Jackson County, located in eastern Iowa along the Mississippi River, is named in honor of Andrew Jackson, the seventh president of the United States.
When Jackson, Jones, and Linn counties were first established in 1837, Bellvue (sometimes spelled Belleview, Bellview, or Bellevue) was the seat of justice for all three. It was named in honor of John D. Bell, an early resident and postmaster of the county. The county commissioners met for the first time on April 2, 1838. At this time Bellvue was the only town of significance and therefore the logical choice for a county seat.
A one mill tax was levied by the commissioners for the county fund and a one-half mill tax for the court fund. Since money was scarce, payments in commodities, such as coonskins and maple sugar were accepted for tax payments.
When Iowa became an official territory on July 4, 1838, the Territorial Assembly set up a procedure to locate a new county seat that was more centrally located. The locating commissioners chose the town of Andrew as the new county seat. An election was then held between the towns of Bellvue and Andrew. Andrew was declared the winner.
The first actual county courthouse for Jackson County was built at Andrew. It was a log cabin that measured 30 feet x 40 feet. This structure was used until 1848 when the county seat was then moved back to Bellvue. A brick structure had been built at Bellvue, and it served the county until 1861. At this time the county seat was moved back to Andrew.
In 1861 the town of Andrew built its second courthouse. The building cost the town $6,000, and it was offered to the county rent-free for five years. In 1866 the county purchased the building for $2,000. The three-story stone structure served the county for 12 years, and then it was sold to the Andrew Cooperative Creamery Company.
In 1873 the county seat battles that were abundant in the early 1800s came to an end. The railroad had come to the town of Maquoketa, and the population of the town had grown substantially. The city council built a large “city hall” at a cost of $14,000. The size of the building was 45-foot x 81-foot and was constructed of dressed stone. The county signed a 99 year lease that committed it to the building and the town for $1.
In 1938 the courthouse had been outgrown, so much so that some of the county offices were in other buildings. In 1958, the county corrected this problem. A $400,000 one-story structure was constructed on the site of the previous courthouse. The architect was William J. McNeil, and the contractor was Roth & Associates. The county moved into the building on January 1, 1961.
Jackson County Directory, 1878
Mike Cotton, Jackson County Auditor, 2002
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