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.

Fremont County, Iowa

Fremont County Education, Geography, and HistoryFremont County, Iowa Courthouse

Fremont County is a county located in the state of Iowa. Based on the 2010 census, the population was 7,441.  The county was created in 1847. The county seat is Sidney. Fremont county is named for the military officer John C. Fremont.

Etymology - Origin of Fremont County Name

Fremont county is named for John Charles Fremont, the United States General, explorer, and presidential candidate.


County QuickFacts: CensusBureau Quick Facts

Fremont County History

Fremont County was established in 1847 and organized in 1850. It was named for General John Charles Fremont, who was a lieutenant in the Mexican War and is credited with the opening of west to white civilization.

Benjamin Rector was elected and sent to the state Legislature to represent Fremont County; however, he was only permitted to express his views - not to vote. The first seat of government was at Austin, but no courthouse was built there, and court was held at the home and general store owned by A.H. Argyle.

The county seat was first named Dayton in 1851, but changed to Sidney at the next term of court. Sidney was selected to honor the name of the Ohio town of Clerk of District Court Milton Richards once lived in.

Fremont County has had three courthouses. The county outgrew its first courthouse soon, and a new, two-story courthouse was built in 1858. A gunny sack full of dynamite caused thousands of dollars of damage in 1863. There was much speculation concerning who caused the explosion - some of the possibilities included Confederate guerillas securing money for their cause, "border ruffians" or Kansas "Jayhawkers," or thieves from Missouri or Nebraska.

In 1888, vandals struck again. Coal oil was poured throughout the building and set afire. A steel vault saved most of the records. Neither crime was ever solved.

In 1888, the county voted 295 to 219 to build a new courthouse, costs not to exceed $26,000. Things were no different then than they are now; final cost was $27,860. This courthouse was placed on the National Register of Historic Places on October 15, 1966.

During World War II, a catwalk was built on top, and patriotic citizens scanned the skies for enemy planes.

Source: Mary Nenneman, Sidney

Geography: Land and Water

As reported by the Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 517 square miles (1,340 km2), of which 511 square miles (1,320 km2) is land and 5.5 square miles (14 km2) (1.1%) is water.

Fremont county is located in southwest Iowa.

Neighboring Counties

Bordering counties are as follows:

  • North: Mills County
  • Northeast: Montgomery County
  • East: Page County
  • Southeast: Atchison County, Mo.
  • West: Otoe County, Neb.
  • Northwest: Cass County, Neb.


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