The History of Keokuk County, Iowa

Mathematical Geography

    Keokuk county is situated in the southeastern part of the State, it being in the third tier of counties, numbering from the south, and also from the east boundary of the State. The center of the county is in latitude forty-one degrees and twenty-five minutes, being nearly the same as New York city, and in longitude ninety-two degrees and ten minutes west of Greenwich, and fifteen degrees and ten minutes west of the National Capital. It is bounded on the north by Poweshiek and Iowa counties; on the east by Washington; on the south by Jefferson and Wapello; in the west by Mahaska. It is twenty-four miles square, and were the original surveys strictly accurate, it would contain 368,640 square acres of surface. In subsequent surveys, when the county was subdivided into townships, and these again into sections, it was found that there remained fractional quarters. The exact area of the county is not far from 370,000 acres. The congressional townships are sixteen in number, and there is a corresponding number of civil townships. The congressional townships are 74, 75, 76 and 77 north; ranges 10, 11, 12 and 13 west. The civil townships are Richland, Jackson, Steady Run, Benton, Warren, Lancaster, Clear Creek, Lafayette, German, Sigourney, Van Buren, Washington, Prairie, Adams, English River and Liberty. This arrangement of civil townships is the one adopted in 1847, there having been others previously made, of which we shall speak when we treat of the county organization. The boundaries of the following civil townships correspond with the congressional townships: Richland, Clear Creek, Lafayette, Liberty, English River, Adams, Prairie and Washington. The area of each is about 23,500 acres. The following, while in the main they follow the congressional boundaries, are somewhat smaller, Jackson containing about 20,990; Steady Run, 19,900; Warren, 19,950; Sigourney, 12,650; Van Buren, 19,680. Three townships are larger than the corresponding congressional township. They are Benton, containing about 25,900 acres; Lancaster, 26,275; German, 35,280. It will be seen, by reference to the map, that in this location of the townships the commissioners followed natural boundaries to a large extent. From the foregoing figures it will be seen that German township is the largest and Sigourney the smallest, the former being nearly three times as large as the latter.
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