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Abandoned Towns and Village 
Marion Township

Tuscarora, The Town That Wasn’t
The Ghostliest of Ghost Towns

It was the plan of the Perkins Brothers to establish a town on the farmland they owned in Marion Township, Lee County. They had dreams of a trading center and advertised lots for sale but there were no takers. A post office was established however, and Alexander Cruikshank was given the job of postmaster with pay of $12.50 a year. He always ended up in the red. Postage was 25 cents for each letter delivered but times were hard and the settlers were poor, so the postmaster delivered the letter anyway and paid for it out of his own pocket.

After several years when the town did not grow, the post office was moved to Dover and Barbara Dickey became postmistress. Alexander Cruikshank was a compassionate man. Orphaned at a young age, he was a friend to everyone. Chief Black Hawk and his wife visited the Cruikshank family home many times and the Chief jostled the children on his knee.

The Mormons were driven from Nauvoo in 1846; some of the poor ones without means were seeking a refuge where they could work and live until they were able to continue their journey to Salt Lake City. Mr. Cruikshank set aside 80 acres of land as a squatting place to be used by them until they were able to move on. This story was told by a person whose ancestors lived in the area. They broke a lot of the prairie in Cedar, Harrison and Marion Townships; a difficult task without modern-day tools. Many of them were stone masons who had worked on the Temple and they built a number of the barns with stone basements, as well as some of the beautiful old houses in the area.

 Alexander Cruikshank and his wife are buried in Clay Grove Cemetery, but there are still descendants living today in Lee County. It is only within the past few years that the exact location of Tuscorara has been found. The late Herb Blacksmith found the foundation stones across the road from his home in Section 34, Marion Township.

Researched, transcribed and submitted by Erma Derosear

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