1865 Iowa State Gazetteer, Iowa County


Iowa State Gazetteer, 1865



Iowa County

Is situated in the eastern part of the State, being the fourth west of the Mississippi River, and the fourth north of the state of Missouri.  It is bounded on the north by Benton county, on the east by Johnson, on the south by Washington and Keokuk, and on the west by Poweshiek.  It is twenty-four miles square.

The county is watered by the following streams, flowing in a southeasterly direction, upon the banks of which there is an average growth of good timber, to wit. Iowa River, Big and Little Bear Creeks, Old Man’s Creek, Honey Creek, North English, Middle English, Gritter creek, Hilton Creek and Deep River.

There is stone in sufficient quantities for building purposes.  “Within the limits of Iowa county we have not been able to find any other outcrop of the Hamilton rocks than those on the Iowa River.  Beyond township 81, range 7, there are no rocks seen in place, except a few patches of sandstone, until we reach Tama county.  Not a single exposure of rock was discovered on any of the smaller streams south of the Iowa, although diligent search was made along the vallies [sic] of Old Man’s Creek, and the north fork of the English River.  Through Iowa county, low bluffs border the river at a distance of from half a mile to a mile from the stream; but they are made up of finely comminuted materials, without even so much as a loose slab of fragment of rock to indicate the character of the underlying strata.  Although it would appear from the general direction of the lines of outcrop in this region, so far as they can be ascertained, that rocks of Hamilton age predominate over the large surface in Iowa and Benton counties, over which no exposure of the strata are visible; still, there is good reason to believe that there may be considerable patches of carboniferous strata existing beneath the superficial covering of detritus.  These may be either the remains of a deposit once spread continuously over a large extent of surface, or, more probably, limited deposits in pre-existing depressions of the Hamilton strata.”—Geology of Iowa.

Coal has not as yet been discovered, but it is believed that it exists in large quantities, and needs only enterprise and capital to develop rich veins.  It is well watered, and just rolling enough to make it one of the best and most desirable farming counties in the State, and is fast settling up by enterprising people, from adjacent and Eastern States.

The first house built in this county was by Ed. Ricord, in what is now Green township.  The first settlement was made at or near what is now known as Homestead, by Lineas Niles, one Cleveland, and John Burget.

The first settlement in and near Marengo, was made by Robert McKee, Amos Crocker, Absalom Washington, Charles Kitchen, William Downard and Ransom F. Mason.  The Kitchen Brothers put up the first saw mill in the county on Bear Creek, about file miles southwest from Marengo.  One Kirkpatrick put up the first tavern in the county, at Marengo.  John Hill was the first blacksmith that put up a shop and did work in the county.  William Downard and H. H. Hull brought the first stock of goods to the county, and sold them at Marengo.  Robert McKee was the first treasurer and recorder and clerk of the District Court after the organization of the county.  The first white child was born to Robert McKee.  The first death was a child of one Snyder, a twin.


The Pottawattamie and Musquawka tribes of Indians inhabited the country in and around Marengo, but being peaceable, they never molested the early settlers, save when some venturesome trader gave them whisky in exchange for their furs, under the influence of which, they, as well as the pale faces in like condition, were disposed to be quarrelsome.  There is now but a handful, as it were, left of these once warlike and powerful tribes; they are located on a reserve, some forty miles west of Marengo, in Tama county.

MARENGO is situated on the line of the Mississippi & Missouri Railroad, on the banks of the Iowa River, and is the county seat of Iowa County.  It is an incorporated town of about 800 or 1000 inhabitants.  It has three churches, Methodist Episcopal, Presbyterian and Catholic; one newspaper, published weekly, F. A. C. Foreman, editor, and proprietor; one Masonic lodge, meets Monday evening on or before full moon; three dry goods stores, five grocery and provision stores, two drug stores, two hardware stores, one tin and sheet iron manufactory, one book store, three boot and shoe shops, three millinery shops, three hotels, one steam flouring and one water mill, tow steam saw mills, one harness ship, one jeweler, one picture gallery, tow wagon shops, three blacksmith shops, one cooper shop, one tailor shop, tow butchers, five physicians, seven lawyers and one school house.

Marengo is the principal point in the county for the shipment of the surplus produce, cattle, hogs, horses, etc., raised in this section, a large amount being sent to market from this place every year.  It is destined to be quite a flourishing town, as there is now another line of railroad proposed to run through Marengo, north and south, connecting at this point with the Mississippi & Missouri road.

HOMESTEAD is on the Mississippi & Missouri Railway, eleven miles east of Marengo, and in Amana township.  This township contains five villages, with the following population: Homestead, 150; Amana, 400; West Amana, 300; South Amana 300; East Amana, 100.  These consist of German colonies, located on and near the Iowa River, and they possess among themselves all the manufactories, mills, &c., necessary to provide for their own wants, which, with their superior manner of cultivating the rich soil nature has provided, are making them in very enviable circumstances.  These villages contain four churches, viz: Community of True Inspiration, Methodist, Presbyterian and Roman Catholic; also two woolen manufactories, two flour mills, three saw mills, four general stores and one grocery.

MILLERSBURG is in the southwestern portion of the county, nineteen miles from the county seat.  It has three church organizations, Christian, Methodist Episcopal and Methodist Protestant; also one book store, one drug store, four general stores, one grocery and one four and saw mill.

The town is situated on a rolling prairie, between the North English and Middle English Rivers, two small streams well timbered.  The soil is of the best character, and well adapted to the different grains.  Population, 300; of township, 1350.

KOSZTA is in the northwestern portion of the county, seven and one-half miles from Marengo.  It has a Methodist Church, one general store, and one flour and saw mill.  Population, 185.

FOOTE is a post office on English River, twenty-two miles south of Marengo.  Population of the township, 600.

DAYTON is eight miles northwest of Marengo, near the Iowa River.

WILLIAMSBURG is twelve miles south of Marengo.

DOVER is situated fourteen miles west of Marengo.

The remaining post offices and villages are Cono, Genoa Bluff, Ladora, Lytle City, North English, Prairie Creek and Stelapolis.


Title: IOWA STATE GAZETTEER, Embracing Descriptive and Historical Sketches of Counties, Cities and Villages... Shippers' Guide and Business Directory.
Author & Publisher: Compiled and edited by James T. Hair; Bailey & Hair, At the Office of the City Directory, 164 Clark Street. 1865
Contributor: Stephen D. Williams
Published: Iowa County IAGenWeb, Oct 2009, by SDW