Trails to the Past


Humboldt County



Trails to the Past of Iowa is accepting any donations of genealogy materials that you may have such as marriage announcements, news articles, old obituaries, births, (you do not need the birth certificate) just the information, and biographies.  If you have any of these items please contact me Marie Miller the Iowa State Administrator.

Humboldt County Founding: Iowa's entry to the union was approved by Congress on March 3, 1845, with statehood beginning on December 28, 1846, following approval of the state's constitution and boundaries. In order to establish county government across the state, the Iowa General Assembly passed an act on January 15, 1851 which created fifty counties in the half of the state where county government had not yet been established. Humboldt County was created by this act, containing its present area, as well as four townships in present-day Webster County: Jackson, Deer Creek, Badger, and Newark. It was named after Alexander von Humboldt. On January 21, 1855, an act merged the northern half of Humboldt County and Bancroft County into Kossuth County, with the southern half of Humboldt County merging into Webster County.

The Sixth General Assembly passed another act, reestablishing Humboldt County. The act was passed on January 28, 1857 and went into effect on February 26. However, an error omitted the lower four townships (Jackson, Deer Creek, Badger, and Newark) from returning to Humboldt County. The error was not caught until the next session of the general assembly, and the general assembly passed a bill redefining Humboldt County to include the four townships on March 11, 1858. However, in the interceding time, the Constitution of Iowa came into effect, including the provision that "future laws altering county boundaries should be submitted to a vote of the people of the counties concerned and must be approved by them before going into effect". In a court case originating in the disputed area, the Iowa Supreme Court was asked to decide which county court had original jurisdiction. In their clarification, they ruled the March 11, 1858 clarification of Humboldt County's boundaries unconstitutional, as it had not been submitted to a public vote in the counties involved. In his decision, Chief Justice Ralph P. Lowe wrote, "We are compelled to conclude that township 90, in ranges 27 to 30, west of the 5th principal meridian, is still in and forms a part of Webster county. Of course we can pay no attention to conjectural surmises and vague suspicions, which have been made and entertained in relation to some unfairness which may have been practiced in the final passage of the act of 1857, creating the county of Humboldt. If such was the case, no evidence of the fact has been presented to us." The "vague suspicions" include a rumor that John Duncombe of Fort Dodge (namesake of Duncombe, Iowa and plaintiff in the lawsuit) had tricked Humboldt County into ceding the southern four townships to Webster County "on loan", or was otherwise responsible for the "error".

In 1872, Humboldt College was opened and closed in 1916 because there was no agreement with the county about taxation

On Line Data

    Dakota City
    Gilmore City
    Lu Verne
Ghost town


Humboldt County Court House

Adjacent counties
Kossuth County (north)
Wright County (east)
Webster County (south)
Pocahontas County (west)

Webspace has been generously provided by
Genealogy Village and Access Genealogy Thank You!

The information on Trails to the Past Copyright    may be used in personal family history research, with source citation. The pages in entirety may not be duplicated for publication in any fashion without the permission of the owner. Commercial use of any material on this site is not permitted.  Please respect the wishes of those who have contributed their time and efforts to make this free site possible.~Thank you!