99. WRIGHT COUNTY, IOWA

 

Section I: History and Geography


History

 

In 1851, Wright County was a part of Delaware, Polk, Boone and Webster counties.  In 1855, it seceded from Webster when formally organized.  Swamps, marshes and prairie wildflowers constituted the landscape.  Trees were non-existent other than by rivers and lakes.  The county was named for two Governors: Silas Wright, twelfth governor of New York, and Governor Joseph A. Wright of Indiana; thanks to early settlers who came from these states.  The first settler arrived in 1854 in Troy Township.  Scandinavians were dominating settlers of Eagle Grove Township and shared Belmond with German emigrants.  Germans put roots down in the Dows area as well.

 

Boundaries

 

Wright County is located in north central Iowa and is bordered by the following counties: West - Humboldt Co., NW - Kossuth Co., North - Hancock Co., NE - Cerro Gordo Co., East - Franklin Co., SE – Hardin Co., and South – Hamilton Co. and SW – Webster Co.

 

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

 

Town/Community        Township                                             Population

1890                                  1990

 

Belmond 50421              Belmond/Pleasant                                    803                2,500

Clarion 50525                Lake/Grant/Lincoln/Dayton                        744                2,703

Dows 50071                  Blaine/Franklin Co.                                   600                   660

Eagle Grove 50533         Eagle Grove                                          1,881                3,671

Galt 50101                    Blaine                                                     100                     43

Goldfield 50542              Liberty/Eagle Grove                                  343                   710

Rowan 50470                 Iowa                                                          50                   189

Woolstock 50599           Woolstock                                               250                   212

 

Abandoned towns

 

Town                           Township                                 Town                           Township

 


 

Aldrich  1882-1891         unknown                                   Liberty                          became Goldfield

Bach Grove 1858-1881   Troy                                          Luni 1858-1888              Boone

Bruce 1883-1901            Norway                                     Montgomery 1864          near Goldfield

Cornelia 1893-1912        Lake Cornelia/Grant                   Marhain 1897-1902         Wall Lake

Crown Point                   became Belmond                       Moscow 1857-1878        Dayton

Drew 1892-1901 Norway                                     Norwich 1881-                became Galtville

Dry Lake 1871-1882       Vernon                                      Olaf 1883-1911              Belmond

Eagle Grove Junction      became Eagle Grove                  Otisville 1858-1902         Pleasant

Eagleville                       never built                                  Otsego 1855-                 Eagle Grove

Empire 1868-1883          Lincoln                                      Palsville 1898-1902        Pleasant

Fryeburg 1856-1886       Blaine                                       Rosedale 1857-1886       Troy

Galtville 1882-1888         became Galt                              Thrall 1882-1907            Liberty

Grant 1855-1869            became Clarion                          Waterman 1871-1900     Wall Lake

Holmes 1885-198-          Lake                                         Williams Point 1862-69   Troy

Lena 1882-1886 (near Belmond)                          Woolstock 1868-1881     near present Woolstock

 

 

Section II: Resource Centers

 

Courthouse:

 

·         [WCCH] Wright County Courthouse

115 North Main Street

Clarion, Iowa 50525

 

Genealogical Society

 

·         [WCGS] Wright County Genealogical Searchers

Box 225, Clarion, Iowa 50525

 

Libraries with Genealogical or Historical Collections

 

·         [BPL] Belmond Public Library

440 East Main Street

Belmond, Iowa 50421

·         [CPL] Clarion Public Library

302 North Main Street

Clarion, Iowa 50525

·         [DPL] Dows Public Library

Main Street

Dows, Iowa 50071

·         [EGML] Eagle Grove Memorial Library

101 South Caldwell

Eagle Grove, Iowa 50533

·         [RPL] Rowan Public Library

Main Street

Rowan, Iowa 50470

·         [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 50319

 

Museums, Historic Sites and Visitor Centers

 

·         [BHM] Belmont Historical Museum

Main Street

River Park on Highway 69

Belmond, Iowa 50421

·         Rock Island Depot

302 South Main Street

Clarion, Iowa 50525

·         Clarion Historical & Cultural Center

1st Avenue West

Clarion, Iowa 50525

·         [4-HM] 4-H School House Museum

Central Avenue West (In city park)

Clarion, Iowa 50525

·         [DHS] Dows Depot and Quasdorf Blacksmith, Wagon wheel and Machine Museum (Dows Historical Society)

Dows, Iowa 50071

·         [EGHM] Eagle Grove Historical Museum

West Broadway

Eagle Grove, Iowa 50053

·         [GHS] Log Cabin (Goldfield Historical Society)

West Broadway

Goldfield, Iowa 50542

 

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: 1856, 1860, 1870, 1880, 1900, 1910, 1920, 1930; microfilm: [IGSL] , [ISHL] ;  (1880-1920), microfilm: [CPL] ; 1856, transcript: [IGSL] ,  1860, transcript: [IGSL] , [CPL]

·         Federal indices: 1860, 1870, 1880, 1900, 1920: [CPL] ; 1870: [CPL] , [IGSL] , [ISHL]

·         State: 1885, 1895, 1905, 1915, 1925: [CPL] , [IGSL] , [ISHL]

