1857-Present, Hamilton County

Our county was created by the act of Jan 1, 1857 that divided Webster County into two parts. The western half retained the name Webster County with Fort Dodge designated as the county seat. The east half was named Hamilton to honor William W. Hamilton, president of the senate and a judge from Cascade, Iowa. It was with his help that Walter C. Willson was able to get the act passed. Newcastle was also renamed Webster City and was designated as the county seat for the new county. Pictured at the left is our 1876 courthouse.

At first Hamilton County was sparsely populated, with most citizens living at Hook's Point, Homer, or Webster City, along with the settlement at Lakin's Grove along the Skunk River. Our county was then divided into just four townships. The top half of the county was Boone Township, the bottom half was divided into two parts, east and west. The east township was called Clear Lake Township. It's shape was a square. The west corner square was further divided into two parts north and south. The upper half of it was called Webster Township, and the lower half was called Hardin Township. These two townships were rectangles. This made a total of four townships.

In 1860 it was decided to rearrange the townships. It was necessary as there were many more settlers coming to the county. The top fourth of the county was called Cass Township, the next fourth below this was left with the name Boone Township. Then the old Webster Township was divided into east and west halves. The west half retained the name Webster Township and the east half was named Hamilton Township. Old Clear Lake Township was divided by a line running east and west. The upper half retained the name Clear Lake and the lower half was given the name Norway Township, to honor the large number of Norwegian settlers. The old Hardin Township name was changed to Marion Township. This made a total of seven townships.

By 1880 our county had rapidly increased in population due to the influx of settlers. It was then decided to reorganize the county into 16 equal square townships. The top tier of townships from west to east are: Fremont, Cass, Blairsburg, and Williams. The second tier from west to east are: Freedom, Independence, Liberty, and Rose Grove. The third tier consists of: Webster, Hamilton, Lyon, and Lincoln. The bottom tier is made up of: Marion, Clear Lake, Ellsworth, and Scott. It is interesting to note that our county at one time had three lakes which have all been drained and converted to farm land. Iowa Lake was located in the east part of Rose Grove township, Lake Cairo (more commonly called Mud Lake) was in Hamilton and Lyon townships, and a small lake, called Clear Lake, was now located in Clear Lake township. It was odd that the first two places where Clear Lake township was located did not contain the lake which carried the township name.

This left out Boone, which for a long time was the township designation for Webster City. Boone Township, which originally occupied the top half of the county had now shrunk up to contain the city limits of Webster City. G. D. Warland was a recent justice of the peace, and he indicated that it was only in magistrate court where the designation of Boone Township still existed. By now, Boone Township has disappeared along with Hardin and Norway.