IOWA HISTORY PROJECT
HAIR, JAMES T., Ed. Iowa State Gazetteer, Shippers' Guide and Business Directory. Chicago: Bailey & Hair, 1865
Hamilton is the seventh county west of the Mississippi, in the same tier as DuBuque. It is bonded on the north by Wright, on the east by Hardin, on the south by Boone, and on the west by Webster. It also corners upon Franklin and Story. Originally it formed a part of Webster County, the capital of which was Homer, a town near the mouth of Boone River, but it was detached from Webster by an act of the Legislature of 1856-7, and erected into a separate county, with Webster City as its county seat.
John D. Maxwell was the first County Judge, Cyrus Smith the first Treasurer and Recorder, and Chas. Leonard the first Sheriff. These officers were elected at a special election held in April, 1857.
The first settler was Benj. Bell, who came in 1849. Isaac Hook. Jacob Crooks and W. Brewer, settled along the river in 1851, and Peter Lyon in 1852. The first mill was erected on Boone river during the latter year.
The first newspaper, the Hamilton Freeman, was established at Webster City in June, 1857, by Chas. Aldrich, who was succeeded in 1864 by V. A. Ballou, its present proprietor.
The general surface of the county is what may be called gently rolling, there being sufficient inequalities to drain the greater portion of the soil. The timber is confined to the margins of the streams and lakes, and although not as abundant as desired, yet will be sufficient for the wants of a large population, until the approaching railroads bring pine lumber from the wilds of Wisconsin and Minnesota.
The timber, which is of very fair quality, comprises the following varieties, viz: silver, hard and ash-leaved maple, burr and red oak, butternut, black walnut, hickory, cottonwood, hackberry, two or three varieties of elm and ash, linden, willow and coffee-nut.
The soil of Hamilton County is of almost unsurpassed fertility, especially upon the higher prairies, and is adapted to the successful culture, not only of all the cereals raised in the Middle and Northern States, but to the production of all the hardier varieties of fruits. Apples, cherries and grapes have been very successfully grown, as well as all of the small fruits. Considerable attention is now being given to fruit culture, with every prospect of success. As a stock region it has but few equals.
The principal stream is Boone River, which passes nearly through the county from north to south. Its branches are the Eagle and White Fox Creeks. The Boone is generally a rapid running river, affording an abundance of water power. There are two small lakes in the south part of the county, which, as well as the streams above-mentioned, abound with excellent fish, and in the spring and fall are the resort of myriads of aquatic birds.
A small portion of the land in this county is still owned by the Government, and may be had by the actual settler, under the beneficent operation of the homestead law, free of cost.
This county is upon the line of the DuBuque & Sioux City Railroad, which is now rapidly making its way westward, and will soon afford the pioneers of this region ample means of transportation.
The undeveloped resources of this young county are second to those of but few regions in the Union, and comprise the following: Soil of inexhaustible fertility, bituminous and cannel coal, building and limestone, fire and common clays, and possibly petroleum, of which strong surface indications exist in many places. The settler who is looking for a new home, will find this region one possessing many substantial attractions.
WEBSTER CITY, the county seat, is about thirty miles west of Iowa Falls, the present terminus of the DuBuque & Sioux City Railroad, and on the stage route to Fort Dodge. It contains two churches, two general stores, one hardware store and two drug and grocery stores. The Hamilton Freeman is published weekly by V. A. Ballou. Population, about 250.
HOMER is in the western central portion of the county, on the stage route from Boonsboro to Fort Dodge. It has one general store. Population, about 100.
LAKINS GROVE is a post office in Lyon township, in the southeastern portion of the county, on the stage route from Nevada to Fort Dodge. There are two church organizations in the township, Baptist and Winebrennarians. Population of township, 108.
Hook's Point, Randall and Rose Grove, are the other post offices in the county.
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