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Iowa History Daily: January 22 - Angry Dutchmen Steal County Seat

Iowa History Daily: On January 22, 1872, 55 bobsleds embarked from Orange City full of determined Dutchmen planning to steal the seat of Sioux County. After cutting a hole in the courthouse at Calliope, the raiders hauled a 5,000 pound safe containing the county’s critical documents back to Orange City.

Calliope, the first American settlement in Sioux County, established in 1860 with a recorded fifteen residents. The small log courthouse featured a fort-like design and doubled as a safeguard against frontier outlaws and Iowa’s Indigenous peoples. For the first decade the small settlement scuttled along as the seat of Sioux County.

In 1870, a large group of Dutch split off from Pella in Marion County arrived looking for space to settle in northwestern Iowa. Initially naming the settlement Holland, the residents eventually renamed the town Orange City to honor the royal colors of their homeland. Two years later, the Dutch decided to take control of the county.

As the 55 bobsleds made their way toward Calliope, 25 additional sleds from Hull joined the effort. Once in the small county seat, they secured the county’s safe and returned to Orange City. Although an agreement temporarily returned power to Calliope, an election held in November of 1872 officially relocated the county seat to Orange City. #IowaOTD #IowaHistoryDaily #IowaHistoryCalendar


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