Henry Anson was the first European settler in what is now called Marshalltown. In April 1851, Anson found what he described as “the prettiest place in Iowa.” On a high point between the Iowa River and Linn Creek, Anson built a log cabin. A plaque at 112 West Main Street marks the site of the cabin. In 1853 Anson named the town Marshall, after Marshall, Michigan, a former residence of his.
The town became Marshalltown in 1862 because another Marshall already existed in Henry County, Iowa (In 1880, Marshall’s name changed to Wayland). With the help of Potawatomi chief Johnny Green, Anson persuaded early settlers to stay in the area. In the mid-1850s, Anson donated land for a county courthouse. Residents donated money for the building’s construction. In 1863 the title of county seat transferred from the village of Marietta to Marshalltown. The young town began growing. By 1900, Marshalltown had 10,000 residents. Many industries began developing in Marshalltown, like Fisher Controls, Lennox International and Marshalltown Company.