·         Willemssem: 1856 Census for Wright County, (1978): [ISHL]

·         Wright Co Gen Searchers: Index to the 1880 Federal Census for Wright Co (1982): [ISHL]

 

Vital Records

 

·         Births: from 1880, originals: [WCCH] ; 1880-1938, microfilm: [IGSL] , [ISHL] ; 1880-1884, transcript: [IGSL]

·         Deaths: from 1880, originals: [WCCH] ; 1880-1940, microfilm: [IGSL] , [ISHL] ; 1855-1884, 1880-1899, transcript: [IGSL]

·         Marriages: from 1855, originals: [WCCH] ; (1885-6), transcripts: [CPL] ; 1856-1925, microfilm: [IGSL] , [ISHL]

·         Early Marriages, 1855-1884, transcript: [IGSL]

·         Hines: Wright County marriages 1855-1869, (1981), transcripts: [ISHL]

 

Probate and related records

 

·         Probate records: from 1855, originals: [WCCH]

·         Probate records, 1856-1926, microfilm: [ISHL]

·         Will records, 1862-1924, microfilm: [ISHL]

·         Abstracts of Probates, books 1 and 2: [IGSL]

 

Land and related records

 

·         Land records, from 1855, originals: [WCCH]

·         Land deed records, 1855-1888, microfilm: [ISHL]

·         Town lot deeds, 1857-1913, microfilm: [ISHL]

·         Homestead records, c1862-1904, microfilm: [ISHL]

·         Original Land Entries, General Index Deed Book 1, transcript: [IGSL]

 

Maps, atlases and gazetteers

 

·         Area maps atlases, plat books: [BPL] , [DPL] , [EGML]

·         Andreas: 1875 Iowa Atlas: [EGHM]

·         Ogle: Standard Atlas of Wright Co., Iowa (1912): [ISHL]

·         Smith: Directory of Wright Co., Iowa cities, towns and rural routes (1915): [ISHL]

 

Court records

 

·         Court records, from 1857, originals: [WCCH]

·         Civil Court Records: from 1873, originals: [WCCH]

·         Naturalization records: 1857-1929: [WCCH] ; 1862-1879, transcript: [IGSL] ; 1857-1887, microfilm: [ISHL]

 

Cemetery

 

·         Local cemetery records: [BPL] , [DPL] , [RPL]

·         French Creek & Troy center cemeteries: [EGML]

·         Wright Co Gen Researchers: The cemetery records of Wright Co., 6 vol. (1976): [IGSL] , [ISHL] ; 1860-1976, microfilm: [ISHL]

·         Works Progress Administration Grave Registration of Wright Co. (c1938): [IGSL] , [ISHL]

·         Civil War Graves registrations, 1860s, microfilm: [ISHL]

 

Funeral homes (current listing)

 

·         Belmond

-          Tenold Funeral Home

516 1st St. S.E., Belmond, Iowa 50421

-          Dugger Ewing Funeral Home

111 Luick Lane, South, Belmond, Iowa 50421

·         Clarion

-          Eyler-Willim Funeral Home

602 North Main Street, Clarion, Iowa 50525

·         Dows

-          Elledge Funeral Home

100 North Lee Street, Dows, Iowa 50071

·         Eagle Grove

-          Foust Funeral Home

103 North Cadwell Avenue, Eagle Grove, Iowa 50533

·         Funeral records, 1906-1923, microfilm: [ISHL]

 

Obituaries

 

·         Area Obituaries (from 1948): [CPL]

·         Wright County obituary file, 1888-1982, microfilm: [ISHL]

 

Church, Bible

 

·         Local church records: [BPL] , [DPL] , [RPL]

·         Local Bible records: [RPL]

·         St. Johns Lutheran Church, Clarion, 1887-1939, microfilm: [ISHL]

·         Kanawha Lutheran Church, Clarion, 1901-1957, microfilm: [ISHL]

·         Twin Lakes Lutheran Church, 1892-1925, microfilm: [ISHL]

·         Eagle Grove Baptist Church, 1907-1930, microfilm: [ISHL]

·         Bethel Church of God, 1893-1930, microfilm: [ISHL]

·         United Church of Christ, Congregational Church, 1872-1937, microfilm: [ISHL]

·         First Methodist Church, 1874-1960, microfilm: [ISHL]

·         United Methodist Church of Goldfield, 1899-1917, microfilm: [ISHL]

·         United Methodist Church of Eagle Grove, 1881-1922, microfilm: [ISHL]

 

Military

 

·         World War I military records: [WCCH] , [CPL]

 

Newspapers:  (on microfilm)

 

·         Belmond

-          Belmond Independent (from 1943) bound: [BPL] ; (1922-1951), microfilm: [BPL] ; (1919-1996), microfilm: [ISHL]

-          Belmond Independent Herald Press (1927-1938), microfilm: [ISHL]

-          Belmond Herald (1876-1945), microfilm: [BPL] ; (1876-1914), microfilm: [ISHL]

-          The Herald Press (1916-1927), microfilm: [ISHL]

