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Tama County, Iowa Genealogy Trails

County History

TAMA COUNTY was created by act of the Legislature on the 17th of February, 1843, and attached to Linn for judicial, election and revenue purposes. It lies in the fifth tier west of the Mississippi River and in the middle of the State north and south. The county contains twenty congressional townships, embracing an area of seven hundred twenty square miles and was named for the Fox Indian chief  Taimah. The Iowa River and numerous tributaries flow through it in a southeasterly direction, most of which are bordered by native groves. 

The first white settler in the county was H. N. Atkinson who, on the 18th of May, 1848, entered a tract of land near the Iowa River about three miles west of where Tama City stands. Isaac Asher and family settled on Indian Creek in the fall of 1849. William, Anthony and Robert Wilkinson, brothers, from Ohio, with their mother and three sisters settled in Richland township in October, 1849. Before the close of 1851 many families had located in other parts of the county. Among the early settlers in the vicinity of Toledo and Tama City were J. C. Vermilya, George Carter, R. A. Redman, Dr. Wealey Daniel and Judge Graham.

An election was held at the house of R. A. Redman near the Iowa River, on the first Monday of August, 1852, for the purpose of organizing a county government. The first officers chosen were John Vermilya, judge; John Ross, treasurer and recorder; D. D. Applegate, clerk; and Myron Blodgett, sheriff. In 1853 J. M. Ferguson and R. B. Ogden were chosen commissioners to locate the county-seat. They met at the house of Judge Vermilya and after examining various places proposed, selected the spot where Toledo stands and gave it that name. The first newspaper in the county was issued at Toledo in the spring of 1856 by M. V. B. Kenton and named the Toledo Tribune.

Tama City was laid out in the summer of 1862 on the north side of the Iowa River and on the line of the Northwestern Railroad. It was first named Iuka but a few years later the name was changed to Tama City. In 1874 a company built a dam across the Iowa River and brought water by an aqueduct to the city making a valuable water power. 

The Musquakie Indians have a reservation in the county where several hundred of them live.
Traer is a town in the northeast part of the county on the line of the Burlington and Cedar Rapids Railroad.

Gue, Benjamin F., History of Iowa from the Earliest Times to the Beginning of the Twentieth, New York, 1903 [Transcribed by: Candi H. 2008]

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