To describe minutely and separately counties that possess so nearly the same qualities as do those situated adjacent to each other, in any portion of this State, would be a useless task; hence, where a full description is given of the soil, productions, climate, &c., of one county, and those adjoining are very similar, the description is not repeated. For instance, the general description of Winneshiek County, answers for every adjoining county in the northeast, Henry or Jefferson for the south-east, Pottawattamie for the west, Scott and Jackson for the east, and so on.
Was settled in 1851, by Messrs. Walter, Bowman and Toar, from Nodaway Co., Mo. The first election held, was in April, 1853, at which twelve votes were cast. Quincy, the county-seat of Adams, was located in April, 1853, by Commissioners appointed by the Legislature. The first sale of lots took place in September, 1853. The present population of the County, (Feb. 1855), is about 700; the number of votes 150. The last State census showed a population of 342, making an increase of over one hundred per cent during the past eight months, and the gain will far exceed that the coming twelve months.
But one church — the Methodist Episcopal — has a substantial frame meeting-house, 24 by 30. Other societies will organize during the season.
The district schools (under the common school law), are the only educational institutions yet in the County. These are susceptible of improvement.
Probably no county in Iowa possesses more motive power for machinery than Adams. Two saw-mills already in operation, and two others being built, and yet not one tenth of the demand is supplied.
One or two grist or flouring-mills are very much needed — also a carding and fulling-mill. There are plenty of good mill-seats on the Nodaway to be had for Congress price ($1.25 per acre). The very nature of the soil and climate — the high rolling prairies, interspersed with streams of pure water, as well as the experience of those already engaged in the business, points out this as one of the best p109 sheep-growing countries in the world. The day is not far distant when that business will be carried on largely in Western Iowa.
The richness, fertility, and depth of the soil in Adams County, will compare favorably with any county in Western Iowa, and as to timber, it is better supplied than those surrounding it. The principal streams are the West, Middle, and East Nodaway rivers. The heads of the One-hundred-and‑two, one branch of the Little Platte, and the East and Main, or Middle Nodaways, extend from north to south across the County. Veins of stone-coal 2½ to 3½ feet thick have been found along the Middle Nodaway.
The climate of Western Iowa is peculiar; the winters are very dry, no rain falling usually from October till March and April. There is not generally much snow, and the ground in the winter is frozen to a great depth, owing to the loose nature of the soil. Three winters' experience in Iowa, and I have never seen the frost leave the ground after winter sets in, until spring. Our streets and roads are dry and dusty. The months of August and September are usually very dry, most of our rains coming during the earlier part of the season. It has been frequently remarked, that no soil in the world would stand as much dry weather as this, and there is none that is less injured by continued wet weather. Owing to these peculiarities of the climate, no section of county can compare with this for stock raising, the cold but dry winters being just the thing for cattle and sheep.
Is bounded on the east by the Mississippi River. It is the extreme N. E. county of the State. The first settlements made by whites were in 1850. The present population of the county numbers some 5000.
One church, erected by the Congregationalists in Wawkon, and one in Lansing, are the only houses of worship we hear of in the county. The several Christian denominations have organized societies, and many of them are preparing to build this year.
One newspaper — the "Lansing Intelligencer."
The county boasts some forty well-attended, ably-taught public schools, and several prospering private schools.
In the county are two flouring and five or six saw-mills. These kinds of mills are badly needed in different parts of the county, although admirably provided for by nature. Manufactories of farming utensils, cooperage, &c., are also needed. The facilities for getting pine lumber are good, and oak, lynn, and black walnut are plenty. "Large farms, and lots of them," are being opened and cultivated, and they will remain without a good market for the grain, until more mills are established. This county is well watered, well timbered, fertile and productive; adapted to all kinds of grain, fruit and grazing.
