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HISTORY, BIOGRAPHY, JOURNALS, LETTERS, NEWSPAPERS

1851-1861 PIONEER HISTORIES OF HARRIS GROVE

1882 HISTORY OF WESTERN IOWA BIOGRAPHIES
Dunlap
Little Sioux and Woodbine
Logan
Magnolia, Modale, Mondamin, River Sioux
Missouri Valley

1888 HISTORY OF HARRISON COUNTY
By Joe H. Smith
Businesses and Secret Societies, Logan
Civil War Soldiers Living in the County
Daniel Brown, First Person to Select a Claim
Early Newspapers of the County
Mexican-American War Soldiers Living in the County
Murders, Trials, Lawyers

1891 HISTORY OF HARRISON COUNTY
Edited by the National Publishing Co.
Biographies
Township Histories
Civil War, including List of Veterans
 
1891 HISTORY OF POTTAWATTAMIE COUNTY
Lewis Publishing Co.
Home Page
Name Index

1910 WHEN THE WILDWOOD WAS IN FLOWER
FIfteen years on the Western plains
by G. Smith Stanton
(Woodbine, Iowa, early 1860s to about 1878)

1915 HISTORY OF HARRISON COUNTY, IOWA
Its People, Industries and Institutions
by Charles W. Hunt, Logan,
assisted by Will L. Clark, Woodbine
Biographies
Lewis & Clark Explorers and Kearny
Town Plats
Pioneer Settlement
Farm Names of 1915
Early Newpapers
Soldiers in the Spanish-American War and War with Mexico
Pioneer Physicians
Churches of Harrison Co.
LDS History
Unfortunate Poor
Criminal Cases
Logan Railway Wreck of 1896
 
1920 WHO's WHO IN IOWA
by Lake and Prince

1940 WHO'S WHO IN IOWA
by the Iowa Press Association
Harrison County Index of Names
Pottawattamie County

1981 HISTORY OF HARRISON COUNTY BIOGRAPHIES INDEX

EARLY PHYSICIANS

EARLY PIONEERS

HISTORY SNIPPETS
County History
Harrison Co. Early Pioneers List
County Officials
Clubs & Organizations
Notable Sons and Daughters of Harrison County
 
MILITARY HOME

NEWSPAPERS
Early Newspapers of the County 1888
Early Newspapers of the County 1915
Old Town Memories
Stage Stories
Mormon Settlement
Hermit of Bigler's Grove
Murder of City Marshal Whitney
 
CENTENNIALS A ND BICENTENNIALS
 
DIARIES AND LETTERS
Bertha Alice Buchanan Dodge Diary (1878-1885)
Aaron D. Hoyer Diary (1880-1905)
Letter From Siam (1897)

Geological History

One of the striking geological features of Harrison County are the Loess Hills. The hills were formed of finely ground windblown silt from Pleistocene Glaciers 10,000 to 20,000 years ago. Loess deposits in the Bluffs of Western Iowa reach over 200 feet in depth, and are found only in Western Iowa and China. More information may be found at the site of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, Loess Hills State Forest and at Iowa Public Television's Iowa Pathways site.

Native Americans in Iowa

Archaeological evidence unearthed in Iowa indicates human habitation as far back as 10,000 B.C. Known today as Paleo Indians, the earliest people of Iowa stalked the big game of the ice age and, when those creatures became extinct, hunted bison, deer and elk. For more information on the very early peoples of Iowa, including the mound builders, Learn About Iowa's Past.

Native Americans in Iowa included the Ioway, the Santee Dakota and Yankton (Nakota) Sioux, the Asakiwaki(Sauk) and Meshkwahkihaki(Mesquakie/Fox), the Otoe and Missouri, the Omaha and Ponca, the Pawnee, the Winnebago, the Potawatomi, and the Illinois Confederacy.

Settlement in the 1800s

Lewis and Clark were among the first Europeans to explore Harrison County on their trip up the Missouri River in early August, 1804. Prince Maximilian zu Wied and Karl Bodmer followed in 1833. The first European settlers in Harrison County were said to be dissenters from the Brigham Young branch of the Mormon Church between 1845 and 1847, around the time of the Mormon migration to Salt Lake City. Among the early known settlers included Daniel Brown who settled in April, 1847 in Calhoun; Uriah Hawkins who settled in July, 1847 in Cass; the Barney brothers in 1848; John Reynolds in 1848; John Harris (namesake for Harris' Grove) in 1848; Amos S. Chase in 1848; Silas W. Condit in 1848; Orville M. Allen in 1849; and Alonzo Hunt in 1849. Allen and Hunt were probably not of the Mormon faith. The Reynolds, Chase, Condit, and Allen families were still resident in 1891. For a more information on the early settlers, peruse the 1891 Harrison County Biographies.

Organization of the County

Harrison County was named for the 9th President of the United States, William Henry Harrison. Harrison County was established in 1851 and became an organized County, March 7, 1853, by an act of the 4th General Assembly of Iowa. The Assembly appointed Abram Fletcher, Charles Wolcott, and A.D. Jones, respectively from Fremont, Mills and Pottawattamie counties, as commissioners to locate the County Seat, the name of which was to be called "Magnolia".

