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Lee County, Iowa
Lee County Courthouse, Fort Madison.jpg
Courthouse located in Fort Madison
Map of Iowa highlighting Lee County
Location in the state of Iowa
Map of the U.S. highlighting Iowa
Iowa's location in the U.S.
Founded 1836
Seat Fort Madison and Keokuk
Largest city Fort Madison
Area
 - Total
 - Land
 - Water

539 sq mi (1,396 km²)
518 sq mi (1,342 km²)
21 sq mi (54 km²), 4.0
Population
 - (2020)
 - Density

33,555
Congressional district 2nd
Time zone Central: UTC-6/-5
Website www.leecounty.org

Historic Lee County Savings Bank

Lee County is the southernmost county in the U.S. state of Iowa. As of the 2020 census, the population was 33,555.[1] The county seats are Fort Madison and Keokuk.

Lee County is part of the Fort Madison–Keokuk, IA-IL-MO Micropolitan Statistical Area.

History[]

Fort Madison dates to the War of 1812. Lee County was the location of the Half-Breed Tract, established by treaty in 1824. Allocations of land were made to American Indian descendants of European fathers and Indian mothers at this tract. Originally the land was to be held in common. Some who had an allocation lived in cities, where they hoped to make better livings.

Lee County as a named entity was formed on December 7, 1836, under the jurisdiction of Wisconsin Territory. It would become a part of Iowa Territory when it was formed on July 4, 1838.[2] Large-scale European-American settlement in the area began in 1839, after Congress allowed owners to sell land individually. Members of the Church of Christ (Latter Day Saints) fled persecutions in Missouri to settle in Illinois and Iowa. Nauvoo, across the border in Hancock County, Illinois, became the main center of Latter-day Saints settlement, but there was also a Latter Day Saints stake organized in Lee County under the direction of John Smith, the uncle of Joseph Smith, land that was sold to them by Isaac Galland in 1839.

Lee has two county seatsFort Madison and Keokuk.[3] The latter was established in 1847 when disagreements led to a second court jurisdiction.[4]

Lee County's population grew to about 19,000 in 1850, the first US census, to 37,000 per the 3rd census in 1870, peaking at 44,000 people in 1960. It has continuously decreased since and as of 2020, 33,555 people lived there, comparable to the years between 1860 and 1870.[5]

Name[]

There is no agreement about the derivation of the name "Lee." It has been variously proposed that the county was named for Marsh, Delevan & Lee, of Albany, New York, and the 'New York Land Company', who owned extensive interests in the Half-Breed Tract in the 1830s; Robert E. Lee, who surveyed the Des Moines Rapids; or Albert Lea, who helped explore the interior of Iowa.[6][7]:398

Geography[]

Lee County, Iowa and the "Half Breed Tract" historic map detail from a 1905 Iowa Census Map

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 539 square miles (1,400 km2), of which 518 square miles (1,340 km2) is land and 21 square miles (54 km2) (4.0%) is water.[8] The lowest point in the state of Iowa is located on the Mississippi River in Keokuk in Lee County, where it flows out of Iowa and into Missouri and Illinois.

Major highways[]

  • US 61 (IA).svg U.S. Route 61
  • US 136 (IA).svg U.S. Route 136
  • US 218 (IA).svg U.S. Route 218
  • Iowa 2.svg Iowa Highway 2
  • Iowa 16.svg Iowa Highway 16
  • Iowa 27.svg Iowa Highway 27

Adjacent counties[]

Demographics[]

Historical populations
Census Pop.
1850 18,861
1860 29,565 56.8%
1870 37,210 25.9%
1880 34,859 −6.3%
1890 37,715 8.2%
1900 39,719 5.3%
1910 36,702 −7.6%
1920 39,676 8.1%
1930 41,268 4.0%
1940 41,074 −0.5%
1950 43,102 4.9%
1960 44,207 2.6%
1970 42,996 −2.7%
1980 43,106 0.3%
1990 38,687 −10.3%
2000 38,052 −1.6%
2010 35,862 −5.8%
U.S. Decennial Census[5]
1790-1960[9] 1900-1990[10]
1990-2000[11] 2010-2020[12]

Population of Lee County from US census data

2020 census[]

The 2020 census recorded a population of 33,555 in the county, with a population density of 62.0765/sq mi (23.9679/km2). 94.67% of the population reported being of one race. 87.10% were non-Hispanic White, 2.71% were Black, 3.31% were Hispanic, 0.21% were Native American, 0.42% were Asian, 0.02% were Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander and 6.23% were some other race or more than one race. There were 15,858 housing units, of which 14,036 were occupied.[1]

