58. LOUISA COUNTY, IOWA

 

Section I: History and Geography


History

 

There are at least two stories told as to how Louisa (pronounced Loo‑EYE‑za) county received its name. One, that it was named after a county in Virginia; the other, that it was named after the daughter of one of the first settlers. Louisa County has 380 square miles. There are three large rivers flowing through or along it ‑‑ the Cedar, Iowa and Mississippi. Because of the advantage of canoe traffic on the rivers, many Indians lived in the area. The famous Sac and Fox chiefs, Blackhawk Poweshiek, Keokuk and Wapello all lived along the junctions of the rivers.

 

The pre‑historic Mound Builders were the first to inhabit Louisa County. The village of Toolesboro contains the largest number of remaining mounds. White settlers followed the Woodlawn Indians, coming even before the land had been acquired by means of the Blackhawk Purchase. European settlers came soon; mainly the Welch and Germans, but Swedes, English, Irish and natives from Ohio and Pennsylvania also arrived. First whites came about 1834 and 1835; in 1836 Chief Keokuk and his followers gave peaceable possession, and great droves of settlers came in 1837.

 

Boundaries

 

Louisa County is located in southeastern Iowa along the Mississippi River.  It is bounded as follows: West – Washington Co., NW – Johnson Co., North – Muscatine Co., NE – Rock Co., Illinois, East – Mercer Co., Illinois, SE – Henderson Co., Illinois, and South – Des Moines Co., and SW – Henry Co.

 

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

 

Town/Community                    Township                                             Population

1890                                  1990

 

Columbus City 52737                 Columbus City                             459                   328

Columbus Junction 52738           Columbus City                             935                1.616

Cotter 52221                              Columbus City                               50                     53

Fredonia 52738                          Concord                                      250                   201

Grandview 52752                        Grandview                                    450                   514

Letts  52754                              Grandview                                    325                   390

Morning Sun 52640                    Morning Sun                                881                   841

Oakville 52646                           Eliot                                              15                   442

Wapello 52653                           Wapello                                    1,009                2,013                            

 

Abandoned towns

 

Town                           Township                                 Town                           Township

 


 

Alimedia                        Concord                                    Florence                        Eliot

Altoona                         (became Hillsboro)                     Forest Hill                     Grand View

Bard                             Columbus City/Wapello              Gladwin             Union

Burris City                     Jefferson                                   Harrison                        Port Louisa

Cairo                             Marshall                                    Hillsboro                        Columbus City

Cannonsburg                 Elm Grove                                 Hope Farm                    Marshall

Cateese                                                                        Iowa Town

Clifton                           Columbus City                           Lafayette                       Columbus City

Cuba City                      Eliot                                          Marsh                           Morning Sun

Erick Junction                Eliot                                          New Port                       Wapello

Oakland                        Oakland                                    Sterling                         Jefferson

Odessa                         Port Louisa                                Tecumseh                     became Toolesboro

Palo Alto                       Eliot                                          Toolesboro                    Jefferson

Pittsburg                                                                       Virginia Grove                became Morning Sun

Port Allen                      Oakland                                    Yellow Banks                Jefferson

Port Louisa                    Port Louisa                                Wyman                         Elm Grove

Port Washington            Port Louisa

Spring Run                    Elm Grove

 


Section II: Resource Centers

 

Courthouse:

 

·         [LCCH] Louisa County Courthouse

117 South Main Street

Wapello, Iowa 52653

 

Genealogical Society

 

·         [LCGS] Louisa County Genealogical Society

607 Highways 61N

Wapello, Iowa 52653

 

Historical Society

 

·         [LCHS] Louisa County Historical Society: Heritage Center

601 Highway 61 North

Wapello, Iowa 52653

 

Libraries with Genealogical or Historical Collections

 

