Trivia & History
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This is a land where prairie grass once grew over 8 feet high and wild life flourished in the rich river valley. Tribes of Sac and Fox made their homes along the creeks and streams that crisscrossed the prairie and wooded timbers.
As settlers made their way west past the great Mississippi River, Marion County figured prominently in the settlement of the territory now called Iowa. Dragoons first explored the Des Moines River Valley, through the heart of the county, in 1835 recording observations about the "new frontier." In 1842, the Sac and Fox signed a treaty to sell lands in central Iowa to the settlers. The Red Rock Line was created in 1843 to halt the settlement of lands west of the town called Red Rock until Native American tribes could vacate the land. By 1845, the line was opened up leading to the settlement of western Iowa.
The towns of Red Rock and Coalport played key roles during the early years, but Knoxville was selected as the county seat for Marion County. Early settlers were primarily farmers and traders. In 1847, Dominie Scholte led a group of 800 Dutch immigrants to settle in the area which today is called Pella.
Large outcroppings of coal were discovered in the county, railroad companies began expansion into the area and coal mines sprung up over the entire county. Over 500 coal mines operated at one time within the county.