Ringgold County Courthouse built in 1884
Ringgold County Courthouse built in 1884
Ringgold County Courthouse built in 1884
Ringgold County Courthouse built in 1884
Ringgold County Courthouse built in 1884

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Samuel Ringgold
Ray "Bubba" SORENSON II mural in the Ringgold County Courthouse depicting Major Samuel B. RINGGOLD - The Father of Modern Artillery

 Welcome to IAGenWeb's Ringgold County site. My name is Tony Mercer, the coordinator of the site.

Enjoy your visit with us. Please come back often as new material is added on a regular basis. Thanks for stopping by!

If you should find a link that doesn't work for you or wish to contribute to this site or report corrections, please contact the site coordinator (see "Coordinator Contact" located at the upper left). Thank you.



The first settlers in what would become Ringgold County were Charles SCHOOLER and his wife, followed by the James TETHEROW family two years later in 1846. The families believed that they were residing in the State of Missouri. This disputed territory was surveyed twice and consequently awarded to the State of Iowa in 1850.

Ringgold County was established in 1847 and organized in 1855.

Samuel Ringgold Ringgold County was named in honor of Major Samuel B. Ringgold (1796-1846). Major Ringgold led a small American force to victory at Palo Alto during the first clash of the Mexican War. However, Major Ringgold was mortally wounded, dying three days later. News of his death, the first American officer casualty of the Mexican War, filtered back to the States and made him a hero. [To learn more about Major Ringgold, click on his name to for his biography.] It is believed that Ringgold County is the only county in the United States named as such.

Ringgold County Courthouse, Mount Ayr

The first original Ringgold County Courthouse, built in 1856, was a 14-foot square log building which was destroyed by a tornado during a session of the court on June 8th, 1858. Not only was the courthouse destroyed but many county records were lost. The county built a new, larger, and better framed courthouse out of native lumber 1859 for a cost of $3,500. This courthouse served for 25 years.


On Thanksgiving Day, 1889, the second wood-framed building was destroyed by fire, burning to the ground. Fortunately, construction on the 3rd courthouse had already begun and completed at a cost of $36,455. This courthouse, constructed out of brick and stone, photograph at left, served Ringgold County well for approximately 40 years. Inferior brick and lack of drainage caused extensive damage. It was ultimately condemned in 1921 and torn down after it was sold for $500 cash.

The county offices were situated in a part of a garage [where the Napa Auto Parts is currently located] for several years. In 1926, the voters of Ringgold County approved the construction of a new courthouse (the 4th). Made of brick, the new courthouse has three stories and was completed at a total cost of $132,533. It continues to serve Ringgold County courthouse to the present day.

Ringgold County Courthouse In the first floor lobby hangs a plaque with the names of all the Ringgold County servicemen who gave their lives for our country. These men fought in the Civil War, World Wars I and II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam Conflict. Also in the courtyard, there is a memorial statue honoring the county servicemen. The inscription reads: "In memory of the men who gave their lives to the defense of their country."

Until World War II, there was a large cannon mounted on the Northwest courthouse lawn. On the East lawn stood a tall flagpole. The base was shaped somewhat in a pyramid with large cannon balls imbedded in the cement. On Saturday evenings in the summer children loved to climb on both while their parents listened to band concerts from the bandstand on the North lawn.

In recent years a landscaping program has brought the beauty of new trees, shrubs, and flowers to the square.

Just as the early pioneers used the courthouse for many meetings in addition to its official functions, the courthouse is available to community groups for meetings, entertainment, and various activities. A good example is the hot cider and cookies served in the lobby during the Christmas walk.

History of County Governments in Iowa, Iowa State Association of Counties,Des Moines, Iowa, published 1992
www.judicial.state.ia.us/.../pressrel79.asp Iowa Courts History

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Ringgold County, Iowa Neighbors

The county that is bordered on the north is UNION County, to the northwest ADAMS County and northeast CLARKE County; on the west is TAYLOR County and east is DECATUR County; on the southwest WORTH County Missouri and southeast HARRISON County Missouri. 

 area map



Eighme No. 9 school house - One of the most photographed schoolhouses in Iowa


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