In the winter of 1854-5, the town of Sioux City was laid out. Among the settlers at that time were the following: Hiram Nelson, Marshall Townsley, Franklin Wixon, G.W. Chamberlain, and Francis Chappel. About this time the Indians became troublesome, and began to steal horses, cattle and other property. Expeditions were fitted out against them, none of which, however, were attended with bloodshed. In the spring of 1855, Joseph Lionais sold his land for three thousand dollars, and on this an addition to Sioux City was laid out. It then contained two log cabins, but now comprises the principal business portion of the city. The first stage and mail arrived in Sioux City about the first week in September of this year, a post office having first been established. The settlers hailed this event as the beginning of the era of civilization. By Christmas Day there was seven-log house, two of them being a hotel the “Sioux City House,” and the “Western Exchange.” Two stores were opened, one of which was kept in a tent, and the other in a log cabin. Late in the season settlers came in rapidly, and many who could not obtain houses were obliged to camp out. In the spring of 1856 the population had reached about 150. The land office had been opened here for preemptions, October 22, 1855, but the public lands were not offered for sale until May 4, 1857.
By an act of the Legislature the county seat had, 1853, been located at Floyd’s Bluff. In the spring of 1856 it was removed to Sioux City by a vote of the citizens of the county, the majority in favor of removal being fourteen. The county was organized in 1853.
The first steamboat freighted for Sioux City was the “Omaha,” and arrived in June, 1856. Her freight consisted of ready-framed houses and provisions. In July of this year a stream saw mill was erected. Mrs. S.H. Casady and Mrs. J.R. Myers were the first women who spent a winter in Sioux City. Both came in the summer of 1855. The first white child born in the place was a daughter of S.H. Casady and wife, in 1856.
Among transcriptions from the earliest records, we find the following:
Sergeants Bluffs, Woodbury County, State of Iowa:
To the organizing Sheriff of said county: We have fixed upon the southeast quarter of section 1, township 88, range 48, west of the Fifth Principal Meridian, at the point for the seat of justice for the aforesaid county of Woodbury, and, set a stake on the avenue, coming east and west between lots 131 and 97, as laid down in Thompson’s plat of Floyd’s Bluffs, in said county, and recorded in the Recorder’s Office of Pottawattamie County, Iowa, this 18th day of July, 1853.
Thomas L. Griffey,
This appears to be a copy from the Pottawattamie County records. The next entry bears date of January 2, 1854, and mentions that Thomas L. Griffey is allowed for services as Locating Commissioner $18.50, the same being Order No. 1. It would seem that men were scarce; for Order No. 3 is also to Thomas L. Griffey for services as Locating Sheriff. July 16th, 1854, Ray Harvey is allowed $2 for hauling a box of books from Council Bluffs City. These were doubtless the first permanent records kept by the county. By a warrant or bond, it is called in the record, issued August 10, 1854, it appears that Leonard Bates had acted as Clerk of Elections, and that R.E. Knox acted as the first District Clerk, probably Clerk of Election.
August 12th, 1854, is the first entry bearing date of Sergeant’s Bluffs, which appears to have been written there. This entry mentions that L. Bates is allowed $16.65 for services as Treasurer and Recorder, and is signed by M. Townsley, County Judge. On the same day, Lewis Cunningham is allowed $10,50 for services rendered as Assessor.
Source:Woodbury County Iowa, History of Western Iowa, 1882