In 1840 the greatest number of people to the square
mile was in the extreme southeastern part of the territory. This was
but natural, as nearly all the settlers had come by river from St.
Louis, only a few coming by wagons up to this time. The settlers had
in part come up along the Red Cedar river, and Linn county claimed a
population of 1,373, few of whom had lived more than two years in the
Settlers also ascended the Iowa and Des Moines rivers. By 1850
land seekers had followed the Des Moines river and had already found
homes as far west as Boone county.It was a severe blow to the agricultural interests of
Linn county and the newborn state when news of the gold fever reached
the borders. Not only the newspapers stirred up the people, but
hundreds of parties crossed the state in wagons, stopped along the way
and talked incessantly about the great diggings in California. The
young men were fired with enthusiasm. Work on the farm was hard and
the returns small. Thus Linn county lost many of its best and most
enterprising young men. Some, it is true, returned again after a stay
of a few years in the gold fields, but a large number never came back, but
either died or remained on the coast.
While Linn county lost many settlers it also gained others, who started west expecting to join
mining parties, but who settled down as farmers instead. From 1849 to
1857 was a restless era of migration in what we call the middle west.
In fact it extended over the entire country. There were many causes
An era of prosperity sprang up after the Mexican war, the
gold discoveries and the opening up of much fertile land by the
government.All this, no doubt, stirred people to find new homes or seek new
adventures. The panic of Ď57 of course for a time put a stop to all
speculations, especially in western lands. The greatest influx of people into the state was from
1850 to 1856, when the population increased from 192,214 to 517,875,
an increase of 169.4 per cent. The population of the state for 1910 is
2,225,771. Linn county felt the same influx, for the population
increased from 5,444 in 1850 to 14,702 in 1856. There seems to have been an increase of about 8,000 by
the census of 1860, showing that while the panic may have kept some at
home who might have gone west, few new settlers sought the west to
make new homes. The population of the county and the towns will give
the reader an idea of the gradual growth in the population.
Here are some figures showing our development: In May, 1838, the population of the county was 205.
This had increased to 2,643 in 1844. In 1847 we had 3,954 people,
4,762 in 1849, 5,444 in 1850, 6,870 in 1852, 10,802 in 1856, 18,947 in
1860, 18,693 in 1863, showing the effects of the Civil war, this
conflict not only taking many of our substantial citizens to serve in
the armies, but for the time impeding emigration. In 1865 the figures had increased to 20,754, in 1867 to
24,549, in 1870 to 31,080, in 1875 to 31,875, in 1880 to 37,237, in
1885 to 40,720, in 1890 to 45,303, in 1895 to 49,905, in 1900 to
55,392, and in 1905 to 57,362. At the time this is being written the population for
the county for 1910 has not been announced.The cities and the towns of the county have grown with
it. Cedar Rapids in 1885 had 15,426 people; in 1890,
18,020; in 1895, 21,555; in 1900, 25,656; in 1905, 28,759; and in
1910, 32,870. Marion in 1885 had a population of 2,673; in 1890,
3,094; in 1895, 3,766; in 1900, 4,102; in 1905, 4,112. Mt. Vernon boasted of 859 people in 1885, 1,259 in
1890, 1,178 in 1895, 1,629 in 1900, and 1,664 in 1905. Lisbonís population in 1885 was 703. No statistics are
available for 1890, but in 1895 the town had 817 people, 956 in 1900,
and 948 in 1905.
The population of Center Point in 18S5 was 565; in
1890, 615; in 1895, 595; in 1900, 674; and in 1905, 823. Springville in 1885 was credited with 561; in 1890,
518; in 1895, 562; in 1900, 509; and in 1905, 582. In 1890 the population of Central City was given as
467; in 1895, 594; in 1900, 623;and in 1905, 607. Walker in 1895 had 485 people, 505 in 1900, and 571 in
In this connection it is of interest to note that in
1836 the population of Wisconsin Territory, of which Iowa was then a
part, west of the Mississippi river was, Dubuque county 4,274, Des
Moines county 6,257, or a total of 10,531. A second census was taken in 1838, which showed that
there were in sixteen counties organized from the original two
counties a population of 22,859. Jones county had 241 people at this
time, Cedar 557, Johnson 237, and Linn 205. In the first constitutional convention, which met at
Iowa City October 7, -1844, and adjourned November 1, 1844, this
county was represented by Thomas J. McKean, Samuel W. Durham, L. M.
The constitution adopted by this convention was
rejected by the people at an election held August 4, 1845, the vote
being, for 7,235, against 7,656. In the second constitutional convention, which met at
Iowa City May 4, 1846, and adjourned May 19, the county was
represented by Socrates H. Tryon. At the election on August 3, 1846, this constitution
was adopted by the people by a small majority. It was presented to
congress in December, 1846, and on the 28th of the same month an act
was passed for the admission of Iowa into the Union.
