Colfax was laid out on 22 March 1880 by James E. Wood.
Anderson was born in Indiana and had come to McLean County about 1855 as State Missionary for the Christian Church.
He stayed and became a farmer, a banker, and a lifelong promoter of Colfax.
To locals, Anderson was affectionately known as "Uncle Billy."
The northeastern townships of the county were among the last to be served by railroads.
After many false starts the Clinton, Bloomington, and Northwestern Railroad began making its way westward from Kankakee, Illinois.
It was aided by contributions in cash and land for the right-of-way by many local farmers.
Cropsey, Anchor, and Cooksville were all laid out at the same time as Colfax.
The first train arrived in Colfax on 4 July 1880.
For two years the track extended only from Kankakee to Colfax and a turntable was installed to send the trains back eastwards.
Eventually the tracks ware completed to Bloomington. The Railroad soon became part of the Illinois Central system.
Colfax is one of several communities in the United States named for Grant's Vice President Schuyler Colfax.
Others include Colfax, California; Colfax, Indiana; Colfax, Louisiana; Colfax, North Carolina and Colfax, Washington.