51. JEFFERSON COUNTY, IOWA

 

Section I: History and Geography


History

 

Prior to the coming of white settlers, Sac and Fox Indian tribes lived on the 432 square miles of today's Jefferson County. White and Indian mingled well. Until the Black Hawk Purchase opened the doors wide to white settlement in 1833. The Indians were soon crowded out by the newcomers. The area's first school is established in 1837 with 18 students; two years before Jefferson is carved out of Henry County in 1839. Times change and by 1962 the independent school districts close and give way to Fairfield Community School System, formed that year. The county, named for Thomas Jefferson, had a population of 59 in 1836, 2,187 in 1840 and 13,119 in 1856. Population increased to 16,310 by 1990.

 

An interesting point in the populating of Jefferson County is the fact that whole neighborhoods were packing‑up and migrating to these midwestern lands. They came from Virginia, Pennsylvania, Indiana, Kentucky and Ohio. Swedish immigrants added their influence beginning in 1845 to form their first settlement west of the Mississippi in Lockridge Township. Other ethnic settlers were the French coming to Cedar Township with Germans and Polish to Walnut Township. The railroad came to Jefferson County in 1858. The first golf course west of the Mississippi started in 1892, as did the first Carnegie library similarly located in Fairfield. Agricultural in nature, Jefferson's rolling prairie and woodlands boasts 740 farms with an average acreage of 350 in 1995.

 

Boundaries

 

Jefferson County is located in southeastern Iowa and is bounded by the following counties: West: Wapello Co., North: Keokuk and Washington Cos., East: Henry Co., South: Van Buren Co., and SW: Davis Co.

 

Current towns and communities (Zip codes given for towns having Post Offices)

 

Town/Community        Township                                             Population

1890                                  1990

Batavia 52533                Locust Grove                                           307                   520                

Fairfield 52556               Center, Buchanan                                  3,391                9,768

Libertyville 52567           Liberty                                                     250                   264

Lockridge 52635            Lockridge                                                200                   270

Packwood 52580           Polk                                                        100                   208

Pleasant Plain               Penn                                                       225                   128

Vedic City                     Center


Abandoned towns

 

Town                           Township                                 Town                           Township

 

Aaronsville                     Polk                                          Harvey’s Mill                  Penn

Abingdon                       Polk                                          Hope                             Des Moines

Absecum                      Des Moines                               Ioka                              Polk

Acheson                       Penn                                         Jockey Hollow               unknown

Baker                            Black Hawk                               Krum                            Center

Beckwith                       Buchanan                                  Linby                            Polk

Belleville                        Polk                                          Lono                             became Veo

Bernhardt Station           Locust Grove                             Merrimac Mohawk          Walnut

Blue Point                     Black Hawk                               Monroe                         Des Moines

Bravo                            unknown                                   Mount Sterling               Penn

Brookville                      Locust Grove                             New Haven                    Lockridge

Buena Vista                  Buchanan                                  Otero                            Buchanan

Coalport                        Lockridge                                  Parsonsville                   Buchanan

Collett                           Liberty                                      Pekin                            Polk, Keokuk Co.

Cotton Grove                 Des Moines                               Perlee                           Penn

County Line                   became Absecum                      Pleasant Grove              unknown          

Creeseville                     became Batavia                         Polishville                      Walnut

Cross Lanes                  Locust Grove                             Rossville                       Lockridge

Deedsville                      Walnut                                      Salina                           Buchanan, Lockridge

East Pleasant Plain       Penn                                         South Ioka                     Polk

Ellmaker                       Des Moines                               Typee                           unknown

Four Corners                 Lockridge                                  Veo                              Penn

Germanville                   Walnut                                      Walnut                          Penn

Glasgow                        Round Prairie                             Webster                        unknown

Glendale                       Lockridge                                  Whitfield                        Center

Greenland                     now Batavia                               Woolson                       Black Hawk

Harmony                       Cedar                                        Wooster                        Cedar

 

Section II: Resource Centers

 

Courthouse:

 

·         [JCCH] Jefferson County Courthouse

P.O. Box 984

Fairfield, Iowa 52556

 

Genealogical Society

 

·         [JCGS] Jefferson County Genealogical Society

c/o Fairfield Public Library, Fairfield, Iowa 52556

 

Historical Societies

 

·         [JCHS] Jefferson County Historical Society

c/o Fairfield Public Library, Fairfield, Iowa 52556

 

Libraries with Genealogical or Historical Collections

 

·         [FPL] Fairfield Public Library

104 West Adams Street

Fairfield, Iowa 52556

(This library has an extensive genealogical library.  Most of the holdings listed below are held by the Fairfield Public Library.  The library also has extensive holdings of local family histories.)

