MARSHALL, a new county in the central part of Iowa, has an area of 676 square miles. It is traversed by Iowa river, flowing S. E., and also drained by Timber creek. The land is productive, and is said to be finely timbered with oak, ash, walnut, sugarmaple, &c. Indian corn and butter are the staples. In 1850, Marshall county produced 12,410 bushels of corn, and 4230 pounds of butter. Stone coal is found in the county. Population, 338.  (Baldwin's New and Complete Gazetteer of the United States..., 1854)

MARSHALL COUNTY   Is situated in about the centre of the State. The 42d parallel of north latitude passes through the centre of the county east and west. Hardin and Grundy Counties lie upon its north boundary, Tama on the east, Jasper on the south and Story on the west. It is twenty-four miles square, containing three hundred and sixty-eight thousand six hundred and forty acres. The county is divided into fourteen civil townships, as follows: Vienna, Iowa, Bangor, Liberty, Minerva, Marion, LeGrand, Greencastle, Marshall, Timber Creeek(sic), Jefferson, Washington, Marietta and Eden.
The Iowa River enters the county near the centre of its north boundary, and taking a southeasterly course leaves the county at the centre of its eastern boundary. About one quarter of the county lies on the north side of the river, and the balance on the south and west. The Iowa is a fine, rapid stream, of pure, clear water, preserving its volume well at all seasons of the year, and is at an ordinary stage about forty yards wide. Its main tributaries are as follows: From the north and east side, Asher Creek, rising at the north line of the county and discharging its waters nearly opposite the town of Marshall, is about eleven miles in length; Dean's Creek, rising in the centre of Vienna township and flowing southward, entering the river half a mile below Marshall, is eight miles in length; Nicholson's Creek, supplied by fine springs, runs but a short distance and empties into the Iowa about four and a half miles east of Marshall.
The tributaries from the west and south are as follows: Honey Creeek(sic), rising in Hardin county and running southeasterly, empties into the Iowa in the southeastern corner of Bangor township; it is composed of two branches which unite about a mile from its mouth, the main stream is about ten miles in length: Minerva Creek, made up of a number of small streams rising in the extreme northwestern and western parts of the county, is a beautiful stream, entering the river in the northeastern corner of Marietta township; the Little Minerva enters it about one mile from its mouth, the main stream is about ten miles in length: Linn Creek, rising near the west party of the county, runs very nearly east its whole distance and empties into the Iowa two miles east of Marshall; it is twenty-six miles long and the longest stream in the county: Timber Creek waters more than any other stream in the county, is made up of a great number of branches which traverse the whole south part of the county, and which when united forms the largest volume of water discharged by any of the Iowa's tributaries in this county; it empties into the Iowa about two and a half miles from the eastern line of the county; the main stream is about twenty-three miles long.
The southeastern portion of the county is well watered by the branches of the Skunk River, three or four of which rise in the county and flow south; Clear Creek is the most important and runs through the west part of Eden township for about eight miles.
The face of the country is of that peculiar undulating character incident to prairie countries; no high hills, no rocky glens or deep valleys. Along the river are some extensive bottom prairies from a mile to two miles broad, which are very level, and some of the lowest in high water are subject to overflow. These bottoms make the best of meadows for the cultivated grasses, and are the natural early pasture grounds in their wild state. Grass starts on them from two to three weeks before it does on the high prairies. The rolling prairie is the prairie proper, and is by far the greatest part of the county. It rises gradually in easy swells from fifty to a hundred feet above the bed of the river and forms fine table-lands intersected by small streams winding through its living verdure to the Iowa. The table-land or up-land prairie is dry and rolling, having a deep, rich, alluvial soil, free from stone, and lacking no properties to grow in perfection any product suited to the climate. In its natural state it is covered with fine short grass and an infinite variety of the floral tribes, from the stately rosin weed down to the bright-eyed lowly violet. No sight is more beautiful than the emerald clothed prairies of Summer, with their garniture of flowers, stretching away mile after mile, undulation after undulation, till the eye wearies and the hazy horizon shuts down the vista.
This county contains 33,000 acres of timber or wood land, mostly on the Iowa River; but small groves are scattered on the smaller streams in almost every part of the county. Timber Creek Grove is the largest of these detached groves and contains about five thousand acres of the best timber in the county. The timber is composed of oak, (white, red, burr, and jack,) black walnut, butternutt, linn, cottonwood, soft and hard maple, locust, sycamore, hickory, hackberry, ash, elm, etc. The supply of timber is better than of most counties in the State, and an abundance for the wants of the country for many years to come. The settlement of prairie countries always increases the growth of timber by keeping down fires in the groves and by the planting of groves on the prairies. There are doubtless more acres of timber growing to-day than there were ten years ago. Trees grow very rapidly and the prairie is becoming dotted with locust and cottonwood groves.
