Iowa Railroad Land Company Advertisement, 1871

The text below is taken from an 1871 advertisement showing location of lands belonging to several Iowa railroad companies. A map adjacent to the advertisement shows township and counties, land grants, railroads with named railroad lines. The advertisement promotes Iowa as a place to settle, including a description of natural resources, transportation routes and quality of life.


1,700,000 Acres in Iowa!!
180,000 Acres in Nebraska!!

The Iowa Rail Road Land Company,
The Iowa Falls and Sioux City R.R. Land Co.,
The Sioux City & Pacific Land & Town Lot Co.,
The Elkhorn Land and Town Lot Co.
1,880,000 Acres of Land,

As fertile and desirable as any in America, at $8 to $10 per Acre on time or for Cash.

For full information apply to
W. W. WALKER, Vice President,


The lands belonging to these Companies are located in Iowa and Eastern Nebraska, on both sides of the 42nd parallel of latitude, and all of them are south of the 43rd parallel. They are in the same latitude as Connecticut, Northern Pennsylvania, Southern and Central New York; Southern Michigan, and Northern Indiana. The larger portion of them are in the valleys of the Missouri River and its tributaries, and none of them are far distant from the various lines of Rail Road, in the construction of which they were given to aid.


The Title to all the lands offered for sale is perfect, and comes direct from the United States and the States of Iowa and Nebraska, and full warrantee deeds are given.

Surface and Soil

The surface of the country, excepting the bottom lands along the rivers, is always undulating or rolling, but the general elevation is quite uniform, and nowhere very high—the highest uplands and divides being only from 400 to 500 feet above the valley of the Missouri. The soil is generally a rich black loam and vegetable mould, with a subsoil of cIay, and is but little affected either by long drought or continued wet weather.


The climate is healthful and bracing. The springs are generally earlier, and the falls later, and clear, cloudless days are more numerous than in the same latitudes on the Atlantic coast. The air is pure and dry, and there is much less liability to fevers and malarious diseases than in most new countries.


The principal productions of these States are corn, wheat, rye, oats, barley, flax, sorgo, and potatoes. The corn crop of Iowa in 1870 amounted to over 78,500,000 bushels. Spring wheat is the principal kind of wheat raised, and several of the varieties are of so fine a quality that the flour is nearly or quite equal to that of winter wheat. The soil and climate are adapted to almost every variety of productions grown in the temperate zone. Iowa, in 1870, ranked as the second wheat State and the third corn State in the Union.


As fruit-raising States, Iowa and Nebraska are destined to take the front rank. No finer or more perfect apples grow in any country. Plums, cherries, currants, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, grapes, and all kinds of berries and small fruits grow with but little care and in great perfection.


Iowa and Nebraska are eminently adapted to stock-raising. Cattle, mules, horses, sheep, and hogs thrive remarkably well, and seem to be nearly exempt from all contagious and epidemic diseases. The unfenced rolling prairies furnish free pasturage for millions; and hay for the winter can be cut from the free meadows, and put in the stack at a cost of $1.50 to $2.00 per ton.

In many places, and particularly along the streams emptying into the Missouri, a grass known as the "blue joint" grows in great luxuriance, and for hay it is considered by many as equal to timothy. In the Missouri valley, thousands of cattle winter upon the wild pea vine and the scouring rushes, without ever receiving a mouthful of feed except what they gather themselves.

The winters are generally very dry--without much snow, with little or no rain or mud, and, in these respects, more favorable for stock than any country east of the Mississippi River. The numerous little streams of pure running water, everywhere to be found in the rolling prairies, leave nothing to be desired for the success of this business.


Timber is found along nearly every stream of any size, and upland groves are occasionally found on the prairies. All kinds of oak, and of elm, cottonwood, black walnut, butternut, locust, hackberry, mulberry, hard and soft maple, and coffee bean, are the principal kinds of timber.

During the past winter, the price of wood in the counties where these Companies' lands are situated, has ranged from $2.50 to $7.00 per cord, delivered, according to quality and locality. Pine lumber for building and fencing is obtained in great abundance from all the towns on the Mississippi River and from Chicago, and is delivered in the interior and western part of Iowa and in Nebraska, at lower prices than it costs in most parts of the Eastern States.

All kinds of timber grow with wonderful rapidity. Probably the entire country would have become a dense forest had not the young trees been destroyed by the annual fires which have swept the prairies for centuries past. As the country settles, and the ravages of the fires are thereby stopped, trees spring up wherever the seeds lodge in the ground.


The coal field of Iowa extends over about one-third of the State. The coal is bituminous, and bums freely with a heavy blaze. The price ranges from $3.00 to $7.00 per ton, according to the distance from the mines.


