IAGenWeb Project

Warren County Iowa GenWeb

US GenWeb

Formation of Townships in Warren County, Iowa

Indians Move Out of Land in the Middle of Iowa
In 1842 a treaty was made with the Sac and Fox Indians living in central Iowa ceding their lands to the United States and requiring them to move to Kansas within three years (by Oct 11, 1845). Squatters started coming in before the three years were up so a military post, Fort Des Moines, was built on the DesMoines River (just north of what became Warren County) to remove squatters.

County Name and Boundaries were Established
Iowa became a state Dec 28, 1846, but before that time, when Iowa was a territory, Warren county was named and its boundaries were established Jan 13, 1846. The top line of the county was straight, on the same line as the top of Marion County to the east and Madison County to the west.

counties established by Feb 1846
townships in 1849

Top Tier of Warren County “The Strip” taken by Polk County
In 1846 Polk County (directly north of Warren County)  was in a squabble over where to have their county seat.  The town of Polk City wanted to be the county seat because it was more centrally located, but there was a group of people in the town of Fort Des Moines who swayed the Iowa legislature (in Iowa City) to take the upper tier of Warren County and make it part of Polk County (making Fort Des Moines more centrally located).  This was all done underhandedly on Jan 17, 1846, in a supplemental act of the legislature, just four days after both Polk and Warren Counties were established.  This stolen tier of 144 square miles of land was called “the strip.” 


township map of 1850

As seen in the 1850  layout of Warren County, the “Strip” in green was part of Polk County.  Consequently, the towns of Greenbush, Carlisle, Allendale, Summerset, LaFayette, Wilmington, Hartford, and Palmyra were listed in Polk County (see 1850 map of Warren County on this website). Also in 1850 the lower part of Warren County was divided into six townships: Jefferson, Washington, Union, Taylor, Otter and White Breast.

The “Strip” Returned – minus the Swindle of 5 Square Miles
In “An Act to change the boundaries of Warren County”, H. R. File No.7,was introduced to the 4th Iowa General Assembly in 1852. The act was referred to a committee on township and county organization, which recommended that “they are clearly of the opinion that the said tier of townships originally belonged to Warren and that the same was subsequently annexed to Polk, by an act of the legislature, when Warren was unrepresented” further, it was the opinion of the committee that “justice and equity require that said tier of townships should be re-annexed to Warren county, and that such annexation places her upon an equality with her sister counties as to size.”(see PAGE 136 from the Journal of the House, 4th General Assembly). 
township in 1856

The House passed the bill, but when it got to the Senate, they would only pass it with an amendment by Senator Andrew Y. Hull which “provided that all that part of township No.77, north of range No.22 west, which lies north of the Des Moines River, shall remain as a part of Polk County.”  The History of Warren County, Iowa 1879, p.353, explains that Senator Hull lived in that section north of the river.

On Jan 14, 1853 Warren County finally got back this track of land, except for about 5 square miles of land on the north side of the Des Moines River which stayed in Polk County.

Current Townships of Warren County
By December 6, 1858, Warren County had already named and rearranged its townships in the formation it remains today... except for a change in Washington Township.

Washington Township changed to Lincoln Township - On April 8, 1881 the township of Washington became Lincoln township and the incorporated city limits of Indianola became the new Washington township.

townships in Warren County, Iowa today


  1. The History of Warren County, Iowa, containing a history of the county, its cities, towns, & etc., by the Union Historical Company, 1879, pgs: 337-338, 353-353, 512-513
  2. The Evolution of the Warren County Townships of Allen, Richmond, and Palmyra, by Ruth Hall, Warren County Genealogical Society Newsletter, Vol.33, No.3, July, Aug, Sep. 2006, pgs: 3-5
  3. The “Strip” Townships, Warren County, Iowa, by H. R. Art, Hawkeye Heritage, vol.2, No. 2, 1967, pgs:80-81
  4. The “Strip,” in A History of Warren County, Iowa, Containing a History of the County, Its Towns, Cities, Etc., 1879, pgs:352-353
  5. History of Warren County, Iowa, From Its Earliest Settlement to 1908, by W. C. Martin, 1908, p. 97-98
  6. Journal of the House of the Fourth General Assembly of the State of Iowa, 1852, legislation referring to H.R. File No.7, pgs: 45, 52, 136, 138, 145, 147, 258, 259, 278, 283
  7. Journal of the Senate of the Fourth General Assembly of the State of Iowa, 1852, action of the Senate referring to H.R. File No.7, pgs: 122, 127, 172, 179, 191, 207, 203
  8. Warren County Supervisor Minute Book #4, pps:518-519, regarding the division of Washington Township