Search billions of records on


The City of Wautoma is now the County Seat (although Sacramento was originally) and is situated almost centrally in the County. It is also known as the Christmas Tree Capital of the World.

According to an article in the Wautoma Journal, dated 15 May 1858, the area was first organized in April 1851.

The article states that Jabez Nelson Rogers, Charles Shumway and John Shumway began manufacturing lumber in the area in 1849. The three owned the town and originally called it Shumway Mills. When Mr. Rogers made out the application for a post office, he chose the name of Wautoma.

Another history of the area informs us that the first known white settlers arrived in the fall of 1848. They were William and Isaac Warwick, brothers who served in the Mexican War. Their claim was made on a piece of property in the township of Marion.

It is also said that Phillip Green had settled at the site of Wautoma during the winter of 1848 and built a shanty there. He later sold his claim to George Atkins and built the first tavern where the hotel stands today.

Phineas Walker came to the Wautoma settlement in 1851. He was a man of importance in those early days as a money lender (before the days of banks).

In 1955, the city put up a marker which states that John Shumway bought out Atkins and built the Wautoma Hotel. The Shumways eventually sold the entire area to William Everard in 1854.

In 1859, businesses in Wautoma included as cabinet shop, a sawmill and gristmill, a cooperage, two hotels, a hardware store, blacksmith and carriage shop, a meat market, two doctors and a drug store and four lawyers as well as liveries and stage barns located at each of the hotels.

By 1860 a bank was opened and another blacksmith was operating. A fire in April of 1901 nearly destroyed the village, leaving only the early Argus Newspaper and the old grist mill.

Wautoma was incorporated as a village in 1901 and became a city in 1940.

There are many theories surrounding the meaning of the name but the most common is that Wautoma means "Good Land."