VA health care benefits have been greatly broadened in the past twenty years. VA
medical centers were originally only available to treat service-related disabilities and the
acute care health care needs of veterans who did not have other means. The system now
offers a much broader package of benefits, to include primary care benefits, which
include issuance of prescriptions for many more qualified veterans.
Utilization of VA health care has increased dramatically due to a number of factors which
includes lack of access to employer-based coverage, escalation of premiums and co-pay
costs related to employer-based and private coverage, job loss, etc. It is estimated that
approximately 25% of the veteran population utilizes the VA health care system. That
percentage is rapidly growing. Walworth County veterans avail themselves of medical
care at VA primary care clinics in Union Grove, Janesville and McHenry, IL and major
medical centers in Milwaukee, Madison and North Chicago.
2009 is the year the VA began to offer to Post 9/11 GI Bill program
expansion of federal veterans’ education benefits since World War II. Veterans now
have assistance with tuition, books and housing costs, quite similar to the GI Bill
available to World War II veterans. The numbers of veterans utilizing education benefits
has been expanded to a great extent due to improvement of these benefits. The Post
9/11 GI Bill even has a provision where benefits can be transferred to family members.
The State of Wisconsin broadened local services to veterans during the past decade. A
state veterans’ cemetery was opened in Union Grove in 1998. Free burial is offered to
veterans, and low-cost burial for a spouse. The Wisconsin Veterans Home at Union
Grove opened in 2001. The facility offers both assisted living and skilled nursing
services to veterans, and some spouses, at reduced rates. The Wisconsin GI Bill offers
tuition remission at state universities and technical colleges for veterans and some
The mission of the Veterans Service Office remains the same as it did from its inception
to provide all possible assistance to our veterans and their dependents. It is estimated
that Walworth County’s current veteran population is approximately 8,000.
population of dependents potentially eligible for benefits is unknown. Our efforts
strongly contribute to the receipt of almost $10.3 million for V.A. disability benefits by
local veterans. Medical benefits total almost $10.2 million.
The office remains a two-person operation. Christine Jordan is the just third person to
hold the position of Veterans Service Officer for Walworth County. She has held the
position since 1986. Theresa Clifford is the Administrative Secretary.
A good way to close out the most recent history of the Veterans Office is to document
that Walworth County undertook a renovation project of its’ veterans’ memorials and
adjoining plaza at the main entrance to the Government Center in 2009. The memorials
were rededicated in a ceremony on November 10, 2009. The history of the memorials
was researched and presented during the ceremony. It is attached for the record.
ORY OF COUNTY VETERANS’ MEMORIALS
Civil War Memorial
A very detailed account of the development of this memorial exists in our Register of
Deeds office. This Descriptive Roll contains a complete listing of every name on this
monument to include the battles they participated in - and whether they returned home, or
perished due to combat or illness. Over 10% did not return.
Proposals to build a county-wide memorial go back to soon after the war, but they never
really took off until the next century.
It wasn’t until 1906 that Henry D. Barnes, a veteran
of the 28
Wisconsin Infantry, brought forth a proposal to produce a white metal plate
large enough to hold approximately 1,700 names. It was to be placed in the vestibule of
the County Court Building. He solicited the co-operation of the Grand Army Posts
veterans’ organizations of the time –
to induce action by the Walworth County Board of
The next year
the County Board sanctioned a committee of five men to bring
back to them a suitable plan and projected cost. The committee was composed of names
that are familiar in our local town
Cpt. Theodore Fellows of Genoa Junction, R. Bruce
Arnold of Lake Geneva, George Renner of Sugar Creek, Leonard Church of Walworth
and John G. Meadows of Lyons.
The Committee ended up recommending a plan to produce a set of bronze plates, and
along with it, a typewritten descriptive roll of ALL of the soldiers of Walworth County.
