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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.

Buchanan County, Iowa

Buchanan County Education, Geography, and HistoryBuchanan County, Iowa Courthouse

Buchanan County is a county located in the state of Iowa. Based on the 2010 census, the population was 20,958. The county was created in 1837. The county seat is Independence. Buchanan county is named in honor of Senator James Buchanan, the 15th President of the United States.

Etymology - Origin of Buchanan County Name

Buchanan county is named for James Buchanan, the fifteenth president of the United States.


County QuickFacts: CensusBureau Quick Facts

Buchanan County History

The county was established in 1839. Buchanan County was a land ruled by Indian tribes in 1842 when a pioneer named William Bennett trekked westward from Delaware County to become the first settler in this region. As the county's first settler, he also became the first resident of Quasqueton.

Buchanan County was named in honor of Senator James Buchanan of Pennsylvania, who was instrumental in the acquisition of the Wisconsin Territory, which included this county. The Senator later became the 15th president of the United States.

A village of fewer than 15 persons located farther north of Quasqueton on the Wapsipinicon River was established as the county seat in 1846 by three distinguished guests from the Iowa Legislature. At the same time, the settlement was named "Independence," probably taking the name from Independence Day, which was to be observed by the nation in 19 days. The town was incorporated in 1864.

In the spring of 1857, the construction of the first courthouse was started by Oliver Harrison Pierce Roszell, then the county judge, who had control of county business at that time. The office of county judge in 1857 would be similar to the present-day county auditor's position. The task of completing the building fell to Judge Stephen Tabor, who, in 1857, was appointed to succeed Roszell as county judge. The cost of $9,758.51 comprised all that had been done for the courthouse, including the preparing of the ground, the lumber (which was hauled from Dyersville by ox teams), the lime, stone, brick, sand, hardware, well, and, in fact, every species of expense connected with the grounds of the edifice.

Two men were convicted of blowing up the treasurer's safe and stealing $26,000 from Buchanan County. This was one of the largest robberies in Iowa's early history. They were pardoned because of inconclusive evidence of guilt. One of the men moved to Kansas and was later elected to the Kansas State Legislature.

In 1870, by a vote of 1,405 to 264, the old jail and sheriff's house was built at a cost of $18,828. In 1881, by a vote of 2,155 to 615, a fireproof building was erected by expending $7,500 from the swamp fund.

By 1938, there was a need for a new and larger courthouse. The voters agreed, 2,665 to 1,756, on the condition that the county by permitted to issue bonds and to ask the federal government for a grant. The first shovel of dirt was moved November 15, 1938, by Wilbert H. Frye, chairman of the Board of Supervisors at that time. Bonds were sold to the county for $110,000 at 1.75 percent interest, and $114,264.45 was received from the federal government. Total cost of the building was $253,921. The cornerstone was laid September 20, 1939, with 1,500 people present.

In 1976, the Buchanan-Independence Public Safety Center was constructed for joint use by the Independence Police Department and the Buchanan County Sheriff's Department.

Geography: Land and Water

As reported by the Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 573 square miles (1,480 km2), of which 571 square miles (1,480 km2) is land and 2.1 square miles (5.4 km2) (0.4%) is water.

Bremer county is located in northeast Iowa. The Wapsipinicon River is located in this county.

Neighboring Counties

Bordering counties are as follows:

  • North: Fayette County
  • Northeast: Clayton County
  • East: Delaware County
  • Southeast: Linn County
  • Southwest: Benton County
  • West: Black Hawk County
  • Northwest: Bremer County


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