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.
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