The estimated cost was $1,800. It is most amusing that the recorded history of this
project made note that “None of the members of the Board lost their seat in the next
election by reason of support of this measure!” It never was easy being an elected
The work was daunting. They consulted 58 large volumes of Descriptive Rolls stored in
the vaults of the Adjutant General’s Office in Madison. They prepared card lists
containing 2,600 names. By reviewing numerous other sources, 350 of those cards were
rejected, but another 550 added. The group decided to err on the side of inclusion. This
resulted in the approximate 2,800 names you see here today.
In 1908 the committee reported to the County Board with samples of bronze work by two
bidders. The work of one of the bidders could be done with little or no further
appropriations. However, a much more costly but superior design, was presented by the
National Bronze Company of Chicago. Without dissent, an additional $1,325 was
appropriated for the better design.
The Board had given use of one of the Jury rooms in the County Court Building to the
Grand Army posts of the county for the deposit of Civil War records and relics of the
war. The contractors actually adjusted their design to fit the walls of this jury room, and
in the spring of 1909 the plates were placed in position in that room.
The present Government Center building
previously the Courthouse
was built in
1962. It was some time after that
though apparently not immediately
that the bronze
plates were moved to an outside location along with front wall of the previous location of
the Sheriff’s Department. The memorial did not draw much attention there. In the year
2000, the County Board approved the relocation of the bronze plates to their present site
where it joined the site of the monument built to remember all those Walworth County
citizens who died in wars of the 20
Monument to 20
Century War Casualties
It was the inspiration of many members of the local veterans’ organizations.
Representatives of the organizations met for the first time in October, 1983. A
committee was formed composed of Donald Beaver, Roy Miles, Leroy Harry, Kenneth
Stoflet and Edward Duesing. They worked long hours determining what shape the
memorial would take, and they secured this location in Courthouse Park in Elkhorn.
Their goal was to raise $13,000 from the community. Within just one year, the
committee met its goal and beyond. Contributions came not only from local citizens,
students, organizations and businesses, but from people from throughout the country who
had previous ties to Walworth County. They raised enough funds to provide for the
monument, along with lighting, landscaping and permanent benches.
Once again, it was not easy to prepare the list of names of the war dead for this
monument. An initial list was prepared from available records. However, official
government accounts of war casualties, broken down by county, were not available for all
eras. Local newspapers published a running list on numerous occasions asking the public
to review the list for accuracy and to contact the committee with corrections and
additions. This committee was geared toward inclusion of all those with ties to Walworth
County. At its conclusion they had the names of 184 war dead
76 from World War I,
80 from World War II, 8 from the Korean War, and 20 from the Vietnam War.
The memorial was ordered through Ketterhagen Memorials and was prepared in
Vermont. It weighs 3 tons. It is the same type of stone used in the Vietnam Veterans
Memorial in Washington, DC. The memorial was dedicated in a ceremony on a cold
Veterans Day, in 1984.
Association for the Prevention of Family Violence
This agency had offices on the second floor of the Courthouse Annex on
County NN. They were above the Land Conservation offices.
The County Board always met in the various Courthouses except for the
period 1960 to 1962. During that period, the Board met in the basement of the
VFW Building on South Broad Street. They also met in the Legion Room on the
south side of the 3
floor of the Municipal Building, especially for committee
County Clerk’s Office
This office was in the various Courthouses except during the period 1960 to
1962. During that time, the office was located in Columbus Hall on the south side
of that building. The upstairs was used for storage of records. According to Joe
Briedenbach, County Clerk during that time, the Board voted to pave the St.
Patrick’s church parking lot so county
employees could use that facility.
County Courts and Clerk of Circuit Court
These offices were always located in the various Courthouses except during
the period of 1960 to 1962. During this time the courts used the 2
floor of the
Municipal Building. Clarence Buchholz, chairman of the Public Property
Committee, rented hay slings to lift the court records to the 3
floor of the
Municipal Building. In 2005, the Judicial Building was constructed in the complex
on the east side of Elkhorn on County NN. It is east of the Law Enforcement
Building. The dedication took place May 15, 2005.
