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.

Iowa County, Iowa

Iowa County Education, Geography, and HistoryIowa County, Iowa Courthouse

Iowa County is a county located in the state of Iowa. Based on the 2010 census, the population was 16,355. Iowa County was created on February 17, 1843. The county seat is Marengo. The county is named in honor of Iowa River and the Iowa Native American tribe.

Etymology - Origin of Iowa County Name

Iowa county is named for the Iowa River and the Iowa Native American tribe.


County QuickFacts: CensusBureau Quick Facts

Iowa County History

Iowa County derives its name from the Iowa River, which runs through the county, and for the Ioway Indian tribe.

The county was established in 1843. The county seat, Marengo, was originated on August 13, 1845, 14 years before it was even a town. It seems that a land speculator by the name of E. C. Lyons beat the county officials to the land office and bought the area of Marengo. It took some time for county officials to round up the funds to purchase the county seat from Lyons. Local citizens who contributed were paid back with town lots.
Iowa County is one of seven counties in the United States to share the same name as the state they are located in. The other six counties are Arkansas County, Hawaii County, Idaho County, New York County, Oklahoma County, and Utah County.

The county seat of Iowa County has always been Marengo, but not without a fight. The first battle came when some settlers disliked the town name. "Marengo" comes from Italy, where Napoleon Bonaparte gained a celebrated victory. The area of the Iowa Valley that contains Marengo is said to resemble that same area in Italy. The settlers changed the name to Valley Forge but later it was discovered that they had no authority, so the name remained Marengo.

A second battle over the county seat came in March 1857, when the enemies of Marengo started a movement to move the county seat to Genoa Bluffs. A petition was presented to the judge asking that the question of the location of the county seat be put on the general election on April 1857. It was soon discovered, however, that the petition contained names of non-legal voters. These names removed, the petition no longer contained sufficient numbers to call for an election.

The final battle came from Williamsburg. A petition was presented, with the sufficient number of signatures, and an election was held in November 1864. Marengo won out by a vote of 968 to 500.

The first courthouse was a log cabin that cost $50 to build in 1847. It was rejected by the county as being to small, but they did rent it for some years, until 1850. That was when the second courthouse was completed. This more elaborate building was used until 1861. Construction of a third courthouse began in 1861 an the completed cost was $2,000. In 1869 this building underwent the construction of an addition, but by 1890 the courthouse was too small for county business.

The current courthouse was erected in 1892. It is a two-story, stone building ornamented with turrets and a tower. It was designed by Foster and Liebbe and constructed by P. H. Wind at a cost of $57,608.

Dinwidde, James C., History of Iowa County Iowa, vol.1, S. J. Clarke Publishing Co. , Chicago: 1915
Lillie, Pauline, Marengo, the County Seat, Marengo the Town, 1984

Geography: Land and Water

As reported by the Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 587 square miles (1,520 km2), of which 586 square miles (1,520 km2) is land and 1.0 square mile (2.6 km2) (0.2%) is water.

Iowa county is located in east Iowa. The county is intersected by the Iowa River and the north fork of the English River.

Neighboring Counties

Bordering counties are as follows:

  • North: Benton County
  • Northeast: Linn County
  • East: Johnson County
  • Southeast: Washington County
  • South: Keokuk County
  • West: Poweshiek County
  • Northwest: Tama County


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