·         [BPL] Batavia Public Library

902 3rd Street

Batavia, Iowa 52533

·         [PCL] Packwood Community Library

108 North Main Street

Packwood, Iowa 52580

·         [IGSL] Iowa Genealogical Society Library

628 East Grand Avenue

Des Moines, Iowa 50309

·         [ISHL] Iowa State Historical Library

600 East Locust Street

Des Moines, Iowa 50309

 

Museums, Historic Sites and Visitor Centers

 

·         [JCHM] Jefferson Historical Society Museum

114 S. Court Street

Fairfield, Iowa 52556

 

Section III: Records – records may be found at the record sites abbreviated after each entry.  See Section II for complete record site information.


Census

 

·         Federal: 1840, 1850, 1860, 1870, 1880, 1900, 1910, 1920, 1930, microfilm: [ISHL] , [IGSL] ; 1840 Iowa territorial census, transcript: [IGSL] , [ISHL] ; 1850, transcript: [IGSL]

·         Federal Indices: 1840, 1850, 1860, 1870, 1880, 1900, 1920: [ISHL] , [IGSL]

·         State: 1885, 1895, 1915, 1925, microfilm: [ISHL] , [IGSL]

·         Jefferson Co. Gen. Soc.: Jefferson Co., Iowa census and mortality records, n.d.: [IGSL] , [ISHL]

·         Hayes: 1925 census index for Jefferson County, Iowa, (1999): [IGSL] , [ISHL]

·         Baird: 1840, 1850 and 1856 census index for Jefferson Co. (1986): [ISHL]

 

Vital Records

 

·         Births: from 1880, originals: [JCCH] ; 1880-1941, microfilm: [IGSL] , [ISHL]

·         Jefferson Co. Gen. Soc.: Jefferson Co. birth records 1880-1899, (1976), transcript: [IGSL] ; 1900-1939, transcript: [ISHL]

·         Marriages: from 1839, originals: [JCCH] ; 1839-1936, microfilm: [IGSL] , [ISHL]

·         Jefferson Co. Gen. Soc.: Jefferson Co. Marriages 1880-1899, 2 vol., (1974), transcripts: [IGSL] , [ISHL]

·         Prill: Jefferson Co. Marriages 1839-1880 (1996): [IGSL] , [ISHL]

·         Deaths: from 1880, originals: [JCCH] ; 1880-1936, microfilm: [IGSL] , [ISHL]

·         Jefferson Co. Gen. Soc.: Jefferson County death records, 1880-1899 (1976); 1900-1919 (1987); 1921-1939, (1998), transcripts: [IGSL] , [ISHL]

·         Jefferson Co. Gen. Soc.: Mortality Listings of Dr. J.M. Schaeffer 1852-1862, (1995): [ISHL]

·         Newspaper death notices, 1847-1872: [IGSL]

 

Probate and related records

 

·         Probate records: from 1838, originals: [JCCH] ; 1841-1887, microfilm: [ISHL]

·         Wills, 1851-1910, microfilm: [ISHL]

·         Will index 1851-1927: [IGSL] , [ISHL]

·         Probate index 1839-1890, 1891-1961, transcript: [IGSL]

·         Names gleaned from wills 1838-1851, transcript: [IGSL]

 

Land and related records

 

·         Land records: from 1838, originals: [JCCH]

·         Land records, 1839-1887, microfilm: [ISHL]

·         Baird: Jefferson County Tax List – 1843 (1998): [IGSL] , [ISHL]

·         Jefferson Co. Gen Soc.: The early land owners, (1989): [IGSL]

·         General election poll book 1891, transcript: [IGSL] , [ISHL]

·         Original land entries, township 71N, Range 10 W, 1839-1849: [IGSL]

·         Fleig: Jefferson County early land owners (1989): [ISHL] , [IGSL]

 

 

Maps, atlases and gazetteers

 

·         Ogle: Standard Atlas of Jefferson Co., Iowa 1909, reprint (1989): [IGSL] , [ISHL]

·         Roberts: Illustrated Historical Atlas of Jefferson Co. 1875 (Andreas): [IGSL] , [ISHL]

·         Fairfield city directories, 1886-1910, microfilm: [ISHL]

·         Jefferson Co Gen Soc: Jefferson County rural township directory – 1886, (1989): [ISHL]

·         Jefferson Co Gen Soc: Fairfield City directory – 1886, (1989): [ISHL]

 

Court records

 

·         Court records: 1840, originals: [JCCH]

·         Divorces, 1900-1991, microfilm: [ISHL]

·         Administrations and guardians, 1851-1887, microfilm: [ISHL]

·         Jefferson Co. Gen. Soc.: Divorce Index 1839-1939, (1998): [IGSL] , [ISHL]

