O'Brien County, IA

County in Northwest IA

O’Brien County is uniform in shape, a perfect square, 24 miles each way. 16 townships of thirty-six square miles. Three rivers, the Floyd, Little Sioux and Ocheydan. Smaller streams are Mill Creek and the Waterman Creek. The County was named by the Iowa Legislature. It is named for an Irish Patriot, William Smith O’Brien.

O’Brien County was without a settler until the spring of 1856 when Hannibal H. Waterman, his wife Hannah H. Waterman and their child, Emily landed in O’Brien County with two yoke of oxen and a small amount of household goods. Mr. Waterman exercised his right as a squatter by filing a claim at the government land office in Sioux City and settled on what became known as The Waterman Place, the northeast one-fourth of Section 26 of what is now Waterman Township. It is an area five miles northwest of Peterson. The next year the first white child born in O’Brien County was the Waterman’s daughter, Anna, born May 30, 1857.

In 1872 an election was held to determine if a permanent location for the courthouse should be set up. To get the courthouse out of the hands of the gangs, it was decided that it should be moved to a 40 acre tract in the exact center of the county which later became Primghar. The courthouse from Waterman Township was then moved to Primghar on the north side of the square.

In 1874, a courthouse was built on the present location at a cost of $2,000. This building was about 35 feet square.

In 1887, the board decided to build a new courthouse for a total cost of $5,000 which was the highest amount the board was allowed to appropriate at that time. The actual cost was $6,000, so the good people of Primghar signed written agreements to haul the material without cost to the county from the railroad stations at Sanborn or Paullina.

On November 3, 1914 a special election was held to vote on building a new courthouse. The cost was $160,000 and it was completed and occupied in April 1917. This is the same court-house that is in in use today.

Sponsors of O'Brien County, IA


Since the founding of our communities, organizations, businesses and citizens have stepped forward to build and serve their community. Click on any of the logos below to learn about those who made this website possible! If you would like to learn about becoming a sponsor CLICK HERE!

Towns of O'Brien County, IA


The small towns of the Midwest are rich in history and a great way of life! Below you can visit and learn about the small towns we call home! Towns that have their name highlighted have become FEATURED TOWNS. Businesses/organizations from these towns have stepped forward as SPONSORS enabling us to include (or will include as acquired) stories and website links to ALL their community organizations (chambers, groups and departments, etc.), stories and website links to ALL their points of interest, annual festivals/events and stories done about their citizens, veterans and faith community. To learn how to become a featured town CLICK HERE!

Community Organizations of O'Brien County, IA


Small towns and rural communities throughout the Midwest are looking for ways to strengthen their economies, provide better quality of life, and build on local assets. Here you will find the organizations that stabilize, preserve, and revitalize the small towns and rural areas alike. To submit your organization to be included on your town and county page CLICK HERE!

Events of O'Brien County, IA


The small towns of the Midwest have long shared pride in their communities through festivals and events! Citizens from each community, working together, continue to offer entertainment options that not only appeal to their citizens, but visitors to their community! Below you will find festivals and events you are sure to want to attend! If you would like to have (DST) include an annual festival or event on your town and county page CLICK HERE!

Faith Communities of O'Brien County, IA


Throughout the years faith organizations have not only been an essential part of a town's religious life, but its community life. Below you will find stories about these organizations, If you would like to induct a faith organization to be added to your town and county page CLICK HERE!

Points of Interest of O'Brien County, IA


The communities of the Midwest have a lifestyle unique to their region — rich in history and points of interest like no other! Below you will find points of interest you are sure to want to visit! To nominate a landmark, historic location, museum, etc. as a point of interest on your county and region page CLICK HERE!

Citizens of O'Brien County, IA


The citizens from our towns for generations have exhibited a pride in community and a enterprising spirit! Click on any of the citizens below to learn more about them. To nominate a citizen to be added to your town and county page CLICK HERE!

Veterans of O'Brien County, IA


Veterans come from many walks of life and whether a veteran has severed two decades ago or two days ago, they have made our freedoms possible. Below you will find stories about many who have served. If you would like to nominate a veteran to be included on your town and county page CLICK HERE!