This article is based on the corresponding article in another wiki. For Familypedia purposes, it requires significantly more historical detail on phases of this location's development. The ideal article for a place will give the reader a feel for what it was like to live at that location at the time their relatives were alive there. Also desirable are links to organizations that may be repositories of genealogical information..
Please help to improve this page yourself if you can.

Lyon County, Iowa
Lyon County IA Courthouse.jpg
Lyon County Courthouse
Map of Iowa highlighting Lyon County
Location in the state of Iowa
Map of the U.S. highlighting Iowa
Iowa's location in the U.S.
Founded January 15, 1851
Named for Nathaniel Lyon
Seat Rock Rapids
Largest city Rock Rapids
 - Total
 - Land
 - Water

588 sq mi (1,523 km²)
588 sq mi (1,523 km²)
0.1 sq mi (0 km²), 0.02%
 - (2010)
 - Density

20/sq mi (8/km²)
Congressional district 4th
Time zone Central: UTC-6/-5

Lyon County is the most northwesterly county of the U.S. state of Iowa. As of the 2010 census, the population was 11,581.[1] The county seat is Rock Rapids.[2]

Lyon County is named in honor of Brigadier General Nathaniel Lyon, who served in the Mexican-American War and the Civil War.[3] He was killed at the battle of Wilson's Creek, Missouri, on August 10, 1861, after which the county was named for him. The county's name was originally Buncombe County, but was changed by the state legislature on September 11, 1862.


The land that makes up Lyon County was ceded to the federal government by the Sioux Indians through a treaty signed on July 23, 1851. The boundaries of the county were set on January 15, 1851 and attached to Woodbury County (then called Wahkaw County) for administration purposes. Lyon County officially split from Woodbury County on January 1, 1872.

The first white man to live in Lyon County was Daniel McLaren, known as "Uncle Dan". He lived near the Sioux River for a short time, spending his time hunting and trapping. He moved out of the county very early in its settlement to stake a claim further west. The second settler in the area was known as "Old Tom", a hunter and trapper who lived briefly near present-day Rock Rapids. While setting his traps, Old Tom was killed by Sioux tribespeople.

In 1862–1863, a group of men from the east coast spent time in the county on a hunting trip. They were: Roy McGregor, George Clark and Thomas Lockhart. During the winter, Lockhart and McGregor were hunting elk along the Little Rock creek and encountered a group of Sioux tribespeople. Lockhart was killed by an arrow, but McGregor was able to escape and rejoin Clark. The two continued to hunt and trap until March 1863. During a spring flood, Clark was drowned and McGregor decided to move back east.

The first permanent settlement in Lyon County was built by Lewis P. Hyde in July 1866. The county's population reached 100 persons in 1869, entirely through migration and settlement. The first white child born in the county was Odena Lee, born on May 28, 1871. The first election in the county was held on October 10, 1871, and recorded 97 votes.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 588 square miles (1,520 km2), of which 588 square miles (1,520 km2) is land and 0.1 square miles (0.26 km2) (0.02%) is water.[4]

Lyon County is the location of Gitchie Manitou State Preserve, which contains some of the oldest exposed bedrock in the country.

Lake Pahoja is located in the northwest part of the county. It is a man-made lake with an area of just over 28 ha (70 acres).

Major highways[]

  • US 18.svg U.S. Highway 18
  • US 75.svg U.S. Highway 75
  • Iowa 9.svg Iowa Highway 9
  • Iowa 182.svg Iowa Highway 182

Adjacent counties[]


Historical populations
Census Pop.
1870 221
1880 1,968 790.5%
1890 8,680 341.1%
1900 13,165 51.7%
1910 14,624 11.1%
1920 15,431 5.5%
1930 15,293 −0.9%
1940 15,374 0.5%
1950 14,697 −4.4%
1960 14,468 −1.6%
1970 13,340 −7.8%
1980 12,896 −3.3%
1990 11,952 −7.3%
2000 11,763 −1.6%
2010 11,581 −1.5%
Est. 2015 11,745 [5] −0.2%
U.S. Decennial Census[6]
1790-1960[7] 1900-1990[8]
1990-2000[9] 2010-2013[1]

2010 census[]

The 2010 census recorded a population of 11,581 in the county, with a population density of 19.7123/sq mi (7.6110/km2). There were 4,848 housing units, of which 4,442 were occupied.[10]

2000 census[]

2000 Census Age Pyramid for Lyon County.

As of the census[11] of 2000, there were 11,763 people, 4,428 households, and 3,263 families residing in the county. The population density was 20 people per square mile (8/km²). There were 4,758 housing units at an average density of 8 per square mile (3/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 99.13% White, 0.09% Black or African American, 0.14% Native American, 0.15% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 0.10% from other races, and 0.37% from two or more races. 0.36% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 4,428 households out of which 34.80% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 67.10% were married couples living together, 4.40% had a female householder with no husband present, and 26.30% were non-families. 24.30% of all households were made up of individuals and 13.70% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.61 and the average family size was 3.13.

In the county the population was spread out with 28.00% under the age of 18, 7.60% from 18 to 24, 24.60% from 25 to 44, 20.90% from 45 to 64, and 18.80% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females there were 98.40 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 94.60 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $36,878, and the median income for a family was $45,144. Males had a median income of $29,462 versus $19,385 for females. The per capita income for the county was $16,081. About 4.90% of families and 7.00% of the population were below the poverty line, including 7.90% of those under age 18 and 10.30% of those age 65 or over.



  • Alvord
  • Doon
  • George
  • Inwood
  • Larchwood
  • Lester
  • Little Rock
  • Rock Rapids

Unincorporated communities[]

  • Beloit
  • Edna
  • Granite
  • Klondike

Population ranking[]

The population ranking of the following table is based on the 2010 census of Lyon County.[12]

county seat

Rank City/Town/etc. Municipal type Population (2010 Census)

1 Rock Rapids City 2,549
2 George City 1,080
3 Larchwood City 866
4 Inwood City 814
5 Doon City 577
6 Little Rock City 459
7 Lester City 294
8 Alvord City 196

See also[]

  • National Register of Historic Places listings in Lyon County, Iowa
  • Blood Run Site


  1. ^ a b "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved July 18, 2014. 
  2. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  3. ^ Chicago and North Western Railway Company (1908). A History of the Origin of the Place Names Connected with the Chicago & North Western and Chicago, St. Paul, Minneapolis & Omaha Railways. p. 162. 
  4. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23. 
  5. ^ "County Totals Dataset: Population, Population Change and Estimated Components of Population Change: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2015". Retrieved July 2, 2016. 
  6. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved July 18, 2014. 
  7. ^ "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Retrieved July 18, 2014. 
  8. ^ "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved July 18, 2014. 
  9. ^ "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved July 18, 2014. 
  10. ^ "Population & Housing Occupancy Status 2010". United States Census Bureau American FactFinder. Retrieved May 21, 2011. 
  11. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  12. ^

Further reading[]

External links[]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to:

Coordinates: 43°23′N 96°13′W / 43.383, -96.217

This page uses content from the English language Wikipedia. The original content was at Lyon 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.