An excerpt for Woodbury County H

An excerpt for Woodbury County History from Tuttle's History of Iowa 1876

Genealogy for Woodbury County, Iowa, USA. Click here for the Home page.



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Copyright 1876

pages 662 - 663

Woodbury County is on the western border of Iowa, in the third tier from the northern boundary, embracing an area of eight hundred and thirty-two square miles. Missouri river bottom, great fertility, makes up about one-third of the whole area of Woodbury County. Some of these bottom lands range from six to ten miles in breadth, and although level, are well up above high water mark, and the soil admits of very easy cultivation.

The soil holds moisture without de-generating into swamps, and back of the valleys the bluffs have some broken ground, not adapted for cultivation; but the rolling prairies soon terminate that belt, which is well fitted for wood-land. Timber is scarce because of the fires which have raged on the prairies, but there are signs that native woods will speedily spring up in vast groves. The streams have plenty of timber, still the quantity for the whole territory is too moderate for the convenience of settlers.

The bluff deposit, so often mentioned, prevails in this county, and in consequence there are few exposures of stone; but there are some quarries on the Big Sioux river, and the supply of materials for brick making is ample.

In the year 1804 an expedition under orders from the war department, explored the Missouri river, penetrating the northwest and holding councils with the Indians in Nebraska and elsewhere. That journey first brought white men within sight of Woodbury county, or rather of the place now known by that name. Forty-four years later the first white settler came to the same region and was speedily followed by relatives, who formed a little colony. A town was laid out on the spot selected by the first settler, and the county seat was located here in 1868, but in spite of all that could be done, the town failed for want of a site on which to build it, and for want of a landing place from the Missouri river. The county seat was removed to Sioux City, by a popular vote, in 1856, and there is no building on the site of Thompsonstown to remind the traveller of a greatness too early prayed for, too soon erased.

Sioux City is on the Missouri river two miles above Big Sioux river, and near the mouth of Floyd river, that stream being named to perpetuate the memory of the first white man that died in the region through which it flows. The highest floods never reach the city, and as the river bank recedes, it gradually ascends towards the uplands, and many elegant residences have been located with good taste. The river gives facilities for navigation and trade, and the railroads center here, consequently Sioux City is in good hands for pushing ahead. The Illinois Central railroad has here a terminus, and from this point Chicago, Dubuque and indeed all points can be easily reached. In the year 1868, the Sioux City and Pacific road was completed to this point, and four years later the Sioux City and St. Paul railroad came into operation. The Dakota Southern railroad makes this city its starting point, and the Sioux City and Pembina road will soon be furnished with its iron ribbon and its rolling stock.

The high school building cost $35,000, and there is another school recently erected at a cost of $11,000, consequently there is no lack of accommodation for teachers and taught. In other respects the arrangements are
is satisfactory as the buildings, the high school being attended by five hundred scholars from whom good reports are customarily presented.

There are several newspapers, many fine churches, an academy of music which cost $145,000, and will seat one thousand persons, hence it will be seen that whether for education, enterprise, religious training, or for recreation, Sioux City deserves a good word.

Smithville stands thirty-five miles from the county seat, on the Little 8ioux river, and was one of the earliest settlements in this county. The Spirit Lake massacre had its rise in quarrels which commenced at this point, and culminated in the decimation of Dickinson county.

Correctionville was a village when Sioux City was only a camp, yet it is only a village now, and the city is rapidly becoming a metropolis. The village will some day find scope for its energies and an outlet for its produce.

Woodbury stands where Sergeant's Bluff Railroad station tells the story of the town's origin. The town is just six miles from Sioux City, and it has some fame for the pottery manufactured here.

Sloan is fourteen miles from the place last named, on rich land, which must finally build up the town.

If you know of any corrections or missing information please contact me.

Woodbury County Coordinator

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