IAGenWeb Project - Allamakee co. Misc. Historical Items
updated 02/12/2013

Iron Post Historical Marker

Photo taken by Errin Wilker, April 2007

Photo taken by Errin Wilker, April 2007

Photo taken by Errin Wilker, April 2007
Close-up of the plaque at the base of the marker

Read more about the Iowa-Minnesota border on the Iowa History Project - IAGenWeb Special Project
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May Move Old Boundary Marker on Minnesota-Iowa State Border

New Albin, Ia.— In 1849, a Mississippi river steamboat landed at Victory, Wis., and unloaded an iron post, an obelisk of cast iron, weighing six hundred pounds. Five feet eight inches long, 12 square at the base and tapering to seven inches at the top, the four sides of the post were marked “Iowa,” “Minnesota,” the date, “1849,” and “Lat. 43 degrees 30.” The following winter, a little band of men hitched a team of oxen to a sled, loaded the iron post, crossed the frozen river, and with great difficulty carried it to a spot three miles west of the Mississippi. The post, sent by the government to mark the boundary line between Iowa and Minnesota, was unloaded by the men just north of New Albin, Ia., then in its early stages of settlement.

“I can remember the “old-timers” tellin’ how it was planted there in ‘55," says Eugene Kerrigan, 91, himself now one of the venerable “old-timers” of New Albin. “The government wanted to mark the spot where the three states, Iowa, Minnesota, and Wisconsin met, but it seems that would have been in the middle of th’ river. So, they did some surveying and planted it on the highest clear spot closest to the river. That was three miles west of th’ Mississippi,” he said.

Eugene Kerrigan & the Iron Marker at the IA-MN border, 1940

Two old veterans of the New Albin, Ia., vicinity were caught together by the camera recently and are shown in the above picture, which shows 91-year-old Eugene Kerrigan of New Albin standing beside a 91-year-old post that marks the Iowa-Minnesota state line.

Decided to Preserve

“For 75 years, it stood there and no one paid much attention to it. The youngsters use to play around it. Then, in 1930, all the folks who used t' live in New Albin had a homecomin’ here and decided to preserve it. The proceeds from the homecomin' were used to build a concrete base with steps and pay for a bronze marker tellin' all about the history of it. It's there now just at the north end of town if y'want to see it," Mr. Kerrigan volunteered.

Set in an imposing concrete base and marked with the bronze marker, the iron post was planted with due ceremony by the residents of New Albin which had the foresight to realize that its historical significance should be preserved for posterity. The inscription on the bronze marker reads as follows: "History of Captain Lee’s Iron Monument. Government records show that in 1849 Capt. Thomas J. Lee of the U. S. Topographic Engineer Corps erected an iron monument on the boundary line between Iowa and Minnesota on the parallel of 43 degrees 30 North Latitude, the legal boundary between the two states at a distance of a little over three miles from the west branch of the Mississippi river as it then flowed. The monument was described by Capt. Lee as a Hollow Pyramid of cast iron six feet long and weighing six hundred pounds with suitable inscriptions on its sides to identify its purpose."

Move Closer to Road

However, inasmuch as the old historic marker is in rather a lonely abandoned spot and near a road not frequented by motorists, tentative plans are now being made by the Minnesota state highway department to move the iron post again. With the permission of authorities and the consent of the residents of New Albin, it is hoped to move the past 10 rods west of its present location closer to Minnesota state trunk highway 26.

Here, a large raised terrace in the shape of a half moon has been prepared close to the highway and shrubs, trees, and flowers will be planted to provide a fitting setting for the historic old marker. Here it will be seen by all who travel the highway while in its present location, motorists, unless knowing its whereabouts and seeking it out, are unaware of its existence. The terrace has been prepared exactly at the boundary line between the two states, Iowa and Minnesota.


~La Crosse Tribune, La Crosse, Wisconsin, March 31, 1940
~contributed by Errin Wilker


Marker on Boundary Line Erected in 1849
By Robert C. Gehl

pyramid shaped cast-iron marker designating the dividing line between IA & MN

You can plant your feet down here on the parallel of 43 degrees and 30 minutes north latitude.