Is bounded on the east by Davis, on the west by Wayne, on the north by Monroe, and on the south by the Missouri line. Centreville, the county-seat, is the principal town in p111 this county, and is situated on the Southern Iowa R. R., projected to run west from Fort Madison. The Chariton river passes in a southerly direction through the State, and upon its banks are numerous excellent mill-sites. Beside this, Shoal and Walnut Creeks, and the tributaries of the Chariton furnish water to every portion of the county. The soil is of an excellent quality, and the country tolerably well timbered. The climate is mild and pleasant, less subject to high winds than the middle and northern portion of the State. The principal towns in the county are Centreville, (the county seat), Sharon, Hibbsville, Unionville, and Iconium; beside which are post-offices, named Moravia, Mount Gilead, New Plain, Cincinnati, Millard, Johns' and Pleasant View.
Was first settled by S. M. Lockhart, in the spring of 1841; soon after, other families followed. In August, 1851, C. C. Charles's was the only family that resided in what is now Vinton. The reports of the assessors in regard to this, as well as many other sections, are very incorrect. Last year they gave Vinton 307 — now there are 509. The county was censused at 2623, but at that time there were at least 3000, and the population of Benton is now nearly 4000.
The O. S. and N. S. Presbyterians have established societies, and are preparing to erect churches.
One school, well conducted, with 90 scholars.
p112 One steam saw-mill, cutting 4000 feet of lumber every 24 hours. A flouring-mill is very much needed.
This county is well watered, with a due proportion of prairie and timber.
The settlements of the county are at Burk's P. O., Marysville, Beutah P. O., Taylor's Creek P. O., and Prairie Creek P. O.
This county, bearing the name of the illustrious chief, possesses some of the finest soil and timber land in Northern Iowa. It is in the same range with, and the third county from, Dubuque. The Cedar fork of the Iowa river passes diagonally in a south-easterly direction across the county. Cedar Falls is a town of considerable importance, and will become a large manufacturing place. At this, as well as several other points in the county, the best of water-power and eligible sites for mills and manufacturing establishments hold out inducements to capitalists, while the immense quantity of unentered land in the county calls loudly to the immigrating farmer.
Was first settled at Pea's Point (now called Flat-rock), in May, 1846, by John Pea, a pioneer of the old stock, a Pennsylvanian by birth, who has lived in every State that intervenes between his native State and Iowa, when they were wild and primitive forests. He was also an early settler in Missouri. This old man still resides in Boone p113 County, and with the gray hairs of some seventy years upon his head, such are his erect form and comparatively robust constitution, that Time seems to have broken its billows over his manly form only as the ocean rends its fury over the immovable rock of its shores. The old gentleman is still full of adventure and enterprise, and may ere long be one of freemen of Nebraska.
Montgomery McCall settled near where Boonsboro now stands, in the month of February, 1847, and for about a year his family lived nearer the source of Des Moines river than any other white family. During the winter of 1846 and 1847, seven hundred Pottawattamie Indians were encamped in the vicinity of these families.
The town of Boonsboro was located on the 7th day of July, 1851, as the county-seat, by commissioners appointed for that purpose by the State Legislature, and is likely ever to remain the seat of justice for the county.
The present population of Boonsboro is about 300. The population of the county over 2000. Immigration is rapidly pouring in.
The present school system of the State is in admirable effect in all the settled parts of the county. In Boonsboro a public school is continually in session, under the superintendence of an able teacher.
A Baptist church is in course of erection, and a Methodist, and a United Brethren church of small dimensions. The respective congregations are in better condition than their church buildings, owing to the difficulty of getting lumber to build with.
p114 No newspaper published in the county; the publication of one will probably commence next May.
No manufactories of any note in the county. The mill at the Rapids, fifteen miles below Boonsboro, is situated at one of the best mill sites in the county (it is probably the best mill site in the State). But the present owners are pecuniarily unable to improve it as it should be. They make good flour at said mill, but fall far short of supplying the wants of those who naturally depend upon it. In able hands this mill site would be a fortune to its owner. A steam saw and flouring mill is needed in Boonsboro; no enterprise would pay better. None of the present citizens are able to erect a suitable one, and the rich field is open to a stranger. It would be the only mill within fifteen miles. Lumber is in high demand. Boonsboro might have been three times its present size, only for the want of lumber.
Boone County is 24 miles square. The river Des Moines runs through the centre of it from north to south. The bed of the river is deep, and the bluffs on either side of the rich bottoms are high, and in many places abrupt. The wildest scenery on the whole course of this river is in this county. The bottoms are large, and clothed with the best of timber. The average width of the Des Moines timber through the county is six miles. The country, after leaving the timber on each side of the Des Moines, is level, rich, alluvial prairie. Beaver Creek, in the western part of the county is skirted with a plentiful supply of fine timber, and its prairie bottoms cannot be surpassed. Montgomery's Creek, a tributary of the Skunk, runs through the northeast p115 corner of the county, and a fine settlement of Indianans is springing up along is banks.
Stone-coal of a fine quality is plenty everywhere in this county; but timber is so plenty, that as yet not much use is made of the coal for fuel.
Everywhere water is plenty. Wells on the prairie are dug from fifteen to thirty feet deep. Stock water is abundant, and this is as fine a grazing region as any in the State.
Was settled first in 1848‑9. In the spring of 1853, the town of Janesville, six miles below Waverly, was laid out by John T. Barrie. This town is situated on the east bank of the Cedar River, some three miles above the junction of the Cedar and the Shellrock. The place contains some 150 inhabitants, with two stores, saw-mill, &c. A flouring-mill is much needed, and the water-power along these streams is sufficient to furnish sites for all the machinery needed. A great abundance of building-stone and the best of timber admirably fit this for a manufacturing place.
But one school in Janesville — a fine stone school-house is now being erected, 24 by 36 feet.
The M. E. Church are making arrangements to build a house of worship this season. There are one stationary and two itinerant ministers; the churches are well attended and prosperous.
In June, 1853, the county-seat was located six miles above Janesville, on the east bank of the Cedar River, and the town of Waverly established, which has now a population p116 of some 200. A good saw and flouring mill near Waverly. The population of Bremer County is about 2000. Public schools in every settlement through the county. A body of timber, known as "the lower big woods," embracing some 40 sections, lies in the vicinity of these towns, which, in a prairie county, is a consideration of no minor importance. This is a healthy and productive region of country, possessing beautiful scenery, and excellent agricultural and manufacturing advantages.
Was first settled by Ezra G. Allen and Wm. Bennett, in 1842.
Independence, the county-seat, was located and settled in the winter of 1846, by Rufus Blelark.
Present population of the town, 500 — of the county, 3000.
No church buildings erected. One is being erected at Independence, and one at Quasqueton.
No newspaper in the county. Two flouring-mills (two burrs each), and two saw-mills, are in operation in the county.
Woollen manufactories most needed, there being none within 40 miles.
Oak timber plenty along the streams, and deep-soiled rolling prairies between the water-courses. The streams are rather rapid, with gravelly or rocky beds. Limestone abundant. Soil generally rich sandy loam.
Was to have been organized in March of the present year. The present population of the county is but about 150. Water-power, timber lands, and the best of prairie soil, with inexhaustible beds of building-stone, coal, and iron, are some of the inducements Carroll County holds out to new-comers. As yet no towns are laid out, not even the county-seat, and the active, intelligent, and ambitious immigrant will find inducements for settling in recently-organized counties which do not exist in older ones. Though water-power is afforded by several streams in various parts of the county, there is not a mill nor manufactory yet erected, and the nearest mill is at Panora, Guthrie County, 27 miles distant. What an opening for a saw and grist-mill! Wheat, corn, and rye in abundance. Of churches and schools in Carroll we could obtain no information, and presume that they, like the county, are unorganized.
Joins Pottawattamie on the east, and, like those adjoining on the west and south, was settled by Mormons in 1846‑7, who, however, left in the spring of 1852, when W. L. Townsend, P. Hedges, J. Bradshaw, C. E. Woodward, George Reeves, and J. W. Benedict took their places, and became permanent settlers.
Lewis, the county-seat, was first settled by R. C. Lambert. The population of the county is now a little rising p118 of 700. A fine court-house is to be built in Lewis this season.
There is but one church in Lewis — occupied by the Congregationalists and Methodists.
No newspaper, but one needed.
Two good common schools in Lewis, in very good condition.
Two saw-mills and one grist-mill. A woollen factory would do well, also mechanics of every kind — blacksmiths, plough and wagon makers, cabinet-makers, and day laborers.
Cass County is unsurpassed, in point of fertility and water, in the State, — is well supplied with timber and stone. The soil gently undulating and dry. There is yet considerable unentered land in this county.
Was organized and settled in 1836. The county-seat, Tipton, was laid out in 1839. Present population of the town 583, and of the county 7605.
The towns and settlements in the county are Tipton, Woodridge, Cedar Bluffs, Pioneer P. O., Cedar P. O., Massillon P. O., Yankee Grove P. O., Red Oak P. O., Gower's P. O., Inland P. O., Springdale P. O., Padee P. O., Lacton P. O., and Rochester.
Three churches in Tipton — Presbyterian, Congregational, and Methodist, — society very good. Churches of different denominations throughout the county, but the precise number of church edifices or members not ascertained.
p119 Four schools in Tipton — 2 public, 2 private. Average number of pupils in each, 30.
One steam grist-mill — doing but little business, owing to lack of water.
The Lyons R. R. is projected through the centre of this county, and mostly graded as far as Tipton, and we understand the suspended work on the line will be resumed energetically by the new companies soon.
The county is made up of very excellent soil, adapted to all kinds offarming purposes, and well watered generally. Timber is less abundant in Cedar than in many other counties. Yet taken as a whole, Cedar holds out strong inducements to the farmer and mechanic, to locate within her borders.
Three years ago Chickasaw County had not a single white resident — now the population of the county exceeds 1000. In 1853, Rufus Clark, a famous trapper and hunter, a native of Ohio, settled in the vicinity of the present Bradford P. O. which is in the neighbourhood of the junction of the Little and the Big Cedar Rivers. The population of Bradford now is 300. One district school with an average attendance of 70 scholars. Preaching every Sabbath — principally Methodist. No churches organized yet.
Two saw-mills in full operation, and a steam saw-mill being erected.
Capitalists and traders would find this a wide and inviting field for their operations.
p120 Flouring-mill much needed. Flour is now brought 45 miles, and grain taken the same distance to mill. With any amount of water-power all over the county, and the best of grain soil, we hope some capitalist will consult his interest by contributing to the wants of the people of Chickasaw.
Was first settled in 1849. In 1850, according to the census, it contained 79 inhabitants. The population of the county now, (February, 1855), numbers upwards of 2000. The county-seat, Osceola, was settled in 1852 — present population, 150.
There are no church buildings erected in the county as yet; but the Methodists, Campbellites, and United Brethren have each an organization.
No public schools. Two private schools in Osceola, in a flourishing condition. Several schools in the county, exact number unknown.
Of manufactories there is one steam saw-mill. Steam flouring and saw-mills much needed. Lumber is worth two to two and a half dollars per hundred for all kinds, and scarce at that. Timber of the first quality skirts the numerous streams which have their sources in this county. Climate healthy. Soil rather broken in parts of county, but fertile and arable.
Is the most northern river county in the State, except Alamakee. It is bounded on the east by the Mississippi, p121 on the west by Fayette, on the south by Delaware and Dubuque. The principal water-courses in the county are Yellow and Turkey Rivers, Volga and Buck Creeks, and Bloody Run. Turkey River is among the most beautiful and placid streams in the State, and is celebrated for its numerous geological specimens, and the picturesque scenery of its banks and dells. Turkey River affords most excellent water-power for mills and machinery, and is navigable the greater part of the year, as far up as the forks. The soil is about the same as in those counties adjoining, already described. The principal towns in the county are Garnaville, the county-seat, Brookville, Kilroy, Clayton, Guttenburg, Melville, Buena Vista, Elkport, Elkador, Farmersburg, and Brookville,º besides several settlements, at each of which is a Post Office.
De Witt, the county seat of Clinton, was settled in 1841 — some portions of the county in 1836. The present population of the county is 7500 — of De Witt, 500.
Four churches — Methodist, Congregational, Roman Catholic, and one union of the Baptists and Disciples.
Three newspapers printed in the county, at Lyons, Camanche, and Fulton City. One needed in De Witt.
Good public and select schools in every town of the county, and in good condition.
In De Witt are two saw-mills and one grist-mill. Being the centre of a very excellent grain market, which will soon have an outlet by the Lyons R. R., it becomes capitalists to erect a large flouring-mill at or near De Witt.
p122 Clinton consists of beautiful, rich, rolling prairie, interspersed with groves of timber. "Second-hand lands can be bought on better terms in Clinton than any county in the State, according to their true value."
Was first settled by Samuel Miller and family, in 1846. The population of the county according to the last census, was 2565. The present population of Adel, the county-seat, is 126. The town is beautifully located on the west side of the North Raccoon River, and is directly on the great route between the East and California, Oregon and Utah.
Five public schools in the county, all in a prosperous condition. No private schools.
Dallas has five water, and one steam, saw-mills. Grist-mills and manufactories greatly needed. The many fine streams that afford water-power in this county, and the fertile soil, producing abundant crops, call loudly to the capitalists and farmers to make investments in Dallas. Considerable of the land of Dallas can be had at government price, if applied for before it is entered.
The country lies high, rolling, and healthy, but is comparatively sparsely settled, as the number of inhabitants indicates.
Is the second county from the Mississippi, on the Missouri State line, and is settled to a great extent by immigrants from Missouri and Illinois. The principal streams p123 watering the county are the north and south branches of the Waukindau, and the Fox River, which, with several smaller streams, have their rise in the county, passing through Missouri to the Mississippi. The Des Moines River runs diagonally across the north-east corner of the county, several of whose tributaries traverse the county. The principal towns in Davis County are Bloomfield (the county-seat), Troy, Drakesville, Nottingham, and Mount Calvary, and small settlements, the post-offices of which are named Oak Spring, Soap Creek, Salt Creek, Pleasant View, Taylor, Troy, Dover, Pulaski, Stringtown, Monterey, Savannah, Roscoe, and Del Norte.
There are 14,320 acres of unentered land in Davis County. For a description of the soil see Monroe — the soil in the two counties being similar.
Was first settled in 1832, by David Tothers, who settled three miles south-west of what is now Burlington. The next settlement was made by S. S. White and Amzi Doolittle, who were the proprietors of the original town. Additions were laid out in the order in which they are named: in 1836, by David Rorer, Amos Ladd, Enoch Wade, Isaac Leffler, G. W. Kelley, and others since. Population between 8 and 9000.
There are eleven houses of worship, viz.: two Roman Catholic, one Episcopal, two Methodist Episcopal, one German Methodist, one German Lutheran, one Congregational, p124 one Baptist, and one Presbyterian. There are also three congregations who intend erecting houses of worship soon, viz.: Second Presbyterian, Cumberland Presbyterian, and Christian.
"Iowa State Gazette," weekly and tri-weekly; "Hawkeye," same; "Telegraph," daily and weekly; "Iowa Farmer," monthly, are published in this county.
Two large public school-houses, costing over $4000 each, in which eight schools are taught. There are also quite a number of private schools, all in a flourishing condition, and the Baptist University, of which an account is published on another page.
They have two machine and engine manufactories, two foundries, one planing mill, two steam flouring-mills, four sash, door and blind factories, three steam saw-mills, one shingle factory, one steam match factory, two furniture manufactories; two coach, five wagon, two plough, one brush, one candle, and one starch factory; two large pork packing establishments, three banking houses, six hotels, three plank roads. Railroad connection with Chicago. Burlington and Missouri River railroad will be finished to Mt. Pleasant this summer — almost entirely graded to Ottumway now. They have several large bakeries. An oil and paper mill no doubt would do well there.
