Historical Marker in
Buchanan County, Iowa

The first American casualty of World War I was a sailor from Iowa named Merle Hay. He was killed when the German submarine U-58 torpedoed the USS Jacob Jones on December 6, 1917.
Buchanan County, Iowa, was established on December 21, 1837, making it one of the oldest counties in the state. It was named after James Buchanan, who went on to become the 15th President of the United States. The county was initially inhabited by Native American tribes, including the Sauk and Meskwaki peoples. European settlers began arriving in the early 1830s, attracted by the area's fertile land and natural resources.

Early industries in Buchanan County were centered around agriculture, with farmers cultivating crops such as corn, oats, and wheat. The advent of the railroad in the mid-19th century further fostered economic growth, as it facilitated the transportation of goods and brought more settlers to the county. With increased population and development, towns such as Independence, the county seat, emerged as important trading centers.

The late 19th and early 20th centuries brought significant changes to Buchanan County. The discovery of natural gas in the 1880s led to the establishment of several gas wells, providing a new energy source for the region. The county also experienced growth in manufacturing, particularly in the production of agricultural machinery and equipment. Notably, the Buchanan County Agricultural and Industrial Society was formed in 1860, showcasing the importance of agriculture and industry in the community.

In the 20th century, Buchanan County faced the challenges of the Great Depression and World War II, but the resilient community rebounded and continued to thrive. The county's economy diversified further, including the expansion of healthcare and education sectors. Today, Buchanan County remains a vibrant agricultural hub, with a strong sense of community and a commitment to preserving its rich history.

This timeline provides a glimpse into the major events and milestones that have shaped the history of Buchanan County, Iowa.

  • 1836: Buchanan County is established on December 21.
  • 1854: The first post office in the county is established in Independence.
  • 1860: The county's population reaches over 7,000 residents.
  • 1872: The town of Jesup is incorporated.
  • 1886: The Great Northern Railway is completed, connecting the county to the rest of the country.
  • 1918: The influenza pandemic hits Buchanan County, causing significant loss of life.
  • 1933: The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) establishes a camp in the county during the Great Depression.
  • 1952: The county's first public library is established in Aurora.
  • 2008: Flooding occurs in parts of Buchanan County due to heavy rainfall.