Rockingham Township, Iowa

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Rockingham Township
Map of the old Town of Rockingham, laid out by Adrian H. Davenport & J.H. Sullivan in 1835
Map of the old Town of Rockingham, laid out by Adrian H. Davenport & J.H. Sullivan in 1835
Coordinates: 41°28′57″N 090°38′00″W / 41.48250°N 90.63333°W / 41.48250; -90.63333
Country  United States
State  Iowa
County Scott
Elevation 168 m (551 ft)

Rockingham Township is a former civil township in Iowa which was laid out in 1836 in Section 8 of Scott County, Iowa, United States, about four miles below the business section of Davenport. The first government surveyors of 1837 note the existence of a town named Rockingham. It was a rival of its eastern neighbor, Davenport, for several years and contested for the county seat.[1]

The 11 sq mi (28 km2) of the Township were annexed by, and became a part of, the City of Davenport on January 22, 1958.[2]


The voters of Scott County were responsible for choosing the county seat in the election of 1838. The newly incorporated city of Rockingham, along with neighboring Davenport, were the competitors. After Davenport had seemingly won, cries of fraud were raised following the election, so another election was held in August. This time Davenport, Rockingham and Winfield (Scott) were the competitors. Davenport, however, offered more land, buildings and cash donations than the other two towns and eventually won by default. [3]

The Rockingham Post Office was opened March 11, 1837 and discontinued December 16, 1847 (the same year that the town itself ceased to exist).[1][4]

County seat dilemma[edit]

In 1837, shortly after Scott County was formed Rockingham, and rival neighbor Davenport both campaigned to become the county seat. As stated by the Iowa Territory, the city with the most votes at the February 1838 election, would become the county seat.[5] On the eve of the election, Davenporters secured the temporary service of Dubuque laborers so that they could vote in the election. Davenport won the election. Rockingham supporters however, did not like this. They protested the elections to the territorial Governor. The Governor of the territory refused to certify the results of the election. A second election was scheduled for the following August. To avoid another import of voters, the Governor set a sixty-day residency requirement. Both cities proved to be corrupt as the second election drew near. Davenport, was again the victor, by only two votes.[5] A third election was set by the Territorial Legislature for the summer of 1840. As the August election drew nearer, Rockinghamers grew tired of the county seat cause. Antoine LeClaire's $3,000 contribution, and the efforts of other Davenporters were difficult to challenge. Davenport easily won the third election. To ensure the question of county seat would not arise again, Davenport built the first county courthouse.[5]

Interesting information[edit]

Rockingham Township may have been annexed, but it is possible that a road in Southwest Davenport (the area where the former township once was) carries its name to this day: Rockingham Road.[6]


The former Township was located in what is now the far Southwestern portion of Davenport, in the "corner" of Interstate 280 and the Rock River.


Historical populations
Year Pop. ±%
1854 250 —    
1860 204 −18.4%
1870 281 +37.7%
1880 369 +31.3%
1890 201 −45.5%
1895 350 +74.1%
1900 403 +15.1%
1905 527 +30.8%
1910 833 +58.1%
1920 1,416 +70.0%
1930 343 −75.8%
1940 620 +80.8%
Source: ,[7][8][9][10][11][11][12][13][14][14][15][16]

See also[edit]

Flag of Iowa.svg Iowa portal


  1. ^ a b "Abandoned Towns, Villages and Post Offices in Scott County, Iowa". Scott County History. Retrieved 10 October 2012. 
  2. ^ "The Annexation Vote of 1957". Richardson-Sloane Special Collections. Retrieved 6 November 2012. 
  3. ^ "Scott County History". SCOTT COUNTY GOVERNMENT. Retrieved 24 September 2012. 
  4. ^ "Feature Detail Report for: Rockingham Post Office (historical)". USGS - Geographic Names Information System (GNIS). 
  5. ^ a b c Svendsen, p. 19
  6. ^ Booker, Ray. "Rockingham Road was likely named after township". Quad City Times. Retrieved 13 December 2013. 
  7. ^ "1854 State Census of Iowa - Scott County, All Townships". Scott County Iowa USGenWeb Project. Retrieved 31 October 2012. 
  8. ^ Labath, Cathy. "Scott, IA 1860 Federal Census". USGenWeb Census Project. Retrieved 31 October 2012. 
  9. ^ Labath, Cathy. "Scott, IA 1870 Federal Census". USGenWeb Census Project. Retrieved 31 October 2012. 
  10. ^ Hull, John Albert Tiffin. Census of Iowa for 1880. p. 682. Retrieved 7 August 2013. 
  11. ^ a b The Iowa Official Register, Volume 16. Retrieved 13 December 2013. 
  12. ^ "CENSUS: Iowa 1895, Scott, Rockingham Twp.". USGenWeb Archives Special Projects. Retrieved 2 October 2012. 
  13. ^ Labath, Cathy. "1905 State Census of Iowa, Scott County, Rockingham Township - Census Register". Scott County Iowa Genealogy. Retrieved 3 October 2012. 
  14. ^ a b Truesdell, Leon Edgar. "Fifteenth Census of the United States: 1930: Population". United States. Bureau of the Census. p. 383. Retrieved 7 August 2013. 
  15. ^ "Scott, IA 1930 Federal Census Extended Index". Scott Co, Iowa USGenWeb Project. Retrieved 24 September 2012. 
  16. ^ "1940 Census Enumeration District Descriptions - Iowa - Scott County". OPA - Online Public Access. Retrieved 30 October 2012. 

Book References[edit]

  • Huebinger, Melchior. Atlas of Scott County, Iowa. Davenport, Iowa: Huebinger Pub. Co, 1919. Print.
  • Huebinger, Melchior. Atlas of Scott County, Iowa: Containing Also Maps of the Three Cities Davenport, Rock Island, and Moline, Rock Island Arsenal, Rock Island Rapids and the Hennepin Canal. Davenport, Iowa: Huebinger Pub. Co, 1894. Print.
  • Svendsen, Marlys, "Davenport A Pictorial History", (1987) G. Bradley Publishing, INC, ISBN 0-940286-05-X

Further reading[edit]