2010 census[]

The 2010 census recorded a population of 35,862 with a population density of 69.3133/sq mi (26.7620/km2). There were 16,205 housing units, of which only 14,610 were occupied.[13]

2000 census[]

2000 Census age pyramid for Lee County

As of the census[14] of 2000, there were 38,052 people, 15,161 households, and 10,248 families residing in the county. The population density was 74 people per square mile (28/km2). There were 16,612 housing units at an average density of 32 per square mile (12/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 94.24% White, 2.80% Black or African American, 0.26% Native American, 0.39% Asian, 0.06% Pacific Islander, 1.03% from other races, and 1.21% from two or more races. 2.37% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 15,161 households, out of which 30.40% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 53.70% were married couples living together, 10.30% had a female householder with no husband present, and 32.40% were non-families. 28.30% of all households were made up of individuals, and 13.50% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.41 and the average family size was 2.93.

In the county, the population was spread out, with 24.40% under the age of 18, 7.80% from 18 to 24, 26.70% from 25 to 44, 24.60% from 45 to 64, and 16.50% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40 years. For every 100 females, there were 97.90 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 96.40 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $36,193, and the median income for a family was $42,658. Males had a median income of $32,286 versus $21,821 for females. The per capita income for the county was $18,430. About 7.10% of families and 9.70% of the population were below the poverty line, including 12.60% of those under age 18 and 9.60% of those age 65 or over.

Communities[]

Courthouse in Keokuk in 1900

Cities[]

Census-designated places[]

  • Argyle
  • Denmark
  • Mooar
  • Sandusky
  • Wever

Other unincorporated communities[]

  • Charleston
  • Croton
  • New Boston
  • Pilot Grove

Townships[]

  • Cedar
  • Charleston
  • Denmark
  • Des Moines
  • Franklin
  • Green Bay
  • Harrison
  • Jackson
  • Jefferson
  • Madison
  • Marion
  • Montrose
  • Pleasant Ridge
  • Van Buren
  • Washington
  • West Point

Population ranking[]

The population ranking of the following table is based on the 2020 census of Lee County.[1]

county seat

Rank City/town/etc. Municipal type Population (2020 Census)
1 Fort Madison City 10,270
2 Keokuk City 9,900
3 West Point City 921
4 Donnellson City 885
5 Montrose City 738
6 Denmark CDP 425
7 Mooar CDP 321
8 Sandusky CDP 297
9 Houghton City 141
10 Franklin City 131
11 St. Paul City 109
12 Wever CDP 101
13 Argyle CDP 91

Notable people[]

  • Cleng Peerson (1783–1865), pioneer settler in Lee County in 1840[15]
  • Richard Proenneke (1916–2003), naturalist, subject of books and documentary[16]
  • William Elliott Whitmore (born 1978), singer and songwriter

Politics[]

In recent presidential elections, Lee County had a strong Democratic lean, voting for the party's candidate in every election from 1984 to 2012. In 2016 however, the county swung hard to vote for Republican Donald Trump by a wide margin, a swing of over 31 points compared to 2012. President Trump improved on his 2016 performance in 2020, capturing 58% of the vote, higher than his 2016 share of 54%. [17]

