Appanoose County Historical Society
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There are many exhibits at the Appanoose County Historical & Coal Mining Museum that draw the picture of Appanoose County's rich heritage. The most prominent exhibit is the one about our coal mining heritage. Click here to visit our Coal Mining page. Our other exhibits include:

1833 Map of US1833 Map of the United States: One of our most recent acquisitions, donated by Barbara and Wayne Fernkopf of Topeka, Kansas, this large map is over 175 years old. It hung on the wall of the Vermilya Hotel in Unionville, Iowa, which is located in the northeast part of Appanoose County. Barbara Fernkopf is a direct descendant of the Vermilya family. The family graciously donated the map to the museum, bringing it back home to Appanoose County.


Organization of Appanoose County

On February 17, 1843, the Territorial Legislature in Iowa City specified the boundaries of the new county of Appanoose. It was 24 miles east and west and about 21.5 miles north and south. By this time, the govenment surveying crews had done their work and had driven stakes to establish the location o all section corners. All was in readiness for the rush of settlers into Appanoose County.

As the momentous day approached, hundreds of families encamped along the line and their tents and wagon gave the appearance of a military expedition. John W. Clancy had scouted the area for several months and would hide himself and his axe from the Dragoons, who were trying to prevent any prior encroachment. Then on May 1, he made his claim approximately twenty miles into the county from his camp on the Missouri border. A.J. Perjue, the famous first sheriff also staked his claim the first day.

On January 13, 1846, the Territorial Legislature passed an Act enabling Appanoose County to become a functioning governmental unit on its own effective the first Monday in August. An election was to be held on that date for county officers and Justices of the Peace. They also appointed three Commissioners to establish a location for the seat of justice of this new county of Appanoose.

written by Bill Heusinkveld, as part of the book entitled, "Appanoose County Courthouse Centennial 1904-2004".

Exhibits Tell the Story

The exhibits in the Appanoose County Historical & Coal Mining Museum plan an important part in keeping our history alive and are an integral part in residents taking ownership of Appanoose County as their 'home', even if they have moved away.

You can look at our old pictures of the historic Centerville Square and see the how much it has stayed the same, even though it has changed over the years. You can look at the dentists chair, and remember yourself in it. You can look at the farming tools, and remember your grandfather using them.You can walk in the lobby of the museum and remember coming there to buy stamps at the counter. You can see an old camera just like the one your dad used to have. Nostalgia, fond memoies, and knowledge of what our predecessors went though provides a grounding of our own life in Appanoose County.