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History and Facts of Iowa Counties

Iowa Counties – The Iowa Territory, was organized on June 12, 1838. The State of Iowa was created as the 15th state on December 28, 1846. One of the most significant days in Iowa county history was January 15, 1851, on which 49 counties were created.

Iowa borders IllinoisNebraskaMinnesotaMissourSouth Dakota  and  Wisconsin. It has 99 Counties.

List of Iowa Counties

Iowa is divided into 99 counties.

List of Old Former / Extinct Iowa Counties

Iowa has counties that no longer are in existence. A lot of these counties were established and disbanded within the 19th century; county borders have modified very little since 1900 in the vast most of states.

The below Iowa counties no longer exist:

?? County, Iowa

Created ? from ?. It was abolished ? and re-established as ? County on ?.

  • Bancroft County: Was created by act of the Legislature in 1851 from a portion of old Fayette and embraced the twelve northern townships of what is now Kossuth County, extending to the Minnesota line, making an area of four hundred four square miles. The county was named in honor of George Bancroft, the historian. In January, 1853, it was attached to Boone County for election, revenue and judicial purposes. In 1855 by act of the General Assembly it was made a part of Kossuth and Bancroft County ceased to exist. The county was one vast level prairie through which the east fork of the Des Moines River flowed and its lands in early times were considered too wet for profitable cultivation but in later years the soil has been found to be exceedingly productive and has been converted into fine farms of increasing value. No county-seat was established during the brief period that Bancroft had an existence and no organization of a county government was performed.
  • Belknap County: Was created by act of General Assembly in 1874, embracing townships seventy-four, seventy-five, seventy-six and seventy-seven in ranges thirty-eight, thirty-nine and forty in the eastern portion of Pottawattamie County. In compliance with the Constitution of the proposition to establish this county was submitted to a vote of the electors residing in the county of Pottawattamie which it proposed to divide and at this election was rejected so that Belknap County ceased to exist. The name was given in honor of General William W. Belknap, a distinguished Iowa officer in the Civil War and afterwards Secretary of War in the Cabinet of President U.S. Grant.
  • Buncombe County: Was established in 1851 and named for an officer in the War of the Revolution. It was the extreme northwestern county in the State. While bearing this name there were no permanent settlers within its limits but for eleven years it appeared on the map of Iowa as Buncombe County until at the extra session of the Ninth General Assembly in September, 1862, it was changed to Lyon.
  • Cook County: Was established from territory originally embraced in Demoine County, on the 7th of December, 1836. It included a portion of Scott County and other territory not clearly defined. The county was never organized and the following year the territory was divided among other counties created by act of the legislature of December 21, 1837. The origin of the name given is not known.
  • Crocker County: Was created by an act of the Legislature of 1870, embracing the northern part of Kossuth County which had at one time made the county of Bancroft. It was named for General M. M. Crocker of Iowa, a distinguished officer of the Civil War. The county-seat was located at Greenwood and the organization was completed in October, 1870, by the election of the following officers: George V. Davis, auditor; Cyrus Hawks, clerk; william Gibbon, treasurer; A.J. Garfield, recorder; J.H. Coffin, sheriff; Sarah A. Littlefield, superintendent of schools. In December, 1871, the Supreme Court of Iowa declared the act creating this county a violation of the constitution, which in article eleven declares that no new county shall be created which contains less than four hundred thirty two square miles. Crocker County ceased to exist from and after the rendition of that decision and its territory reverted to Kossuth.
  • Fox County: Was created by act of the General Assembly in 1851 and named for the Fox Indians. It was attached to Polk County but never organized under that name. In January, 1853, the name was changed to Calhoun.
  • Grimes County: Was created by act of the Sixteenth General Assembly in 1876, embracing twelve townships lying in ranges thirty-eight, thirty-nine and forty of Pottawattamie County. The act provided in compliance with a provision of the Constitution, that the proposition should be submitted to a vote of the electors of 1876. The division of the county was defeated at that election and the new county was never organized. It was named for Ex-Governor James W. Grimes, for many years a distinguished member of the United States Senate.