·         Jefferson Co. Gen. Soc.: Legal Notices 1847-1968, (1988): [IGSL] , [ISHL]

·         Baird: Guardianship Index 1839-1892 (1983), transcript: [IGSL] , [ISHL]

·         Naturalizations 1846-1905, microfilm: [IGSL] , [ISHL]

·         Swygaard: Naturalization records, transcript (1983): [ISHL]

·         Miscellaneous court records, microfilm: [ISHL]

·         Baird: Jefferson County Coroner’s Docket 1899-1934, transcript, (1988): [ISHL]

·         Jefferson Co Gen Soc: Jefferson County 1848 Voters, (1989): [ISHL]

 

Cemetery

 

·         Baird: Evergreen Cemetery, Fairfield, (1991): [IGSL] , [ISHL]

·         Baird: Memorial Lawn Cemetery, Fairfield, (1987): [ISHL]

·         Baird: Jefferson Co., 77 Cemeteries, (1995): [IGSL] , [ISHL]

·         Jefferson Co. Gen Soc.: Area cemetery records, n.d.: [IGSL] , [ISHL]

·         Roth and Gilmer cemeteries: [IGSL]

·         Jefferson Co. cemeteries, 14 small: [IGSL]

·         Round Prairie township cemetery index: [IGSL]

·         Cedar township cemetery index: [IGSL]

·         Buchanan township cemetery index: [IGSL]

·         Works Progress Administration graves registration project, 2 vol. (c1938): [IGSL] , [ISHL]

·         Baird: Jefferson County, Iowa Index to all tombstones (1986): [ISHL]

·         Jefferson Co Gen Soc: Jefferson County cemteries, locations of 78 cemeteries (1995): [ISHL]

·         Prill: Miscellaneous cemetery listings: [ISHL]

 

Funeral homes (current)

 

·         Batavia

-          Kremer Funeral Home

1010 3rd Street, Batavia, Iowa 52533

·         Fairfield

-          Behner Funeral Home

203 South Main Street, Fairfield, Iowa 52556

-          Raymond Funeral Home

112 West Burlington, Fairfield, Iowa 52556

·         Baird: Funeral Homes of Fairfield, 1890-1909, (1992): [IGSL] , [ISHL]

 

Obituaries

 

·         Baird: Fairfield “Ledger” obituary Index 1973-1999, (1999): [IGSL] , [ISHL]

·         Baird: Newspaper death notices 1847-1872 (1985): [IGSL] , [ISHL]

 

Church, Bible

 

·         First Methodist Church, Fairfield 1840-1940: [IGSL]

·         Area church and bible records, microfilm: [ISHL]

·         New Sweden Methodist Church, Lockridge 90th Anniversary 1850-1940, (1940): [ISHL]

·         Pleasant Grove United Methodist Church centennial 1875-1975, (1975): [ISHL]

 

Military

 

·         Grand Army of the Republic rosters for posts in Abington, Fairfield and Glasgow (1977): [ISHL]

 

Newspapers:  (Newspapers enumerated under the below listed towns are on microfilm.  Years given indicate the range that has been microfilmed; there may be skips in the years covered.)

 

·         Batavia

-          Batavia News (1916-1936): [ISHL]

-          The Batavia Beacon (1916-1936): [ISHL]

·         Fairfield

-          Fairfield Weekly Ledger (1851-1908): [ISHL]

-          The Fairfield Tribune (1879-1892): [ISHL]

-          The Fairfield Journal (1881-1919): [ISHL]

-          The Fairfield Weekly Journal (1884-1904): [ISHL]

-          The Fairfield Daily Journal (1911-1921): [ISHL]

-          The Fairfield Ledger (1923-2002): [ISHL]

·         Lockridge

-          The Lockridge Herald (1916): [ISHL]

·         Baird: Jefferson County, Iowa Newspaper Historical Reference Guide, (1998): [IGSL] , [ISHL]

·         Baird: Marriages announcements for Fairfield newspapers 1847-1868, (1987): [IGSL]

·         Jefferson Co. Gen. Soc.: Names in the news – Jefferson Co. Newspapers 1847-1961, (1998): [IGSL] , [ISHL]

·         Gleanings from Iowa Sentinel: [IGSL]

 

Lineage and Service Organizations:

 

·         Prill: Miscellaneous Jefferson Co. Records for the DAR Log Cabin Chapter (1960-1979): [ISHL]

 

Educational, business and other:

 

·         Hilleary: Rural Schools of Jefferson County (1986): [ISHL]

 

County & Local Histories: (Most of the below listed histores are held by the Fairfield Public Library.)