At the November 23, 1852 County Board Meeting, a resolution was passed
to purchase a farm not to exceed 160 acres. This was bought in May 1853. By
1948, the farm had grown to 685 acres. Later as more buildings were built on the
property, the farm acreage decreased. By 1980, the farm was operating on 535
acres. It no longer exists.
In the early days, the county surveyor was on a contract basis and worked
out of his own office. During the tenure of Lloyd Jensen, his office was at the
corner of Court and Washington Streets. In 1962, that office was placed in the
County Treasurer’s Office
This office was also always located in the various Courthouses except during
the period 1960 to 1962. During that time, the office was located in Columbus
Hall, on the north side of that building. The tax description office was in that
building at the west end (kitchen area).
This department separated from the County Auditor
s office in the County
fice in 1974. They moved to offices in the basement of the Courthouse.
District Attorney’s Office
It was during the term of B. O. Reynolds (1933) that the DA
s office was
moved to a room in the County Courthouse. Early DAs were businessmen or
farmers or carried on private legal practices. During the time that the Courthouse
was razed and the 1962 Courthouse was built, the DA was most likely housed in
the Elkhorn Municipal Building along with the Courts. That office moved to the
Judicial Center in 2005.
Lakeland Counseling Center
This department was first housed on the 1
floor of the old nurses’ dorm, the
building which currently houses Health and Social Services on County NN. They
moved into their new building in October 1971.
The first school was in rented basement rooms in downtown Elkhorn.
Lakeland School, across from Westside School opened in the fall of 1955. In
1957, three more classrooms were added. In 1959, industrial arts and home
economics rooms were added. Ten new classrooms and a gym were added in
1962. In 1970, an addition of nine new rooms were put on this building. In 2007,
a new school was built in the complex east of the hospital and south of the nursing
Land Conservation/Soil & Water Conservation
In the 1960s, these two departments were in the Gilbert Building, on the SE
corner of Court and Washington Streets. In 1980, they moved out to the
Courthouse Annex. In 2006, they moved into the Government Center on the
This office began in 1969 and had an office in the Courthouse. They were in
the annex for a short time. Currently, they are on the first floor of the Government
Register of Deeds Office
According to their history written in 1980, their office was in LeGrand
Courthouse built some time before April 1839. In addition to the
courtroom and a meeting room for the county commissioners, there was an office
for the registry of deeds and mortgages. During the late 1800s, a coal stove was
provided for this office at a cost of $40. Also during this time, iron shutters were
installed on the windows to insure safety and security. This office was always in
the various Courthouses except during the period 1960 to 1962. During that time,
it was in the b
asement of Lloyd Jensen’s office at the corner of Court and
Washington Streets. It is currently in the Government Center.
This department opened in 1980 at the Courthouse Annex in the section that
was the first county hospital. It is now a part of Health and Human Services.
The first jail was erected in 1840 and was the first building owned by the
county. It was a log building, 14 feet by 20 feet. The County Board voted on
April 21, 1851 to condemn the old jail and build a new one. $4,000 was
appropriated and February 1, 1852 was set for a completion date. After much
debate, the site for the jail was the corner of Church and Court Streets.
The third jail was completed in 1878 and was built on the NW corner of
urch and Walworth Streets. It provided for a sheriff’s home in the front and the
jail in the back with two tiers of cells. In 1910, the State Board of Control
condemned the jail. The new jail was completed in 1915 and was on the same site
as the previous
one. The new jail housed the sheriff’s quarters on the second floor,
east side, the department was on the first floor, east side and cells were on both
floors on the west side.
In 1962, the department moved into the west end of the Courthouse.
On November 1, 1995, the Law Enforcement Center on County NN was dedicated.
Documents you may be interested
Documents you may be interested