·         [CJPL] Columbus Junction Public Library

122 East Maple Street

Columbus Junction, Iowa 52738

·         [LPL] Letts Public Library

Letts, Iowa 52754

·         [MML] Mellinger Memorial Library

11 East Division Street

Morning Sun, Iowa 52640

·         [KML] Keck Memorial Library

119 North 2nd Street

Wapello, Iowa 52653

·         [IGSL] Iowa Genealogical Society Library

628 East Grand Avenue

Des Moines, Iowa 50309

·         [ISHL] Iowa State Historical Library

600 East Locust Street

Des Moines, IA 50319

 

Museums, Historic Sites and Visitor Centers

 

·         [LCHM] Louisa County, Heritage Museum

609 Hwy 61 N

Wapello, Iowa 52653

·         [TIM] Toolesboro Indian Mounds

7 miles southeast on hwy 99

Wapello, Iowa

 

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 [LCGS] , [LCHM] ; 1850: [LCGS] , [MML] ; 1840, 1850, 1860, 1870, 1880, 1900, 1910, 1920, 1930: [IGSL] , [ISHL] , [KML] ; 1850 transcript: [IGSL] , [ISHL]

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

·         State: 1836, 1838:[LCHM] ; 1847: [LCGS] , [LCHM] ; 1885, 1895, 1905, 1915: [IGSL] , [ISHL] , [MML] , [KML] ; 1925: [KML] , [IGSL] , [ISHL]

·         1846, 1856 transcription: [IGSL] , [ISHL] , [MML] , [KML]

·         State Territorial index: [LCGS]

·         Hayes: Index to Louisa Co. 1925 State Census [IGSL] , [ISHL]

 

Vital Records

 

·         Births: (from 1880) originals: [LCCH] , (1880 - 1935) microfilm: [IGSL] , [ISHL]

·         Marriages: (from 1840) originals: [LCCH] ; microfilm: MML] , LCHM]; (1837-1899): [LCGS] , [KML] ; (1842 – 1940) microfilm: [IGSL] , [ISHL] ;

·         Early marriages 1837 – 1900 transcript: [IGSL]

·         Deaths: (from 1880) originals: [LCCH] ; (1880 – 1930) microfilm: [IGSL] , [ISHL]

 

Probate and related records

 

·         Probate records: (from 1836) originals: [LCCH] ; (1839-1905) microfilm: [ISHL]

 

Land and related records

 

·         Land records: (from 1839) originals: [LCCH] ; microfilm: [LCHM] ; (1839-1892) microfilm: [ISHL]

·         Louisa Co. Land Records (1839-39) transcript: [IGSL]

·         Selected land transfer books: [LCGS]

·         Louisa Co. Gen Soc: Louisa Co. tax lists 1847-59 [IGSL]  , [ISHL]

 

Maps, atlases and gazetteers

 

·         Miscellaneous atlases: [CJPL] , [LPL] , [LCHM] , [LCCH] , [LCGS] , [KML] , [MML]

·         1874 Historical Atlas: [LCGS] , [LPL] , [MML] , [KML]

·         1800-1900 atlas: [LCGS] , [LPL] , [KML]

·         1917 atlas:, [LPL] , [KML] , [MML]

·         1940 atlas: [LCGS] , [LPL] , [KML]

·         1983 atlas: [LCGS] , [LPL] , [KML]

·         Farm plat books, 1946, 1948-9, 1950-2, 1974-5: [KML]

·         Unspecified farm plat books: [LCGS]

·         Andreas, A.T.: Illustrated Historical Atlas of Louisa Co., Iowa (1874) [ISHL]

 

Court records

 

·         Court records (from 1839) originals: [LCCH]

·         Naturalization records (1864-1904) microfilm: [ISHL]

 

Cemetery

 

·         Miscellaneous cemetery listings: [LCGS] , [LPL] , [KML] , [LCHM] , [MML] , [LCCH]

·         WPA Cemetery listings (1932): [KML] , [IGSL] , [ISHL]

·         Elmwood cemetery listing: [MML]

