Fremont County, Iowa

McKissick’s Grove

McKissick’s Grove is located in southwest Madison Township, Fremont County, Iowa “three miles east of Hamburg ”. History

McKissick Grove, also known as McKissick’s Grove, is described as “an LDS encampment,”  although the settlement was not founded by Latter-day Saints. Long before there was a Mormon presence in the region, Cornelius Washington McKissick and his wife, Hannah, left Clay County Missouri to start a new life in the wilderness. He built his house and farm in what would become McKissick Grove in 1840 and planted the first orchard in Fremont County.  By the end of that year his two brothers, Jacob and John, had joined them, along with David M. English and his family.

In 1841, more McKissick siblings came to the Grove. Daniel and William Kent McKissick, and their sister Jane Ann Fletcher and her husband Moses Fletcher moved to McKissick Grove. James Cornelius and Thomas Farmer also arrived this year at the Grove.

When the Mormons came to the Middle Missouri Valley in 1846, some settled in the already established McKissick Grove. James L Thompson and Clark and Dexter Stillman, who marched with the Mormon Battalion, were some of those that settled there. James L Thompson left for the Salt Lake Valley in the Isaac Bullock Company in 1852, and the Stillman brothers ended up joining the Cutlerites. In 1844 a stage coach route was added from St. Joseph, Missouri to Council bluffs, Iowa, which passed just south of Cornelius’ property. Thomas Farmer built a stage station there, and the post office was added to that building. His son-in-law, JT Davis, built on to the station and added a store.

“The first term of the District Court was held in 1850 by Judge William McKay in a log cabin at McKissick’s Grove.”

Jacob McKissick ran a lumber mill and a meat packing plant there in the Grove for some time. The meat packing plant failed because the heat of the summer months would make the meat go bad too quickly. He was also the Post Master. The post office in McKissick Grove lasted from 1851-1869.

In 1851 there was a man by the name of Benjamin Rector from Fremont County who declared that the citizens of that county would not uphold a Mormon judge, if one were to be elected. In response to this, many citizens of Fremont County who did not agree with this statement wrote a letter to the citizens of Pottawattamie County, explaining that Mr. Rector was not authorized to make that claim on behalf on the whole county, and that they would, in fact, uphold the appointment of a Mormon judge, if one were to be elected. Many prominent men from McKissick Grove signed this letter, including Jacob, Cornelius, and Daniel McKissick, as well as Thomas Farmer and David M English.

In 1851, a directory containing “the name, post office, county and state of every lawyer in the United States” lists two men under the McKissick Grove Post Office, Christopher P. Brown and Emanuel S. Jones. Mr. Brown is also mentioned as a candidate for the judgeship of the Sixth Judicial District in Iowa.

 In 1861, William McKissick led a wagon company through Salt Lake City to California. According to the LDS website, “most were non-Mormons,” indicating that some were, in fact, Mormons. However, the train did not depart from McKissick Grove; therefore we cannot know for sure whether or not those in the train were from McKissick Grove, as William McKissick was, or from a neighboring settlement. For a complete list of those who traveled in this train, see footnote.

The Mount Olive Cemetery is the closest local cemetery. Many of those who lived in McKissick Grove, including many original settlers, are buried there. It was originally called McKissick’s Cemetery, then Farmer’s Cemetery (Thomas Farmer owned the land it was on), and finally Mt. Olive Cemetery.  The cemetery still stands today, and a list of names of those buried there can be found on its website.  Alva Calkins and his family are burried in this cemetery. Alva served in the Mormon Battalion and afterwards came back to Iowa. However, it appears by all accounts that they resided in Hamburg, not McKissick Grove, despite the location of his resting place.

Source: Used with permission of Brigham Young University, Winter Quarters Project.

Known Residents:
The following list shows the residents and also the date when they, or if unborn, their parents came to dwell in McKissick Grove, if it is known. It is in alphabetical order by last name, not chronological. Parents are listed first followed by children (if any). Not all are LDS.

