the city was 37.5 years. 24.4% of residents were under the age of 18; 7.8% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 27.8% were from 25 to 44; 24.4% were from 45 to 64; and 15.7% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 49.8% male and 50.2% female.


Valero Renewables is an ethanol plant located in Jefferson. There is also a Purina cat food manufacturing plant and a Generac Power Systems plant.


In Jefferson there are six schools: two elementary schools, one middle school, one high school, and two private schools. The names of the schools are East Elementary, West Elementary, Jefferson Middle School, Jefferson High School, St. John's Catholic, and St. John's Lutheran. East Elementary School was built as a public works project in 1939 during the Great Depression. The fight song for Jefferson High School is 'Movin' On Up (the theme song for TV's The Jeffersons).

Notable people

  • Claire B. Bird, Wisconsin state senator, born in Jefferson
  • Ira W. Bird, Wisconsin State Representative and mayor of Jefferson
  • Paul M. Blayney, U.S. Coast Guard admiral
  • Christopher Grimm, Wisconsin State Representative, lived in Jefferson
  • George Grimm, Wisconsin State Representative and judge, born in Jefferson
  • Kenneth E. Gruennert, Medal of Honor recipient, attended school in Jefferson
  • Robert Kirkland Henry, congressman, born in Jefferson
  • Rosemary Kennedy, sister of President John F. Kennedy, lived in Jefferson
  • William W. Reed, Wisconsin state senator and representative, lived in Jefferson
  • Oscar F. Roessler, Wisconsin State Representative and newspaper editor, was born in Jefferson
  • Zeke Sanborn, Olympic gold medalist, born in Jefferson
  • Joseph Stoppenbach, Wisconsin State Representative, born in Jefferson
  • Wilbur H. Tousley, Wisconsin State Representative, lived in Jefferson
kids search engine
Jefferson, Wisconsin Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.