The chances are that unless you have more than a passing interest in geography, this fact isn’t going to make much sense in itself. Well, perhaps we can explain…

This is the measured position on the earth’s surface which divides the States of Iowa and Minnesota.

It was a bit difficult on a recent clear and sunny—but exceedingly humid—day that this point was indeed 43 degrees and 30 minutes north of the equator. It seemed much closer.

The brilliant noon day sun glistened off the hot concrete base upon which stands a pyramid shaped cast-iron marker designating the dividing line between the two states.

Inscribed on a metal plaque at the marker’s base is the “History of Capt. Lee’s Iron Monument.” The plaque states that government records show that in 1849 Capt. Joseph J. Lee of the U.S. Topographic Engineer Corps erected an iron monument on the boundary line between Iowa and Minnesota on the parallel of 43 degrees and 30 minutes north latitude, the legal boundary between the two states.

The monument was situated at a distance of a little over three miles west from the west bank of the Mississippi River as it then flowed. The monument was described by Capt. Lee as a hollow pyramid—a fact which may be verified by peering into a hole cracked in it—of cast iron, six feet long and weighing 600 pounds, with suitable inscriptions on its side to identify its purpose.

The technique used in inscribing the marker is a bit unusual in itself.

First of all, each of the four sides of the marker bears a different inscription. As you might expect, the south side bears the word Iowa and the north side the word Minesota.

Yes, Minnesota was spelled with one “N.”

The east side bears the date 1849 and the west side the location of latitude 43 degrees, 30 minutes.

The names of the states and the date are written vertically and the letters are transposed so the reader must read upward instead of downward.

For example, if one looked at the Iowa side of the marker and read the word from top to bottom the letters would “Awoi.”

Similarly, Minnesota, if read from top to bottom would be “Atosenim.”

lf the date were read from top to bottom you would get “9481.”

A history of New Albin sheds a little more light on the monument. It also records that a historic governmental marker was set up on the Iowa-Minnesota boundary in 1849.

It adds that this is a “steel” marker weighing 600 pounds.

Then the history adds that it was hauled from Victory, Wis., with a team and sled, driven by John Ross.

An old-timer located in the vicinity—when asked about the marker—verified that “it has been there as long as I can remember.” The marker is located on a side road just off the main highway at the north end of the village. The old-timer related that someone once wanted to move the marker from its original site next to the main highway “but they wouldn’t let them.”

~La Crosse Tribune, La Crosse, WI, 23 July 1968
~contributed by Errin Wilker


A Fascinating Report By Boundary Surveyors
The Story Behind an Early Iowa Land Swindle

By Otto Knauth

Map showing the area covered in this article
Map showing the area covered in the following article


The year was 1852. Although Iowa had been a state for six years, its northern hills and prairies were on the edge of the frontier, uninhabited, unsurveyed, many of them unexplored. Iowa's northern border with Minnesota territory had been fixed at the parallel of 43 degrees and 30 minutes north latitude by the 1846 Constitution but in 1852 nobody knew where it was. It was an imaginary line in space that had no meaning on the ground.

A survey was needed, a mile-by-mile marking of the line so settlers and tax collectors and sheriffs would know where they were. Such land surveys had been started in Iowa in 1836 with William A. Burt's survey of the Fifth Principal Meridian in eastern Iowa. From that line, township and section surveys spread an ever-widening network across the young state.


But the survey of a degree of latitude more than 250 miles long posed a different problem. Such a line, because of the curvature of the Earth, curves constantly but ever so slightly to the north. It is not noticeable over a mile or even five miles but the curve is there nevertheless and if the line is to be accurate, it must curve. And this line had to be accurate. Not only would it mark section and township and the border between two states, it would also serve as the base line for all the future surveys in Minnesota and the Dakotas. A mistake would result in endless squabbles over land, taxes, elections and all the other institutions peculiar to western civilization.

One of the ironies of the survey is that, because of its very accuracy, it became the basis for one of the early Iowa land swindles.

