RINGGOLD, a new county in the S. S. W. part of Iowa, bordering on Missouri, has an area of about 540 square miles. It is traversed from N. to S. by the W. fork of Grand river. The soil is stated to be fertile, but deficient in timber. County seat is not yet located. Population in 1850, 96. (Baldwin's New and Complete Gazetteer of the United States..., 1854)
RINGGOLD COUNTY Is bounded on the north by Union, east by Decatur, west by Taylor, and south by Harrison and Worth Counties, Missouri. It was organized in August 1854. Charles H. Schooler and family, the first residents of this county, settled in the southeast part of the county in 1844, and lived some two years as the only white family in the vicinity. In 1846 James M. Tethrow settled near Mr. Schooler, and in 1847 Manoah B. Schooler was born, being the first white child born in the county. In the spring of 1854 their settlement suddenly increased until nine families were found to be within the borders of Ringgold, and in the fall of 1854 and spring of 1855 there was quite a brisk immigration, so that some five little settlements or neighborhoods could be said to exist in as many different portions of the county, and two or three families were found at what was then supposed would eventually be the county seat. In the summer of 1855 there was a report circulated that a white man had been murdered by the Indians, and as there were a number of “Pottawattamies” encamped northwest of the centre of the county the story was readily credited by many, and the usual amount of cool courage and ridiculous timidity were displayed by the settlers. Finally some fifty or sixty of the more cool-headed banded together and proceeded at once to the Indian camp and demanded the surrender of the perpetrator of the foul deed, and after a careful investigation failing to discover the guilty one, the red-skins en masse were ordered to leave the region north of “Mason & Dixon's line,” and they assenting, were conducted across the Missouri River at St. Joseph to Kansas. Shortly after the return of the escort, information was received by some of the settlers that the murdered white man had landed safely in one of the eastern States. Thus ended the Indian war in Ringgold, and the brave, as well as the fearful settlers, were soon settled again in their cabins, and have pursued their regular avocations to the present day unmolested by red-skins. In June, 1855, Judge Hagans held the first County Court, as provided by law, at which time Levi S. Terwilliger was appointed first justice of the peace for the county, and the county was districted into four equal parts as election precincts, and an election was ordered to be held on the first Monday in August, at the house of Stanberry Wright, for the northeast; Garret Bird, for the northwest; John McGaughey, for the southwest, and Joseph Strickland for the southeast precinct, and returns of same to be made to Judge Hagans, at the house of Ephraim Cofer, four miles south of the centre, it being the nearest house thereto. In the spring of 1856 the Judge erected a hewed-log office, fourteen feet square, (in the county seat,) which, when completed and furnished, contained two tables, two desks or book cases, and one small rough-board box safe to hold the revenue, with the County Judge, Clerk of District Court, County Treasurer, Recorder, Surveyor, and one physician, as regular occupants, and at regular monthly periods, W. Poor, School Fund Commissioner, was found at his post therein, all enjoying life “hugely,” and transacting the official business for and distributing pills and powders to those who desired. The general surface of the county is a beautifully undulating prairie, interspersed with groves of timber, of which the elm, ash, linn, cotton-wood, hickory, walnut, and almost every variety of the oak, are the principal kinds. “Schooler's Grove,” in the southern part of the county contains 2,000 acres of principally oak timber, and is one among the finest groves in the county. “Strickland's" and “Bonner's "groves in the southeast, and “Big Grove” in the northwest, are large bodies of fine timber, besides “Engart's,” “Alloway's,” and “White Oak” groves in the south part, and “Platte,” “Squaw,” “East Grand,” and “Morgan's" groves, in the north part of the county, which contain very fine timber for fencing and building purposes. Aside from these separate and distinct “groves” are the lines or belts of timber along the Thompson, East Grand, Middle and West Grand, and Platte Rivers; also Big Muddy, Lot's, Hickory, Walnut, Sand, Elk, Hackberry, Crooked and Squaw Creeks, besides numerous smaller water courses and branches, and so equally distributed that any part of the prairie land is within less than three miles of timber; and so numerous are the streams that scarce a quarter section of land can be found that has not its watering place plainly marked by the trails worn by the horses, cattle, mules and sheep of the stock owner. This county is one of the finest for stock raising, having an abundance of stock water equally distributed, as before remarked, besides a very luxuriant growth of natural grasses for summer pasture, and the Hungarian, millett, timothy, clover, and blue grasses are very easily grown, and yield heavily for hay, as well as for early spring and late fall pastures. Fine large Durham cattle are found in herds, intermingling with numerous flocks of the Merino and other less noted breeds of sheep, and droves of mules and horses, quietly grazing on the prairie or lying under the shade near the water during the summer season.
The soil is a black loam, slightly intermingled with sand, well adapted to the growth of the different kinds of grains, fruits, and root crops. In the summer of 1856, sixty bushels of corn per acre were gathered from what is here called “sod-corn,” which means a crop raised on newly broken land without cultivation with the plow. “Blossom" of coal is found in the southern part and northwest of the centre of the county, but no thorough search has been made to develop the extent of deposits. Building and limestone are found in limited quantities in the southern part of the county, along East Grand River, some eight to ten miles south of the county seat, and brick clay of excellent quality is abundant in different parts of the county, which will greatly facilitate improvement in good and substantial farm buildings of brick material, which proves to be the cheapest as well as the most comfortable and durable building that can be erected out of the material furnished by a prairie country. The prairie lands, which embrace nine-tenths of the surface of the county, are generally what is called “rolling,” being one gentle swell beyond another, which causes the inexperienced traveler to suppose he is continually ascending, and the remark is often heard, “when shall we reach the summit.” But as the larger streams are approached, (especially from the east or south,) you find an abrupt descent to the stream, and upon the opposite side you will find spread before you a beautiful grass plat of from one quarter to a mile in width, and terminating in a gentle swell or elevation, and you are again upon the rolling prairie or in the shady grove, which will be found with pleasant streams of water within from one to three miles of each other, as the traveler passes across this and adjoining counties east or west. There are the East and West Grand, and Platte Rivers, pursuing a south by southwest course, which extend entirely across this county, besides Middle Grand River, Sand, Elk, Lot's, Muddy, Big, Hickory, Fletchall, Walnut, Crooked, Smith's, Wolf, Squaw, Lost and Hackberry Creeks, with their tributaries, which rise in this county, and empty their waters into those three rivers principally, and each as it were, spinning a distinct thread of water edged with timber on each side, for the use of the farmer in improving and beautifying his prairie home. There are in this county two water and five steam saw-mills, one water and two steam grist-mills, and one small distillery erected just ready for business. (Hair's Iowa State Gazetteer..., 1865)