·         Marshall & Buffington Cemeteries [IGSL]

·         Spring Run (Pitchin) Cemetery  [IGSL]

·         Covenantor Cemetery [IGSL]

·         Edwards Cemetery [IGSL] , [ISHL]

·         Cemeteries: Wapello, Bethel and Fairview townships [IGSL] , [ISHL]

·         Cemeteries: Jefferson, Parson and Mallory [IGSL] , [ISHL]

·         Iowa Gen Soc: Louisa County cemeteries (1986): [ISHL]

·         Bennett: Cemeteries of Louisa Co. (1990): [ISHL]

 

Funeral homes (current funeral homes for towns listed)

 

·         Columbus Junction

-          Stacy –Lewis Funeral Home

603 2nd Street, Columbus Junction, Iowa 52738

·         Morning Sun

-          Hagele & Honts Funeral Home

13 North Kearney Street, Morning Sun, Iowa 52640

·         Wapello

-          Dudgeon –McCulley Funeral Home

207 Franklin Street, Wapello, Iowa 52653

 

Obituaries

 

·         Louisa Co. Gen Soc: Obituaries from Wapello Tribune (1992): [KML] , [IGSL] , [ISHL]

·         Miscellaneous obituaries (with index): [LCGS] , [KML]

·         Louisa Co. Gen Soc: Louisa Co. Obituaries 1878-1898: [IGSL]

·         Belzer: Louisa Co., Iowa Obituaries (1991): [ISHL]

 

Church, Bible

 

·         Miscellaneous records: [LPL] , [KML] , [LCHM] , [LCGS] , [MML] , [CJPL]

·         Church histories: [LCGS]

·         The Mennonites in Iowa: [KML]

·         Beck, et al: Churches of Louisa County (1993): [ISHL]

·         United Presbyterian Church, Columbus Junction (1974): [ISHL]

·         Centennial Committee: Columbus City Methodist Church 1866-1966: [ISHL]

 

Military

 

·         Roster of Iowa soldiers (1861-66): [MML]

·         Roster of Iowa soldiers for Civil War (1908): [LCGS] , [MML] , [KML]

·         Service men list (undated): [MML]

·         WWI & WWII Service records, Columbus Junction & community: [MML]

·         Women’s Relief Corps March 1926-33 ledger, some member names: [MML]

·         Miscellaneous military records: [LCGS] , [KML] , [LCHM] , [MML] , [LCCH] , [CJPL]

 

Newspapers:  (on microfilm unless noted)

 

·         Columbus Junction

-          Columbus Gazette [CJPL] , [LCGS]

-          Columbus Safeguard (1883-1889): [ISHL]

-          Louisa Co Times (1884-5): [ISHL]

-          Columbus Gazette (and Safeguard) (1923-1996): [ISHL]

·         Morning Sun

-          Morning Sun News Herald (1886-1994) microfilm: [MML] ; bound and unbound: [MML]

·         Oakville

-          Oakville Sentinel (1902-1940): [ISHL]

·         Wapello

-          Louisa Co. Record (1883-1894): [ISHL]

-          Wapello Times (1884-1884): [ISHL]

-          Wapello Republican (1888-1997): [ISHL]

-          Wapello Tribune (1898-1930): [ISHL]

-          Louisa Co Democrat (1895-1900): [ISHL]

·         Miscellaneous county newspapers: [LCGS]

·         All county newspapers from1882, microfilm: [KML]

 

Lineage and Service Organizations:

 

·         American Legion Posts: Columbus Junction, Oakville, Morning Sun

·         Veterans of Foreign War Posts: Columbus Junction, Wapello

 

Educational, business and other:

 

·         High school yearbooks, alumni lists: [CJPL] , [LPL] , [MML] , [LCHM] , [LCGS]

·         Wapello yearbooks (1947-1995): [LCGS] , [KML]

·         High school year books (1892-1959): [LPL]

