The man who founded the little village of Stoughton was born in Vermont in 1799 and was a mechanic by trade. He and his wife, Eliza Page Stoughton, moved to a farm seven miles north of Janesville in 1838.
Later he moved to the village of Janesville where he was in the merchantile business and bought and sold real estate.
He began looking at some land between Madison and Janesville along the Catfish River, now the Yahara River. On July 3, 1847, Luke bought 800 acres of land for $2,100.
He had a vision of a perfectly situated little town named after him. It would have a sawmill, a store, an inn, a blacksmith shop, a carpenter shop, a doctor, a school and churches. In fact, in the years after his dream became a reality, he donated land for three of Stoughton's first churches: the Universalist Church in 1858, the Congregational Church in 1863 and First Lutheran Church in 1866.
He also donated land to the railroad so that it would stop in his village rather than in the nearby Dunkirk settlement as originally planned. Milwaukee & Mississippi Railroad passenger service began between Stoughton and Milwaukee on December 15, 1853, just six years after the village was founded. The first train reached Madison five months later.
Stoughton was finally on the map and Luke saw his vision completely fulfilled in 1868 when the Village of Stoughton was legally incorporated. By then his health had begun to fail. He died in 1874.
Eliza Page Stoughton: