Carroll County was organized in 1839, and was named for Charles Carroll, a wealthy landowner and politician from Maryland. He was one of the men who signed the Declaration of Independence, and incidentally, was the last of the signers to die. The honor of naming the County was bestowed upon Isaac Chambers, the first settler in the County. Since Charles Carroll was one of the political heroes of the day, and since many settlers were originally from Maryland, Mr. Chambers decided to name the County after him.
Savanna was the largest community (and still is) in the County so they wanted very much to have the county seat in their town. During the 1800’s it was quite an honor for a town to be voted county seat. So in 1839 there was a vote taken and Savanna won by 41 votes. In the next four years there was much quibbling over boundaries and so forth, and so in 1843 another vote was taken and Mt. Carroll became the County seat and that is how it has remained ever since. The courthouse consists of 66 full time employees, 35 part time employees and 15 board members.
Carroll County has many waterways and in the 1800’s they were used to float timber down to the mills for processing. The land is very rolling and quite pretty.
We can boast one lovely state park in the County. It is Palisades Park, located in Savanna, and the view from the limestone bluffs overlooking the Mississippi River is very picturesque.
The County has two railroads at present - the Burlington Northern and I C & E rail link. There was a train robbery within the County in 1902. The train was heading north out of Savanna and was flagged down by a man with a lantern. When the Conductor saw that the switch was partly open he realized the train was about to be robbed. Three masked men took the crew captive and blew open the safe. They escaped with the money and sent the train on its way so as to confuse the people who would be in pursuit. One of the robbers was injured in the fight and was killed (shot) by one of the other robbers because he was unable to travel. The other two men got in a boat and headed for Iowa where they hid the loot and went on. They were later captured and confessed.
At the present time there are three school districts in the county. There are several homes for the aged.
Although this may seem like a strange fact, Carroll County has only one stop light. It is located in Savanna.