87.  TAYLOR COUNTY, IOWA

 

Section I: History and Geography

 

History

 

In 1833, what is now Taylor county was granted to the Pottawattamie Indians as a reservation, who relinquished all claims in June 1846. Taylor county became part of the state in 1847. From the date of its establishment until its organization, Taylor county was attached to Pottawattamie county for election, judicial and revenue purposes. It was formally organized in 1851. The county was named in honor of Major General Zachary Taylor, Commander of the Army of Occupation in the war with Mexico and later the twelfth president of the United States. Early settlers consisted mostly of persons from the southern states who thought they were in slave‑holding northern Missouri. It covers about 537 square miles made up of rolling hills and small valleys along the East, Middle and West forks of the Hundred and Two, Honey Creek and the Platte rivers.


Boundaries

 

Taylor County is located in southwestern Iowa on the Missouri border.  It is surrounded by the following counties: West – Page Co.; NW – Montgomery Co.; North – Adams Co.; NE – Union Co.; East – Ringgold Co.; and South – Worth and Nodaway Cos, Missouri.

 

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

 

Town/Community        Township                                             Population

                                                                                                1890           1990                                  

 

Athelstan                               Jefferson                                                                                            31                                             

Bedford, 50833                    Bedford (formed from Benton Twp)                 1,643              1,528

Blockton, 50848                   Jefferson                                                                  400                 213

Clearfield, 50840                 Grant                                                                         452                 417

Conway                                 Marshall                                                                   379                   57

Gravity, 50848                      Washington                                                             210                 218

Guss                                      Nodaway                                                                    20                       

Lenox, 50851                       Platte                                                                         706              1,303             

New Market, 51646             Dallas                                                                       320                 454

Siam                                      Polk                                                                           100

Sharpsburg, 50862             Marshall                                                                   100                 116

 

Abandoned towns

 

Town                           Township                                 Town                           Township

 

Brushy                                   (became Blockton)                              Lexington                              Clayton

Dan                                        Holt                                                         Litchfield                                                Grant

Enod                                      Ross                                                      Lone                                       Platte

Grove                                     (became Bedford)                               Memory                                  Dallas   

Harmony                               Marshall                                                 Mormantown                        (became Blockton)

Henshaw                              Nodaway                                               Ovid                                        Ross

Holt                                         Holt                                                         Platte                                      Gay

Jenks                                     (became Conway)                               Plattville                                 Jefferson

Ladoga                                  Washington                                          Rhodes                                 (became Sharpsburg)

Landis                                   Polk                                                        Summitt

Leonard                                 Holt

 

Section II: Resource Centers

 

Courthouse:

 

·         [TCCH] Taylor County Courthouse, Bedford, Iowa 50833

Located on Court Street, east of Main

 

Genealogical Society

 

·         [TCGS] Taylor County Genealogical Society

Box 8

Gravity, Iowa 50848-0008

(where noted below, publications are available from the society; see Taylor County, Iowa Genealogical Society website for latest information)

 

Historical Societies

 

·         [TCHS] Taylor County Historical Society 

collection at the Taylor County Historical Museum (see below)

 

Libraries with Genealogical or Historical Collections

 

·         [TCHM] Taylor County Historical Museum 

Highway 2 on NW edge of Bedford

·         [BPL] Bedford Public Library

507 Jefferson Street

Bedford, Iowa 50833

·         [CPL] Clearfield Public Library

302 Broadway

Clearfield, Iowa 50840

·         [LPL] Lenox Public Library

101 North Main Street

Lenox, Iowa 50851

·         [NPL] New Market Public Library

407 Main Street

New Market, Iowa 51646

·         [IGSL] Iowa Genealogical Society Library

628 East Grand Avenue

Des Moines, IA 50309

·         [ISHL] Iowa State Historical Library

600 East Locust Street

Des Moines, IA 50309

 

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:          1850, 1854, 1856, 1860, 1870, 1880, 1900, 1910, 1920, 1930; (microfilm)    [TCHM], [ISHL] [IGSL];

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

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

·         Odell: 1850 w/ 1851, 2, 3, 7 tax lists (1970), transcribed, [IGSL]

 

Vital Records

 

·         Births:         from 1880, originals; [TCCH]; 1880-1935; microfilm [IGSL] , [ISHL]

·         Deaths:       from 1880, originals; [TCCH]; 1880-1935; microfilm, [IGSL] , [ISHL]

·         Marriages:   from 1854, originals; [TCCH]; 1851-1928; microfilm; [IGSL] , [ISHL]

 

Probate and related records

 

·         From 1863, originals; [TCCH] county clerk’s office

·         Probate 1852-57, Will Book A, microfilm; [IGSL] , [ISHL]

 

Land and related records

 

·         Land records, from 1855, originals; [TCCH]  county recorder’s office

 

