General History of Sac County Iowa

The general history of Sac County can probably be presented in no better shape than as we give it in the following extract from a well written article, published in the Sac Sun, of Sac City, December 24th, 1880:

“The immense emigration from the Eastern and East Central States which has for the past two or three years rapidly settled up the lands of Kansas and Nebraska, has during the past two years been diverted to a great extent to the more certainly productive agricultural lands of Northwestern Iowa. Many more of these home seekers might have been induced to settle in this section had the Iowa people and the Iowa government sooner awakened to the fact that so many thousands of good citizens were passing through Iowa to lands farther from market, and by no means so valuable as those which Iowa had to offer, and all because the Kansas and Nebraska lands were assiduously advertised, while those of Iowa lay undefended under the slanders mentioned in the appended letter. The General Assembly, however, to remedy this evil, appointed Hong. Geo. D. Perkins, of the Sioux City Journal, to the office of Commissioner of Immigration for Iowa, and appropriated a considerable sum for the promotion of immigration to this State. Read what Governor Campbell says:

NEWTON, IOWA, June 15th, 1880

Hon. Geo. D. Perkins, Commissioner of Immigration for Iowa:

DEAR SIR: Your invitation to the immigration convention at Sheldon, June 22d, received on my return home form an extended trip east. I fully realize the importance of the convention, and the great interests to be considered, and I assure you my hearty sympathy goes out toward any effort that will tend to direct public attention to your beautiful country and fertile soil, and point the tens of thousands of homeless ones to that fair country that offers such splendid advantages for permanent homes and prosperous futures. During my visit east I had occasion to “talk up” northwestern Iowa in several localities, and I found:

  1. A total ignorance of the fact that so large a territory in Iowa lies open yet to settlement, the impression having obtained that a State with over a million and a half of population must be well settled up.
  2. I found the ‘old grasshopper still sitting on the sweet potato vine,’ in the prejudices of many, and it was only a work of a moment to convince them that the ‘grasshopper’ was long since a ‘dead issue’ in any portion of Iowa.
  3. The terrible storms and daily hurricanes of wind were held up before me, and I told them they were more a native of Missouri or even of Ohio, than of Northwest Iowa, and that the settlement of our State, the planting of groves, etc., had very materially ameliorated the climate.

These are only a few of the objections urged, but among the most weight, and I name them you may see the objections that obtain in various quarters. There are tens of thousands in the east who would be glad to find homes in Northwestern Iowa, were they fully acquainted with the true condition of affairs, climate, soil, prices of land, terms, etc.      With thanks for your invitation, and regret that I cannot be present, I am your well wisher and friend,


Sac County Iowa, History of Western Iowa, 1882

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