Country Facts and Folklore
By Andy Reddick
THE IOWA STATE CENSUS OF 1885
Iowa’s 14th state census shows that on January 1, 1885 a total of 16,170 people resided in Van Buren County. In 5 years the county had declined by 873 people, which is 5%.
Out of 18 villages that were being shown on maps in those days, only the populations of 6 incorporated villages were listed separate from the township figures:
It should be noted that in 1885, Keosauqua’s population did not yet include South Keosauqua or Pleasant Hill located on the opposite bank of the river, as they were not annexed until the 1890s.
Unincorporated until 1897, Bonaparte was not included. The 1880 Federal Census had shown the village population as 689, out of a Bonaparte Township total of 1,252. Since Bonaparte Township only added 14 people, the village figure has to be around 700.
Included here for comparison are the Township Populations for 1880 and 1885
|Des Moines||1,023||927||lost 96|
|Van Buren||2,297||2,309||added 12|
|Lick Creek||914||899||lost 15|
For the most part, the figures of this census are supportive of the general trends of population in Van Buren County. *However, the figures for Harrisburg and Henry Townships are questionable and reveal a tallying error.
The 1890 Federal Census shows Harrisburg with a jump back to 920. With a loss of 51 over 10 years, the loss of 451 in five years followed by a gain of 400 during the next five years, is rather unlikely. Likewise, Henry Twp. posted only 494 people in 1890. As it lost 96 citizens during the entire decade, it probably did not add 283 in the first five years, then lose 379 during the next five. Rather, some sections of Harrisburg Township’s 1885 population appear to have been allotted to the township of Henry through a statistical error. The outcome of the county’s total population or that of village populations is not a factor.
Contributed to the Van Buren Co. IAGenWeb Project by Andy Reddick