Palo Alto County


     It is the second tier of counties from the northern boundary of the State, and the fourth east of the Missouri River. It is bounded on the north by Emmett County, on the east by Kossuth, on the south by Pocahontas, and on the west by Clay. It is twenty four miles square, and contains 576 square miles. The west branch of the Des Moines River passes through the county from northwest to southeast, and affords many good sites for mills and manufactories, which are much needed. There are seven very pretty lakes of good water in the county, among which the principal is Medium Lake, in the central portion. This lake is about three miles long, over a fourth of a mile wide, is partly bordered by timber, and surrounded by beautiful land. The general surface of the county is partially rolling, and principally prairie, with about fifteen hundred acres of timber mostly along the Des Moines River. The gentle slopes of the prairie towards the river, through six townships of this county, are as beautiful if not more so, than along any other river in Iowa or any other part of the west. The soil is mostly dry, very slightly sandy on some portions of the wide river bottoms, and on the prairies it appears to possess those desirable qualities that make it adapted to both grass and grain. The principal varieties of timber are ash, oak, elm, maple, hackberry and hickory.
     Pieces of coal weighing in some cases as much as thirty pounds, have been found, but no attempts have as yet been made to find veins. Limestone is not very plenty, but there is an abundance of clay of good quality.
     Owing to the abundance of grass and hay, and the conveniences of water in all parts, the county is extremely well adapted to stock raising. 
     The county was organized in December, 1858, and contains three townships, viz; Emmettsburg, Nevada and West Bend.
     EMMETTSBURGH is situated in a township of the same name, three miles from the county seat. It has three religious organizations and one saw mill. Population  60; of the township 150.
     FERN VALLEY is situated in the southern part of the county on the Des Moines River, 45 miles west of Fort Dodge, and 12 miles southwest of the county seat. There is a Presbyterian church here. Population of township 75.
     The remaining postoffices are Soda Bar and West Bend.


--Hair, James T., Ed. Iowa State Gazetteer, Shippers' Guide and Business Directory. Chicago: Bailey & Hair, 1865. p. 298