·         Old school scrapbooks: [CJPL]

·         L-M High School yearbooks (1983-1995): [LPL]

·         Morning Sun High School yearbooks (1913, 1947-8, 1979-83): [MML]

·         Morning Sun High School Alumni list (1876-1983): [MML]

·         Rural schools: [LCGS] , [LPL] , [KML]

·         Scrapbooks on local history: [KML] , [LCGS]

·         Old photographs: [LCGS]

·         Photo & news article display for towns: [LCGS]

·         Kerr: Rural Schools of Louisa County (1988): [IGSL]

 

County & Local Histories:

 

·         Portrait & Biographical Album of Louisa County (1889): [LCGS] , [KML] , [LCHM] , [IGSL] , [ISHL] , [LPL]

·         Surname Index to 1889 History: [IGSL]

·         Springer: A History of Louisa County from the Earliest Settlement …(1912): [KML] , [ISHL] , [LCGS] , [CJPL] , [LPL] , [MML]

·         Louisa Co. Gen Soc.: Index to 1912 Louisa Co. History [IGSL] , [ISHL]

·         Johnson: The Newspaper Accounts of B.F. Wright … and of Others of Louisa County (1967)

·         Miscellaneous county histories: [LCGS] , [CJPL] , [LPL] , [MML] , [KML]

·         Miscellaneous city histories: [LCGS] , [CJPL] , [LPL] , [MML] , [KML]

·         Miscellaneous state histories: [CJPL] , [LPL] , [MML] , [KML]

·         Iowa Emigrant, names & history of southeast Iowa: [MML]

·         Historical Society Tour pamphlet of Virginia Grove area, Marshall Homestead, Rice Cemetery, Honey Creek area & school, Billy Lee Spring (1971): [MML]

·         The Palimpsest (1950-89): [LCGS] , [KML]

·         Winfield Beacon, the First Hundred Years: [CJPL]

·         History of Columbus Chautauqua & some old programs: [CJPL]

·         Historical picture slides (700+): [CJPL]

·         Encyclopedia of Century Farms: [LPL]

·         Hail to the Chief, true tales of old Wapello: [LPL]

·         1827- 1927 Grandmother Brown’s Hundred Years, early days in southeast Iowa: [LPL]

·         Quakers of Iowa (contains listing of names): [LPL]

·         Various family histories: [LCGS] , [CJPL] , [LPL] , [KML]

·         Iowa Genealogical Society Surname Index: [LCGS]

·         Brown: History of Oakland – Orono townships (1978): [IGSL]

·         Iowa Welsh Society: History of Long Creek Welsh Community (1995): [IGSL] , [ISHL]

·         Zielinski: Columbus Junction, the first hundred years 1874-1974 (1974): [ISHL]

·         Cocklin: A brief history of Grandview, Iowa 1850-1950: [ISHL]

 

Publications

 

·         Iowa Genealogical Society: Hawkeye Heritage articles through 1993,[LCGS]  [IGSL] (Entries indicate year, issue no. and page no.)

-          Buffington Cemetery, Elm Grove township (1973) 4:182

-          Iowa Territorial Census for 1846 (1974) 3:109

-          Marshall Cemetery, Marshall township (1971) 4:195

·         The following Louisa County Publications are for sale through the Iowa Genealogical Society.  Consult the Iowa Genealogical Website for detailed listings and availability.

-          Cemetery records for East Elliot, Elm Grove, Jefferson and Wapello townships

-          Census: 1850 and 1856

-          Death records: 1878 – 1898 Louisa Co. Newspapers; 1989-1913 Obituaries from The Wapello Tribune

-          Indices to the 1889 and 1913 Louisa Co. Histories

-          Marriage records: 1837-1899

-          Tax lists: 1847-1859

 

Section IV: Credits

 

We wish to acknowledge the contributions made by members of the Louisa County Genealogical Society, Louisa County Historical Society, the Louisa 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.