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Keosauqua, Iowa

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Keosauqua, Iowa
Keosauqua welcome sign
Keosauqua welcome sign
Location of Keosauqua, Iowa
Location of Keosauqua, Iowa
Coordinates: 40°43′56″N 91°57′47″W / 40.73222°N 91.96306°W / 40.73222; -91.96306
Country United States
State Iowa
CountyVan Buren
 • Total1.57 sq mi (4.07 km2)
 • Land1.45 sq mi (3.75 km2)
 • Water0.12 sq mi (0.32 km2)
584 ft (178 m)
 • Total1,006
 • Estimate 
 • Density627.51/sq mi (242.36/km2)
Time zoneUTC-6 (Central (CST))
 • Summer (DST)UTC-5 (CDT)
ZIP code
Area code(s)319
FIPS code19-40935
GNIS feature ID0458057

Keosauqua (/ˌkəˈsɔːkwə/ KEE-ə-SAW-kwə) is a city in Van Buren County, Iowa, United States. The population was 1,006 at the 2010 census. It is the county seat of Van Buren County.[4]


Van Buren County courthouse in Keosauqua. The building, the oldest courthouse in the state, is on the National Register of Historic Places.
Van Buren County courthouse in Keosauqua. The building, the oldest courthouse in the state, is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Keosauqua was laid out in 1839.[5] The word Keosauqua derives from the Meskwaki and Sauk name for the Des Moines River, "Ke-o-saw-qua", which literally translates as "Bend in the River".[6]

The Hotel Manning, a three-story relic from the Des Moines River's steamboat days, is Keosauqua's most notable landmark. Its unique Steamboat Gothic architecture mimics riverboats of the mid-1800s. The hotel was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in April 1973.

Also located in Keosauqua are many other notable historic sites. The 1847 Pearson House was a stop on the underground railroad. The Van Buren County Courthouse, built in 1843 in the Greek Revival style, is the oldest in continuous use in the state, and second-oldest in the United States. It is also on the National Register of Historic Places. The courthouse was the scene for the murder trial of William McCauley. A guilty verdict led to his subsequent demise at, appropriately, Hangman's Hollow. It was the first legal hanging in Iowa history.

When Brigham Young and his followers were exiled from their base at Nauvoo, Illinois in 1846, their caravan crossed the Des Moines River at Ely's Ford, just upriver from Keosauqua on what is now known as the Mormon Trail.

Van Buren County native Voltaire Twombly received the Congressional Medal of Honor for actions taken at Ft. Donelson during the American Civil War. His post-war pursuits included a stint as mayor of Keosauqua and, as a businessman there, he built a stone building on the main street that remains to this day.

The 1839 Honey War, so named because three trees with beehives were cut down in the process, was fought south of Keosauqua in what is now Lacey-Keosauqua State Park. The event was a border disagreement between Iowa and Missouri. Before it was over, militias from both sides faced each other, though the dispute was ultimately resolved without a shot being fired.

Lacey-Keosauqua is one of the largest state parks in Iowa and was built by the Civil Conservation Corps during the Great Depression. The lake bathhouse and lodge stone work, from stone quarried within the park, remain outstanding testament to their work.

Keosauqua hosts its annual Fall Festival the second full weekend in October.[7]


Keosauqua is located at 40°43′56″N 91°57′47″W / 40.73222°N 91.96306°W / 40.73222; -91.96306 (40.732089, -91.963027).[8]

Keosauqua is in the Southern Iowa Drift Plain, formed by Pre-Illinoian glaciers approximately 300,000 years ago. The topography of the area is heavily forested rolling hills, interspersed with farmland, and has many tributaries flowing into the Des Moines River. The Des Moines was large enough to handle steamboat traffic in the 1800s and was the reason that Keosauqua was founded.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 1.57 square miles (4.07 km2), of which 1.45 square miles (3.76 km2) is land and 0.12 square miles (0.31 km2) is water.[9]


Historical populations
Source:"U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2020-03-29. and Iowa Data Center
U.S. Decennial Census[10]

2010 census

As of the census[2] of 2010, there were 1,006 people, 459 households, and 251 families residing in the city. The population density was 693.8 inhabitants per square mile (267.9/km2). There were 515 housing units at an average density of 355.2 per square mile (137.1/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 97.6% White, 0.4% African American, 0.9% Asian, 0.1% from other races, and 1.0% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.1% of the population.

There were 459 households, of which 20.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 43.1% were married couples living together, 7.4% had a female householder with no husband present, 4.1% had a male householder with no wife present, and 45.3% were non-families. 41.6% of all households were made up of individuals, and 23.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.06 and the average family size was 2.79.