To get the survey started, the U.S. Surveyor General first ordered an accurate determination of 43 degrees and 30 minutes north latitude. Capt. Thomas J. Lee of the U.S. Topographical Engineers was ordered to determine the beginning of the boundary line on the west bank of the Mississippi River in the summer of 1849. He picked a spot about three miles from the channel, made a long series of observations of the stars and planets and set up a cast-iron pillar five feet high and weighing 600 pounds with the words "Iowa" and "Minnesota" and "1849" and "Lat. 43° 30" engraved on it. Records show he paid $57 for it, buying it in Lansing on Oct. 18, 1849.

The monument is still there, in an out-of­the-way corner at the north edge of New Albin, surrounded by a lumber company's logs and stored farm machinery. It is a target for beer bottles whose shards litter the base. A cast-iron plaque explains its significance. Of all the hundreds of markers set along the line by the original survey, it is the only one remaining.

Captain Lee's Iron Monument
Captain Lee's Iron Monument still stands at the north edge of New Albin. 
It is the only original boundary marker in evidence today.

Using Captain Lee's monument as a base point, the border survey was to get under way the next year but the magnitude of the under­taking and the outbreak of an epidemic of Asiatic cholera delayed it until 1852. The expedition was placed in charge of a deputy U.S. surveyor, Capt. Andrew Talcott of Washington, D.C. According to a later reminiscence, it consisted of 14 surveyors, a doctor, a hunter, an interpreter, four cooks, and chainmen, flagmen, monument builders, teamsters, wood choppers and general handymen. All told, some 43 men were sent into the field, no small force for such a task in those days.


Recently, one of two copies of Captain Talcott's final report on the survey and a bound volume of the original field notes of the survey teams were rediscovered in the archives or the Iowa Secretary of State's office in Des Moines. In 378 painstakingly handwritten pages, Talcott gives the surveyor general's instructions to him, his own instructions to his deputies, the astronomical calculations needed to stay on the line and the actual survey itself, a page or more for each mile. It is a fascinating report on Iowa as it once was, on the land as the white man found it, when bands of Sioux still ruled the prairies and buffalo and elk roamed unfettered and unfenced.

Logically, one would expect the survey to start at Captain Lee's iron monument near the Mississippi and run west from there, But it wasn't that simple, since only the north-south position of the monument was known and not the east-west. So Talcott was instructed to begin his survey where the known Iowa survey ended, at a point identified as the corner of Townships 99 and 100 north and Ranges 4 and 5 west of the Fifth Principal Meridian. This is now the corner of Iowa, Lansing, French and Union Townships in Allamakee County. It is about three-quarters of a mile south of the Upper Iowa River and about 4¾ miles south of the border. From here, the surveyors worked north until they intersected a line drawn west­ward from Captain Lee's monument. This intersection was identified as the "Initial Point" of the survey.

boundary survey's "initial point" geological survey plate "witness post"

The boundary survey's "initial point", where surveyors coming up from the south (background) started the survey.

A bronze geological survey plate whose arrow points west
along the border.

A "witness post" calling attention
to the "initial point" marker.

Along the way, about 2½ miles north of the river, they encountered a "perpendicular rock 10 feet high." A huge square boulder fitting that description still lies on the shoulder of a hill in the woods above what is known as "Irish Hollow," a few miles west of New Albin.

the perpendicular rock

It was in establishing the "Initial Point" that the basis for the later land swindles was laid. The Iowa surveys were based on the intersection of the Fifth Principal Meridian and the National Base Line, a point about 70 miles east of Little Rock, Ark. From here, the ranges and townships were called north and west into Iowa. In the standard survey, each township is divided into 36 mile-square numbered sections, with the numbering starting in the northeast corner. Thus, the northernmost row of sections in any standard township is numbered 1-6, the second row, 7-12, and so on.


In carrying the Iowa survey north to the border, the surveyors found they were still in the second row when they reached the border. They had run out of Iowa before completing the township. And a section map of Iowa will show that all along the entire northern border, in every county, sections 1-6 are missing. The count everywhere starts with Section 7. In the late 1850s, so the story goes, some sharp land promoter noticed the missing sections and started selling them sight unseen to emigrants from Ohio and Indiana. These unfortunate families arrived to claim their land and found it didn't exist. Years later, a county historian wrote: "Tradition has it that this man died childless and that at his death, the last of the dishonest real estate agents disappeared off the face of the earth."

