Sioux County Historical Site

Sioux County Historical Site

This area holds history of Sioux County Iowa as it was recorded in an article written in 1983 as reported. This spot estimates the early origins of Sioux County. The story of  Sioux County’s first could years is rather interesting, and though the motive of the four men who founded it is under question by some, Sioux County was established because of them. Here is only half of the story as recorded in Nelson Nieuwenhuis book Siouxland: A history of Sioux County Iowa: ‚ÄčIn a race to see who would establish Sioux County first, four friends decided 9th night of December 1859 that they would be the first to organize the new Sioux County. These four men, Frederick M. Hubbell, Emerson Stone, William Frame and Joseph Bell, did not waste time. “They purchased a team of horses, a wagon and camping equipment, stocked the wagon with provisions to last two weeks and set out for Sioux County” (Nieuwenhuis, 45). Their goal was if they could establish residency in Sioux county first they could petition the court to grant them a permit to organize according to law. The group established their residence about three miles south of Hawarden in a ravine. This place was often referred to as “Buzzard’s Roots”. Their house was “dugout” cut into the ravine. “The ceiling and sides of the dugout were buttressed with timber hewn from nearby trees. A window and door were placed on the south side. A similar shelter was made for the horses” (Nieuwenhuis, 46). The men spent the winter of 1860 hunting and fishing the Big Sioux River. When it got to dark they played cards, checkers or dominoes.

On the 26th of  January 1860 Woodbury County Judge, John P. Allison,  appointed a Chas Rustin as organizing sheriff, which granted the four men to have an election to appoint a Sioux County Judge, Treasurer, Clerk of Courts and other county roles. Before the February Election, the men purchased land that to establish a village; this would one day become Calliope. Family and others came to help them in their efforts to establish Sioux County. When the election took place, Sioux County had 15 residents. “Frame was picked to be County Judge; Stone became County Recorder and Treasurer; Fred Hubbell was chosen Clerk of Courts; Francis Hubbell, Sheriff; William Slayter, Coroner; Joe Bell, Surveyor; and George Rustin, Superintendent of Public Instruction”  (Mills, as Cited in Nieuwenhuis, 1983).

With the election granting them all key county roles, these four men, Fred Hubbell, Emerson Stone, William Frame and Jo Bell, had officially won the race to establish Sioux County.

Reference: Nieuwenhuis, Nelson G. Siouxland: A History of Sioux County, Iowa. Orange City: Greater Sioux County Genealogical Society with permission from the Sioux County Historical Society, 1983. Print.     Pg. 45-47


Located 2.5 miles South of Hawarden on Hwy 12.
Click here for map.


  • Bird Watching
  • Geocaching
  • Hiking- blaze your own trail
  • Historical Site

Operating Hours & Seasons

Open daily 7 am- 10:30 pm.