1875 Sioux Co. History

from the
A.T. Andreas Illustrated Historical Atlas of the State of Iowa, 1875


This county is on the western border, in the second tier from the north line of the state. In extent it is twenty-four miles north and south, by an average of thirty-three miles east and west, and therefore contains about seven hundred and ninety-two square miles.

The principal streams are Big Sioux, Rock and Floyd Rivers; also the West Branch of Floyd, Otter and Indian Creeks. Big Sioux River forms the western boundry of the county, furnishes water-power for mills, and is bordered in many places by groves of timber. Rock River is a tributary of the Big Sioux, and is a beautiful stream, with a valley of great fertility, and has some small groves of native timber bordering its banks. Floyd River crosses the county in a southwesterly direction, draining four or five townships, while the West Branch rises in the north part of the county, and flowing south drains several of the central and southern townships. Every part of the county is admirably drained, and the land susceptible of easy cultivation, there being no swamps or marshes, and but very little broken land. From the valleys along the streams, the upland prairies rise by gentle slopes, and then stretch away for miles in a succession of broad undulations. Before being brought under cultivation, the surface in the summer season was covered with the most luxuriant growths of wild grass; but when cultivated, produces abundantly wheat, oats, corn and other kinds of grain, as well as vegetables. The only broken surface in the county is that formed by the bluffs of the Big Sioux. In some places the bluffs are from 150 to 200 feet in height from the water to the general level of uplands. Being very steep, and destitute of trees these bluffs form an interesting and conspicuous feature of the scenery of this rich and beautiful valley.

The only stone in the county are the boulders, and timber being scarce, there is a lack of native building material. Since the completion of the Sioux City & St. Paul Railroad, however, pine lumber is furnished at reasonable rates at the stations in the county.

Among the earliest white settlers of Sioux County were F.M. Hubble, E.L. Stone, Joseph Bell, W.H. Frame, and Francis Frame. They located in the valley of the Big Sioux, prior to 1860, while the county was regularly organized that same season, with a population of only fifteen persons. The election was held at a place known as "Buzzard's Roost" (probably some settlers cabin in the valley of the Big Sioux.) The following county officers were elected: W.H. Frame, County Judge; F.M. Hubble, Clerk; and E.L. Stone, Treasurer and Recorder. For ten years the county gained but little in population, owing to the war, and the apprehension of Indian troubles on the border. At the presidential election of 1868, only 11 votes were cast -- 6 for the Grant electoral ticket, and 5 for the Seymour ticket. After 1870, the population received large accessions, for in 1873, the census gave a population of 2,872.

The first county seat was a place called Calliope, situated on the Big Sioux River, in the southwest part of the county. It was laid out in 1860, and was recognized as the sounty seat up to 1872. The first District Court convened here, August 12, 1871, Judge Addison Oliver, presiding. The first religious meeting in the county was held at Calliope by the Methodists, in September, 1868. The first school was organized and taught the year before. The first newspaper published was the Sioux County Herald, at Calliope, by John R. Curry.

In 1869, Henry Hospers and others residing at Pella, Iowa, began to consider a proposition for establishing a colony at some suitable location. A committee was appointed to visit such locations as seemed to offer favorable inducements. This committee consisted of Henry Hospers, D. Vanden Bros., L. Vander Meer, and J. Pelmulder, who finally agreed on Sioux County, and reported accordingly. In one week 562 pre-emptions were filed on lands lying in the southeast part of the county; and in the Spring of 1870, forty families from Pella settled upon claims in Sioux County. Pending the establishment of his colony, Henry Hospers received from the State Board of Immigration a commission as Agent to the Netherlands, and succeeded in making large additions to the settlement. On a high and gently rolling prairie, centrally located in the colony, in the Summer of 1870, Henry Hospers laid out the town of Orange City, embracing a quarter section of land. By a vote of the people of the county in 1872, the county seat was removed from Calliope to Orange City. The publication of the Sioux County Herald was also changed from the former to the latter place. The colony is chiefly composed of people from Holland, or Holland settlements in other parts of the United States, but welcome all classes of good citizens, regardless of nationality. Within three years after the first settlement by this colony, there were within its bounds eleven school houses, all supplied with teachers imparting instruction in the primary branches of an English education.

County Officials for 1875
Levi M. Black, Auditor
Antonie J. Betten, JR., Treasurer
Jelle Pelmulder, Clerk
Nicholas Jongewaard, Sheriff
Francis Lecocq, Recorder
Edward O. Plumb, Superintendent of Common Schools
Henry Hospers, Chairman Board of Supervisors

Orange City This place is located in the midst of a rich and beautiful prairie farming region, about three miles from the line of the Sioux City & St. Paul Railroad. It has a public square, around which the principal business houses are located. Great attention has been devoted to the planting of trees in the park, and fronting all the lots sold or occupied. As before stated, this place became the county seat in 1872.

East Orange This is the railroad station about three miles somewhat south of east of Orange City. The railroad company have a fine depot building, and the place will doubtless become a good shipping point. It is in the valley of Floyd River.

Hospers This is a railroad station in the eastern part of the county in the valley of Floyd River, but a very small stream at this distance from its mouth.

Calliope, was the first county seat, and the first town laid out in the county. It is pleasantly located on Big Sioux River in the southwest part of the county, and in the oldest settled portion.

-transcribed & submitted by S. Ferrall


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