The opening of the railroad between Chicago and Burlington has given a new impetus to the latter city, and the population and business of the place will increase more during the present year than it has in any three years heretofore.
p125 The people of Burlington are industrious and energetic, and their intelligence and literary taste may be judged of from the fact that the most extensive, if not the only Historical and Geological Society of the State, is located at this place. We are indebted to one of its gentlemanly members for a brief history of this institution, which follows:—
"The Iowa Historical and Geological Institute was organized December 18th, 1843, and incorporated December 31st, 1850. Its effects were destroyed by fire, January 16th, 1853. Its object is to collect and preserve, and to open to the public, historical matter of all kinds, more especially that relating to Iowa, a general library, maps, charts, drawings, pictures, statuary, and a cabinet of natural history, also — to sustain public lectures. When the cabinet and library were destroyed by fire, the Institute was in a flourishing condition, having about 800 volumes in the library, 2000 pamphlets, files of newspapers since the organization of the Territory and State, and a great many papers pertaining to the early history and settlement of the State, about 4000 specimens illustrative of the geology of this State, an herbarium containing the greater portion of the plants found in the State, also a number of specimens illustrative of the zoology of the State; and a large collection of Indian relics, numbering about 400, among which were included nearly all the paraphernalia of Black Hawk. The loss sustained was irreparable, and for some time it was difficult to keep the Institute alive. For the last year, the Institute has been in a very flourishing condition; p126 in fact, so much so that a thorough re-organization was necessary. The present officers are —
"President, David Rorer.
Vice-President, William Thompson.
Corresponding Secretary, John H. Rauch.
Recording Secretary, A. D. Green.
Treasurer, Luke Palmer.
Librarian, C. C. Cloutman."
Dubuque is one of the oldest counties in the State, being one of the two original Districts, from which the principal eastern counties of the State were formed. It embraces the most noted portions of the mineral region, and, singular as it may appear, though in the very heart of the mineral region, the soil is generally of the most productive character, yielding large crops of grain. Few countries in the world possess the combined advantages of a soil rich in fertility, and at the same time underlaid with inexhaustible veins of lead ore. Lead is the great staple of export, as will be seen by the annexed statistics. Copper and zinc have also been discovered, but not in sufficient quantities to induce capitalists to enlist in the work of developing them. Several valuable lodes or veins of lead were discovered during the past winter.
The country west of Dubuque City is strikingly beautiful, and well watered. It is a rolling prairie, interspersed with groves of timber, while along the small streams running p127 from north to south there are large bodies of good timber, and extensive water-power. Several adjoining counties, as well as Dubuque, are well settled — the land all entered by actual settlers. Mineral lots are laid off in almost every conceivable shape, and contain about ten acres each.
The city of Dubuque, one of the largest and most densely populated in the State, is handsomely situated upon a natural terrace. The streets run parallel to each other, and owing to the peculiar soil at this location, are never muddy. This city is more compactly built, and contains a greater proportion of fine buildings than any other place in the State. Among these the Catholic Cathedral, court-house, and hotels stand prominent. The city is bounded on the west by a range of high cliffs, from which the prospect of the city and county is entrancingly beautiful.
Three daily newspapers are published in Dubuque: the "Express and Herald," the "Tribune," and the "Observer," each issuing, beside, a weekly edition. We have not the name of the weekly German paper.
The population of Dubuque County, according to the census of 1854, is 16,513; and of the city, according to West's Statistics, 10,000. The number of buildings erected in the city last year was 332.
Of the society in Dubuque we need not remark farther than to state, that this population of 10,000 ably support eleven churches, one female seminary, one college, five select and common schools, twenty-four lawyers, and fourteen physicians.
This city being the present terminus of two important p128 railroads, must necessarily become a place of great commercial importance.
Good investments can be made in the establishing, at Dubuque, of manufactories of Red and White Lead, Lead Pipe, Shot, and Sheet Lead. Capitalists should investigate this matter.
