SKETCH of RINGGOLD COUNTY, 1876
Ringgold County is in the southern tier, fourth east from the Missouri river, with superficial area of five
hundred and forty square miles. This county is abundantly watered and well drained; the Platte, several forks of the
Grand river, and their tributaries, being arranged, as if by the hand of The Master, for these purposes.
The general bearing of all the streams in Ringgold county is toward the south, as the drainage of this area falls into
the Missouri river. There are many valuable water powers in this county, many very good indeed. There are springs along
the banks of the streams, and occasionally they are found elsewhere, but good permanent water can be had anywhere by
sinking wells on the uplands or valleys.
This county is covered by the drift formation, and the valleys are the largest of their kind in the state of Iowa. There
is no rock to be seen anywhere except in one or two trivial Instances, although the valleys have been worn down by the
action of water from one hundred and fifty to two hundred feel. The drift formation is supposed to overlie the stratified
rocks two hundred feet deep over this county, a greater deposit than is found elsewhere in the state.
In the valleys, and more especially near the streams, there are good belts and groves of timber, but elsewhere the
surface is prairie in all directions. The valleys which have been hollowed in the general contour of this county, do not
attract the attention of the traveler, as the depressions and the groves by which they are filled are all beyond the
range of his vision, until he is almost upon the beautiful and picturesquely wooded streams.
Marshes and stagnant water are unknown here. The drift deposit and the soil would carry away any quantity of water that
might accumulate, and the soil needs not be described after so much has been written as to this very remarkable formation.
The crops common to Iowa flourish here. Native grasses abound, but tame grasses will shut them out by and by. Osage
hedges are much cultivated on the prairies, and many of the settlers are planting groves. Willows are planted to make
fences in some parts of the county and they grow well.
The county being so deeply covered by the drift formation, stone is very rare in Ringgold. There are only two exposures,
both of limestone, which indicate that coal may be found by deep mining. The stone is not valuable for building, but it
makes good . jiiu-k lime. Bricks can be produced in any quantity, and builders must use them in their work.
The first settlers in this county came here in 1844, and for two years there was only one white family in this territory.
There was but little increment until 1854, and even then there were only nine families, but thereafter many settlements
were formed in rapid succession in various parts of the county. In that year the county was organized, the county seat
being located at Urbana, but to this hour no man knows where the stakes were set, more than he could point out the burial
place of Moses. The commissioners did their duty so discreditably that nobody will ever say that Urbana was not the right
name for the right place. However, the population was then too small for effective organization.
In the year 1856, the county seat was located at Mt. Ayr, and organization was definitely established, but the business
of the county was not transferred to Mt. Ayr, the county seat, until the fall of that year, when a court house of hewed
logs was erected as the seat of justice. Four years afterwards a more commodious building was erected at a cost of
In the year 1855, upon a suspicion of murder which attached to the Pottawattamie Indians, the settlers banded
themselves together and compelled the tribe to leave the county, but the man supposed to have been murdered by them was
found afterwards to have left the county of his own accord. The Pottawattamies left their old hunting grounds without
bloodshed, and took up their abode in Kansas, but very often afterwards they revisited their old home.
The county set up an agricultural society in 1859, and the institution has attained a very prosperous condition with fair
grounds and improvements near the county seat, equal to all the requirements of the time and place.
Mount Ayr is very near the center of the county, of which it is the seat. The town stands on high rolling prairie near
the head waters of Middle Grand river, and about one mile from Walnut creek. There is a fine grove about one mile from
the site, and the view from Mt. Ayr is exceedingly picturesque. This town was first settled in 1855, and although there
is at present no railroad, a very considerable business is transacted here.
Education has always commanded the best sympathies of the people of Mt. Ayr, and their works attest the soundness of
their judgment They have excellent school houses, well appointed and well officered by men and women whose labors are
rewarded with a fair measure of success. The Sunday schools in this town are very well sustained. There are two
newspapers published at Mt. Ayr, representing the opinions of Ringgold county.
There are pretty villages and post offices located at Caledonia, Clipper, Bozzaris, Eugene, Qoshen, Cross, Marena,
Ingart Grove, Ringgpld City, Redding, Bloomington, Union Hill, Marshall and Tingley.
TUTTLE, Prof. Charles Richard. The State of Iowa: A Complete Civil, Political and Military History of the State
From Its First Exploration Down to 1875 p. 631. Richard S. PEALE & Co. Chicago. 1876.
Transcription by Sharon R. Becker, May of 2009