A.T. Andreas’ Historical Atlas of the State of
Iowa 1875. Published by the
Andreas Atlas Co., Lakeside Building, Chicago, Ills.
was originally a part of Webster County, but the Legislature of 1856-7
it into a separate county, with Webster City as its county seat.
has thirteen townships; one called Lincoln was taken from the east part
Lyon, by the supervisors, in 1875. Like
most Iowa counties, the greater part consists of high rolling prairie,
small amount of timber along the streams. The Boone River flows along
western boundary from north to south, and has numerous mill sites. In
parts of the county, on the prairie lands, are found spring-ponds,
deserve the name of lakes. They abound in fish, and at times are
flocks of wild fowl.
convenience of water and excellent quality of pasturage, it has few
equals as a
stock region. The soil of the high prairies is of great fertility, and
to raising both corn and wheat. Both limestone and building stone are
common in various parts of the county, and very accessible. The
quarry of Mr. Briggs, three miles from Webster City, is especially
made of the census of 1875 show an increase of about twelve thousand
cultivated land during the year. Of course this implies a large amount
fencing and other improvements accompanying this increased tillage.
improved residences meet the eye in every direction, in the midst of
cultivated fields, while large herds of cattle graze on the beautiful
Most of the people are from the Eastern and Middle States, especially
northern half of the county. In the southeast part are many families of
Norwegians, with fine improved farms.
Brewer, and Nathan and William Stanley were the first settlers in the
limits of the county. Brewer came in November, 1850 and located near
Webster City now is, on forty acres, to which was added another forty
connection with William Frake laid out the village of Newcastle; but
in 1856 to the Willson brothers, who have since done much to improve
Peter Lyon, Isaac Hook, Jacob Crooks, S. Bell and others, settled along
September 1852, E. Russell settled on the same river, and since that
county has rapidly settled up in all parts.
settlers were obliged to go to Des Moines for all supplies, and the
mill was ten miles north of that city. No Indians were seen by the
until some six years after the first settlement, and no depredations
committed by them.
mill was built on the Boone River, on section thirty-one, near Homer.
The two burrs
were brought on a wagon from Indiana in the year 1852. This mill was
washed out by high water. The next was a saw and grist mill combined,
Gross Close in 1852, and afterwards known as the Fisher mills. It was
section fifteen, on Boone River. The third mill erected was a flouring
built by Eckerson. It is still standing, and known as the Atherton
are now in the county seven grist and eight saw mills.
Maxwell was the first county judge; and Isaiah Doane, Esq., served for
years, and until the office was abolished.
Leonard was the first sheriff. These first officers were elected at a
election held in April, 1857.
was the first treasurer and recorder of the county, as well as the
master of Webster City. He is now a prominent merchant of that city. He
the first store there in 1855.
white person born in the county, as at present organized, was Leander
in November 1851.
marriage was that of Mr. John Drought, a soldier from Fort Dodge, to
Stanley, in 1852.
death is supposed to be that of William Stanley, one of the first
died in 1852, leaving a widow and children.
school was taught in a log house three miles north of Webster City, in
John Hancock; and the next year Newton Hathaway taught the Webster City
in the frame building, 20x30, since moved, and now used as a dwelling.
minister, Reverend Mr. Skinner, came from Des Moines, and preached in
private house of W. C. Wilson once in two weeks, beginning in June,
regular physician was Doctor H. Corbin, who located at Homer; and here,
was opened the first law office, by Granville Bickley, now of
Agricultural Society was organized in 1859, with W. W. Brooke, Esq., as
President, and has been in operation ever since. The society own their
(of ten acres), near Webster City, which are enclosed and fitted up.
hardly a settlement in the county that does not support a good school
least a part of the year. In 1874, there were eighty schools taught in
county; 2,639 children drew public money. The school buildings were
$40,000, and are situated as follows: Boone, nine; Blairsburg, seven;
seven; Clear Lake, four; Fremont, seven; Ellsworth, three; Hamilton,
Lyons, five; Marion, eight; Rose Grove, four; Scott, four; Webster,
Village, one, and Webster City, four. The cost of maintaining these
$16, 026. An average of four new schoolhouses are erected each year.
A new and
beautiful courthouse is being erected at Webster City. It is of
design, and will be the finest in northwestern Iowa, costing some
county was fortunate enough to have what is known as swamp lands, from
of which the building was constructed and no tax levied, or debt
will thus be noticed that the county is in excellent financial
COUNTY OFFICERS FOR 1875
Charles Wickware, County Auditor
A.A. Wicks, Clerk of the Courts
John Eckstein, Treasurer
J. V. Kearns, Recorder
L. Bickford, Sheriff
C.A. Howd, Superintendent of
M.L. Tracy, County Surveyor
F.J. McConnell, Coroner
Cooper, Ellsworth Township; H. Corbin, Chairman, Webster Township; J.W.