The "Initial Point" now is identified by a U.S. Geological Survey marker stamped "Iasota No.4" across the border road from the William Beneke home in Minnesota. Here then, where county road N crosses the border, on a high ridge with a wide view to the south, is where the great survey started.

From here the surveyors turned west and the hard work began. A series of eight stations was set up whose latitude was determined accurately by astronomical observations. These stations were an average of about 36 miles apart and, after the first two, were named after U.S. presidents, beginning with Station Washington, just east of the Upper Iowa River near where the Howard County town of Chester now stands. Station Adams was just west of the Shell Rock River in Worth County; Station Jefferson, on the middle branch of the Blue Earth River in Kossuth County; Station Madison, just west of Spirit Lake in Dickinson County; Station Monroe, on Little Rock River, in Osceola County, and Station Jackson, on the east bank of the Big Sioux River, in Lyon County. The Initial Point was Station 1; Station 2 was located on a branch of the Root River, in Winneshiek County.


Straight guide lines were run by transit sights between these stations, and the curving line of the boundary was established by running measured offsets from the guide lines.

Station Washington became headquarters for the survey. Here was established the principal supply depot and it was on his arrival here that Talcott divided his expedition into four parties.

One, with 11 members and under the direction of Deputy Surveyor John M. Marsh, was to move ahead of the main party, surveying the line with a solar compass invented by Burt, both to test the accuracy of the new instrument and to provide the main party with some idea of what it could expect in the country ahead. Marsh's was to be the exploratory party.

Years later, one of the men in Marsh's party wrote: "His line proved to be perfectly correct. Had the United States let the contract to Capt. Marsh at $25 per mile, it would have cost the government but $6,500 (the actual cost was about $32,000) and would have been run and marked as well."


The second party, also 11 in number and under Deputy, Harry Taylor, was to survey the guide lines connecting the astronomical stations. The third, six in number under Deputy John S. Shellar, was to act as a check on the second and place monuments at the appropriate corners. And the fourth party, under Talcott himself, was to make the astronomical observations and determine the various angles and distances needed to arrive at an accurate determination of the boundary line. The number in this party varied between 10 and 12.

To supply the expedition, a quartermaster corps was placed under the direction of David B. Sears. who outfitted it during the winter in Moline, Illinois.

The country covered in the first part of the border survey is some of the most beautiful in Iowa but the high cliffs and dense woods had little appeal for the surveyors. "Surface rolling, soil clay and loam, 2nd rate and unfit for cultivation," read the notation for one stretch northeast of the present town of Dorchester. It continued: "Timber white, black and burr oak, second rate and scattering." It is a description that fits as well now as then.

So sparsely was the region inhabited that the surveyors encountered only one farm along the entire border. This was the Henry Robinson farm, in Section 36, Range 6, 11,4 miles west of Eitzen, Minn. "Robinson's house bears south about 50 chains," the field notes say, and remark: "Surface rolling, soil first rate, good farming land." The fertile corn fields of Willard Wiegrefe, who farms the area now, seem to bear this out.

St. Luke's United Church of Christ

St. Luke's United Church of Christ, stands astride the Iowa-Minnesota boundary at the south edge of the little town of Eitzen, Minnesota. 
This view looks east along boundary road. 
Allamakee county is at right.

St. Luke's United Church of Christ


A few miles farther, the surveyors crossed Waterloo Creek, which they described only as "50 links wide" (about 30 feet). This is now the location of Bee, a tiny Norwegian settlement that grew out of a flour mill on the Creek, the Sugar Bee Mill. It is one of the prettiest spots along the border. The creek flows fast and clear between rocky banks in a narrow valley heavily forested with pine and cedar. The creek has been stocked with trout, and a fishing access is located at the bridge just south of the border.

town of Bee
The tiny Allamakee settlement of Bee, where Waterloo
Creek crosses into Iowa from Minnesota.

