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.
Clayton County, Iowa has a rich and diverse history. The area was originally occupied by various Native American tribes, including the Ioway, Sauk, and Fox tribes, who lived off the fertile land and abundant natural resources. With the arrival of European settlers in the early 1800s, the area began to undergo major changes.

The county was officially established in 1837 and named after John M. Clayton, a prominent lawyer and politician. The early settlers were mainly of German and Irish descent, attracted by the fertile farmland and opportunities for growth. Agriculture quickly became the backbone of the county's economy, with crops like corn, oats, and wheat being cultivated.

In the mid-19th century, Clayton County experienced a boom in industry and transportation. The construction of railroads brought increased commerce and trade to the area, allowing farmers to transport their goods to larger markets more efficiently. Additionally, the county became known for its limestone quarries, which provided building materials for many structures, including the State Capitol in Des Moines.

Throughout its history, Clayton County has faced various challenges and triumphs. The devastating floods of 1851 and 2008 caused significant damage to the area, but the community came together to rebuild and improve flood control measures. Over the years, the county has also focused on preserving its natural beauty and promoting tourism, with attractions like Effigy Mounds National Monument and the Mississippi River serving as popular destinations for visitors.

Today, Clayton County continues to thrive as a rural, agricultural community with a strong sense of community pride. The county's history and cultural heritage are celebrated through museums, festivals, and events, ensuring that the legacy of this vibrant area remains alive for future generations.

This timeline provides a concise overview of the key events in the history of Clayton County, Iowa.

  • 1837: Clayton County is established
  • 1850: Population of Clayton County reaches 6,887
  • 1860: The county's population peaks at 19,166
  • 1884: The first bridge across the Mississippi River in Clayton County is completed
  • 1900: Population of Clayton County drops to 18,920
  • 1930: The county's population reaches its lowest point at 16,205
  • 1952: Motor boating on the Mississippi River is introduced in Clayton County
  • 1996: The Great River Road is designated as a National Scenic Byway in Clayton County
  • 2000: The county's population increases from previous years to 18,678
  • 2010: Clayton County's population decreases to 18,126