The median age in the city was 50.9 years. 17.5% of residents were under the age of 18; 7.2% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 18.5% were from 25 to 44; 28.3% were from 45 to 64; and 28.8% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 46.9% male and 53.1% female.

2000 census

As of the census[11] of 2000, there were 1,066 people, 467 households, and 270 families residing in the city. The population density was 728.7 people per square mile (281.9/km2). There were 505 housing units at an average density of 345.2 per square mile (133.5/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 98.59% White, 0.19% African American, 0.28% Asian, and 0.94% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.09% of the population.

There were 467 households, out of which 24.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 44.5% were married couples living together, 10.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 42.0% were non-families. 38.5% of all households were made up of individuals, and 24.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.10 and the average family size was 2.77.

Age spread: 19.9% under the age of 18, 6.1% from 18 to 24, 19.5% from 25 to 44, 23.1% from 45 to 64, and 31.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 49 years. For every 100 females, there were 77.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 73.9 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $27,833, and the median income for a family was $37,063. Males had a median income of $25,489 versus $19,904 for females. The per capita income for the city was $16,097. About 7.7% of families and 12.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 14.5% of those under age 18 and 12.7% of those age 65 or over.


The community is served by the Van Buren County Community School District.[12] It was previously in the Van Buren Community School District,[13] until it merged into Van Buren County CSD on July 1, 2019.[14]

Keosauqua is home to the Van Buren Warriors at Van Buren High School; Harmony High School consolidated into it at the end of the 2015–2016 school year as part of a grade-sharing arrangement.[15] In 2018 the Van Buren district voted to merge with the Harmony Community School District.[16]


Keosauqua is the location of Iowa's oldest courthouse in continuous use; it was built in 1840. The adjacent Hangman's Hollow is the site of the first legal hanging in the state of Iowa.[7]

Notable people


See also


  1. ^ "2019 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved July 17, 2020.
  2. ^ a b "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2012-05-11.
  3. ^ "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". United States Census Bureau. May 24, 2020. Retrieved May 27, 2020.
  4. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Archived from the original on 2011-05-31. Retrieved 2011-06-07.
  5. ^ The History of Van Buren County, Iowa: Containing a History of the County, Its Cities, Towns, &c. Western Historical Company. 1878. pp. 467.
  6. ^ Isaac Galland, 1840, Galland's Iowa emigrant: containing a map, and general descriptions of Iowa, p 6-7.
  7. ^ a b "The Village of Keosauqua Iowa". Affordable-Website-Solutions. Retrieved 2011-01-17.
  8. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23.
  9. ^ "US Gazetteer files 2010". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on 2012-07-02. Retrieved 2012-05-11.
  10. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Retrieved June 4, 2015.
  11. ^ "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  12. ^ "Van Buren County" (PDF). Iowa Department of Education. Retrieved 2020-04-05.
  13. ^ "VAN BUREN." Iowa Department of Education. Retrieved on June 20, 2018.
  14. ^ "Iowa Educational Directory 2019-2020 School Year" (PDF). Iowa Department of Education. p. 175. Retrieved 2020-04-05. (PDF p. 177/186) - From section "REORGANIZATION & DISSOLUTION ACTIONS SINCE 1965-66"
  15. ^ Aguirre, Joey (2016-05-23). "Harmony sends off its final graduating class". The Hawk Eye. Retrieved 2018-06-20.
  16. ^ Niehaus, Michaele (2018-02-06). "Van Buren, Harmony to merge". The Hawk Eye. Retrieved 2018-06-20.
  17. ^ University of Iowa Libraries-Papers of Josiah H. Bonney
  18. ^ "BROOKHART, Smith Wildman". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Retrieved 2011-01-17.
  19. ^ "Biographical Directory of Federal Judges Caldwell, Henry Clay". Federal Judicial Center. Retrieved 2011-01-17.
  20. ^ a b Cheney, J.W. (1915). "The Story of An Emigrant Train". The Annals of Iowa, Vol. 12, No. 2, pp. 82–83.
  21. ^ "James B. Howell," National Cyclopaedia of American Biography: Volume 9. New York: James T. White and Company, 1899; pg. 450.
  22. ^ Online Archives of California-Theodosia Burr Shepherd papers
  23. ^ "Voltare Paine Twombly". Archived from the original on July 14, 2014. Retrieved July 11, 2014.
  24. ^ "VALENTINE, Edward Kimble". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Retrieved 2011-01-17.
  25. ^ "WRIGHT, George Grover". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Retrieved 2011-01-17.

External links

This page was last edited on 19 January 2021, at 13:36
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