Counting Iowa’s people

Territories and young states counted their populations early and often—a growing population meant more federal resources, better legislative representation, and a path to statehood. From territorial days through 1925, Iowa regularly counted her people. Earliest years were purely statistical, naming … Continue reading

Land Office Records

Territorial lands were considered “public domain,” that is, the property of the United States. The federal government distributed the land to individuals, companies, and states. Eligibility was spelled out through a series of Congressional acts. Although many early grants were awarded … Continue reading

Governing the Frontier

Iowa’s territorial governance changed as regions of the Louisiana Purchase were opened, settled, and organized into states. Although the federal government ultimately administered the frontier, day-to-day governance rested in various territorial jurisdictions. Knowing which “territory” Iowa was part of at any given … Continue reading

Indians, Traders & Soldiers

Frontier Forts of Iowa: Indians, Traders, and Soldiers, 1682 – 1862, edited by William E. Whittaker. Iowa City: University of Iowa Press, 2009. Softcover, 277 pages. Illustrated. Bibliography and index. Evidence demonstrates at least fifty-six frontier forts guarded Iowa lands as early … Continue reading

First Line of Defense

Defending the frontier became increasingly important in the years following the Louisiana Purchase. British incursion into American fur trade and British encouragement of Native American resistance to the westward push of settlement prompted establishment of the first United States military post … Continue reading