FIRST TOWNS of Kossuth County

Information compiled by Richard Schiek--as part of the county 150th Celebration

Transcription done by the IAGenWeb Kossuth County Coordinator

The first town platted for record in Kossuth County was Irvington. The site was surveyed by Lewis H. Smith on September 21, 1856 and was filed for record on September 17, 1856 by George Smith, L. L. Treat and Kendall Young, who were investors from Webster City, Iowa.  The town was named after Washington Irving.
The original town plat covered 240 acres located in the SE ¼ and the S ½ of the NE ¼ of Section 30-95-28 (Irvington township) and it was located just North of the town of Irvington Station. 
The town failed to grow as it had lost the battle to be named the county seat. The Irvington post office was established May 21, 1857, and continued until October 7, 1878, when it closed.  The original town only survived about ten years and was eventually vacated.


Ambrose and Asa Call were the first settlers in Kossuth County, arriving on July 10, 1854.  They settled on the bluffs around the Des Moines River and made claim to the land that would become the town of Algona.  Their original settlement was in what is now known as A.A. Call State Park.  The Call’s named the original settlement, Call’s Grove. But the name was changed to Algona by Asa Call’s wife, she arrived in the fall of 1854.  Mrs. Call chose the name “Algona” which is an Indian word signifying Algonquin waters, or the lakes and streams that belong to the Algonquin tribes, not because of any link to the Algonquin Indians, but because she had read the name in a book and thought it was lovely.
On January 24, 1855, Asa Call journeyed to the state capital in Iowa City and convinced the Iowa legislature to expand the boundaries of Kossuth county to locate the county seat in the Southwest Quarter of Section 2-95-29 (Cresco township). This is where Asa Call had decided that he would put the town of Algona.  The records in the courthouse show that Lewis H. Smith commenced his survey of the Algona Town Plat on April 4, 1856, but Asa C. Call did not file the plat for record until December 2, 1856. The original plat of Algona covered 320 acres in Sections 2 and 11 of Cresco township.  Algona was incorporated in 1872.

Algona has been the only county seat town in the history of Kossuth County. This was challenged by Irvington in 1856 but the challenge failed. There were no other attempts to change the location of the county seat.


The plat of the town of Ashuelot was filed by George Brizee on July 30, 18. The plat was located in the North ½  of Section 15-97-28 (Portland Township) and contained 320 acres. There were 117 blocks with one block reserved for churches, one designated “Kossuth Square,” one “Locust Park,” and another “Walnut Park.”  George Brizee was a questionable land speculator from Chicago and he had great plans to make his fortune selling lots in his new city.  He put up three or four cabins on lots in Ashuelot before returning to Chicago. Back home, he printed up brochures and advertising showing a very attractive new Iowa town of Ashuelot.  Steamboats were shown landing with crowds of people milling about. He actually sold many lots to unsuspecting buyers who soon found that Ashuelot wasn’t quite what the promoter had advertised.  In time his scheme failed, and the town sank back into the wilderness. The town site was declared vacated by a district court order on May 7, 1888.


The town of Cresco (I grow) was distinctive among the early towns platted in Kossuth County, as it did not grow.  The plat of Cresco was filed for record by Henry Kellogg on September 19, 1859.  Mr. Kellogg was also a land speculator hoping to sell the platted lots for a large profit. Cresco was located in the South ½ of Section 26-95-29 (Cresco Township) and contained 320 acres.  Mr. Kellogg built a small house on the property, but he did not perfect title to his claim, no deeds were ever recorded in Cresco, and the town site was never vacated.  The Cresco post office was established on August 30, 1856, and continued until February 3, 1862.  What was to have been the town of Cresco never materialized and returned to plain farmland without the bother of collecting quit claim deeds to vacate the town site. 





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