Ellsworth is located in Grand Prairie Township in the extreme southwestern corner of Nobles County. The township was organized in 1873, though settlers had taken up residence in the township as early as 1871.
One of these early settlers is known in history only as “Uncle” Stillwell. Mr Stillwell made a claim to the land where Ellsworth now stands, and he established a small store on his farmstead, supplying the needs of local farmers. He also operated a peddler’s wagon in the vicinity. Mr. Stillwell had great confidence in the future of the region, and often remarked that a town would one day be located on his property, or very near to it. However, Stillwell packed up and left the area two years before the town of Ellsworth was eventually established in 1884. Ellsworth sits on Stillwell’s former claim, and the business district of the town is located less than 1/2 mile west of Stillwell’s cabin.
A new railroad town: The town of Ellsworth was named in honor of Eugene Ellsworth of Cedar Falls, Iowa.