-          Iowa Valley Press (1895-1936), microfilm: [BPL] ; (1895-1914), microfilm: [ISHL]

·         Clarion

-          The Clarion Clipper (1905-1920), microfilm: [ISHL]

-          Wright County Democrat (1893-1905), microfilm: [ISHL]

-          Wright County Monitor (1870-1987), microfilm: [CPL] ; (1869-1997), microfilm: [ISHL]

·         Dows

-          Dows Advocate (1881-1982): [DPL] ; (1893-1997), microfilm: [ISHL]

-          The Dows Reporter (1963-1971), microfilm: [ISHL]

-          Wright County Reporter (1927-1963), microfilm: [ISHL]

·         Eagle Grove

-          Eagle Grove Eagle (1921-1987) bound: [EGML] , (1895-1915) microfilm: [EGML] ; (1927-1997), microfilm: [ISHL]

-          Eagle Grove Times Gazette (1888-1921) microfilm: [EGML]

-          Boone Valley Gazette (1888-1898): [EGML]

·         Goldfield

-          Goldfield Chronicle (1893-1924) microfilm: [EGML] , [ISHL]

-          Goldfield Gazette (1931-1948) microfilm: [EGML] , [ISHL]

-          Goldfield Boosters (1929-1931) microfilm: [EGML] , [ISHL]

-          The Eagle Grove Eagle and Goldfield chronicle (1927-1927), microfilm: [ISHL]

 

Educational, business and other: (school annuals for this county)

 

·         The Order of Railway Conductors Minutes Book (1935): [EGHM]

·         Boy and Girl Scout records: [EGHM]

·         Country Cousins Club records: [CPL]

·         4-H records: [4-HM]

·         Area high school annuals: [BPL] , [CPL] , [DPL] , [EGML] , [RPL]

·         Old high school records: [DPL]

 

Miscellaneous records:

 

·         Old Age assistance tax, 1934-1936, microfilm: [ISHL]

·         Area family histories: [BPL] , [CPL] , [DPL] , [EGML] , [RPL]

·         Wright Co. miscellaneous records, 1883-1884, births, etc (1978): [IGSL]

 

County & Local Histories:

 

·         History and Business Directory of Wright Co., Iowa (1870): [EGML]

·         Biographical Record and Portrait Album of Hamilton and Wright Counties (1889): [ISHL] , [CPL] , [DPL] , [EGML] , [BPL]

·         Midland Directory and Publishers: Wright County Directory and History (1905): [ISHL]

·         Birdsall: History of Wright Co., Iowa (1915): [BPL] , [CPL] , [DPL] , [EGML] , [ISHL]

·         1776-1976 Pictorial History of Wright (1976): [EGML] , [IGSL]

·         History of Kossuth and Wright Cos. : [EGML]

·         Eagle Grove Centennial Book (1981): [EGML] , [IGSL]

·         Goldfield Centennial Book 1855-1955: (1955) [EGML]

·         Belmond Hist. Soc.: Belmond Quasiquicentennial 1856-1981 (1981): [BPL] , [ISHL]

·         Belmond, Iowa 1966 n.d.: [IGSL]

·         Thorson: History of Wright Co., Iowa: [GHS] , [CPL] , [DPL] , [EGML]

·         Clarion Centennial 1865-1965, (1965): [DPL]

·         Dows Centennial 1880-1980, (1980): [DPL]

·         Pictorial History of Cities, Towns & Communities in Wright Co.: [DHS]

·         Brook: Echo’s from Rowan … early setters (2000): [IGSL]

·         Wright Co. Bicentennial Committee: Remember our Heritage (1976): [ISHL]

·         A Walk Through the Past of Wright Co., Iowa (1996): [ISHL]

 

Publications

 

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

-          Abandoned Cemetery [Amish], Dayton Township (1978) 1:10

-          Abstracts of Probates, Books 1, 2, 3 and 5 (1978) 1:20

-          Belmond Township Cemetery, formerly Hickory Grove Cemetery Society (1977) 3:144

-          Wright County births: 1880-1882 (1977) 3:136; 1883-1884 (1978) 1:11

-          Wright County deaths: 1880-1887 (1977) 3:119; 1898-1899 (1978) 1:18

-          Wright County deaths: 1880-1899 [persons died in Wright Co., buried elsewhere] (1977) 3:130

-          Wright County early marriages, Book 1: 1855-1884 (1977) 3:108

-          Naturalization Records, Final Papers: 1862-1879 (1977) 3:134

-          Original Land Entries, General Index, Box 1 (1978) 1:7

-          Ringsaker – Norwegian Cemetery Assn., Belmond Township (1977) 3:144

-          Simonson Family Cemetery Plot, Belmond Township (1977) 3:141

-          St. Joseph’s Cemetery, Woolstock Township (1977) 3:142

-          Wright Co. Burying Grounds, one half mile west of Goldfield (1978) 1:10

·         The following Wright County Publications are for sale through the Iowa Genealogical Society.  Consult the Iowa Genealogical Society webpage for details and availability.

-          Wright County marriages, 1855-1869

 

Section IV: Credits

 

We wish to acknowledge the contributions made by members of the Wright County Genealogical Searchers, the Wright 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.