The famous outlaw Jesse James once robbed a bank in Corydon, Iowa in 1871. It was the first bank robbery in the state's history.
Franklin County, Iowa is located in the north-central part of the state. The area was originally inhabited by Native American tribes, primarily members of the Winnebago and Sioux tribes. European settlement in the region began in the mid-19th century, with pioneers attracted by the fertile land and access to the Shell Rock River.

The county was officially established on January 15, 1851, and named after Benjamin Franklin, one of America's founding fathers. The first settlers faced many challenges, including harsh winters and limited infrastructure. However, as the population grew, so did the county's economy, primarily based on agriculture. Corn, soybeans, and livestock became the mainstays of the farming industry in Franklin County.

During the late 19th century, the county experienced rapid growth with the arrival of the railroad in 1870. The rail line provided a means for transporting goods more efficiently and facilitated the growth of towns such as Hampton, the county seat. These towns quickly developed into bustling centers of commerce and industry, housing businesses, schools, and churches.

In the 20th century, Franklin County continued to prosper as modern technology and infrastructure improved. Farming techniques advanced, leading to increased productivity, and new industries emerged, including manufacturing and healthcare. Today, Franklin County remains an agricultural powerhouse while also embracing other economic sectors such as tourism and education. The county's rich history and strong sense of community make it an attractive place to live, work, and visit.

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

  • 1850 - Franklin County is established as a county in the state of Iowa.
  • 1855 - The first settlements are established in the county, mostly by pioneers from the eastern United States.
  • 1856 - The town of Hampton is platted and becomes the county seat.
  • 1861-1865 - Many residents of Franklin County serve in the Union Army during the American Civil War.
  • 1868 - The Illinois Central Railroad reaches Franklin County, boosting economic growth and transportation in the area.
  • 1875 - The county courthouse, a three-story brick building, is completed in Hampton.
  • 1881 - The first public high school in Franklin County is established in Hampton.
  • 1894 - The county courthouse is destroyed by fire, but is rebuilt the following year.
  • 1910-1920 - Franklin County experiences a period of rapid population growth due to increased agricultural productivity.
  • 1930s - The Great Depression hits Franklin County, leading to economic struggles and an increase in government assistance programs.
  • 1942-1945 - Many residents of Franklin County serve in World War II.
  • 1950s-1960s - Industrialization and modernization affect the county, leading to changes in farming practices and a decline in rural population.
  • 1989 - The historic Franklin County Courthouse in Hampton is added to the National Register of Historic Places.
  • 1990s-present - Franklin County continues to adapt to changing economic and social conditions, focusing on agriculture, education, and community development.