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Iowa Counties
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Iowa Counties

There are ninety-nine counties in Iowa. The first two counties, Des Moines County and Dubuque County, were created in 1834 when Iowa was still part of the Michigan Territory. In preparation for Michigan's statehood, part of Michigan Territory was formed into Wisconsin Territory in 1836]. Two years later, the western portion was split off to become Iowa Territory. The south-eastern part of Iowa Territory became Iowa, the 29th state in the union, on 28 December 1846, by which point 44 Counties had been created. Counties continued to be created by the state government until 1857, when the last county, Humboldt County, was created.

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Delaware County, Iowa

Delaware County Education, Geography, and HistoryDelaware County, Iowa Courthouse

Delaware County is a county located in the state of Iowa. Based on the 2010 census, the population was 17,764. Delaware County was created on December 21, 1837. The county seat is Manchester. The county was named in honor of the state of Delaware or Delaware County, New York.

Etymology - Origin of Delaware County Name

Delaware county is named for either the state of Delaware or Delaware County, New York.


County QuickFacts: Census Bureau Quick Facts

Delaware County History

Delaware County was either named in honor of Senator John Middleton Clayton's native state Delaware, or it was named after Thomas McCraney's home county in New York state. McCraney was a member of the first Legislative Assembly of the Territory of Wisconsin.

The county was established in 1837. The first county seat was located at Eads' Grove. The town was named Elizabeth, in honor of Mrs. Elizabeth Bennet, the first woman settler of the county. The residents of the county were extremely dissatisfied with this location. They obtained the permission to choose another site, and the site they chose was Delhi.

The choosing of Delhi as the county seat is rather interesting. The selecting committee wanted to locate the county seat in the geographical center of the county, but there was no timber or water in the center of the county. After visiting several locations, the committee was approaching the site of Delhi. Suddenly a deer sprang up and ran off. It was suggested that they kill the deer and stake a site at that location. This was done, and Delhi became the county seat.

Four long years passed before the county could raise the $200 needed to purchase the land for the county seat. Finally two residents of the county offered to loan the county the $200. The county sold county orders at 50 cents on the dollar to reimburse the two residents.

In the winter of 1843-1844 a hickory log courthouse was built at Delhi. This courthouse was the first building erected in the county seat. Another courthouse was built in the early 1850s, but it soon became too small for county business.

A new county building was erected in 1857. The cost of the two-story brick structure was $5,000. The architecture was of unique style. It was said to "resemble some battlements of the feudal ages, without possessing any of their beauty or grandeur."

A battle over the county seat developed between Manchester and Delhi. Several elections were held over the location of the county seat. Manchester failed all them, except the last one held on November 2, 1880.

Following this election, the citizens of Manchester quickly constructed a two-story frame courthouse, complete with a vault. This building was a temporary structure, and a more elaborate building was constructed in 1894. The red brick building cost $36,860 to build, not including $800 for plumbing. Seven hundred county citizens bought a clock that was placed in the tower in 1895. This courthouse, the fourth for Delaware County, was dedicated on January 7, 1895.

Employees of Delaware County held a centennial open house on September 7, 1996 to honor the existing building. Each office participated in fundraising, giving tours, baking cakes to share with the visitors, and games or displays for all to see. T-shirts and sweatshirts were printed and sold to the public.

In conjunction with the open house, the Auditor, Treasurer, and Recorder's Offices were renovated by installing wallpaper, carpet, new paint, and restoring all the original woodwork in each office. The lobby area on the main floor also was painted and the woodwork restored.

The upper level and court room were updated in 1998. The court room was painted and several offices of the court area were remodeled, painted and carpeted. Future plans include a renovation of the basement level and Assessor's Office.

Deb Peyton, Delaware County Recorder, 2002

Geography: Land and Water

As reported by the Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 579 square miles (1,500 km2), of which 578 square miles (1,500 km2) is land and 1.2 square miles (3.1 km2) (0.2%) is water.

 Delaware county is located in east Iowa. The county has a rough hilly surface.

Neighboring Counties

Bordering counties are as follows:

  • North: Clayton County
  • East: Dubuque County
  • Southeast: Jones County
  • Southwest: Linn County
  • West: Buchanan County
  • Northwest: Fayette County


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