IA-NE-PIONEERTRAILS-L ArchivesArchiver > IA-NE-PIONEERTRAILS > 2000-10 > 0972846840
From: Sandy Wilbur <>
Subject: Re: Wagon trains from Iowa
Date: Sun, 29 Oct 2000 11:14:00 -0800
Ed Bassler asked me if I had any info on the trails bringing people to
IA and NE from the east. Here are two references you may find interesting.
R. D. Peterson (1975), History of New London, Iowa. New London Journal
(New London, IA).
Pp.22,23,25,26 - how various families got to Iowa - Roberts' family
by boat down the Ohio and up the Mississippi to Burlington; Wilfords
built a raft, floated down the Kentucky River to the Ohio, on the Ohio
to Louisville, then took a steamboat to St. Louis; Burges came from Ohio
by wagon; Andrews family came from OH by wagon to St. Louis, then by
river steamboat to Carthage, Illinois.
Page 26 - How did the pioneers reach Iowa? As we have noted,
families came by wagon or by boat. Rivers provided an easier way than
coming by land. Many of the early settlers of New London came down the
Ohio River, then up the Mississippi, or by sea to New Orleans and then
up the Mississippi by river boat.
The rapids about Keokuk would explain why so many of the early
settlers in the New London area came as far as Keokuk by river boat and
then crossed Lee County by wagon. At first there was no road to link
Lowell with the infant village of New London. Lowells trail to the
north followed the river up to the village of Baltimore.
C. Hixon (1970), Migration trails. Hawkeye Heritage 5(3):107-110
This is a discussion of how early settlers got to and from Iowa.
Charlene Hixon developed the article from comments made at a 1969
genealogy workshop by Lida Greene, Librarian, Dept. of History and
Archives, Des Moines, IA.
At the close of the Black Hawk War in 1832, with the signing of a treaty
between the U. S. Government and the Sauk and Fox Indians, Iowa was open
to settlement by Europeans. The open area, the Black Hawk Purchase, was
a strip of land west from the Mississippi River for about 50 miles. No
settlers were allowed to cross the Mississippi until 1 Jun 1833. Iowa
became a territory on 4 Jul 1838, and achieved statehood 28 Dec 1846.
Early routes to Iowa -
(1) Via the Great Lakes to Green Bay, WI, across a portage to the Fox
River, down the Fox to the Mississippi; alternate route was to
Milwaukee, across to the Wisconsin River, and down to the Mississippi.
(2) Ohio River from Wheeling, WV, or other embarkation points, by
flatboat down stream to the Mississippi, then back upstream to Iowa.
(3) Up the Mississippi River by packet boat from New Orleans. "For
the 1850's on, there was continuous packet service from Dubuque to New
Orleans, then to New York and on to Europe -- both ways."
(4) Cumberland Road, from Fort Cumberland in MD; into PA on
Braddock's Trail; into Philadelphia and on to Pittsburgh; to Wheeling;
across southern OH to Indianapolis; to mid-Illinois, where settlers
headed west to IA as the Cumberland Road dipped down to St. Louis.
Between 1833 and 1836, only 3 known ferries across the Mississippi into
IA - at Dubuque, Buffalo (near present day Clinton), and at Burlington..
Early trails across Iowa -
(1) Chemin des Voyageurs, route of the fur traders - began at the
mouth of the Wisconsin River, across WI, and to the Sioux Rivers -
well-marked trade route between trappers and Sioux tribes.
(2) Early military (Dragoon) road from Fort Crawford (Prairie du
Chien, WI) to Dubuque to Iowa City and into the Keosauqua area; across
MO to Fort Leavenworth.
(3) Military road from Burlington to Agency, Indian Territory (now
(4) Mormon Trace established 1846, used extensively through 1852 -
crossed the Mississippi near Montrose (across from Nauvoo, IL), across
southern IA via Farmington, Bonaparte, Richardson's Point (Davis Co.),
Chariton River (Appanoose Co.), Locust Creek (Wayne Co.), Garden Grove,
Mt. Pisgah, Campbell's Grove, and Kanesville (now Council Bluffs).
(5) Gold Rush routes -
-[note: supplies were often sent down the Mississippi and up the
Missouri to St. Joseph, while the goldseekers went overland] Fredonia
(Louisa Co.), Brighton (Washington Co.), Iowaville, Collins Ferry across
the Chariton, Gay's Mill on the Grand River in MO, Rochester, and St. Joseph.
-Council Bluffs route: Iowa City, Trading House (25 miles west),
Snooks's grove (24 miles), Newton, Fort Des Moin es, Brown's Ford, Happy
Grove, Marvin's Grove, Tucker's Grove, etc., to either Kanesville or
Trader's Point (near Nebraska City).
Edwin J Bassler wrote:
> Do you have any information as to the trails which were used by those going
> to Iowa and Nebraska from the east, e.g. Pennsylvania, in the period
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Sandy Wilbur" <>
> To: <>
> Sent: Wednesday, October 25, 2000 10:52 PM
> Subject: Wagon trains from Iowa
> > Some of you may be interested in the several pages on my website that
> > relate to wagon trains from Iowa to California and Oregon in 1849, 1852
> > and 1853. The pages can be accessed through\
> > http://www.netcom.com/~symbios/wagntrn.html
> > Sandy Wilbur
> > Gresham, OR
> > ==============================
> > Shop Ancestry - Everything you need to Discover, Preserve & Celebrate
> > your heritage!
> > http://shop.myfamily.com/ancestrycatalog