The country rises sharply to the west and there is this notation: "This post stands on the western side of a high dividing ridge commanding a view of 12 miles east and west."

Allamakee County road Q now runs along the ridge and the view is of the patchwork quilt of farmland on both sides of the border. Another ridge was crossed a few miles farthr west: "Top of high ridge dividing the waters of Root River from those of the Little Iowa (Upper Iowa) bears north-south; outcrop of limestone." The ridge is just north of the Winneshiek County community of Hesper. To the east it is almost too steep to climb and the border road makes a sharp detour into Iowa to avoid it.

Again there is this cryptic notation: "Range 8, Sec. 33, 65 chains: Enter sugar camp; 70 chains: Brook, 6 links wide, runs northeast; 72 chains: Leave sugar camp." The brook is still there but there is no hint what the "sugar camp" may have been. The date was May 4, too late in the season for making maple sugar.


A few miles farther and they came to the Second Azimuth Station, just east of where Prosper, Minnesota, now stands and where U.S. Highway 52 crosses the border north from Decorah. The site is now on the Byron J. Hanlon farm on the Iowa side.

Gently rolling hills and high, dry prairie gave the surveyors little trouble until they came to the first crossing of the Upper Iowa River in Range 10, Sec. 31. They would cross it no fewer than eight times in the next six miles, clambering down a cliff on one side, up a cliff on the other each time. On the first crossing, they noted: "River at this point runs S.W. about 2 feet deep and 100 links (66 feet) wide, swift current; left bank perpendicular limestone 80 feet high; no indication of overflows." And again on same page: "Surface east of river hilly, soil second rate; west side level and covered with a fine grove of timber, Elm, Lind, Black and White Oak, Burr and Red Oak, Black and White Walnut, Sugar, Ash and Hackberry with an undergrowth of same; this grove is large, soil in it very rich, and well situated for farming purposes. No appearance of overflow along river banks." The timber is mostly gone now and most of the river bottom is in pasture.


From here, it was one river crossing after another, past the present site of the twin border towns of Florenceville, Iowa and Granger, Minnesota to Station Washington, on the out­skirts of Chester. Here Talcott remained for several weeks, splitting up his expedition into the individual parties and augmenting his supplies. The location is on a low rise and is now occupied by the Vernon Eggerich farm. Eggerich's deed shows the farm was first homesteaded in 1858 by Daniel Ballard. There is no trace of Station Washington, either on the ground or in the deed.

~Des Moines Sunday Register, Des Moines, Iowa, July 12, 1970
~contributed by Errin Wilker


Iron Post Monument Restored on New Foundation

1981 Iron Post restoration

Back in April of 1980, an act of vandalism against New Albin's Iron Post Monument caused considerable damage to the historical marker and its foundation. Just last week workers from the county engineer's office pulled out the old foundation and put in a new one which is smaller and which is protected by a type of enclosure. The monument had to be welded, but it now stands in the same place, which marks the border of Iowa and Minnesota. The monument, erected in 1849, was declared a National Historic Site a few years ago.

~Allamakee Journal, Lansing, IA, Hand-Dated 1981
~contributed by Errin Wilker


Award for Iron Post Effort

Allamakee County Engineer Bill Kerndt recently was given a plaque from the Society of Land Surveyors of Iowa for directing the repairs to what is probably Allamakee County’s most significant survey marker, the "Iron Post" at New Albin.

"Lee’s Iron Post," as it is known, marks the border between Iowa and Minnesota in North New Albin, and was placed there at the direction of Capt. Thomas J. Lee of the topographic bureau of the Army in 1849. The date is on the face of the monument, and the word "Iowa" on the Iowa side and "Minnesota" on the other side.

In the summer of 1979, the wrought iron post was vandalized by somebody knocking it over and busting it with a four-wheel drive vehicle. Mayor Tat Sires of New Albin contacted Kerndt about the possible repair of the monument, and a craftsman was found who was willing to try the difficult task of welding the wrought iron. The city of New Albin replaced the concrete pad around the marker and Kerndt’s crews then placed I-beam posts in a circle around the marker to discourage additional vandalism.

