CLARKE, a county in the S. part of Iowa, has an area of 432 square miles. The South river and Whitebreast river, affluents of the Des Moines, rise by several branches in this county; it is also drained by the E. fork of Grand river, which flows southward into Missouri. The surface is slightly diversified; the soil is fertile, adapted to grain, fruit, and grass. A large part of the county is prairie. Named in honor of James Clarke, governor of Iowa in 1846. County seat not established. Population, 79. (Baldwin's New and Complete Gazetteer of the United States..., 1854)
CLARK(sic) COUNTY Was organized in 1850. It is situated in the southern central portion of the State, the fifth county east of the Missouri river, and second north of the State of Missouri, and is bounded on the east by Lucas county, on the south by Decatur, and on the west by Union, and on the north by Madison and Warren counties.
The county was first settled in 1846 by four or five families of Mormons, who made small improvements at what was called the Lost Camps, six miles south of Osceola, the present county seat. But that population has long since been supplanted by other and more permanent settlers. In 1850 the first settlement of any note was made by B. Arnold, Jas. J. Arnold, J. Ellis, R. Jemison, A. Collier and John Sherer, hardy farmers from the State of Indiana, (except the latter, from Ohio,) who made farms along the southern portion of the county. Next followed a colony of farmers from Van Buren county, Iowa, who opened a large farm in the southwest corner of the county, and laid off the town of Hopeville.
Clark county, like others adjoining in southern Iowa, is high, rolling prairie, with a due proportion of timber, and is well watered with small rivers and creeks, the banks of which are supposed to contain coal, but none as yet has been discovered, except specimens in various parts of the county. The soil is a dark sandy loam, well adapted to the growth of the different cereals common to this latitude, such as wheat, oats, corn, rye, barley, beans, peas, potatoes and tobacco, which are produced each in abundance, and with but little care as to culture. Native fruits grow in great variety, such as the grape, crab-apple, plum, gooseberry and blackberry.
An abundance of the best limestone is to be found in most of the creek banks. Brick clay is found along the outskirts of the timber in various parts of the county. The principal streams of the county are Whitebreast, Bee creek, Long creek and Grand river, on the south; South river, Squaw creek, Brush creek and Otter creek, on the north. This county offers great inducements to capitalists who wish to invest in steam mills, as there are but three grist mills and five saw mills in the county in operation at this time.
The Burlington & Missouri River Railroad is located through the centre of the county. Every acre of Clark county is arable land, and it is, therefore, susceptible of as dense a population as any county in the State.
To the farmer, stock-raiser, mechanic and manufacturer, Clark holds out good inducements. The locality is one of the most healthy, and the population of the most thriving and energetic in the State. For enterprise in schools and churches, for sobriety and morality the people of Clark county cannot be surpassed by any county of its age in the State.
The county is twenty-four miles east and west, by eighteen north and south, embracing an area of 432 square miles, in twelve geographical townships, viz: Doyle, Franklin, Fremont, Green Bay, Jackson, Knox, Liberty, Madison, Osceola, Troy, Ward and Washington.
For patriotism and love for the good old flag of our country, Clark county has never, during the late rebellion, been found wanting in men, ready and willing to shoulder the musket and go forth in defence of the stars and stripes. The population of the county in 1863 was 5,639. (Hair's Iowa State Gazetteer..., 1865)