View From The Attic
27 October 2008
by Evelyn Birkby
Migration Into Southwest Iowa
Learning about the way people migrated into southwest Iowa is
interesting for our heritage is varied and exciting.
Last week the View covered the prehistoric stages of this land, and
the earliest settlement, the French village, started in the early
1830s by the mountain men, fur trappers and their Native American
wives. The Plains Indians were the Native Americans who came and
went with the seasons but not until the treaty of Illinois in 1833
did this area have any permanent native residents. That was the
year Chief Waubonsie of the Pottawatomie tribe settled with 300 of
his people near Tabor. Sub Chief Sha-tee settled his group of 150 in
Lacy Grove about five miles north of Sidney, and later lived in and
around where Waubonsie State Park is now located. Members of the
tribe were moved to reservations in Kansas and Nebraska so white
folks could legally take up residence on their land in Iowa.
In 1834 a German, Joe Brenard, ran a ferry at Hamburg Landing.
Later, Augustus Borchers, an immigrant from Germany, opened a store
at the foot of the bluffs at what is now the west end of Hamburg.
His store served settlers, Native Americans, and wagon trains filled
with immigrants who passed through in large numbers.
In 1836, Major Stephen Cooper, sent by the government as an
agriculture agent to work with the Pawnee Indians, settled at Big
Springs just south of Knox. Soon stage coach lines were running near
Cooperís home as passengers and freight were carried between St.
Joseph and Kanesville along the Bluff Road.
In 1840, the McKissick brothers settled in an area east of present
day Hamburg which became known as McKissicks Grove. For a time the
land was in Missouri, then, in 1848 surveyors moved the Missouri
line south and Mckissicks Grove became part of Iowa.
Religion played a part in early southwest Iowa. In the
1830s Catholic priests were serving the people of the French
Village east of Hamburg. By the 1840s, Methodist circuit riders were
galloping through, stopping in homes and organizing class meetings.
A little later they were exhorting at Lacy Grove camp meetings.
As mentioned last week, Civil Bend--Percival--was settled in the
early 1840s by Congregationalist from Ohio who were strong
abolitionist. In 1842 they moved to Tabor due to unhealthy climate
in the lowlands of the Missouri River.
Blacks came into the county via the underground railroad from
Nebraska through Percival and up to Tabor. When M. U. Payne
arrived in Hamburg in 1859, he brought with him as free people his
African American workers,
In 1846 the Mormonís, who by this time had arrived in Kanesville--present
day Council Bluffs--raised a battalion of some 550 young men who,
along with their support group of several families riding in covered
wagons and driving cattle to help feed the men, came marching down
the Bluff Road. A number of the cattle got away and ran up into the
bluffs where the women found them in a lovely valley. Several
decided to stay and let the battalion go on. This event started what
became the town of Thurman.
Manti was settled in 1851-2 by Adelpheus Cutler and his followers
when he was excommunicated by the Mormons. The little settlement
thrived until the railroad came through several miles north. Manti
residents (literally) moved their homes and businesses in 1870
nearer the railroad to become the city of Shenandoah.
What an exciting time in our history this was.
contact Evelyn at www.evelynbirkby.com