Cobden is a railway village in Prairieville Township. It was originally named North Branch because of its location near Sleepy Eye Creek, the principal north branch of the Cottonwood River. In 1886 its name was changed to Cobden for the English statesman Richard Cobden. It was platted in 1901 and incorporated in 1905. Its first officers were Thomas Peterson, president; A. Newdall, A.C. Klein, and Herman Altermatt, councilmen; and J.F. Brodish, recorder. Christian Emmerich served as the first postmaster.Erected in 2001 by the Brown County Historical Society and the Village of Cobden
Early businesses in Cobden included a bank, creamery, flour mill, hardware store, lumberyard, two grain elevators, two grocery stores, a blacksmith and carriage shop and a livery stable. There were two churches, two schools, a town hall and a fire hall. Over the years many of the businesses have closed and Cobden's population has decreased. The 2000 census recorded 54 people. Still, at a time when small towns are disappearing, Cobden survives and offers people a chance to live a quiet life in a town filled with community spirit and pride.