 

·         Western Hist Co.: The History of Jefferson Co., Iowa (1879): [ISHL]

·         Portrait and Biographical Album of Jefferson and Van Buren Counties, Iowa (1890): [ISHL]

·         Workman: Index to Portrait and Bio Album 1890, (1987): [ISHL]  

·         Fulton: History of Jefferson Co., Iowa (1914): [ISHL]

·         Centennial Committee: Jefferson Co., Iowa Centennial History, 1776-1876 (1876):

·         Baird: Our Jefferson County Ancestors (1980): [IGSL]

·         Baird: Jefferson County Ancestors Index (1996): [IGSL]

·         Keyes: A Reminiscent History of … Lake Mills 1847: [IGSL]

·         A Stroll Back … Libertyville 1842-1980 (1980): [IGSL]

·         Worley: Pleasant Plain, Iowa – from “old” to “new”, (1976): [IGSL] , [ISHL]

·         Welty: A Fairfield 1860-1937, (1975): [IGSL]

·         Index of family and genealogical holdings at the Fairfield Public Library, microfilm: [ISHL]

·         Fletcher: Jefferson County, Iowa Centennial History 1876: [ISHL]

·         Baird: Index to all family records in the Fairfield Public Library (1988): [ISHL]

·         Proescholdt: New Sweden, Iowa 1845-1870 (1977): [ISHL]

 

Publications

 

·         Iowa Genealogical Society: Hawkeye Heritage articles through 1993 [IGSL]  (Entries indicate year, issue number and page number.)

-          1840 Census, (1967) 3:101

-          Abstract of material on John and Betheny Davis Family of Wapello and Jefferson Co., (1967) 1:48

-          Death Notices from Fairfield Newspapers 1847-1872, (1987) 4:214

-          Delinquent Tax Lists of Lands – 1857, (1982) 2:70

-          Evergreen Cemetery, paupers section 1886-1990, (1991) 4:213

-          Jefferson County first marriages, (1967) 3:109

-          Index to Jefferson County Records on LDS films, (1982) 2:73

-          Individuals whose estates entered probate 1839-1849, (1982) 2:66

-          Jefferson County, Iowa Records: Index to Table of Content (1975) 4:151

-          Jefferson County towns of today and yesteryears, (1967) 3:96

-          Letters remaining in the Post Office at Fairfield – 1847, (1982) 2:64

-          List of resources available for research at the Fairfield Public Library (1982) 2:73

-          Marriage announcements from Fairfield newspapers 1847-1868, (1987) 4:211; (1988) 1:46

-          Names listed in Jefferson County annual statement for 1847, (1982) 2:67

-          Pleasant Plain Academy (1991) 4:220

-          Research guide (1980) 3:116

-          Swedish settlement, from Jefferson County Republican 1905, (1991) 1:24

-          Trails end for some of the 1840 pioneers (1967) 3:106

·         The following publications are for sale through the Jefferson County Genealogical Society.  See the Jefferson County Genealogical Society Website for details and availability.

-          Jefferson County Atlases, 1875, 1909

-          Evergreen Cemetery, Fairfield

-          Listings for seventy-seven Jefferson County cemeteries

-          1876 Centennial Booklet of Jefferson County

-          Historical Highlights from 1919 – 1979 “Out of the Past” newspaper columns

·         The following publication is for sale through the Van Buren County Genealogical Society.  See the Van Buren County Genealogical Society Website for details and availability.

-          Everyname index to the 1890 Jefferson and Van Buren Counties Portrait and Biographical Album

·         The following publications are for sale through the Iowa Genealogical Society.  See the Iowa Genealogical Society Webpage for availability and details.

-          Jefferson County Birth Records 1880-1920

-          Cemetery Records, available by townships

-          Census: 1840, 1856, 1925

-          Death records: 1880 – 1919

-          Selected Fairfield Funeral Home Records

-          Census Mortality Schedules: 1850 – 1880

-          Directories: 1886 rural and 1886 Fairfield city

-          Divorce Index: 1839 – 1939

-          Guardianship Index: 1839 – 1892

-          Early landowners from 1838; index

-          Marriage Records: 1839 – 1959

-          Naturalization Records: 1846 – 1905

-          Legal notices from newspapers: 1847 – 1868

-          Newspaper death abstracts: 1847 – 1872

-          Newspaper historical reference guide: 1855-1975

-          County wills: 1838-1851

-          Probate indices: 1839 – 1961

-          Will index: 1851 – 1927

-          Tax list: 1843

-          Voter lists: 1848, 1891

 

Section IV: Credits

We wish to acknowledge the contributions made by members of the Jefferson County Genealogical Society, Jefferson County Historical Society, the Jefferson County Courthouse, the Iowa State Historical Society and volunteers at the Iowa Genealogical Society in providing data contained in this research guide. Their efforts have been of immeasurable help in gathering this information.