Historical Marker in
Clinton County, Iowa

The Iowa State Fair, one of the largest and oldest state fairs in the country, was first held in 1854 in Fairfield, Iowa. Today, it is held in Des Moines and attracts more than a million visitors each year.
Clinton County, Iowa has a rich and fascinating history that dates back to the early 19th century. The county was first explored by European settlers in the late 1830s, with the town of DeWitt being established in 1836. The area was originally inhabited by Native American tribes, including the Sauk and Meskwaki, before French trappers arrived in the early 1800s.

During the early years of its settlement, Clinton County became an important transportation hub due to its location along the Mississippi River. The city of Clinton, located in the county, quickly developed as a major river town and played a crucial role in the transportation of goods and people. It became an important center for industries such as lumber, brickmaking, and flour milling.

In the mid-19th century, Clinton County experienced significant growth and development. The arrival of the railroad in the 1850s further enhanced the county's transportation capabilities and fuelled its economic expansion. The county's population grew rapidly during this time, with many immigrants settling in the area to work in the burgeoning industries.

Throughout its history, Clinton County has faced several challenges and setbacks. In particular, the devastating flood of 1938 caused widespread destruction in the county, damaging buildings, infrastructure, and agricultural lands. However, the community came together to rebuild and recover, and Clinton County continued to thrive.

Today, Clinton County remains an important center for industries such as manufacturing, agriculture, and healthcare. Its rich history can be explored through numerous historical sites, museums, and events, allowing visitors to appreciate the legacy of this vibrant county in Iowa.

This timeline provides a condensed summary of the historical journey of Clinton County, Iowa.

  • 1833-1836: Native American tribes inhabiting the region, including the Sauk and Fox, cede their lands to the United States government through various treaties.
  • 1837: Clinton County is established by the Michigan Territorial legislature.
  • 1838: The county is named after DeWitt Clinton, the governor and principal promotor of the construction of the Erie Canal.
  • 1838-1839: The first settlers arrive in the county, establishing the towns of Camanche and DeWitt.
  • 1840: The first courthouse in the county, a log structure, is built in Camanche.
  • 1842: The county seat is moved from Camanche to DeWitt.
  • 1854: The Iowa Central Air Line Railroad is completed, connecting DeWitt and Clinton.
  • 1861-1865: Clinton County residents actively participate in the American Civil War, with hundreds serving in the military.
  • 1865: The Chicago, Iowa and Nebraska Railroad is completed, increasing transportation options for the county.
  • 1872: The current courthouse in DeWitt is constructed.
  • 1901: The first registered motor vehicle in the county is recorded.
  • 1942-1945: Many Clinton County residents serve in World War II.
  • 1960s: Clinton County experiences economic growth with the establishment of manufacturing plants and industries.
  • 2006: The county's population reaches its peak at over 50,000 residents.