St Charles – History

The Spring of 1846 brought the Clanton party from the state of Missouri.  This party consisted of Joel M. Clanton, Isaac Clanton, Charles Clanton, and Caleb Clark.  Their wives, families and two young men, Charles McCray and Gifford Lee accompanied them.  In May of that year, they moved their claims and founded their homes near where St. Charles is today.  The town was laid out in 1851 by George Hartman and Jesse C. Young.  George inspired the idea of locating the town.  The plotting was done in October of 1852 by Simmons Rutly.  The growth of the town was slow, but then the railroad came, and it began to progress at a quicker pace.  Since then, St. Charles has advanced at a steady pace to become the rural Iowa community we all call home today.



St. Charles Business District c. 1915


South side of Main Street – Herman A. Mueller, History of Madison County, Iowa and its People, S.J. Clarke Publishing Company; Chicago IL, 195; Vol 1, P. 258.


Aerial view of lumberyard, year unknown

More information on the history of Madison County can be found by visiting Madison County Preservation Commission.