Rootbound's Muscatine Co IA History Page  

Muscatine County Iowa
History Page

with references to Louisa,Scott,Johnson and Cedar Counties

A bit of history and geography of the Muscatine area is of course essential to genealogical research, so we've made this little page to give you some basic background on the area.

Location and Creation of Muscatine County

 Muscatine County was created in 1836 from a portion of the old Des Moines County. It is located in the southeastern portion of Iowa, bordered on the northeast by Scott County, on the north by Cedar Co, the northwest by Johnson County and the Southwest by Louisa County. To the southeast and east you'll find the Mississippi River dividing Muscatine County from Rock Island County, Illinois. It is not unusual to find someone who was supposedly "born and raised in Muscatine County" who actually was born in one of these other surrounding areas, so if you don't find your person in Muscatine County's records, do check these other areas.

 Prior to 1838, when Iowa became a territory of its own so records may be found in the Wisconsin Territory from 1836-1838, Michigan Territory from 1834-1836, and Missouri Territory from 1812-1821. There was also a period of 10 years from 1824 to 1834 when this area was classified as "Unorganized" Territory.

Muscatine County Post Offices in 1846

By the year 1846, there were already several established Post Offices in the county. Listed in 1846 as official Post Office stops were:
Bloomington (now Muscatine), Fairport, Moscow, Overman's Ferry and West Liberty.

Townships of Muscatine County

As of 1910, the following townships were listed in Muscatine County on the United States Census:


Pearl Button Factory History

A large number of Muscatine County residents were employed in the button factories in the area. "Great Rivers" has brought online a brief history of these factories to give you a feel of how they operated. If your ancestor worked in the button industry, you should definately visit this site.

Muscatine and the Pearl Button Industry

Bits and Pieces of Muscatine County History

These little random notes were found in "Iowa: A Guide to the Hawkeye State", Compiled and written by the Federal Writer's Project of the Works Progress Administration for the State of Iowa; sponsored by The State Historical Society of Iowa, Published in 1938.

 Geologists have discovered that during the third glacial age, the Illinoian, the now long extinct Lake Calvin was formed, covering large areas in what is now Johnson, Cedar, Muscatine, Washington and Louisa Counties. As the Illinoian Glacier crept westward, the Mississippi River, and the water therein, became blocked at the mouth of the Wapsipinicon River and was forced to a new channel about 25 miles west of the original. As the waters reached the vicinity of what is now Columbus Junction, the Illinoian Glacier again dammed the way on the southeast, and drift of the Kansan blocked passage on the southwest. From Columbus Junction the waters backed up the Cedar River Valley to West Liberty and Moscow, to form a large body of water of great depth--perhaps more than 80 feet--over parts of what is now Iowa City, and deeper in other localities. Lake Calvin probably remained for 130,000 years, or until the approach of the fourth great ice sheet, the Iowan lobe of the Wisconsin.

Mound building Indians of Iowa:

 The mound builders of Iowa have been divided into five groups--Woodland, Hopewellian, Oneota, Mill Creek, and Glenwood--according to the materials found.....The Hopewellian culture is found along the eastern border of Iowa upon the banks of the Mississippi River in Jackson, Scott, Muscatine and Louisa Counties, from Dubuque south to the mouth of the Iowa River. An isolated group of Hopewellian mounds in farther north, in the Turkey River Valley in Clayton County....

Not satisfied with hauling their produce to market over long distances, Iowa farmers were quick to encourage the development of the railroads. The Mississippi and the Missouri, the first railroad in the State, was completed from Davenport to Muscatine in 1855. By January 1, 1856, this road was extended from Davenport to Iowa City, then to the State Capital, and the first train puffed between the two cities even before the first bridge had been built to connect the rails with Illinois across the Mississippi.

The Iowa State Teachers Association first convened at Muscatine in 1854 at the call of D. Franklin Wells, who was then in charge of a school in the village. Wells, who served twice as president of the association, was made head of the normal department at the State University in 1856, and later served as State Superintendent of Public Instruction.

Norman Baker of Muscatine began broadcasting from his radio station KTNT a reputed cancer cure, which the American Medical Association did not accept. On June 5, 1931, after a long siege in the courts, the Baker station was ordered by the Federal Radio Commission to cease broadcasting.

History of Some Muscatine County Towns

 Some town histories for different locations in Muscatine County and surrounding areas written back in the 1930's. SURNAMES appear in them so don't skip this area. Get a cup of coffee, sit back, as it is a somewhat LONG page. You can cheat by using "Find" or whatever word search tool your system offers to search an area of interest, but you'll be cheating yourself out of some good stories!

History of Muscatine County Towns


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