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Harrison County IAGenWeb



Little Sioux and Woodbine
Magnolia, Modale, Mondamin, River Sioux
Missouri Valley

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

Edited by the National Publishing Co.
1891 Biographies
Chapter I - Introduction
Chapter II - Organization and Government
Chapter III - National, State, Judicial and County Representation
Chapter IV - Agriculture and Railroads
Chapter V - Political
Chapter VI - Harrison County and The Rebellion
Chapter VII - First Events in the County
Chapter VIII - Miscellaneous
Chapter IX - Important Criminal and Civil Cases
Chapter X - Reminiscences
Chapter XI - Sabbath Schools of Harrison County
Governors of Iowa
Township Histories
Civil War, including List of Veterans

FIfteen years on the Western plains
by G. Smith Stanton
(Woodbine, Iowa, early 1860s to about 1878)

Its People, Industries and Institutions
by Charles W. Hunt, Logan,
assisted by Will L. Clark, Woodbine
Churches of Harrison County
County and Township Organization
Criminal Cases
Early Newpapers
Farm Names of 1915
Historical - Chapter 1
Lewis & Clark Explorers and Kearny
Logan Railway Wreck of 1896
LDS - 1915 History in Harrison County
Medical Men and Societies - Chapter VIII - (formerly Early Physicians)
Pioneer Settlement
Soldiers in the Spanish-American War and War with Mexico
The Great Drainage Canals of Harrison County - Chapter X
Town Plats
Unfortunate Poor
by Lake and Prince

by the Iowa Press Association
Harrison County Index of Names


Fort Madison and Anamosa Men's Penitentiary
Record of Convicts
1872-1907 - Fort Madison Men's Penitentiary - Book 1
1907-1917 - Fort Madison Men's Penitentiary - Book 2
1917-1928 - Fort Madison Men's Penitentiary - Book 3
1929-1943 - Fort Madison Men's Penitentiary - Book 4
1876-1907 - Anamosa Men's Reformatory - Book 1 & 1907-1917 - Book 2
1907-1921 - Anamosa Men's Reformatory - Book 9
1876-1901 - Anamosa Men's Reformatory - Book 10
1940-1960 - Anamosa Men's Reformatory - Book 12
Clubs & Organizations
The State Historical Membership 1952
County History
County Officials
Harrison Co. Early Pioneers List
The Postal Service of Harrison County Iowa in 1863
The Postal Service of Harrison County Iowa in 1905
Notable Sons and Daughters of Harrison County
Civil War Soldiers Living in the County in 1888

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
Bertha Alice Buchanan Dodge Diary (1878-1885)
Aaron D. Hoyer Diary (1880-1905)
Letter From Siam (1897)

Geological History

Oneof the striking geological features of Harrison County are the LoessHills. The hills were formed of finely ground wind blown silt fromPleistocene Glaciers 10,000 to 20,000 years ago.  Loess depositsin the Bluffs of Western Iowa reach over 200 feet in depth, and arefound only in Western Iowa and China.  More information may befound 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

Archaeologicalevidence unearthed in Iowa indicates human habitation as far back as10,000 B.C.  Known today as Paleo Indians, the earliest people ofIowa stalked the big game of the ice age and, when those creaturesbecame extinct, hunted bison, deer and elk.  For more informationon the very early peoples of Iowa, including the moundbuilders, Learn About Iowa's Past.

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

Settlement in the 1800s

Lewisand Clark were among the first Europeans to explore Harrison County ontheir trip up the Missouri River in early August, 1804.  PrinceMaximilian zu Wied and Karl Bodmer followed in 1833. The first Europeansettlers in Harrison County were said to be dissenters from the BrighamYoung branch of the Mormon Church between 1845 and 1847, around thetime of the Mormon migration to Salt Lake City. Among the early knownsettlers included Daniel Brown who settled in April, 1847 in Calhoun;Uriah Hawkins who settled in July, 1847 in Cass; the Barney brothers in1848; 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 probablynot of the Mormon faith. The Reynolds, Chase, Condit, and Allenfamilies were still resident in 1891.

Organization of the County

HarrisonCounty was named for the 9th President of the United States, WilliamHenry Harrison.  Harrison County was established in 1851 andbecame an organized County, March 7, 1853, by an act of the 4th GeneralAssembly of Iowa. The Assembly appointed Abram Fletcher, CharlesWolcott, and A.D. Jones, respectively from Fremont, Mills andPottawattamie counties, as commissioners to locate the County Seat, thename of which was to be called "Magnolia".

The firstelections were held in 1853 from two precincts within the county, onewest of the Boyer River, at Magnolia, and the other east of the riverat Owen Thorpe's who lived at Jeddo (now a defunct town). The 1stelection returns were taken to Stephen King's by Thomas B. Neely andJames Hardy. The first elected officials included County Judge StephenKing, County Treasurer P.G. Cooper, Prosecuting Attorney William Dakan,Sheriff Chester M. Hamilton, County Clerk William Cooper, SurveyorG.H.White, and School Commissioner John Thompson. The County Seat wasplaced in Magnolia.

It was not until September 19, 1857 thatCounty 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 theTownship names were changed over the years: Adams was changed to Allenafter Orville M Allen, an early settler of the county; Marcy wasrenamed Douglas in honor of Stephen A. Douglas; Madison was renamedLincoln in honor of Abraham Lincoln, Webster was renamed Morgan afteran Ohio town that early settler, Capt. John Noyes, came from. Hoosierwas renamed St. John's. View the current Harrison County Iowa Township Map, and read more about Township Histories.

In1876, after a number of disputes and elections, the County Seat wasmoved to its present location in Logan. For more information about thehistory of Harrison County Courthouses, see the Iowa Office of the State Archaeologist. Over the years a number of Town plats in Harrison County becamedefunct. Among these defunct Towns included Jeddo, Parrish City,Olmstead, Buena Vista, Eldorado, Cincinnati, Melrose, St. Johns, andYorkshire.

Civil War

Atthe time of Fort Sumter, Harrison County only had a population of alittle over 3,000 people, nearly all of whom had come to build a homefor themselves in a new country. Most of them were poor, lived far fromrailroad lines, and seemed nearly cutoff from the great political andbusiness center of the Union. Yet they were not so far fromcivilization that they did not hear and heed the call for troops. InAugust, 1862 a special session of the County Board ofSupervisors passed resolutions to form a company of Union volunteers tobecome known as the 29th Iowa Volunteer Infantry, Company C. Manyvolunteers had gone to the front already, and still others volunteeredin other units including: the 15th Iowa Infantry, Company H; the 29thIowa Infantry, Company D and Company K; the 4th Iowa Infantry, CompanyB; the 2nd Iowa Battery; the 5th, 6th, 7th and 9th Iowa Calvaries; theNorthern 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, anearly 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 thename to Mo. Dale, and the clerks read it as Modale.  Thus thename.
LITTLE SIOUX - 217, In 1804, the Lewis and Clark expeditioncame to a place described in their account as "Petite Riveredes Sioux"or the Little Sioux River. Years later the village was laidout andnamed Little Sioux.
MAGNOLIA - 200, named after the floweringtree of the South by the Iowa legislature when designating it as thefirst County Seat.

In addition to these towns, the USGS liststhe following "populated places" in Harrison County; CaliforniaJunction, 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 alsoshow 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 NationalWildlife Refuge, which boasts the Bertrand Steamboat Exhibit.  TheBertrand sank in 1865 and the exhibit displays many artifacts from thatperiod.