Iowa was admitted into the Union as a State in 1846, Nebraska in 1867. The following figures tell the brief story of their growth and development since those dates.
Year               Iowa Population                   Nebraska Population
1846............      97,088................................        —                      
1850............    191,982................................        —
1860............    674,913................................    28,841
1870............ 1,181,359................................  123,000
Iowa now has 2,683 miles of completed Rail Road, and Nebraska 654 miles. Iowa had none in 1854, and Nebraska none in 1864.


Those who buy now can secure the choicest lands in Iowa and Nebraska.

All who think of investing in land should bear in mind that the fertile farming lands of the United States are being rapidly absorbed. It is not possible that lands of the same quality, and having the same advantages of location, can ever be lower in price than the lands offered for sale by these Companies.

They are in most desirable States. They are near Rail Roads, telegraphs, post-offices, schools, and churches. They are in a civilized and comparatively well-settled country. Farmers here have the choice of an Eastern, Southern, and Western market. A large portion of the supplies for the Western mining regions, now that the Pacific Rail Road is done, go from Western Iowa and Nebraska.


The lands offered for sale by these Companies vary in price from three to ten dollars per acre. A few tracts nearer stations are held at still higher figures. By going farther from the stations, as good land as can be had in the West maybe obtained at from six to eight dollars per acre. The Companies have large tracts of good land at four to six dollars per acre. The distance from the Rail Road to these lands varies from six to twenty miles.

The price of timber land varies much according to location and quality, from fifteen to forty dollars per acre.


These lands are offered for sale on time or for cash, to suit purchasers.

The Companies have adopted three terms of selling their lands, viz.: Cash, short time, and long time. On short time, the purchaser pays one quarter cash, the balance in one, two, and three annual payments at six per cent, per annum interest, payable annually in advance.

A purchaser’s account would stand as follows, supposing he contracted for forty acres of land at five dollars per acre, on January 1st, 1871.

Jan. 1st., 1871 Cash Payment $50 Interest on Balance $9 Total $59.00
Jan. 1st., 1872 Principal Payment $50 Interest on Balance $6 Total $56.00
Jan. 1st., 1873 Principal Payment $50 Interest on Balance $3 Total $53.00
Jan. 1st., 1874 Principal Payment $50   Total $50.00
    Total $218.00

On the cash plan, the Companies deduct ten per cent from the regular price, and require the whole amount paid down. On this plan the above land could be bought for $180, cash in hand.

On the long time plan the purchaser pays two years' interest on the purchase money, at ten per cent. per annum, at the time of purchase, and nothing more until the end of two years, when he pays one quarter of the principal, and the balance in one, two, and three years, at ten percent. per annum interest, payable annually in advance.

A purchaser’s account on the long time plan would stand as follows, supposing he contracted for forty acres of land at five dollars per acre, on Jan. 1st, 1871:

Date of Payments Interest Payment Principal Payment Total
Jan. 1st, 1871 $40.00 -- $40.00
Jan. 1st, 1872 -- -- --
Jan. 1st, 1813 15.00 50.00 65.00
Jan. 1st, 1874 10.00 50.00 60.00
Jan. 1st, 1875 5.00 50.00 55.00
Jan. 1st, 1876 -- 50.00 50.00
    Total $270.00

By special agreement these terms will be varied In particular cases to suit the convenience of purchasers, on application at the Cedar Rapids office.


These Companies own in Iowa several nearly unbroken bodies of land, embracing from 6,000 to 50,000 acres. We are thus enabled to offer inducements to colonies, which no other Companies can offer. A colony buying land elsewhere, must either allow outsiders to own one-half the land in its midst, or else take its chance of buying up this half of those who happen to own it, at whatever prices they happen to ask.

While speaking of colonies, we will add that the very best way to come West is for a few families of tried and true friends to come together. Then, if occasion requires, they can be of mutual assistance to each other, their wives and children are society for each other, and there is very little danger of suffering from either loneliness or homesickness.

How to Reach the Lands

If you are anywhere east of the State of Wisconsin or Illinois, come via Chicago, and buy your rail road tickets to Chicago, and no farther. In Chicago go to the Companies' Branch Office, No.1 La Salle Street, corner South Water Street (up stairs). There our Agent will give you information in regard to the land, prices, etc., and also full directions what Depot to go to, and what trains to take, and will also sell you a


which will take you to any of the various Rail Road Stations where the lands are situated, and also be

Received as Cash by the Land Companies

at any time within 30 days, on your first payment for 80 acres or more, or as half cash for 40 acres. In this way you will


Exploration tickets are also sold at the Office of the Companies at Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

Copies of this Map sent to any Address, on receipt of Twenty Cents.

Pamphlets and also maps showing the lands in any county sent free.

Any further information will be freely furnished, either at our Chicago office, No. 1 La Salle Street, or on application, either in person or by letter, to

W.W. Walker, Vice-President,
Cedar Rapids, Iowa.


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