  • Kishkekosh County: Was create in February, 1843, and named for a famous Fox Indian chief. It was organized in July, 1845, when E.S. Rand, Israel Kister and J.A. Galligher were appointed commissioners to locate the county-seat. They chose a site where Albia now stands, and a town was laid out named Princeton. On the 1st of August, 1846, the name of the county was changed to Monroe and the county of Kishkekosh ceased to exist.
  • Risley County: Was created in 1851 and embraced the territory now constituting the county of Hamilton. It was attached to Polk and afterwards to Boone for election, revenue and judicial purposes. In the same month, by an act of the Legislature, the county of Webster was created embracing the territory of both Risley and Yell counties by which act these two ceased to exist. An act of the same session which took affect before the union of these two counties, changed the name of Risley to Webster, so that for a period of five months and nine days the former county of Risley (now Hamilton) was Webster County. This came from the fact that the act changing the name of Risley to Webster took affect upon publication January 22, 1853, while the act consolidating Yell and Risley did not become a law until the first of July following.
  • Slaughter County: Was created in January, 1838, and embraced a portion of the territory now included in the counties of Louisa, Muscatine and Henry. It was named for William B. Slaughter, Secretary of the Territory of Wisconsin. The county-seat was located at Astoria where the first courts were held in 1837 by Judges Irwin and Williams. the citizens of the county were dissatisfied with the name which had been secured through the manipulations of the obscure official whose name it bore and, upon petition the Legislature relieved them by changing the boundaries of the county and naming it Washington.
  • Wahkaw County: Was created in 1851 by act of the Legislature from the territory originally embrace in Benton when that county extended to the Missouri River. The bill which created this county when reported to the Senate gave the name of “Floyd” in memory of Sergeant Floyd of the Lewis and Clark expedition who died in camp in 1804 and was buried on the east side of the Missouri River south of Sioux City. The Senate passed the bill as introduced but it was amended in the House by striking out “Floyd” and inserting “Wahkaw,” an Indian name. An act of the Legislature approved January 12, 1853, provided for the organization of the county and selected commissioners to locate the county-seat, the name of which should be Sergeant’s Bluff. A later act of the same Legislature changed the name of the county to Woodbury, and on 22d of January, 1853, Wahkaw County ceased to exist.
  • Yell County: Was created by an act of the General Assembly in 1851 and embraced all of the present territory of Webster except the north tier of congressional townships. It was named for the second Governor of Arkansas, Colonel Archibald Yell, who was killed at the Battle of Buena Vista in the Mexican War. The county had never been organized up to 1853, when by act of the Legislature it was incorporated with the new county of Webster. This county was formed by uniting the former county of Webster, which had first been named Risley, with Yell County, making thirty-two congressional townships, to which the name of Webster was given. By this act the county of Yell ceased to exist.

Map of Iowa County Boundary Changes from 1816 to 1872

This Interactive Map of Iowa Counties show the historical boundaries, names, organization, and attachments of every county, extinct county and unsuccessful county proposal from the creation of Iowa in 1816-1872.

Fun Facts about Iowa Counties

County Name Facts

The County names:

  • 0 of them named for Native American words or people,

Counties by Year

  • ? County was the first county created on ?.
  •  The last county to be formed was ? County on ?.

Facts for County Size

  • ? County (000 sq mi) is the largest county in Iowa.
  • ? County (000 sq mi) is the smallest county in Iowa.

Facts for County Population (2017 Est.)

  • ? County (000) is the most populated county in Iowa.
  • ? County (000) is the least populated county in Iowa.

Facts for Iowa Counties and Cities

Iowa’s 10 largest cities (2010) are:

  1. Birmingham (000) is in ? County and ? Counties
  2. Des Moines, Cedar Rapids, Davenport, Sioux City, Waterloo, Iowa City, Council Bluffs, Ames, Dubuque and West Des Moines