  • ALLEN, James, built his cabin on the farm of Jacob McKissick
  • BARBER, William, east of McKissick Grove
  • BETHERDS, Mary—Rebecca, James, Mary, Francis Marion, Sampson
  • BROWN, Christopher P and Frances, at least by 1851
  • BRUNO, Anthony and Lydia Elizabeth, LDS, 1845—Anthony Jr., Isaac, Clara, Josetta,
                George H., Willie, John, Isadore, Fred, Robert D., Warren
  • CALAWAY, George
  • CANSLER, Willam and Stacy—Missouri, Susan, Ongel, Serrel
  • COOPER, John
  • CORNELIUS, James, 1841
  • COWLES, Chauncey and Maria, 1843—Sarah, Delia, Henry, Charles, Harvey
  • COWLES, Giles
  • COWLES, Charles
  • COWLES, Uriel B and Mary Jane—Emeline
  • COWLES, Mary Jane
  • COWLES, Harvey
  • EBERMAN, Margaret—Nancy, Elizaneth, Eliza Ann
  • ENGLISH, David M and Eliza, 1840—Joseph, John
  • DAVIS, James “J. T.” and Elizabeth-son in law and daughter of Thomas Farmer—Rosa,
                William, Sarah, Mary, Martha, Delilah
  • FARMER, Thomas and Mary, 1841—William, John, Nancy, Margaret, George, Ann, Cynthia,
                James, Caroline
  • FLETCHER, Moses and Jane Ann, 1841—Jonathon L, Jacob M
  • FREEMAN, Mrs. M., died 1845
  • FUGITT, Townsend and Eliza A, Henry
  • FUGITT, Cline and Elizabeth
  • JONES, Emanuel S, at least by 1851
  • LAMBERT, George
  • LIVERMORE, Peter and Julia—Peter, Henry
  • MCKISSICK, Cornelius and Hanna, founded McKissick Grove in 1840—Martha, Alexander, John
  • MCKISSICK, Jacob, 1840—Nancy, Mahalia
  • MCKISSICK, John “Pink” Pinckeny, 1840
  • MCKISSICK, Daniel and Melissa, 1841—John, Hannah, Lavisa
  • MCKISSICK, William Kent and Martha Ann, LDS, 1841
  • PERMAN, Nancy—Ellen, Mary Ann, Lucinda, Giles, James
  • POOL, George and Kate—Felix, John, Thomas, William, Cancy, Maria
  • RICHARDS, Milton and Jane—Elizabeth, Frances, Julian, Mary, Edward, Augustus
  • REEL, Moses and Cynthia, 1845
  • SCOTT, Windfield and Elizabeth
  • SKIDMORE, M K and Elizabeth, LDS—Sarah
  • STILLMAN, Clark -LDS; Marched with the Mormon Battalion; applied for a duplicate land warrant
                at McKissick Grove, Iowa; joined the Cutlerites.
  • STILLMAN, Dexter -LDS; High priest; endowed in the Nauvoo Temple on 22 December 1845;
                of McKissick Grove, Iowa; applied for a duplicate land warrant; marched with the Mormon Battalion;
                joined the Cutlerites.
  • THOMPSON, James L -LDS; Seventy; endowed in Nauvoo Temple on 9 January 1846; of McKissick Grove, Iowa;
                applied for a land warrant; marched with the Mormon Battalion; journeyed to the Salt Lake Valley
                in the Isaac Bullock Company in 1852.
  • TUCKER, William and Nancy—Rebecca, James, William, John, Pleasant
  • WATTS, Nancy G—Louraney, Nancy, Mary, John, Allen
  • WILLIAMS, Thaddeus and Rebecca—Elizabeth

    Source: Used with permission of Brigham Young University and the Winter Quarters Project

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    Page updated on March 28, 2018 by Karyn Techau

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