submitted by Jo Ann Carlson, January 24, 2008


Eldora, Iowa. December 30, 1875.
To the Editor of the Chicago Evening Journal.

Last evening I saw THE JOURNAL of the 28th a dispatch from Des Moines, Iowa, of that date, saying, “Thirty years ago to-day Iowa was admitted into the Union.”

There are many errors as to the time when Iowa was admitted into the Union. Geographers are nearly all wrong, and public documents of Iowa are frequently wrong. But a man who lives in Des Moines and reads the Register ought not to make such a blunder. The history of Iowa, as I have it, is in short this: June 12, 1838, Iowa as, by act of Congress, made a Territory. It extended west to the Missouri river and north up to “fifty-four-forty or fight.” March 3, 1839, an act was passed establishing the eastern boundary of Iowa. April 2, 1844, a bill from the Committee on Territories was reported in the House to enable the people of Iowa to form a State Government, but it was not passed. The “balance of power” was in the way. The people of Iowa took the bull by the horns and in September, 1844, assembled in convention and made a Constitution. This Constitution made the northern boundary about the forty-fourth parallel, and the Missouri River the western boundary. This Constitution made the northern boundary about forty-fourth parallel, and the Missouri river the western boundary. This Constitution was presented to Congress December 9, 1844, but had not been voted on by the people.

March 3, 1845, an act passed admitting Iowa and Florida into the Union. These two were coupled together to preserve the “balance of power.” This act cut the northern boundary of Iowa down to forty-two and a half, or to the north boundary of Illinois, and made the west boundary or meridian 94 degrees west of Greenwich, or 17 degrees from Washington, being a little east of Adell, in Dallas county. This was submitted to the people, and we voted it down. Of course Florida, with only 42,000 souls, went into the Union without reference to the “balance of power.”

March 3, 1845, a nonsensical act was passed extending the laws of the United States into Iowa, just as though, in the very nature of things, they were not already there, and also as thought the ordinance of 1787 did not carry them there. August 4, 1845, an act was passed, repealing the act of March 3, 1845, and establishing the boundary of Iowa as it now exists.

In May, 1846, the people of Iowa, made a new Constitution. December 15, 1846, this Constitution was submitted to Congress, and December 28, 1846, by act of Congress, Iowa was admitted into the Union, which will be “thirty years ago” when the time runs out.

There was a great war about the southern boundary of Iowa. One Iowa soldier was badly wounded. He was kicked on the shin by a horse. It was said that he got a land warrant.

Yours truly,
E.W. Eastman.

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