From the following statistics, the reader may judge of commercial importance of the City of Dubuque:—
Imports to Dubuque in 1853
Imports to Dubuque in 1854
Exports from Dubuque in 1853
Exports from Dubuque in 1854
Lead exported in 1854
Iron, Steel, and Nails exp. in 1854
Flour exp. in 1854
Wheat exp. in 1854
Corn exp. in 1854
We invite the reader's particular attention to the following comparative table of immigration, for the past two years:—
|Crossed the Dubuque Ferry
|Men, women, and children
p129 The immigration to Iowa, in 1854, at this point, as well as others, was very large. The amount of the public domain sold at the Dubuque Land Office, during the year, is: cash sales, 1,120,000 acres; located with Military Warrants, 250,000. The snug sum of $3,961,736 in specie was exported to St. Louis from this Land Office, during the year; this exceeds the like exports of ten previous years.
Was first settled in 1843, by people from the northeastern states.
The present population of the county is 6000 — that of Delhi, the county-seat, 400.
No newspapers in the county.
The number and condition of public and private schools compare favorably with those of other counties in the state, of the same population.
No manufactories, yet some in contemplation. The county and is towns are filling up rapidly with an industrious, enterprising, and wealthy population. Great inducements are held out to capitalists to erect manufactories of different kinds. There is an abundance of water-power 1½ miles from Delhi, and a large body of timber on the Maquoketa, thus affording ample opportunity for the erection of machinery, whether propelled by steam or water-power. This county is peculiarly adapted to wool-growing; and all that is wanted to make citizens of Delaware a great manufacturing people, is to make their advantages known to Eastern capitalists.
p130 Chair-making, cabinet-making, wagon, carriage and buggy making, woollen factories, in short, everything except distilling alcoholic liquors, is needed in this vicinity.
This county is conveniently interspersed with groves of timber, and drained by the Maquoketa, Plumb, Elk, Bear, Buffalo, Buck, Little Turkey, and Honey Creeks, all of which afford some fine mill-sites.
The prairie is gently undulating, soil good, composed a happy admixture of vegetable mould and sand, based upon a porous clay subsoil. We have an abundance of fine lime-stone, for building and fencing purposes.
Near Delhi we have excellent clay for the manufacturing of brick, of the best quality.
Within a few rods of this village plat, we have a fine sheet of pure "soft water," covering about 160 acres of land, containing small fish in abundance, and affording a fine opportunity for bathing during the hot months.
Taking Delaware County as a whole, it affords as fine a chance for the wealthy, enterprising immigrant, as any county in Northern Iowa.
Was first settled by some seven or eight families, who immigrated from Missouri, and located upon the then disputed territory between Missouri and Iowa, anticipating an extensive trade with the Indians, who at that time were quite numerous here. This was the only settlement in the county until 1846, when a company of Mormons settled near the N. E. corner of the county, calling their village p131 Garden Grove. But few immigrants located in this county, however, before 1850, since when the increase has been rapid, and of the best of citizens.
The population of Decatur County is 4020. The several denominations, Presbyterians, Methodists, Baptists and Christians, have each organizations, and have meetings in turn in the Court House in Leon, which is a respectable-sized two-story brick building. No buildings for public worship yet erected. No newspaper in Decatur or any adjoining county. In the county are some twenty-five public schools, well conducted, supported principally by the school fund. In the county are three steam, saw, and grist mills, and two others in process of erection. Those who may wish to locate, will find in Decatur good openings for saw and grist mills, brick-makers, wheelwrights, cabinet-makers, wagon-makers, house-builders, blacksmiths, tinners, and shoemakers.
The northern part of the county is principally prairies, while the southern is supplied with a large and beautiful growth of timber. Though the county is more broken than many north and east of it, the soil is all susceptible of cultivation, and more than half the county heavily timbered.
Thompson's Fork of Grand River and tributaries spreads over the western part of the county, affording an abundance of clear, soft water, and plenty of timber, for all purposes. These streams are backed by extensive beds of lime and sand-stone, suitable for building purposes, and supply water sufficient to run flouring or saw-mills, the year through.
p132 Wilson's Fork of Grand River, traversing the eastern portion of the county, is better timbered, but not so good a mill stream.
Along the banks of several of these streams thin veins of coal have been discovered, and it is thought that extensive beds would be found by proper search, but no labor has yet been expended upon them.
