Source: Osceola Centennial Issue 1851-1951, section 5, page 1.

First Route of Travel in County

Started Westward Trek in Spring of '47; Pioneers Followed Route

The first road, or trail, across Clarke county was the one made by the Mormons in their flight from Nauvoo. The Mormons camped on the west bank of the Mississippi during the winter of 1846-47 and started their trek westward early in the spring of '47. A camp was established at Garden Grove (Decatur county) and another at Pisgah in the eastern part of Union county, about two miles north of the present town of Talmage.

A few wagons became lost and stopped in the center of Green Bay township, naming their stopping place "Lost Camp." The hundreds of Mormon wagons and their herds of live stock soon cut deep trails in the soggy prairie sod. So this first road became known as the Mormon Trace and is still known as such. Markers in various parts of the county show where this route ran.

The route entered the county in Franklin township and angled west and north to Pisgah. It was along this trace that the pioneer settlers came in the late 1840's and early 50's. It was because of this that the south half of the county saw the first settlers.

Not until nearly 20 years after the first permanent settlers arrived in the county, was the mode of transportaion changed. Thru those years big freighters, some drawn by horses, others by oxen, plied the roads east for supplies of food, raiment and machinery. From the 'trace' came other trails across the prairie, leading to the various homesteads and later to the tiny settlements that sprang up here and there. These trails followed the ridges so as to avoid as many hills as possible and to keep on well drained ground that would present a minimum of trouble in wet weather. With the surveyng of the various townships, the custom of ridge roads was largely abandoned and the routes laid out roughly on section lines, regardless of terrain. Fences of the settlers enforced the use of these new roads much to the disgust of "old timers' who had laid out the high roads and were loath to give them up.

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