IOWA HISTORY PROJECT
HAIR, JAMES T., Ed. Iowa State Gazetteer, Shippers' Guide and Business Directory. Chicago: Bailey & Hair, 1865
Is situated in the western portion of the State, on the Missouri River, and the fifth county north of the State of Missouri. It is bounded on the north by Woodbury and Ida Counties, on the east by Crawford County, and on the south by Harrison County.
The eastern part of the county is hilly, except the valleys of the streams running through it; the western is part level. About one acre in fifty of the eastern part is timber. In the western about one acre in eight is timber, composed principally of cottonwood, burr oak, black walnut, linn, mulberry, elm and maple, are found in considerable quantities. The soil is good. Corn is the principal crop, but wheat and oats grow well. Apples, plums and cherries, so far as tried, do well, and many varieties of small fruits grow wild in great abundance.
The county is watered by the Little Sioux River, entering the county near the centre of its northern boundary, and flowing through it in a southerly direction; by the Soldier Creek entering near the northeast corner of the county, and flowing through it in a southwesterly direction, and by the numerous branches of both.
There is plenty of good brick clay in the county, but coal has not as yet been discovered. For stock raising the county is unsurpassed, and the supply of pasture and prairie hay upon the bottom lands is inexhaustible. The rushes growing in the timbered lands upon the Missouri bottoms, afford food for large herds of cattle from December until March, and take the place of hay for that time. There is one water mill upon the Maple River, and one upon the Little Sioux. There are some other water-powers in the county not improved, on the Boyer, Maple and West Fork of the Sioux. The townships are Ashton, Belvidere, Boyer, Franklin, Kennebec, Maple, Spring Valley and West Fork. The first settlers of the county were Isaac Ashton, in 1851, Josiah Sumner and Aaron Cook, in 1852, John B. Gard, Charles B. Thompson, and others, December, 1853. The county was organized December, 1853.
ONAWA is an incorporated town on the bottom lands of the Missouri River, three miles from the river, forty-five miles south of Sioux City, and sixty-five miles north of Council Bluffs. It was laid out in 1857 by the Monona Land Company. Among the first settlers were C. E. Whiting, J. E. Morrison, C. H. Holbrook, R. G. Fairchild, Charles Atkins, William Burton and B. D. Holbrook. The surrounding county is well adapted to grain of all kinds, and probably the best stock-raising country in Iowa. The bottom lands are about fifteen miles wide, having from two to three miles of timber land next to the river, and the remainder furnishing
inexhaustible pasturage. Most of the Christian churches are represented among the inhabitants, but only the Methodists have a church organization. There is a good school maintained throughout the year. The West Iowa Gazette is a weekly newspaper published on Saturdays, by Daniel W. Butts. Population, 200.
BELVIDERE is situated in the central portion of the county, sixty miles north of Council Bluffs, and on the stage route from the terminus of the Cedar Rapids & Missouri Railroad to Decatur, Nebraska. It contains a Methodist Church, one general store and two flour and saw mills. The surface of the surrounding country is generally rough, but the soil is good, especially on the river bottoms. Oil, flax, wool and brick manufacturers are much needed. Population of township, 200.
MAPLETON is in the northern part of the county, on Maple River. It has one general store and one flour Mill. Population, 28; of township, 261.
SAINT CLAIR is on the surveyed route of the Cedar Rapids & Missouri River Railroad, one hundred and five miles west of Boonsboro, and twenty-two miles east of the county seat.
The other post offices in the county are Arcola, Boyer City, Kennebec, West Fork and Preparation.
Is situated in the third tier of counties north from Missouri, and the fifth west of the Mississippi River. It is bounded on the north by Marion and Mahaska Counties, on the east by Wapello, on the south by Appanoose, and on the west by Lucas. It is one of the smaller counties, being eighteen miles from north to south, and twenty-four miles from east to west. It was organized in 1843, and Albia, the county seat laid off in 1844.