The products of the soil are as various as can be raised in any place in the same latitude. Indian corn is the staple, and no better article is raised in the State. Amount raised to the acre varies from fifty to eighty bushels and that without the best of tillage. More attention is paid to growing wheat than formerly. Spring wheat, as it produces well and is a sure crop, is mostly raised. What winter wheat has been sown for the last few years, has done well. The yield of wheat is from fifteen to thirty bushels per acre.
Oats are a sure crop and produce abundantly; not very extensively cultivated. Barley is somewhat cultivated and the yield is good. Flax grows luxuriantly and will be a source of great profit to the farmers of the country. Hemp is well suited to the soil and climate, but gives way to products of more simple culture. Beans are grown in perfection and the finest taken to any market. Onions can be produced in any quantity. Tobacco has been raised, and produces well both in quantity and quality, but from scarcity of labor gives way to the more easily produced crops. Melons, squashes, and pumpkins in all their varieties flourish as well as they possibly could have flourished in the garden of Eden.
The Chinese sugar cane and the African cane are extensively cultivated and immense quantities of molasses and considerable sugar are made. The climate and soil appear to be just suited to produce these two valuable plants in their perfection. Some of the sugar we have seen exceeds the finest coffee sugar in color and crystalization. Broom corn is raised in perfection and far exceeds any raised in the Eastern States.
Much attention has of late been paid to the raising of fruit by our farmers. Apple trees grow very thriftily and with proper care the best of orchards may be reared. Pears are grown to some extent as dwarfs, as are also cherries. We think the hardy varieties of cherries will do well here. Peaches cannot be grown as the wood grows too late in the Fall and does not harden. Grapes can be grown in any quantity, and much attention has been turned to planting vines. The vines in bearing yield largely and of a superior size and flavor. Small fruits, of all kinds, do first rate, and can be exceeded by no other part of the country in size, flavor or productiveness.
Several nurseries are located in different parts of the county of choice fruits of all kinds suited to the climate. Trees raised in this part of the country are preferable to those brought from a distance, as they are more sure to live, and being acclimated stand the rigors of the climate better. Wild fruits are in abundance in their seasons; such as strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, plums, crab apples, grapes, etc.
In the way of stock, Marshall County can boast of being far ahead of most new countries. Some of the finest Short Horn stock, on the continent, we have in this county, for which we are indebted to our fellow-townsmen, Mr. E. T. Currens. This influx of good blood is showing itself throughout our county in a fine lot of grades which are not few or confined to one locality.
In horses we can boast of some very good stock, of mixed Morgan and Messenger blood. Both horses and cattle are easily raised and an extensive business in these two kinds of stock is carried on by our farmers, and there is plenty of money to be made in an easy way in this manner. Pasturage in Summer costs nothing, as the range of the prairies is both large and free. Grain is cheap and hay plenty for wintering and the prices high and sure for all kinds of stock. Many mules are also raised for market and for use. Some attention is beginning to be paid to the raising of sheep and several large flocks are already in the county, mostly of the best breeds. This is undoubtedly the paradise of Wool Growers. Sheep are very healthy and do not deteriorate; in fact we never heard of a sick sheep here. There is certain wealth to any man bringing a respectable flock of sheep here. Wool is always good priced and invariably commands cash, is easily taken to market and with little expense.
There are two large flouring and grist mills in the county driven by water, on the Iowa River, and one driven by steam, beside several smaller mills located in different parts of the county. There is a wool-carding machine on the Iowa, at Marshall; also an extensive distillery. Saw mills are scattered all over the county, driven mostly by steam power. Most of these have powerful engines, and do an extensive business in the making of lumber, lath, shingles, planing, etc. A large sash, door and blind factory is in operation at Marshall; there is also connected there with an extensive manufacturing furniture establishment. A plow manufactory has long been in operation at the same place. Also an iron foundry, supplying all the wants of the country in that line. A woolen factory and linseed oil mill are much wanted in this county, and would well pay any capitalist for investment.
Schools are located in every neighborhood and settlement in the county. The district schools are free to all alike, rich and poor. The best talent is employed as teachers, and Marshall County deservedly holds a high rank among her sister counties in the educational department. The Iowa Lutheran College is located at Albion, in this county. There is a large graded school at Marshall, which is also free, employing three teachers; the building costing $7,500. There is also a free graded school at Marietta, of large size. The facilities for education are as good as in any of the Eastern States, and offer strong inducements to emigrants.
The Coal Measures overlie about two-thirds of the county, as is shown by the Geological Survey made under the authority of the State. In the eastern part of the county, the carboniferous limestone crops out and affords a number of fine quarries of this valuable stone which is burned for lime, furnishing a fine, white article; and for building purposes has but few superiors. These quarries are situated about four miles from Marshall. About three miles southwest of Marshall is found, in inexhaustible quantities, a dark red, conglomerate rock, containing iron, which is a very valuable stone for foundations, etc., working easily and hardening upon exposure to the air.