The first elections were held in 1853 from two precincts within the county, one west of the Boyer River, at Magnolia, and the other east of the river at Owen Thorpe's who lived at Jeddo (now a defunct town). The 1st election returns were taken to Stephen King's by Thomas B. Neely and James Hardy. The first elected officials included County Judge Stephen King, County Treasurer P.G. Cooper, Prosecuting Attorney William Dakan, Sheriff Chester M. Hamilton, County Clerk William Cooper, Surveyor G.H. White, and School Commissioner John Thompson. The County Seat was placed in Magnolia.

It was not until September 19, 1857 that County Judge D.E. Brainard subdivided the county into 20 Townships; Adams, Boyer, Calhoun, Cass, Cincinnati, Clay, Harrison, Hoosier, Jackson, Jefferson, La Grange, Little Sioux, Madison, Magnolia, Marcy, Raglan, Taylor, Union, Washington, and Webster. Many of the Township names were changed over the years: Adams was changed to Allen after Orville M Allen, an early settler of the county; Marcy was renamed Douglas in honor of Stephen A. Douglas; Madison was renamed Lincoln in honor of Abraham Lincoln, Webster was renamed Morgan after an Ohio town that early settler, Capt. John Noyes, came from. Hoosier was renamed St John's. View the current Harrison County Iowa Township Map, and read more about Township Histories.

In 1876, after a number of disputes and elections, the County Seat was moved to its present location in Logan. For more information about the history of Harrison County Courthouses, see the Iowa Office of the State Archaeologist. Over the years a number of Town plats in Harrison County became defunct. Among these defunct Towns included Jeddo, Parrish City, Olmstead, Buena Vista, Eldorado, Cincinnati, Melrose, St. Johns, and Yorkshire.

Civil War

At the time of Fort Sumter, Harrison County only had a population of a little over 3,000 people, nearly all of whom had come to build a home for themselves in a new country. Most of them were poor, lived far from railroad lines, and seemed nearly cutoff from the great political and business center of the Union. Yet they were not so far from civilization that they did not hear and heed the call for troops. In August, 1862 a special session of the County Board of Supervisors passed resolutions to form a company of Union volunteers to become known as the 29th Iowa Volunteer Infantry, Company C. Many volunteers had gone to the front already, and still others volunteered in other units including: the 15th Iowa Infantry, Company H; the 29th Iowa Infantry, Company D and Company K; the 4th Iowa Infantry, Company B; the 2nd Iowa Battery; the 5th, 6th, 7th and 9th Iowa Calvaries; the Northern Border Brigade, Company D, and the 1st Nebraska Calvary.
Review more Civil War history.

Review a list of Harrison County Veterans of the Civil War Era.

Harrison County Today

The population in Harrison county has grown from a total of 1,065 people in 1854 to a population of 15,666 in the year 2000.
Incorporated towns in Harrison County including the 2000 population are:
MISSOURI VALLEY - 2992, named after the river valley which consumes 1/5th of the county,
WOODBINE - 1564, named after the birthplace in England of Mrs L.D. Butler, an early Postmistress who named her Post Office Woodbine,
LOGAN - 1545, named after Civil War General John A Logan,
DUNLAP - 1139, named after a railway official, George L Dunlap,
MONDAMIN - 423, Mondamin is the Winnebago name for corn, named for being within the greatest corn belt of all western Iowa.
PERSIA - 363, was established with the coming of the railroad, and may have been named after an early peddler.
PISGAH - 316, the County's youngest town, platted in 1899 at the base of Mt. Pisgah, the town's original name.
MODALE - 303, The original settlers wanted the town to be named Missouri Dale. However, when sending the petition to Washington they abbreviated the name to Mo. Dale, and the clerks read it as Modale. Thus the name.
LITTLE SIOUX - 217, In 1804, the Lewis and Clark expedition came to a place described in their account as "Petite Rivere des Sioux" or the Little Sioux River. Years later the village was laid out and named Little Sioux.
MAGNOLIA - 200, named after the flowering tree of the South by the Iowa legislature when designating it as the first County Seat.

In addition to these towns, the USGS lists the following "populated places" in Harrison County; California Junction, Beebeetown, River Sioux, Allen, Baird, Calhoun, Crisp, Echo, Euclid, Findley, Hard Scratch (Reeder's Mills), Magill, Orson, Orton, Union Burg, Willett, and Yorkshire. The feature names at the USGS also show locales for Biglers Grove, Jeddo City, Ojedo, Olmstead, Olympus, Reeders Mill, Whitesboro and Lewis & Clark Campsite-1804 #2. Townships listed are Allen, Boyer, Calhoun, Cass, Cincinnati, Clay, Douglas, Harrison, Jackson, Jefferson, LaGrange, Lincoln, Little Sioux, Magnolia, Morgan, Raglan, Saint Johns, Taylor, Union, and Washington. View the current Harrison County Iowa Township Map, and read more about Township Histories.

Harrison County is bordered by the Desoto Bend National Wildlife Refuge, which boasts the Bertrand Steamboat Exhibit. The Bertrand sank in 1865 and the exhibit displays many artifacts from that period.

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