Allamakee co. IAGenWeb

A.T. Andreas
Illustrated Historical Atlas of the State of Iowa 1875
Allamakee county
Organization & Officers - District Court - Early Settlement - Education -
- County Institutions - County Officers 1875


Allamakee County was organized by an act of the Legislature in 1851. The county seat was first located at Columbus, where it remained till the spring of 1853 when it was removed to Waukon. In April, 1861, it was removed by vote of the people to Lansing, the citizens of that town erecting a stone building for county purposes and donating land to the county. It remained in Lansing till September, 1867, when it was brought back and located permanently at Waukon. The county still owns the property in Lansing - donated to it by that town. The following were the first county officers: Elias Topliff, County Judge; Thomas B. Twiford, Clerk; James M. Sumner, Recorder, Treasurer and Collector; John W. Remine, Prosecuting Attorney; L.W. Hays, Sheriff; William F. Ross, School Fund Commissioner; A. W. Hoag, Supervisor of Roads. Mr. Hays served but a short time as sheriff. At the next election William C. Thompson was elected and took his place.


The first term of the District Court for the county was opened at Columbus on Monday, the 12th day of July, 1852. Honorable Thomas S. Wilson, Judge; Leonard B. Hodges, Clerk; and William C. Thompson, Sheriff. The following named persons were empaneled as the first grand jury; William H. Morrison, Foreman; Edward Eells, John Clark, H.R. Ellis, R. Woodward, Jesse M. Rose, W.W. Wilson, Darius Bennett, Grove A. Warner, Henry Botsford, Tremain Stoddard, William Smith, A.I. Ellis, Jeremiah Clark, T.A. Winsted.


Settlements were made in this county at Johnsonsport and at the "Old Mission" in Fairview Township at an early time. The former was a landing place for boats and sort of Indian trading station, and was probably the first point at which a settlement was made in the county. The place took its name from Henry Johnson, who is supposed to have been the first settler.

Thomas Liston was the first settler at the "Old Mission" in 1848. The "Old Mission House," erected there as early as 1835, is the oldest house now standing in the county. It is related that when the Government survey was made in 1848, the chimney of that old building was a prominent object from which the surveyors took their "bearing."

Patrick Keenan, now in Jefferson Township, settled in Makee Township in the summer of 1848. Following his oxen, which had strayed away, he came unexpectedly upon the fine prairie and bottom land where he now resides; and being delighted with the prospect, was induced to move there and settle. He has never had occasion to regret his choice; he is now one of the most forehanded farmers in the county.

Archa Whaley, now proprietor of Whaley's mill, settled a few miles east of Waukon in 1848, and the following year Prosser Whaley settled in Makee Township. William C. Thompson, at present county auditor, settled in Lafayette Township, at a place now called Thompson's Corners, in 1850, having visited and selected the place the year previous. John Ryan, now treasurer of the county, settled at Harper's Ferry in the Spring of 1851. But we have space only to give a few of the first settlers.

Father Thomas Hore was the first Catholic missionary in the county. He came here in the spring of 1851, coming as an emigrant directly from Ireland. In earlier life he had been a missionary in Virginia, and had returned to Ireland. He was independent of the bishop, and operated as a missionary priest on his own responsibility. His field of operations reached over a wide extent of country. He was a genial and influential man, and drew to this county a large immigration of his countrymen, who settled around him at Wexford, in the eastern part of the county, which he named after Wexford, Ireland. He built a church here, which is supposed to have been the first church erected in the county. It was built in the Spring of 1851, out of materials brought from Dubuque.


The county superintendent for 1874 reports the cause of education in a prosperous condition throughout the county. A sincere and ardent desire to educate their children properly has taken hold of many of the citizens who heretofore took little interest in educational affairs. The majority of the teachers are straining every nerve to become more able and efficient educators. Teachers' associations and county teachers' Institutes are doing a good work, and also to some extent township associations. The whole number of school districts in the county is 140; schools taught, 124; graded schools, 3; ungraded, 121; average number of months taught during the year, 7; teachers, employed, 200 - males 66, females 134; average salaries per month - males $38.30, females $24.44; number of children of school age, 7,718 - males 3,991, females 3,772; number of children enrolled, 5,696; average attendance, 2,474. The whole number of school houses in the county is 121 - frame 74, brick 8, stone 7, log 32. Value of the school houses, $78,520.00; cost of tuition per pupil, 75 cts. per month.


The Allamakee county Agricultural Society was organized in 1868. It has a fair ground of fifteen acres, situated about one-quarter of a mile north of Waukon, with a fine half-mile trotting course, and all the requisite arrangements for first-class fairs. The fairs every year have been successful.

There is also in the county, near Postville, the fair grounds of the District Agricultural Association, composed of four adjoining counties, viz: Clayton, Winnesheik, Fayette and Allamakee. It has been recently changed to a joint stock company. John Plank, Sen., President; John Goodykoontz, Secretary.

The Allamakee County Farmers' Association was organized in 1873. It is a joint stock company, and has a store at Waukon for the sale of goods at reduced rates. It was incorporated in the Fall of 1874. Luther Howes, President.

The County Poor House and Farm are located on the road from Waukon to Lansing, about four miles from Waukon. The farm consists of 160 acres, with a good two-story frame building, and an additional building for the insane. The number of persons who receive the benefit of this institution is at present nineteen. O.S. Conkey, Superintendent.


SAM.L. H. KENNE, Lansing, State Senator
HENRY DAYTON, Waukon, Representative

REUBEN NOBLE, McGregor, Dist. Judge
C.T. GRANGER, Waukon, Circuit Judge
H.C. DAYTON, Waukon, Clerk of Courts
O.J. CLARK, Decorah, Dist. Attorney

JOHN RYAN, County Treasurer
D.W. REED, County Recorder
J.W. HINCHON, Supt. Of Schools
W.D. MORGAN, Coroner

H.S. Cooper
Henry Beusch

-source: Illustrated Historical Atlas of the State of Iowa, 1875; published by the Andreas Atlas Co., Lakeside Building, Chicago, Illinois; pg. 431 (reprint ed.)
-transcribed by Nancy Shattuck

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