No careful searches for coal have been made, though it has been found in various parts of the county; no business has been made in working the prospects. Doubtless, plenty could be found if careful and scientific research should be made. Several fine shows are open to be prosecuted by some enterprising man. Large mines have been opened in the counties immediately adjoining us on the north and south. Wood being plenty and cheap but little attention has been called to our coal-beds.
We have a County Agricultural Society that has been in successful operation for several years. The Fair Grounds are located about half a mile west of Marshall, comprising ten acres of fine land, donated for that purpose by our townsman, N. Gillespie, Esq. The grounds are enclosed by a good, substantial and high fence. The Fair is held in the month of September of each year.
HISTORY.—Prior to the time of the settlement of this county by the whites, it was inhabited by the Sac and Fox tribe of Indians, remnants of the once powerful Indian nation, presided over by the famed Black Hawk.
In the winter of 1847, a body of Mormons, in their hegira from Nauvoo, in Illinois, camped and stayed through the winter, on the bottoms, in the timber just north of where Marshall now stands. Here famine and disease attacked them, and many of them perished. They peeled nearly all the red elm trees in the timber, and used the powdered bark as a substitute for meal in the making of bread.
The first permanent settler in this county was Joseph Davidson, in the east part of the county, near the line of Tama, in the year 1847, who was soon followed by his brother, William Davidson. These men had considerable trouble with the Indians, between whom there was no good feeling.
The first settlement of any considerable size was opened on Timber Creek, on the south side of the grove, in 1848. The pioneers of this settlement were Joseph M. Ferguson and Josiah Cooper. After this, the country filling up pretty rapidly, the county was organized in 1849, J. M. Ferguson acting as organizing Sheriff.
In May, 1850, some of the settlers having no love for the Indians, and wanting to get rid of them, went down to the Indian village on the river, just east of the county line, and the Indians being absent on a hunting party, burnt all their wigwams, corn, etc. The people were alarmed, fearing the Indians would wreak their vengeance, indiscriminately, upon all the white settlers, as soon as their Chief, who was absent at Washington, should return. They therefore got together, and having despatched John Braddy and another person after arms and ammunition, erected a stockade fort out of puncheons, on Berk's Hill, just east of where his house now stands, which they called Fort Robinson; and in this twenty-four families took refuge. It was commenced on the eleventh day of June, 1850, and was occupied as soon as it was finished.
While they were engaged in building the fort, some of the Indians having returned and found their village burned, visited the white settlement on Timber Creek to find out if their suspicions as to who had burned their town were correct. They felt no ill-will only towards the perpetrators of the outrage, and these they would have, undoubtedly, scalped could they have got at them. The whites fearing treachery, told the Indians, who were somewhat surprised when they saw the fort in process of erection, that they were building it as a protection against the Sioux, whom they expected were going to make an inroad into the settlement. Upon hearing this, the Musquakas who have ever been the sworn and hereditary enemies of the Sioux, offered their services in defence of the whites in giving battle to the Sioux, side by side with the white men. This offer, so generously made, was declined; and after showing the whites how to make loop-holes for their rifles, they went away. James A. Logan was the captain of the forces in the fort.
After remaining forted-up for a month, they were relieved by the appearance of a battalion of United States Dragoons, who came to remove the Indians to the west of the Missouri River. After the removal, no more trouble was had, and the settlers came out and went back to their farms.
In the fall of 1851, the first court ever convened in Marshall county, was held in a little log building, in the edge of the timber, just north of where Marshall now stands, the grand jury meeting in the bushes just across the slough from the house. No bill of indictment was found, and the grand jury was in session only about ten minutes. The building then used for a court house, is now used as a horse stable, by N. L. Bunce, in Marshall. Only one case was tried at this term, and that a divorce suit.
In 1851, the highest water ever known in these parts occurred. Streams became so high that it was impossible to get to mill, and the nearest was sixty or eighty miles distant. The settlers had to do the best they could under the circumstances, and resorted to corn boiled whole, and the never failing hog meat, for food.
The first settlement made on the town site of Marshall was made in the spring of this year, by Henry Anson. He then built the house, a log one, lately owned and occupied by Samuel Dwight, and made a pre-emption of the land now covered by the town. While Mr. Anson was cutting the logs and building his house, he had to live upon “hog and hominy.”
In 1851, the county seat was located at Marietta. A controversy immediately sprang up between that place and Marshall in regard to the county seat, and continued for several years, much of the time with great bitterness, until it was finally settled by the removal of the county seat to Marshall on the last day of December, 1859. The ill-feeling engendered is fast dying out, and our county no longer distracted with strong counter interests and local broils, is on the highway to wealth and prosperity.  (Hair's Iowa State Gazetteer..., 1865)

Total Population 1850
Total Population 1860
Free Black Population 1860
Free Black Population 1850
Presidential Election Result 1852
Presidential Election Result 1856
Presidential Election Result 1860
Presidential Election Result 1864
Unconditional Union (1864)