FRANKLIN COUNTY    Is the fifth county west of the Mississippi River, and the third south of Minnesota, and is bounded on the north by Cerro Gordo county, on the east by Butler county, on the south by Hardin county, and on the west by Wright county.
The Soil is generally a rich clay loam, except in the case of lands bordering the streams, which are recent alluvial deposits and are, of course, more mixed with sand, affording in most instances, valuable tracts, fitted to the production of corn, wheat, oats, rye, barley, etc. There is no county in Northern Iowa having a richer or more available soil for all purposes of the agriculturist. In most locations the sub-stratum consists of fine limestone suitable for building, and other purposes.
The eastern and south-western parts present a surface gently rolling, in but very few cases being what is called broken, inviting to the opening of farms for the raising of the cereals and various root crops—while the western and north-eastern parts have a generally level configuration, upon which in summer always flourishes a luxuriant crop of grass for the raising of herds of domestic animals. The centre of the county comprises the apex or peak of the water shed between the Iowa and Cedar Rivers—the waters of the western portion of the county flowing into the Iowa, and those of the eastern by tributaries into the Cedar.
The Timber of the county (although it is to be regretted that it is not more abundant) is well distributed and of as good quality as can be found in any prairie country, and has thus far been, and probably will for some years be found sufficient for the wants of the people. The want of lumber suitable for building purposes, was, up to within three years the greatest inconvenience the people had to contend with. Since the DuBuque and Sioux City Railroad was finished to Cedar Falls, a thriving town some forty miles to the eastward, large quantities of lumber from the northern pineries have been brought here and used for building, fencing, etc., and we expect, at no very distant day, to have a railroad direct from St. Paul, Minn., to DesMoines, the capital of our State, which railroad, when built, will undoubtedly pass through the county, and bring lumber direct from the pineries at a distance of about 200 miles.
The drainage of the county is perfect, being well supplied with clear, durable streams, many of them furnishing eligible sites for mills.
Owing to the high elevation of the face of the country, and the absence of large streams and swamps, this county is one of the most healthful in northern Iowa. Fevers are almost unknown, and indeed diseases of any kind are rare. One of the great causes of this remarkable healthfulness is that the water in the numerous streams, springs and wells is of the purest kind.
Resources.—These will be found in the large crops of staple productions of the soil, and in the herds of cattle, horses, sheep and hogs which are now, and will continue to be grown. For the last four years many of the citizens have been engaged in the successful raising of sheep, and the profits realized from the sale of wool have been large, and of course rapidly increasing. Sheep were first introduced here in 1860, by Hon. J. B. Grinnell, of Grinnell, Iowa; one of the most successful wool growers in the United States. Since that time, experiment has demonstrated that the business is a certain and very profitable one. Large herds are to be found in many parts of the county, and the stock is fast increasing by additions brought from the East. It is not worth while at this late day, to go into any extended examination whether the prairies of the west are favorable to the production of wool. Twenty years experience has proved not only that such is the case, but also that prairie farmers enjoy peculiar facilities for growing not possessed by those Eastern States in which wool is grown to the greatest extent. Not only are sheep equally healthy on western prairies as on eastern hills, but it is a well settled fact, that for flocks of so large numbers, ours will out-strip and out-shear Eastern flocks; and still more, Eastern sheep brought West will out-weigh and out-shear themselves.
The DuBuque and Sioux City Railroad completed to Iowa Falls, passes through Ackley in the north-eastern portion of Hardin county, thus giving direct and easy communication with the East.
HAMPTON, the county seat, is near the centre of the county, and situated on the north east quarter of section 33, T. 92, R. 20 W. It contains two general stores, a printing office, a fine flour mill, etc. The township consists of excellent tillable land, well watered, and drained by Otter Spring and Squaw Creeks. Good timber is furnished in considerable quantities by Van Horn's, Thorp's and Beed's Groves. Population 200, township 366.
MAYSVILLE, is situated in township 91, range 20 W. This township comprises some of the best farming lands in the county. The surface is undulating, and watered by Maynes Creek and its tributaries. Maynes Grove extends entirely through the township from west to east. The village contains two general stores. Population 125.
CHAPIN, is in the northern part of the county, six miles north-west of Hampton. The soil of the township is well adapted to corn, wheat and oats. It is well watered and timbered. A good water power on Thorp Creek is unimproved. There is a Congregational church in the village. Population 104.
OAKLAND VALLEY, is a small post village on the Iowa River, in Morgan township, in the western part of the county. It has two churches, Methodist and Presbyterian. Population of village 31, of township 184.
GENEVA, is situated in the eastern part of the county, on Maynes Creek. In the vicinity of this stream are many of the best of springs. The surface of the township is rolling. Highland and Four Mile Groves contain excellent timber, and there is also some timber of inferior quality, skirting Maynes Creek. Population of township 206.
UNION RIDGE, a post office in township 92, range 19. The township consists of a large body of good tillable land and river bottoms, well suited for hay and grazing. It is well watered by the West Fork of Cedar River, and Otter and Squaw Creeks. There is a good body of timber on the first named stream.
The remaining post offices are Otisville and Shorbes Grove.   (Hair's Iowa State Gazetteer..., 1865)

Total Population 1860
Free Black Population 1860
Presidential Election Result 1856
Presidential Election Result 1860
Presidential Election Result 1864
Unconditional Union (1864)