Maps, atlases and gazetteers

 

·         Andreas atlas (1875); [ISHL] , [TCHM]

·         Plat books; [TCHM]

·         Farmer’s directories; [TCHM]  

·         Taylor County Rural Directory (1981), [IGSL]

 

Court records

 

·         Court records, from 1858,  originals [TCCH]

·         Tax records, [TCCH] (not accessible to public), early tax records being copied

·         Divorce: from 1858, originals; [TCCH]

 

Cemetery

 

·         Gravestones copied and printed, [TCCH], [TCHM]

·         WPA Cemetery Registrations, [IGSL] , [ISHL]  

·         Odell, et al.: Tombstone Records of Taylor County, Vol 1 & 2, (1975), [IGSL]

·         Hawleyville Cemetery Inscriptions, [IGSL]

·         Taylor County Cemetery Book, 1994, supplement, 1995, [TCGS]

·         Bedford City Cemetery, Caskey, (1977), [ISHL]

 

Funeral homes (current)

 

·         Bedford:

·         Novenger-Taylor Funeral Home

1708 State Street, Bedford, IA 50833

·         Ritchie Funeral Home

1406 Madison Street, Bedford, IA 50833

·         Clearfield

·         Wilson – Watson and Armstrong

124 South Main Street, Clearfield, IA 50840

·         Lenox:

·         Larkin & Shelley Funeral Home (Ritchie Funeral Home)

124S Main Street, Lenox, IA 50851

·         Coen – Beaty Funeral Home

300 North Main Street, Lenox, IA 50851

 

Obituaries

 

·         Index to obituary and death notices in the New Market Herald (1918-24), [IGSL]

·         Index of obituaries, Bedford Times Press, Clarinda Herald Journal (1971-2), [IGSL]

·         Odell: Obituaries and death notices from Bedford Times Press in 1925, [IGSL]

 

Church, Bible

 

·         Gravity: Oak Hill Church records (1907-57), includes membership, marriages, deaths and baptisms, [IGSL]

 

Newspapers: (on microfilm)

 

·         Bedford

·         Bedford Times Republican, (1901-1931), [ISHL]

·         Bedford Free Press, 1895-1935), [ISHL]

·         Bedford Times Press, (1938-1996), [ISHL]

·         Taylor County Republican, (1878-1884), [ISHL]

·         Taylor County Democrat, (1893-1895), [ISHL]

·         Taylor County Herald, (1936-1941), [ISHL]

·         Blockton

·         Blockton News (1898), [ISHL]

·         Clearfield

·         Clearfield Enterprise, (1915-1949) [ISHL]

·         The Clearfield Chronicle, (1959-1998) [ISHL]

·         Lenox

·         Lenox Time Table, (1910-1997), [ISHL]

·         New Market

·         New Market News, (1936-1939), [ISHL]

·         New Market Herald, (1916-1929), [ISHL]

·         New Market Monitor, (1978-1978), [ISHL]

·         Sharpsburg

·         The North Taylor Review, (1916-1919) [ISHL]

 

Lineage and Service Organizations:

 

·         1931-1960: partial school records, [TCHM]

·         Store ledgers, [TCHM]

 

County & Local Histories

 

·         Des Moines: State Hist. Co., History of Taylor Co., Iowa, (1881) [TCHM] , [ISHL] , index to history, [ISHL]

·         Frank E. Crossen: History of Taylor Co., Iowa, Chicago: S.J. Clarke Pub., (1910) , [TCHM] , [ISHL]

·         Taylor County Historical Society: History of Taylor Co., (1981) [TCHM]

·         Taylor County History, Vol II, (1990) [TCGS] , [ISHL]  

·         Blockton, Iowa Centennial Book, 1888-1988, (1988), [IGSL]

·         Centennial of Mormantown, 1861-1961, (1961), [IGSL]

·         Centennial History of Lenox, 1872-1972, (1972), [ISHL]

·         1990: Bedford High School class of 1940 “memories” book, [IGSL]

 

Publications

 

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

·         1860 Census (1970), 2:65

·         Taylor County Check List (1970), 2:62

·         Declaration of Intention for Naturalization (index), (1993) 2:98

·         First Marriages (1970), 2:78

·         Guests at Pacific House Hotel in 1882 (1989) 4:204

·         History of Taylor Co. (1970), 2:60

·         Marriages by Rev. Sherburn A. Elliott (1982), 1:4

·         Patent Record Book 43 (first) (1970), 2:75

·         Township Maps (1970), 2:64

·         Will Book A (1970), 2:72

·         Taylor County Genealogical Group Publications (newsletter) 1974-1986, contains some early vital records, [IGSL]

·         Marriages of Taylor County (1851-1884), [TCGS]

·         Taylor County Residents Married in Nodaway Co., Missouri, [TCGS]

 

Section IV: Credits

 

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