RINGGOLD COUNTY AS SHE IS.
From Morris & Allyn's Land Journal, 1879-1880
Misspelled words appear as was originally published.
Ringgold county is situated in the south tier of counties in the state being the seventh west of the Mississippi river.
Within her borders are numerous steames, al bearing south, and finaly emptying into the Missouri River. We thus have
excellent drainage, and water in abundance for stock.
The surface is rolling. Plenty of timber skirts all the streams, which
affords all the fuel and fencing material we need. She has, at present, a population of twelve thousand. The county seat,
Mt. Ayr, contains a population of one thousand two hundred; and all the trades and professions are well represented. Mt. Ayr,
the county seat, is a beautiful town, situated upon a high plateu prairie, near the geographical center of the county; occupying
290 of ground, laid off into town lots. The corporate limits of the town take in two square miles of land. This is pretty well
built over, with good, substantial, neat residences, and business rooms. Her people are among the best in the world, having
emigrated from the older eastern states; nearly every one of the eastern and middle states being represented by some of our
citizens. For hospitality, sociability, and intelligence they are second to none, and for thrift and enterprise, they stand in
the front rank.
The county of Ringgold is 24 miles east and west, by about 22 1/2 miles north and south. At present, there is
one Railroad built to the county seat, called the Leon, Mount Ayr & South-western Railroad, [standard gauge;] being operated by the
C.B.&Q.R.R. Co. THis railroad was completed to Mt. Ayr September 22nd, 1879; and the probability is that the same road will be
from here to Grant City, Missouri, the year 1880. In addition to this road, there is a prospect of the M.I. & N.R.R. Co. building
through the county, the present year. Should said second road come in, we will then have two lines of railway, which will make
lively competition, low freights, and all that will be an advantage to the farmer.
In addition to the county seat there are three or
four small towns. The town of Eugene, lying eleven miles north of Mount Ayr, a small village, containing a hardware establishment, dry
goods store, grocery, blacksmith shop, drugstore, post office, etc.
Then eleven miles east of Mt. Ayr, on the line of the
railway now in operations, is the new live town of Kellerton, just started up September last. At present there are three
dry good stores, three grocery stores, two hardware stores, two drug stores, three hotels, millinery store, three grain depots, three
blacksmith shops, livery stable, broom factory, large lumber yard and coal yard, and about foty dwelling houses. This growth is all made
since last September.
This town is on a high plateu prairie, commanding a view of the surrounding county of from ten to fifteen miles. It
is backed up by a fine agricultural district, and is one of the liveliest little towns in the west. There is a fine opening in said town for a
shoe-maker, a harness-maker, and other business enterprises.
Caledonia is another village of about 100 souls. This town lies southeast of
Mt. Ayr about eleven miles; contains stores, etc. sufficient to supply the community.
There will be another town started on
the extension of the L. Mt.A. & S.W. railway, some fourteen miles southwest of this town, will be known most likely by the name of Redding;
will make a good town within twelve months, as the R. R. Co. intend pushing things in that direction. In this town, all branches of industry can
Now in regard to prices of land in this county, we will say: that in our opinion this is the time to invest in Ringgold county
real estate. Everything is tending to raise in that direction. As yet there has been no material advance in lands. Wild land rates at from $5 to $15 per
acre, owing to location and quality; and improved farmes from $12,50 to $30.00 per acre. Town lots in the town of Mt. Ayr, [county seat] run from
$10 to $125 for resident properties; business lots come higher.
We can locate and suit any man in a home, no matter where he comes from, as we have
as we have land that will suit the Pennsylvanian, the Ohioan, the Indianian, or the Illinoisan. Crops have been very good the last year; wheat ranging
from 20 to 30 bushels per acre; oats very fair, from 25 to 50 bushels per acre. This county is one of the best stock raising counties in Iowa; water and
grass in abundance as free as the air they breathe; and yonr cattle come up off the prairies fat and sleek, after feeding on speculators' land, so that a
man with his eighty-acre farm can keep as many head of cattle as the man with his quarter of land. His is not compelled to buy land for pasturage, as you do
in the older settled states.
Lands are begining to move in this country; buyers are in every day buying, and it will not be many months until all the fine,
rare bargains will be gone; so we say to all parties wishing to change their location, come and see our county and our people, before locating elsewhere. You
will be well treated by the citizens of the county. You will not find a more hospitale set of people on earth; so we say to one and all, come and see us. To the
farmer, come and buy you a farm, and try faming in this western country. To the business man, come and buy a location in either this town, or in the live town
of Kelleton, or the prospective town of Redding.
Transcribed & Submitted by Sharon R. Becker, 2007