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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.

Wright County, Iowa

Wright County Education, Geography, and HistoryWright County, Iowa Courthouse

Wright County is a county located in the state of Iowa. Based on the 2010 census, the population was 13,229. The county was created on January 15, 1851.The county seat is Clarion. Wright county is named after Silas Wright, a governor of New York, and Joseph Albert Wright, a governor of Indiana.

Etymology - Origin of Wright County Name

Wright county is named for Silas Wright, an U. S. senator from New York and sixteenth governor of New York; and Joseph A. Wright, an U. S. senator from Indiana


County QuickFacts: CensusBureau Quick Facts

Wright County History

Wright County is somewhat special; it is named in honor of two men - Silas Wright, 12th governor of New York, and Joseph Albert Wright, governor of Indiana.

The county was established in 1851. Prior to 1854, only hunters and trappers had seen the area known today as Wright County. But in August 1855, the first elections were held in the county, at the log cabin home of S. B. Hewett.

The first county seat of Wright County was Eagleville, but this town was a "paper town" and the county seat was moved to Liberty (Goldfield) by election in 1858. The first courthouse of Wright County was a two-story framed building built that same year. It served the county until the county seat was moved to Clarion in 1866.

Due to its exact location in the center of the county, Clarion was chosen as a better site for the county seat. Clarion was originally named Grant, but it was changed to Clarion - after Clarion, Pennsylvania - in June 1870. After the removal of the county seat from the town of Liberty (Goldfield), a decision on whether to move the old courthouse from Goldfield to Clarion or build a new one could not be reached. The problem was finally resolved in November 1865, when the courthouse committee contracted Perry & Nees to build a two-story, frame building for $5,600. Due to additions, the final cost of the second courthouse was $5,950.

In an 1890 election the voters approved the building of a new courthouse and jail. When the results were released to the public there was much celebrating done. Some of the residents of Clarion were so excited that they soaked the jail in oil and set it on fire.

The current courthouse was built in 1891-1892 at a cost of $50,000. It is constructed of red brick, and in 1974 it under went an extensive remodeling to the interior and exterior. The remodeling and an addition to the sheriff's office cost $350,000 which was paid with federal revenue sharing funds.

Source: History of Wright County, ed. Hon. B. P. Birdsall, B. F. Bowen and Co., 1915.

Geography: Land and Water

As reported by the Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 582 square miles (1,510 km2), of which 580 square miles (1,500 km2) is land and 1.8 square miles (4.7 km2) (0.3%) is water.

 Wright county is located close to the center of Iowa. The terrain is generally rolling hills. The county is intersected by the Boone and Iowa rivers

Neighboring Counties

Bordering counties are as follows:

  • North: Hancock County
  • Northeast: Cerro Gordo County
  • East: Franklin County
  • Southeast: Hardin County
  • South: Hamilton County
  • Southwest: Webster County
  • West: Humboldt County
  • Northwest: Kossuth County


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