The third constitutional convention sat in Iowa City
from January 19 to March 3, 1857, and adopted a constitution which was
ratified by the people on August 3 following. In this convention
Linnís representative was Hosea W. Gray. In this county the vote on the constitution was 1,307
yes, 955 no. In the state the vote was, yes 40,000, no 38,681. The
result shows the first sign of a change in the political sentiment in
state and county. The republicans favored the constitution, and the
democrats opposed it.
Following are the members of the General Assembly from
Linn county from 1846 to date. In the Territorial Legislature, 1843-4,
Robert Smythe was our representative in the House of Representatives,
and William Abbe in the Senate. J. S. Alexander, Marion, senator 26th, 26th extra
session, 27th, 28th and 29th. H. G. Angle, Cedar Rapids, senator 8th, 8th extra
session, 9th, 9th extra session. Ellsworth N. Bates, Cedar Rapids, representative 7th.
E. J. C. Bealer, Cedar Rapids, representative 29th,
30th, 31st. A. Sidney Belt, Cedar Rapids, representative 11th. J. W. Bowman, Marion, representative 33d, 34th. I. P. Bowdish, Waubeek, representative 17th, 19th. David Brant, Cedar Rapids, representative 26th, 26th
extra session. W. R. Brown, Viola, representative 18th. J. P. Carbee, Springville, representative 10th, 11th.
J. P. Conkey, representative 5th, 5th extra session. Jennings Crawford, Wapsie, representative 8th, 8th
extra session. Joshua Doran, Mt. Vernon, representative 22d. William G. Dows, Cedar Rapids, representative 27th,
28th. Stephen L. Dows, Cedar Rapids, senator 16th, 17th.Charles G. Gitchell, Walker, representative 23d, 24th.
John T. Hamilton, Cedar Rapids, representative 21st,
22d, 23d. John W. Henderson, Cedar Rapids, senator 18th, 19th,
20th, 21st. Robert Holmes, Cedar Rapids, representative 5th, 5th
extra session. Moses C. Jordan, Central City, representative 16th. Ezekiel B. Kephart, Western, senator 14th, 15th. John E. Kurtz, Lisbon, representative 6th.
William B. Leach, Cedar Rapids, representative 12th. William D. Linzenberg, Waubeek, representative 14th,
15th. Dan Lothian, Marion, representative 6th. John McAllister, Cedar Rapids, representative 80th,
31st, 32d. F. McClelland, Cedar Rapids, representative 26th. - Arthur M. McKeel, Fairfax, representative 15th. Isaac Milburn, Cedar Rapids, representative 9th extra
session.Ernest R. Moore, Cedar Rapids, representative 32d, 33d,
34th. H. J. Neitert, Walker, representative 25th, 26th, 26th
extra session, 27th. Jonathan J. Nugent, Nugent, representative 20th. Adam Perry, Western, representative 12th.
Isaac M. Preston, Marion, representative 3d, senator
4th, 5th, 5th extra session A. St. Clair Smith, Cedar Rapids, representative 25th.
J. H. Smith, Cedar Rapids, senator 22d, 23d.Robert Smythe, Mt. Vernon, representative 1st, 1st
extra session, senator 12st 18th, representative 20th. Oliver 0. Stanchfield, Cedar Rapids, representative
13th. Redman D. Stephens, Marion, representative 18th. W. C. Stuckslager, Lisbon, representative 28th, 29th,
senator 30th, 31st, 32d.
John M. Terry, Cedar Rapids, senator 24th, 25th. W. G. Thompson, Marion, senator 6th, 7th,
representative 21st. William Ure, Fairfax, representative 16th, 17th. E. D. Waln, Mt. Vernon, representative 7th.
Edgar A. Warner, Waubeek, representative 13th. Charles Weare, Cedar Rapids, representative 10th.
Amos Witter, Mt. Vernon, representative 8th, 8th extra
session. Joseph B. Young, Marion, representative 9th, 9th extra
session, senator 10th, 11th.
Linn county has never had a governor, lieutenant
governor, a secretary of state, state auditor, state treasurer, or
member of railroad commission. John W. Atkins served as superintendent of public
instruction from 1882-1888. John T. Hamilton served as speaker of the
house during the session a 1890. S. N. Parsons served as secretary of
the senate in the 24th General Assembly. George Greene, Jr., served as
adjutant general from 1890-1894. L.S. Merchant was state binder during
the years 1885-88. George A. Lincoln has been fish commissioner
continuously since April 1, 1901.
James H. Trewin is serving as a member of the state board of education. J. T. Hamilton was a
member of the state board of control from 1906-1909. Johnson Brigham,
a former resident of Linn county, has been state librarian since 1898.
On the supreme bench of this state sat George Greene, Norman W.
Isbell, and J. H. Rothrock. L. S. Merchant was state oil inspector for
a few months in 1893. He was succeeded by Luther A. Brewer, who served
In congress we have had the following representatives:
Win. Smythe, and Wm. G. Thompson, Marion; J. T. Hamilton, and James W.
Good, Cedar Rapids.