One of the
most important resources of Hamilton County is the vast supply of coal
its borders. In many places below Webster City, on the Boone River, it
cropping out of the banks in layers, or veins, from one to four feet
much attention has, as yet, been given to these coal beds, nor will
much developed until a railroad makes an outlet for the supply, and
are encouraged to develop the mines. So far as worked, the conclusion
arrived at that the coal is fully equal to the average of western coal,
comparatively free from impurities.
following extract, referring to the quantity and quality of coal found
the banks of Boone River, in Hamilton County, is taken from the report
year 1868 of the State Geologist, Charles A. White, M.D. Speaking of
investigation of the Boone River coal region, he says; “Going down
the first exposure seen was on the right bank in the hillside about
from town (Webster City). The coal is of good quality, has been worked
considerable extent, and the bed is said to be four feet thick, which
was seen to doubt. Between this point and Sternburg’s mill, which is
from town, the same bed of bituminous coal again appears, as does a bed
cannel coal two feet in thickness, and of fair quality. The latter bed
several feet beneath the former, and is of course no way connected with
Near Sternburg’s mill, and also at various points, for a number of
the mill, the coal makes its appearance in the banks where they are
steep by the washing of the river. These beds are continuous in broad,
continuous layers beneath the surface, over a large area, and have
exposed to view, in places, by the deepening of the river valley by its
stream. They may doubtless be reached, with comparatively little labor,
the gentler slopes of the river valley; and when the demand will
warrant, as it
probably will in the future, they may be mined by sluking shafts to
the higher lands away from the river.”
This is the
county seat; situated on the Boone River, in the northwestern part of
county. It is about 175 miles from the Mississippi River, and about
hours’ ride from Chicago by the Illinois Central, which passes through
northern part of the county. In many respects the city is well located,
surrounded by groves of timber, which afford protection from the
prairie winds. The population is estimated at 1,800 and of a quiet,
class. The buildings erected of late years are of a superior class of
and brick. Among the many private residences we may especially mention
of K. Young, Esq., (banker), L. Cary
(merchant), Capt. G. H. Soules, L. L. Estes, and T. E. McCracken,
editor of the
several fine brick blocks, among them is the post office block, lately
completed. It was erected by a stock company and is a very substantial
edifice. There are six churches. The Methodist, erected in 1866, is of
and cost some $5,000. The Congregational
is a very handsome wooden building, constructed in 1869. The Catholics
good brick church. The others are Baptist, Dutch Reformed and
latter has just been erected, and is a neat wooden structure, with tall
and of modern style. The architect was John Hill, of Webster City.
two banking houses. Of these, the First National was organized in
with a capital stock of $50,000. They own a substantial brick building,
up with vaults and other banking conveniences. K. Young, Esq., is
and B. S. Mason, Cashier.
Hamilton County Bank was organized in 1866, and is the oldest bank west
Falls, except one at Fort Dodge. It is a private banking institution,
on the partnership plan, with B.F. Miller, Esq., Manager.
There is a
large public school building built of brick, conveniently arranged, and
into three departments. There are also three small wooden school
situated for the convenience of the primary departments.
two foundries and machine shops, one brewery, three large elevators,
four hotels, and the usual quota of merchants and dealers in various
of scenery Webster City cannot be surpassed. The building of
railroads, reaching the coalmines near the city, will add largely to
business of the city and rapidly increase its population and importance.
newspaper of the county was established here in June 1857 by Charles
and called the Hamilton Freeman. The paper is now managed by
McCracken, editor and proprietor, and is one of the most readable
that section of the state. It is all printed at home.
City Argus has just completed its first year. It has a very large
advertising patronage, and also extensive home news items, which go far
making the local newspaper valuable. It is independent in its position,
ably managed by Messrs. Edwards & Bundy as editors and proprietors.
Estes, Esq., was the first mayor of the city.
Blairsburg — This village, on the
line of the Illinois
Central Railroad, was settled in 1869 by Robert Tinling. It is about
miles east of Webster City. It was laid out in the Fall of 1869 by John
Blair, of New York one of the great railroad men. The village lots are
owned by the railroad company. This village is now beginning to grow
substantial improvements are being made. The country around is a level
thinly settled, but is beautiful and valuable for farming purposes.
village and Williams are both in Blairsburg Township, and the
population of the
township, by census of 1875, is 453.
Williams – This place was settled
by Peter Laforge, who came
there in 1868, but the town was laid out by John I. Blair the next
year. It is
on the Illinois Central Railroad three miles from the eastern line of
county. Its growth has been very slow
until the last year or two, at the present time a large number of
being erected. Five years ago the number of registered voters was
and in 1875 it was only ninety one. The Williams Press was
at this place in 1875 by J. A. Matthews, and is calling attention of
the advantages of that locality as a place of residence.
Homer – Homer is in the
southwestern part of the county, ten
miles from Webster City, and has a population of 250. There are several
and other business houses. It was formerly the county seat, at the time
Hamilton was a part of Webster County. It is on the prairie, three
of the Des Moines River and the same distance from the Boone River. The
of the county seat naturally detracted from the amount of business done
point, and the building of the railroad in the north part of the county
diminished it still more. There is a good schoolhouse and graded school.
Point is where Isaac Hook opened the first store in the county in 1852.
Grove, Poland’s Grove, Rose Grove, Saratoga, and Randall are post
accommodating different sections of the county.