|Delaware County was either named in honor of
Senator John Middleton Clayton's native state, or it was named
after Thomas McCraney's home county in New York state. McCraney was a member of
the first Legislative Assembly of the Territory of Wisconsin.
The first county seat was located at Eads' Grove. The town was
named Elizabeth, in honor of Mrs. Elizabeth Bennet, the first woman
settler of the county. The residents of the county were extremely
dissatisfied with this location. They obtained the permission to
choose another site, and the site they chose was Delhi.
The choosing of Delhi as the county seat is rather interesting.
The selecting committee wanted to locate the county seat in the
geographical center of the county, but there was no timber or water
in the center of the county. After visiting several locations, the
committee was approaching the site of Delhi. Suddenly a deer sprang
up and ran off. It was suggested that they kill the deer and stake a
site at that location. This was done, and Delhi became the county
Four long years passed before the county could raise the $200
needed to purchase the land for the county seat. Finally two
residents of the county offered to loan the county the $200. The
county sold county orders at 50 cents on the dollar to reimburse the
In the winter of 1843-1844 a hickory log courthouse was built at
Delhi. This courthouse was the first building erected in the county
seat. Another courthouse was built in the early 1850s, but it soon
became too small for county business.
A new county building was erected in 1857. The cost of the
two-story brick structure was $5,000. The architecture was of unique
style. It was said to "resemble some battlements of the feudal ages,
without possessing any of their beauty or grandeur."
A battle over the county seat developed between Manchester and
Delhi. Several elections were held over the location of the county
seat. Manchester failed all them, except the last one held on
November 2, 1880.
Following this election, the citizens of Manchester quickly
constructed a two-story frame courthouse, complete with a vault.
This building was a temporary structure, and a more elaborate
building was constructed in 1894. The red brick building cost
$36,860 to build, not including $800 for plumbing. Seven hundred
county citizens bought a clock that was placed in the tower in 1895.
This courthouse, the fourth for Delaware County, was dedicated on
January 7, 1895.