The Des Moines River touches the northeast corner of the county, which is as well watered as any county in the State, by the numerous streams flowing in an easterly direction, and emptying into the Des Moines. The principal of these are Cedar, White's, Gray's, Miller's and Soap Creeks. These, with numerous other smaller streams, are skirted with timber, averaging nearly a mile in width. The soil is good throughout the county, and the prairies are small, high and fertile is in abundance of coal and limestone is found in most parts of the county.
The Burlington & Missouri River Railroad, now completed to Ottumwa, is surveyed, and will eventually pass through the centre of this county. The principal shipping points are Eddyville and Ottumwa, the former fifteen, and the latter twenty miles from Albia.
ALBIA, the county seat, is three miles east of the centre of the county, and fifteen miles from Eddyville, on the Des Moines Valley Railroad. It is laid off with a square in the centre, in which stands a substantial court house. It has a population of about 1,000, and contains Methodist, Presbyterian, and other church organizations. There are here twelve general stores, six groceries, four drug stores, one bank and one flour mill.
LOVILLA is in the northern portion of the county, sixteen miles west of Eddyville, a station on the Des Moines Valley Railroad. It is near Cedar Creek, and has a heavy body of timber on the west, northwest and southwest. There is an abundance of stone coal in the township, and the soil is good. The village contains Baptist and Methodist Church organizations; also one general store, one grocery, one clothing store and one saw mill. Population, 150.
OSPREY is a post office in the southwestern part of the county, twenty miles from Albia.
COALTON is in Cedar township, eleven miles northwest of Albia. Population of township, 400.
The remaining post offices in the county are Cuba, Georgetown, Thompsonville and Weller.
Was organized in 1853. Hon. A. G. Lowe was the first Judge. The first settlers were John Stafford, John Ross, James Ross and Aaron Vice.
It is bounded by Pottawattamie and Cass Counties on the North -- Adams County on the East--Page and Fremont Counties on the South, and Mills County on the West--making this county the width of one county removed from the State line of Missouri, and one county from the Missouri River on the West.
It is divided into six townships, Douglas, Frankfort, Jackson, Red Oak, Washington and West. The first entry of lands in the county was made by Hon. Amos G. Lowe, June 1st, 1853.
The surface of the county is undulating. The bottoms are equal in fertility to the lands on the Miami, the Danube or the Nile. The county is well drained by the Middle and West Nodaway, Tarkio and East Nishnabotany Rivers, and Walnut Creek and Indian Creek, leaving high lands between them ranging North and South with the streams, some of them level as the bottom lands, and some rolling, with a depth of soil on all of them unsurpassed. Oak, walnut, and cotton-wood, is the prevailing timber.
The tendency of the soil to give growth to grass had given such an advantage to the fires that run through the county annually, that it has checked the growth of timber. The roots are in the ground, however, and when the country is stocked with cattle and sheep sufficiently to eat down the grass, the timber will be fifty areas where there is one acre at this time.
Coal is found in the east part of the county, and there are indications of it all over the county. Stone quarries are opened in different parts of the county in eight or ten localities. Brick is made at Red Oak Junction.
The streams are of a character which afford good mill-seats, and there is abundance of water power in the county. David Silkett was the pioneer in the business of building mills in the county. He owned five mill-seats. He built two mills, and in building a third he fell a victim to his enterprise, and died from exposure. There are five mills that will be running this season in the county.
FRANKFORT is in the central portion of the county, and the county seat. The first settlers were John Burnside, Dr. Amasa Bond, Hon. A. G. Lowe, Samuel Baer, W. L. Boydston and Thomas Davis. Mr. Burnside was probably the "first settler," as he brought water out of his well by a ladder, and ground his corn in a coffee-mill. A vote has been taken to remove the county seat to Red Oak Junction, which resulted in a contest in the District Court, which is still pending.
RED OAK JUNCTION is on the East Nishnabotany, and on the proposed line of the Burlington and Missouri River Railroad.
VALISKA is sixteen miles east of Red Oak Junction. It contains one general store, one drug store, one flour mill and two saw mills. Population, 25, of township 400.
The other post offices in the county are Carr's Point, Grant, Ross Grove and Sciola.
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