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Iowa History Daily: January 15 - Iowa's Elusive 100th County

Iowa History Daily: On January 15, 1851, the Iowa General Assembly passed a bill finalizing a plan to give Iowa 100 counties. Four years later, the legislature eliminated Bancroft County to bring Iowa back to the 99 county structure familiar to Iowans today.



Bancroft County, located above Kossuth and next to Winnebago along Iowa’s northern border struggled to attract settlement during the early 1850s. Greenwood Center served as the seat of the short lived county.A vast wetland and prairie complex, the marshy landscape proved difficult to farm. In 1855 the legislature eliminated Bancroft and added the lands to Kossuth to form Iowa’s largest county by land area.



After the Civil War, settlers started to populate the former lands of Bancroft County. In the late-1860s the locals sought to split off from Kossuth to again establish a 100th county for Iowa. Approved by the legislature in 1870, the former Bancroft County officially became Crocker County. 



Crocker County also proved short-lived. In 1871, the Iowa Supreme Court ruled the county creation invalid due to the total area not meeting a requirement stipulating all new counties must consist of at least 432 square miles. Iowa officially returned to 99 counties. In 1914, locals again tried to split the county by creating Larrabee County. Put to the ballot, the measure failed leaving Iowa a county short of a hundred for the long run. #IowaOTD #IowaHistoryDaily #IowaHistoryCalendar




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