United States presidential election results for Lee County, Iowa[18]
Year Republican Democratic Third party
No.  % No.  % No.  %
2020 9,773 58.40% 6,541 39.09% 420 2.51%
2016 8,803 54.50% 6,215 38.48% 1,133 7.02%
2012 7,785 41.17% 10,714 56.65% 412 2.18%
2008 7,062 40.99% 9,821 57.00% 347 2.01%
2004 7,472 41.84% 10,152 56.85% 234 1.31%
2000 6,339 38.25% 9,632 58.12% 601 3.63%
1996 4,932 31.49% 8,831 56.38% 1,899 12.12%
1992 4,777 27.85% 9,366 54.61% 3,009 17.54%
1988 6,228 36.02% 10,911 63.11% 151 0.87%
1984 8,756 49.17% 8,912 50.04% 141 0.79%
1980 8,793 48.14% 8,204 44.92% 1,268 6.94%
1976 8,195 46.92% 9,017 51.63% 253 1.45%
1972 9,748 55.33% 7,510 42.63% 360 2.04%
1968 8,883 49.25% 8,076 44.78% 1,077 5.97%
1964 6,321 34.02% 12,244 65.89% 17 0.09%
1960 10,765 52.00% 9,936 48.00% 0 0.00%
1956 11,571 58.35% 8,226 41.48% 32 0.16%
1952 12,289 58.61% 8,625 41.13% 55 0.26%
1948 7,801 45.32% 9,201 53.46% 210 1.22%
1944 9,406 53.03% 8,252 46.53% 78 0.44%
1940 10,616 53.71% 9,117 46.12% 33 0.17%
1936 8,955 46.36% 9,630 49.85% 732 3.79%
1932 7,084 39.57% 10,624 59.35% 194 1.08%
1928 11,645 59.86% 7,785 40.02% 25 0.13%
1924 9,999 54.41% 4,903 26.68% 3,475 18.91%
1920 10,763 65.94% 5,177 31.72% 383 2.35%
1916 4,395 51.18% 3,993 46.50% 199 2.32%
1912 2,016 23.66% 3,891 45.67% 2,613 30.67%
1908 4,262 46.61% 4,706 51.47% 176 1.92%
1904 4,612 52.71% 3,848 43.98% 289 3.30%
1900 4,486 45.88% 5,182 53.00% 110 1.12%
1896 4,847 47.70% 5,153 50.71% 162 1.59%
1892 3,971 43.46% 4,956 54.24% 210 2.30%
1888 3,820 44.44% 4,650 54.10% 125 1.45%
1884 3,285 43.81% 4,204 56.06% 10 0.13%
1880 3,098 43.86% 3,464 49.04% 502 7.11%



See also[]

  • National Register of Historic Places listings in Lee County, Iowa
  • Lee County Courthouse in use in Fort Madison, original and oldest courthouse
  • Lee County Courthouse in use in Keokuk, originally a Federal courthouse and post office

References[]

  1. ^ a b c "2020 Census State Redistricting Data". United states Census Bureau. https://www2.census.gov/programs-surveys/decennial/2020/data/01-Redistricting_File--PL_94-171/Iowa/. 
  2. ^ "WI: Individual County Chronologies". http://publications.newberry.org/ahcbp/documents/WI_Individual_County_Chronologies.htm. 
  3. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. http://explorer.naco.org/#. 
  4. ^ North Lee County Historical Society, Museums USA, accessed 11 Aug 2008
  5. ^ a b "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. https://www.census.gov/programs-surveys/decennial-census.html. 
  6. ^ The History of Lee County, Iowa. Chicago: Western Historical. 1879. pp. 414–415. https://books.google.com/books?id=WVJKAAAAYAAJ. 
  7. ^ Naming of Iowa Counties. The Annals of Iowa. 36 (1962), 395-400. ISSN 0003-4827
  8. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. https://www.census.gov/geographies/reference-files/time-series/geo/gazetteer-files.html. 
  9. ^ "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. http://mapserver.lib.virginia.edu. 
  10. ^ "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. https://www.census.gov/population/cencounts/ia190090.txt. 
  11. ^ "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000". United States Census Bureau. https://www.census.gov/population/www/cen2000/briefs/phc-t4/tables/tab02.pdf. 
  12. ^ "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/19/19111.html. 
  13. ^ "Population & Housing Occupancy Status 2010". United States Census Bureau American FactFinder. http://factfinder.census.gov/faces/tableservices/jsf/pages/productview.xhtml?pid=DEC_10_PL_GCTPL2.ST05&prodType=table. 
  14. ^ "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. https://www.census.gov. 
  15. ^ Swansen, H.F.. "The Sugar Creek Settlement in Iowa". Norwegian-American Historical Association. pp. Volume IX: Page 38. http://www.naha.stolaf.edu/pubs/nas/volume09/vol09_3.htm. 
  16. ^ "Alone In The Wilderness". Bob Swerer Productions. http://www.aloneinthewilderness.com/early_years.html. 
  17. ^ "Here's a map of the US counties that flipped to Trump from Democrats". https://www.cnbc.com/heres-a-map-of-the-us-counties-that-flipped-to-trump-from-democrats/. 
  18. ^ Leip, David. "Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections". http://uselectionatlas.org/RESULTS. 

External links[]

Coordinates: 40°38′34″N 91°28′28″W / 40.64278, -91.47444


This page uses content from the English language Wikipedia. The original content was at Lee County, Iowa. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with this Familypedia wiki, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons License.
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