Darby was near an old Indian trail and campground about four miles west of Moscow in central Polk County. The area was settled by Europeans before the Civil War; among the early settlers was an Irish family named Criswell, who arrived in 1835. The community was eventually named for Augustus Darby, a slaveowner who moved to the area during the 1850s. It is unique among Polk County settlements, as many of its early residents were from Ireland and Germany. Darby had a Catholic church and became a leather-tanning center for local hunters. A school was also established there. Residents formed the Darby Farmers Alliance, which met from at least 1886 to 1890. Darby was still a rural community during the 1930s, and in the 1940s it had the only Catholic cemetery in the county. Maps from the 1980s do not show the settlement.
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