It was on July 10, 1863 that the “Town of Eldena” was platted on land of the Illinois Central Railroad. The earliest permanent settler in the township was Joseph Cartwright, who settled there in 1838 and died the following year. Eldena is named for the wife of the founder.
The first train to operate through Eldena was on January 13, 1855. A large timber about 2½ ft. wide and 8 ft. long was used for passengers to board and disembark from the train before the depot and platform were built. The first store and house in Eldena were built by Reuben H. Cheney.
- Gannett, Henry (1905). The Origin of Certain Place Names in the United States. Govt. Print. Off. p. 116.