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Lee County, Iowa

Lee County, Iowa
Courthouse located in Fort Madison
Map of Iowa highlighting Lee County
Location in the state of Iowa
Map of the United States highlighting Iowa
Iowa's location in the U.S.
Founded 1836
Seat Fort Madison and Keokuk
Largest city Fort Madison
 • Total 539 sq mi (1,396 km2)
 • Land 518 sq mi (1,342 km2)
 • Water 21 sq mi (54 km2), 4.0%
 • (2010) 35,862
 • Density 69/sq mi (27/km²)
Congressional district 2nd
Time zone Central: UTC-6/-5
Website .org.leecountywww

Lee County, Iowa, was established in 1836. As of the 2010 census, the population was 35,862.[1] It has two county seatsFort Madison and Keokuk. Lee County is part of the Fort Madison–Keokuk, IA-IL-MO Micropolitan Statistical Area.


  • History 1
    • Name 1.1
  • Geography 2
    • Major highways 2.1
    • Adjacent counties 2.2
  • Demographics 3
    • 2000 census 3.1
    • 2010 census 3.2
  • Communities 4
    • Cities 4.1
    • Unincorporated communities 4.2
  • Notable people 5
  • See also 6
  • References 7
  • External links 8


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.

Large-scale European-American settlement in the area began in 1839, after Congress allowed owners to sell land individually. Members of the 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.[2] The latter was established in 1847 when disagreements led to a second court jurisdiction.[3]

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 2010, 35,862 people lived there, comparable to the years between 1860-1870.[4]


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.[5][6]:398


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.[7] 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

Adjacent counties

Lee County is surrounded by Henry County to the north, Des Moines County to the northeast, Henderson County, Illinois, across the river east, Hancock County, Illinois to the southeast, Clark County, Missouri in the southwest and Van Buren County, Iowa in the west.


2000 census

2000 Census Age Pyramid for Lee County

As of the census[12] 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.

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]


Courthouse in Keokuk in 1900


Unincorporated communities

Notable people

See also


  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. ^ North Lee County Historical Society, Museums USA, accessed 11 Aug 2008
  4. ^ a b "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved July 18, 2014. 
  5. ^ The History of Lee County, Iowa. Chicago: Western Historical. 1879. p. 414-415. 
  6. ^ Naming of Iowa Counties. The Annals of Iowa. 36 (1962), 395-400. ISSN 0003-4827
  7. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990".  
  8. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2014". Retrieved June 4, 2015. 
  9. ^ "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Retrieved July 18, 2014. 
  10. ^ "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved July 18, 2014. 
  11. ^ "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. Retrieved July 18, 2014. 
  12. ^ "American FactFinder".  
  13. ^ "Population & Housing Occupancy Status 2010".  
  14. ^ Swansen, H.F. "The Sugar Creek Settlement in Iowa".  
  15. ^ "Alone In The Wilderness". Bob Swerer Productions. Retrieved May 21, 2011. 

External links

  • Lee County government's website

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