Leon, the county-seat, is situated two miles due east of the centre of the county, within half a mile of an extensive body of excellent timber. The town was located in 1853, present population 250. The last session of the Legislature changed name of this town to "Leon"; Post Office yet bears the original name, "South Independence."
Decatur is pleasantly situated on a high, rolling prairie, 2½ miles west of the centre of the county, and 3 miles from Thompson's Fork of Grand River. Population between 150 and 200.
Pleasant Plain is on the Missouri line, eleven miles south of Leon. Surrounded by a splendid agricultural country, settled by energetic, industrious people, this will ever be a brisk business place. Population upwards of 100.
Garden Grove, in the N. E. corner of the county, on one of the main roads from the Mississippi to the Missouri, and surrounded by a rich and fertile county, will become a place of some importance.
Is bounded on the east by Clayton County, which separates it from the Mississippi, on the north by Winnesheik,º p133 on the west by Chickasaw and Bremer, and on the south by Buchanan. The county is well watered by Turkey River, and its north and south forks, and various other tributaries. The soil is admirably adapted for all agricultural purposes. The scenery along Turkey River and its north and south forks is beautiful, and timber abundant. The Minnesota Railroad, projected to run north-west from Dubuque, passes diagonally through this county, and when built will add greatly to its wealth and importance. The principal towns in the county are West Union, the county-seat, Lima, and Taylorsville, besides post offices named Eldorado, Eden, Clermont, Douglas, Windsor, Louisville, Gamble Grove, Illyria, Fayetteville and Mill Grove.
Is the extreme south-western county of the State. The first settlement was at Sidney, the county-seat, where the first sale of lots was made June 30th, 1851. James H. Cowles was the first resident. The present population of the county-seat is 300 — that of the county 3200.
Of churches it has a Congregational, which will compare with any other in any county of like age. The Methodist Church numbers more members than any other; the Baptist next; the Christians or Campbellites are also quite numerous. The O. S. Presbyterians are preparing to organize a Church, and to erect a seminary — not, however, as a religious institution — peculiar to that body.
Of public schools there are in the county some twenty, with ample room for improvement in a majority of them.
p134 Here are a carding-machine and two grist-mills, one steam saw-mill, and four water-power saw-mills, all doing an excellent business. Also two portable, six-horse-power saw-mills, four stores, one saddler, one shoemaker, two tailors, four blacksmiths, one gunsmith — no newspaper, but a reading, intelligent people.
We are in great need of more manufactories and mechanics. A steam flouring-mill would do a first-rate business.
The surrounding country is well adapted to all kinds of agricultural pursuits, possessing a rich and productive soil, well supplied with water and timber, and rapidly settling up with worthy, industrious and intelligent people.
Is not as large nor as old as many other counties of the State, but possesses advantages which, when developed, will place her in the advance. The soil of Guthrie is second to none in the State, for the farmer, grazier, and fruit-grower. The numerous streams of running water afford eligible and profitable sites for the erection of the much-needed manufactories, while the banks are big with inexhaustible quarries of lime, free-stone, and stone-coal, and in the north-west corner large quantities of iron ore have been discovered. The first settlements in the county were made in 1850, and the present population is 2000. The principal church denominations are Methodists, United Brethren, O. S. Baptists, and Friends, each of whom are making arrangements for the erection of church buildings for their respective denominations. At present all meetings are held in school- p135 houses, of which the county can boast several very good ones. The district school-house in Panora, is the best in Western Iowa, and a public school is kept up in it all the year. Considerable of the land in this county is yet unentered; though timber-lands are all taken up. The county-seat, Panora, was settled in 1853; it now contains a population of 160. More saw-mills, a planing-mill, lath-machine, carding and fulling-mill, brick-makers, carpenters, masons, and plasters, are all much needed in Guthrie.
Images with borders lead to more information.
The thicker the border, the more information. (Details here.)
Iowa As It Is in 1856
A page or image on this site is in the public domain ONLY if its URL has a total of one *asterisk. If the URL has two **asterisks, the item is copyright someone else, and used by permission or fair use. If the URL has none the item is © Bill Thayer.
See my copyright page for details and contact information.
Page updated: 1 Sep 11