Hyatt made claims in another body of timber which was named Big Grove. William Powell the same year took a claim where Exira stands.
The county was organized in 1855, and the seat of justice located on the 20th of June on section twenty-two, township seventy-eight, range thirty-five west. Here a town was laid out and named Dayton. An election was held April 2d, 1855, at the house of John S. Jenkins at which Samuel Lewis was chosen county judge. In 1861 the county-seat was removed to a new town called Viola, laid out by D. M. Harris and David Edgerton; but the name was soon changed to Exira, in honor of a lady then living in the county. Dayton soon after disappeared from the map and its site became a farm. Oakfield was laid out in 1857 by E. D. Bradley who then opened the first store in the county. Oakfield took its name from a large oak grove which originally covered the town site on the east bank of the Nishnabotna River. The first newspaper in the county was established at Audubon City in December, 1860, and was named the Audubon Pioneer. Its proprietor was John C. Brown, who was killed in the war of the Rebellion at the Battle of Milliken’s Bend where he was serving as captain of Company I, Twenty-third Iowa Volunteers. East Nishnabotna is the largest stream running through the county from north to south, with numerous branches which afford a good supply of water. The surface of the county is rolling with deep ravines in places. The soil is very fertile producing abundant crops of grass, grain, fruit and vegetables. A branch of the Rock Island Railroad from Atlantic was the first to enter the county.
BANCROFT COUNTY was created by act of the Legislature in 1851 from a portion of old Fayette and embraced the twelve northern townships of what is now Kossuth County, extending to the Minnesota line, making an area of four hundred four square miles. The county was named