Ida County IAGenWeb


Ida County History

Ida County is in the fourth tier from the northern boundary of the state, and is the second east of the Missouri River. It contains 432 square miles, or 276, 480 acres. The Maple River runs through the county from northeast to southwest. Its principal branches are Odebolt and Elk, flowing in from the east, and Battle Creek from the west. Soldier River flows westward through the southern tier of townships. There are many smaller streams draining the county in all parts. The valleys of the streams are unsurpassed in fertility, and Maple Valley is especially noted for the beauty and fertility of its farming lands. Maple River, in this county, furnishes several mill-sites.

The general character of the surface is undulating, or rolling prairie, no portion being too broken for cultivation. The soil in the valley is a dark mold, in many places from three to six feet in depth. The uplands contain more clay, and are well adapted to the raising of wheat and all the cereal crops. This, like other counties in this part of the state, has but a limited supply of timber. "Ida Grove," on Maple River, near the center of the county, is the largest body. It is mostly oak, walnut, linn, elm and hickory. The white, or soft maple, skirts the borders of the stream in many places. Among the wild fruits the plum, grape, gooseberry and strawberry are found. The aggregate area of native timber does not exceed 1,800 acres.

Stock raising and the dairy might succeed well in this county, as it is unsurpassed for pasturage or hay. The wild grass, known as blue joint, predominates in the valleys, and in many places the yield of hay is as high as four tons per acre. Fine well water is found in almost any locality by digging to a moderate depth, rarely exceeding twenty-five feet. No regularly stratified rock formations appear at the surface. The only rocks obtained in the county are the boulders. An abundance of material suitable for the manufacture of brick is found in all parts of the county. The bluff deposit, which overspreads the entire county, has been successfully used for making brick of a good quality.The principal productions are wheat, oats, corn, rye and potatoes. All kinds of vegetables and root crops common to the latitude succeed well. The various kinds of small fruits are easily raised, as well as some varieties of cherries and apples.

The first settlement of whites in Ida County was made at Ida Grove, on Maple River, in 1856. The pioneers were William Lownsley, from Kentucky; Edward Smith, from Illinois, and E. Comstock, from Michigan. Judge John H. Moorehead was also one of the early settlers at Ida Grove. The county was organized in 1858. The first election was held at Ida Grove in August of that year, when the following county officers were elected; John H. Moorehead, County Judge; J. S. Loveland, Treasurer and Recorder, and Bushrod Warren, Clerk of the District Court. At this time the population of the county was only about forty persons. The first district court was held by Judge Hubbard, at Ida Grove, in 1859. The first school in the county was taught by Miss Atwood, at the same place. W. P. Evans published the first newspaper, the Ida County Pioneer, at Ida.

This is the name of the county seat, and is located at Ida Grove, on the northeast quarter of section 15, township 87, range 40. The village commands a fine view of the beautiful valley of Maple River. It is about 28 miles from Denison, Crawford County. Upon one of the high ridges near the village there was formerly an extensive Indian encampment, where the remains of buffalo, elk, deer and other game are still scattered over the surface, or half-embedded in the soil. The course of a deeply worn Indian trail is still visible, which is said to have been a great highway for the natives, who only a few years ago occupied this portion of the state. The first post office in the county was established at Ida, and for several years this was the only one. There is a Methodist church, school house and several business houses. The Ida County Pioneer is published by Messrs. Chaffee & Williams, and has reached its fourth volume. There are two other post offices in the county, called Silver Creek and Willow Dale. The following is the list of county officials for 1875: COUNTY OFFICERS. FRANK P. BURNS, Treasurer. MAT. M. GRAY, Auditor. W. P. EVANS, Recorder. ISAAC BUNN, Clerk of Courts. E. H. BARNES, Sheriff. H. A. MOOREHEAD, Surveyor. A.L. HOUSER, Superintendent of Schools. BOARD OF SUPERVISORS. H. D. SQUYERS, Chairman; JOHN A. HITTLE, and GEORGE HARVEY

HISTORY:Ida County, Iowa From the A.T. Andreas Illustrated Historical Atlas of the State of Iowa, 1875