Naperville has named a street, a school, and several other locations “Ellsworth” in honor of two men who were influential in town. Father Lewis Ellsworth brought his family to Naperville in 1837 when son Milton was just eight years old. At first, Lewis opened a general store with Milton assisting, but they were also establishing a fruit tree nursery on land east of town that was the site of a fort built during the Blackhawk War, about where the North Central College athletic fields are now.
The nursery was very successful and both Lewis and Milton gave back to the town in a number of ways. Lewis was one of the founding members of the Masonic community and both he and his son served as Masters of Euclid Lodge. Lewis was also a DuPage County school commissioner as well as one of early Naperville’s village presidents.
After years of partnering with his father in the nursery, Milton also became involved in local government, serving five terms as DuPage County Clerk and working for the Internal Revenue Service. In this later part of his life, Milton moved to Wheaton which had become the county seat after the infamous records raid in 1867.
Milton was married a Miss Jane Barber and they had three children, one who died in infancy and twins Lewis and Carrie. Carrie never married and worked for her father in the County Clerk’s office. Her brother Lewis, like his father and grandfather, also became a County Clerk.
Milton’s brother, also named Lewis, was into government work as well. He moved out to Denver, Colorado, was elected to the Senate there, and was influential in a number of legislative issues for the fledgling state. Apparently public office was an Ellsworth family trait.
Milton died in 1896 at age 67 of cystitis, an inflammation of the bladder. He is buried in the Naperville Cemetery, along with father Lewis and even the Colorado brother Lewis, near the family obelisk.