In the northern part of Indiana Township, about nine miles southeast of Knoxville, is the little town of Attica,
one of the old towns of the county. It was laid out by Stanford Doud, county surveyor, on May 16, 1847, for James
Barker and Nathaniel and Rhoda Cockelreas. The plat was filed in the office of the county recorder on June 7, 1847,
under the name of "Barkersville." It shows eight blocks of four lots each. The streets running north
and south are Orange, Main and Poplar, and those running east and west are North, High and South. James Barker,
after whom the town was named, erected the first house, a one story brick, and was the first merchant and the first
On December 28, 1852, Governor Hempstead approved an act of the Iowa Legislature entitled "An act to change
the name of Barkersville in Marion County to Attica." It is said that this action was taken in response to
a petition of some of the citizens of the town, who considered Mr. Barker's conduct in his attachment for another
man's wife a public disgrace. About this time Barker sold his store to B. F. Williams, who also became postmaster.
The first hotel in the town was opened by a German named Michael Himmelhaver, who charged ten cents per meal. Evidently
the "high cost of living," of which so much has been said in the public press in recent years, did not
prevail in Himmelhaver's time. Hessy May taught the first school and the first mail was carried from Knoxville
by M. M. Marks wrapped up in his pocket handkerchief. Among the early industries was the manufacture of pottery,
the clay for which was obtained from the farm of William Sharon near the town.
Polk's Iowa Gazetteer for 1914 gives the principal business concerns of Attica as three general stores, a hotel
and the postoffice, and the population as 125. No railroad ever came near the town, the nearest stations being
Knoxville and Bussey, on the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy.
History of Marion County, Iowa
And its People
John W. Wright, Supervising Editor
W. A. Young, Associate
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co.
Also see -Towns and villages with links
City of Knoxville
City of Pella
Marion County, IA
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