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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.

Pocahontas County, Iowa

Pocahontas County Education, Geography, and HistoryPocahontas  County, Iowa Courthouse

Pocahontas County is a county located in Iowa, United States. Based on the 2010 census, the population was 7,310. The county was created in 1851. The county seat is Pocahontas. Pocahontas county is named after the Native American princess from Jamestown, Virginia.

Etymology - Origin of Pocahontas County Name

Pocahontas is named for Pocahontas, the famous Native American who played a leading role in the history of the first permanent English settlements in North America.


County QuickFacts: CensusBureau Quick Facts

Pocahontas County History

Pocahontas County gets its name from the Virginia Indian Princess. She saved the life of Captain John Smith and married John Rolfe, both early settlers in America.

The county was established in 1851. Soon after the county's formal organization in March 1859 there was a petition for the location of a county seat. Three commissioners were appointed, but only two of them visited the newly-formed county. Those two commissioners selected 200 acres near the West Fork of the Des Moines River. The original name of the town was Highland, or Highland City. Over the years it underwent several name changes; from Highland to Milton to (Old) Rolfe and finally to Parvin.

The first courthouse was built in Rolfe, as it was then called. Swamp land funds paid for a two-story, 36-foot x 50-foot Classic Revival courthouse. It was constructed of bricks that were fired on the site and timber from nearby woods. Lumber was sawed at the sawmill in Rolfe. The second floor of the courthouse was used as a school; at this time the entire county was organized into one school district.

The first school in Pocahontas County was held in the Hiatt log cabin home. Later a brick schoolhouse was built west of the wooden courthouse. The brick for this structure was formed and fired on the site.

In 1882 two railroads came to the county. Unfortunately they did not come to Rolfe (now called Parvin.) With the decline of Parvin, there was a call to relocate the county seat. In 1875 the citizens of Pocahontas County voted 356 to 57 in favor of moving the county seat to Pocahontas Center, later called Pocahontas. The first wooden courthouse with attached brick wings was completed in 1876 at a cost of $2,600. The records were soon moved from Parvin, and the old courthouse was sold for $200.

On April 6, 1920 an election was held that authorized the construction of a new courthouse. In the fall of that same year, a contract was let to architects Proudfoot, Bird and Rawson, and to the contractor A. H. Neumann and Co. The building was officially dedicated on September 3, 1923, Labor Day. The total cost of the 121-foot x 86-foot Neo-Classical stone structure was $421,062.

The appearance of this courthouse - the third in the county - has been proudly maintained and has kept pace with the needs of the citizens through progressive times.

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 577 square miles (1,490 km2) is land and 1.4 square miles (3.6 km2) (0.2%) is water.

Pocahontas county is located in northwest Iowa.

Neighboring Counties

Bordering counties are as follows:

  • North: Palo Alto County
  • Northeast: Kossuth County
  • East: Humboldt County
  • Southeast: Webster County
  • South: Calhoun County
  • Southwest: Sac County
  • West: Buena Vista County
  • Northwest: Clay County


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