Butler County in 1865

Butler County is in the third tier of counties from the northern boundary of the state, and the fourth west of the Mississippi River. It is bounded by Floyd on the north, Bremer and Blackhawk on the east, Grundy on the south and Franklin on the west. It was organized in 1854.

A portion of the county is quite level, the remainder would be termed rolling prairie, there is scarcely a hill in the county except now and then a few bluffs along the streams.

Prairie and timber are as well proportioned and distributed as in any county in this part of the State, and soil equal to any of the adjoining counties, well adapted to raising wheat, corn, etc.,  and some parts of the county cannot be surpassed for raising stock, and for dairy purposes.

The timber, consists of white burr and jack oaks, sugar maple, black walnut, hickory, elm, Pine, etc.

There is an abundance of brick stone and brick clay.

The principal streams are: first, the Shell Rock River which for beauty and its numerous mill sites cannot be surpassed in the west. It rises in Minnesota, and runs in a south-easterly direction  through the eastern portion of the county, and empties into the Cedar River, a few miles above Cedar Falls. Within the county, on this stream, are now three flouring mills.

The second stream is called the West Fork of the Shell Rock, running nearly parallel with the Shell Rock through the centre of the county; next the Beaver, a smaller stream in the southern part of the county, upon which there are numerous mill sites.

There are sixteen townships in the county, to-wit: Albion, Butler, Beaver, Benezette, Cold-Water, Dayton, Fremont, Jackson, Jefferson, Monroe, Madison, Pittsford, Ripley, Shell Rock, Washington and West Point.

Joseph Hix and Robert T. Crowell were the first white settlers. They settled in 1850, near where the village of Clarksville has since been located.

The DuBuque and Sioux City railroad passes through the southern part of the county, and the Cedar Falls and Minnesota Road is being built through the north-east part of the county.

CLARKSVILLE, the largest village in the county, is situated on the Shell Rock River, 23 miles north-east of Cedar Falls, at which place is situated the Clarksville Institute, as institution of learning, fast gaining a reputation as one of the best institutions in the State. It contains two churches, Methodist and Presbyterian, also a lodge each of Masons and Good Templars. It has two general stores, two drug stores, one grocery, one flour mill and two saw mills. Population, 500.

BUTLER CENTRE is the county seat, and is situated on the stage route, from Cedar Falls in Hampton, 15 miles north-west of Cedar Falls. It contains a Presbyterian Church and one general store. The Stars and Stripes, a weekly, is published by Martin Baily. Population, 390.

WILLOUGHBY is in the south-eastern portion of the county, 10 miles from Butler Centre. It has one general store and two saw mills. The township has five church organizations, two Methodist, Baptist, Advent and United Brethren, and a lodge of Good Templars. Population of village, 58; township, 700.

PARKERSBURG is a post office in Albion township, near the southern line of the county. The township contains one Methodist Church. It is watered by Beaver Creek. Population of township, 330.

SHELL ROCK is eight miles below Clarksville, on the Shell Rock River.

NEW HARTFORD is on the DuBuque and Sioux City R. R., in the south-eastern part of the county.

The other villages and post offices in the county are: Algonquin, Boylins Grove, Elm Springs, Island Grove, Leoni and Swanton.

~ source: Iowa State Gazetteer, 1865. Published by Bailey & Hair, 164 Clark Street, Chicago, Illinois, pg 117