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Rivers


Rivers in the Southern Part of the State

These are the Fox, Chariton, Platte, One Hundred and Two, and the Nodaway, all of which head in Iowa and flow into Missouri, emptying either into the Mississippi or Missouri rivers. They drain about 7,000 square miles in Iowa, and attain to a considerable size after leaving the State.

[Iowa State Gazetteer, 1865; submitted by cddd]


Rivers That Empty Into the Mississippi

Cedar River.

Cedar River is the second stream of importance in the State, and like the Des Moines has its source in the lakes in Southern Minnesota, a few miles north of the Iowa line. Its course is nearly parallel to that of the Des Moines and Iowa, until it arrives within ten miles of the Mississippi, at the crossing of the M. & M. R. R., where it bends gradually to the southwest, a course at right angles with its former one, and after flowing some 25 miles, forms a junction with the Iowa, at the crossing of the M. & M. R. R., leading to Washington. After its junction it takes the name of the smaller stream on the west, (while the Missouri, the larger stream loses its name in the Mississippi on the east.) The Cedar has several tributaries, the length of the main stream being about 250 miles, and drains about 8,000 square miles. In high staged of water steamboats have run up to Cedar Rapids.

In 1839, the engineers of the topographical bureau at Washington, under an act of Congress, made a survey of the country between the Cedar and the Mississippi rivers, with the view of constructing a canal connecting their waters. In January of the same year, the Territorial Legislature incorporated the "Bloomington and Cedar River Canal Company" with the right to construct, maintain and continue a navigable canal or slack water navigation, from the town of Bloomington, (now Muscatine,) to Cedar river as near as practicable to the mouth of Rock creek, near the town of Rochester, in Cedar county. The survey demonstrated the utter impracticability of the project, and it resulted in nothing further than the disappointment of the hopes of its projectors, and the spending of the appropriation by the young engineers in duck-hunting and fishing, a common mode in those days of applying such appropriations.

Des Moines.

The Des Moines (a corruption of the Indiana word Moingona, signifying "at the road,") is the most important of the tributaries that flow into the Mississippi. Taking its rise in a group of lakes in Minnesota it flows in a south-easterly direction, dividing the State into nearly two equal portions, and empties into the Mississippi at the south-eastern corner of the State, forming for the last 25 miles of its course the boundary of the State separating it from Missouri. The principal tributaries of this river, are the Raccoon which empties into it from the west at Des Moines, the capital of the State, and Lizzard fork which flows into it at Fort Dodge. The Des Moines and its tributaries drain about 10,000 square miles, or one-sixth of the area of the State. In high stages of water it is navigable for the smaller class of boats to the capital, and even to Ft. Dodge.

Maquoketa River.

Maquoketa River, rises in Fayette county, has a length of 150 miles, drains a region of about 3,000 square miles, and empties into the Mississippi, about 10 miles below the town of Bellevue.

Turkey River.

Turkey River, rises in Howard county, and after running in the same general direction as the others, a distance of 130 miles, empties into the Mississippi, six miles above Dubuque.

Upper Iowa River.

Upper Iowa River, also rises in Howard county, and runs in nearly an eastern direction, empties into the Mississippi, a mile or two below the State line. This river drains a small extent of country in Iowa, which is very much broken as is the district drained by the Turkey River. These streams are very rapid, their channels deeply cut in the rocks, and their fall affords ample water power for extensive manufactories.

Wapsipinicon (or Wapsi) River.

Wapsipinicon River is about 250 miles in length, drains a narrow strip of some 7,000 square miles, and empties into the Mississippi, at the junction of Scott and Clinton counties.

[Iowa State Gazetteer, 1865; submitted by cddd]


Rivers That Empty Into the Missouri

The western side of the State is traversed by numerous water courses, having a general direction at right angles to those on the east side. They flow in the following order commencing on the north.

Big Sioux River.

Big Sioux River forms a portion of the western boundary of the State, having its rise in the Territory north of the State line. It flows in a south-westerly direction, and after a course of 100 miles, empties into the Missouri at Sioux City; and drains about 1,000 square miles.

Floyd River.

Floyd River, heads in Sioux county, runs south-west 100 miles and empties into the Missouri, near Sioux City, after draining a territory of near 1,500 square miles.

Little Sioux River.

Little Sioux River, rises in Dickinson county, near the Minnesota line, flows south-west, a distance of near 300 miles, and empties into the Missouri about 40 miles above Council Bluffs; it drains about 5,000 square miles.

Boyer River.

Boyer River has a length of about 150 miles, rising in Buena Vista county, and flowing into the Missouri, some 10 miles above Council Bluffs. It drains about 2,000 square miles.

Nishnabotany River.

Nishnabotany River has two principal forks, the western rises in Crawford, the eastern in Carroll county, forming a junction n Fremont, the south-western county of the State, from which it flows out of the State and empties into the Missouri, some 20 miles below the southern boundary of Iowa. Its length is about 350 miles, and it drains 5,000 square miles.

[Iowa State Gazetteer, 1865; submitted by cddd]



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