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Cherokee County, Iowa


The Cherokee County Courthouse is located at 520 West Main Street, Cherokee, IA 51012; phone: 712-225-6704.

Beginnings – as described in 1914 [1]

About fifty counties were set off at the Third General Assembly which convened at Iowa City, then the capital of the state. The most of these were in Western and Northwestern Iowa. The date was December, 1851. Among this number was Cherokee county, named for the noted southern Indian tribe. Its boundaries were minutely described and defined. An organization was authorized as soon as practicable. In the spring or summer of 1853 this newly formed subdivision of the State of Iowa was attached to Woodbury, then called Wahkaw (Indian) for judicial purposes. At that date the laws of Iowa provided that any organized county might petition the county judge of the nearest organized county, and be attached thereto as a civil township for judicial purposes. Hence Cherokee was attached to what is now known as Woodbury county. In 1857, however, a sufficient population being found as regular residents of what was then styled Cherokee civil township, it was regularly organized into a county by itself. The first election was held sometime during the month of August, 1857, at the log house of George W. Lebourveau, who survived until a few years ago and died at Cherokee, where he was counted among the very earliest pioneers. The county officials elected at that first county election were as follows: A. P. Thayer, county judge; Carlton Corbett, who still remains a resident of Cherokee City, prosecuting attorney; George W. Lebourveau, treasurer and recorder; Samuel W. Hayward, sheriff; Benjamin Sawtell, district clerk; George Killem, surveyor. Every voter in the county was present, and everything passed off fair and quietly, it being pretty much one-sided, all casting a vote for what seemed the county's best interests. There were about twenty-five votes cast. Mr. Corbett had never been admitted to the bar nor studied law, but a little thing like that was not permitted to stand in the way of a full set of officials by the ambitious pioneers.

The list of voters is as follows: George W. Banister, Carlton Corbett, George W. Lebourveau, S. Parkhurst, Robert Hammond, Benjamin Holbrook, A. P. Thayer, Samuel W. Hayward, George Killem, George Webber, James Holden, B. Sawtell, John Moore, Alfred Moore, Charles Moore, J. T. Lane, Martin Burns, I. N. W. Mahaffy, Martin Allison and Jacob Miller. The few remaining voters' names have been forgotten with the passing decades, and no record is left in the books of the present officers showing who they were.

  1. Thomas McCulla, History of Cherokee County Iowa, Volume I, S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, Chicago, 1914.

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