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Welcome to the Guthrie County site within the IAGenWeb project

In the spring of 1996, a group of genealogists organized the Kentucky Comprehensive Genealogy Database Project, which evolved into the KyGenWeb Project. The idea was to provide a single entry point for genealogy data and research for all counties in Kentucky. In addition, the information for each county would be indexed and cross-linked to make it easier for researchers to find a name or data that they sought.  

In June 1996, as the KyGenWeb Project was nearing 100% county coverage, interested volunteers decided to create a similar set of pages for all states, establishing The USGenWeb Project. Volunteers were found who were willing to coordinate the efforts for each state, and additional volunteers were and are being sought to create and maintain websites for every county in the United States.

Guthrie County Genealogical Society
PO Box 96B
Jamaica, IA 50128-0096

Be sure to check the adjoining counties for possible information on your families

Carroll Greene Boone
Audubon Guthrie Dallas
Cass Adair Madison

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Guthrie We have a lot to offer you, thanks to the extraordinary efforts of previous coordinators, as well as many generous volunteers.

For information about applying for this county coordinator position,please inquire within to the IAGenWeb Welcome Hostess link.

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Guthrie County was named by Theophilus Bryan, sheriff and later county judge of the county. He named it in honor of his friend Captain Edwin B. Guthrie, a commanding officer of a company of Iowa volunteers in the Mexican War.

The county was established and organized in 1851, and the search for a county seat began. The State Legislature, at its 1850-1851 session, appointed David Bishop of Madison County and Lewis Whitten of Polk County to designate a county seat. After taking location and the center of the population at that time into consideration, the town of Panora was selected.

In June of 1853 there was a contract let to build the courthouse, but for some reason it was never built. It stayed this way until March 16, 1857, when Edward Serry made plans and specifications for a courthouse. Soon afterwards James Cline was hired to build the courthouse. Again the contract was annulled and the courthouse was not built. Mr. Cline received $200 for his troubles.

On March 7, 1859 William Tracy and E. B. Newton presented county judge Aaron Hougham with a petition asking that the location of the courthouse be moved to Guthrie Center, since it was more towards the center of the county than Panora. It was sent to the voters of the county, and Panora won by a count of 297 to 277. The first courthouse was finally built later in 1859.

This setback did not stop the people of Guthrie Center. On March 1860 another petition was filed on behalf of Guthrie Center. James Cline then filed a petition against the Guthrie Center petition. After the court took these petitions and testimony of the citizens under advisement, it was decided that another election would be held on April 2, 1860. This time Panora lost, and, on April 7, the court decreed that Guthrie Center was the new county seat and ordered all the papers moved to Guthrie Center.

A wagon train set out for Panora to obtain the safe and county records. They returned in full force with the safe, records and county judge T. B. Harbour. All of these were housed in a building prepared by E. B. Newton.

A petition was brought before the September session in 1861 by the people of Panora to relocate the county seat. Again the people voted and this time Panora won the right to house the county seat. So the safe, records and county judge were all packed up and moved back to Panora.

Guthrie Center tried twice more to regain the county seat. The first time, in 1870, they were unsuccessful, but on the second try, 1873, they won back the county seat. It has been there ever since.

A beautiful courthouse was built in Guthrie Center in 1877. The building burned to the ground on March 3, 1883. Bids went out, but all were more than the insurance money. A bid was finally accepted, but it was two years before the courthouse was completed. This courthouse served the county for 81 years.

During the summer of 1963, construction was begun on a new courthouse. In November the old courthouse was destroyed by fire. For one year, during construction, Guthrie County was without a courthouse.

The present courthouse was occupied in November 1964. 

Copied in part from Iowa State Association of Counties

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