~newspaper clipping, hand-dated 1983
~contributed by Errin Wilker


New Albin Iron Post is Historical Marker with Interesting Past

By Barbara K. Cain

Iron Post - Click to enlarge (101 kb) Iron Post - Click to enlarge (62 kb)


You could drive right by, and not know that it meant anything. But there is an iron marker, found well off the beaten path in New Albin, that is on the National Register of Historic Places.   For many years, this obscure post stood alone in the wilderness. Indians passed by in its early days; few white settlers had yet reached its territory. It is known simply as the Iron Post.  

Its Purpose

Before statehood, Iowa and Minnesota territories disputed their land holdings. Each thought that the boundary line should be located well within each other's territories.   Local historians say that Minnesotans felt the edge of their territory should be marked by the Upper Iowa River, Iowa, on the other hand, thought the Root River, much farther to the north, should be the line.   The United States Congress stepped in and put an end to the question on August 4, 1846, nearly five months before Iowa was admitted as the twenty-ninth state of the Union. They set the boundary on the parallel of forty degrees and thirty minutes (43°30') north latitude. By their decision, they intended to "place the subject beyond civil and doubt for all time."   The exact location of this spot was determined through astronomical observation. In 1849, the same year that Allamakee County officially came into being, it was marked by Captain Thomas J. Lee of the U.S. Topographical Engineers with a cast iron obelisk, about seven feet high, and about 14" square at the base, with the words "Iowa and Minnesota Boundary, 1849, Lat. 43° 30' " on its several sides.   From that mark, the northern boundary of Iowa was to extend from the middle of the main channel of the Mississippi River to the middle of the main channel of the Big Sioux River.   It wasn't until 1852 that the 250 mile long border was actually surveyed, three years after the Congressional act of March 3, 1849 required that the northern boundary of the state be "run and marked, and suitable monuments placed thereon."  


Captain Andrew Talcott, who was to lead the expedition across the northern edge of the state, was given specific instructions. A series of celestial observations were to be taken at intervals of not more than forty-eight miles apart. At each point of observation, some suitable and distinctive memorial was to be set up. Township corner boundaries were to be established at intervals of six miles, those for the sections at intervals of one mile, and those for the quarter sections at intervals of a half mile.   When given his orders, Captain Talcott was reminded of the importance of his endeavor, "It is a matter of no little public moment, and the most critical methods of determining terrestrial positions from celestial data should be adopted in prosecuting this work. The completed re­ports should be in duplicate and should skew the true line, the Town­ship, mile and half mile corners thereon, the crossings of streams, the character of the soil, timber and general topography of the country on the line, and in its immediate neighborhood."   The starting point was to be about eight miles north of the settlement of Lansing, on the north bank of the Upper Iowa River, near its junction with the Mississippi River.   The crew had been organized in the latter part of the winter and the early spring, and outfitted in Moline, IL. Quartermaster and commissary David B. Sears had been instructed to provide transportation for the personal baggage of a crew of about 40 men, and to allow an average of 50 Ibs. per man for the camp equipage and for an estimated 1,000 Ibs. of instruments and books.   "If you should require grain for your teams, extra harness, tools, additional transportation must be provided for them," he was told.   Sears was further instructed to purchase: "1 pair White Blankets (best quality), 1 dozen forks, 1 box of lemons, 1 tin wash basin large size and such additional mess furniture as may be required by four parties of about 10 persons in each."   The equipment, which was of the "most complete kind," was shipped to Lansing, which was the nearest steamboat landing.  

The Expedition

The chief of the surveyors was Captain Walcott of Washington, D.C. The surveyor's corps included about 14 men, besides chainmen, flag­men, and monument builders. There was a doctor, a hunter, an interpreter, and four cooks; the rest were teamsters, choppers and general purpose men. In all there were about 43 men.   The organization had a slightly political aspect, as it included the son of a Kentucky ex-governor and two young men who were the sons of Congressmen. Nobility was also represented in the person of a literary Englishman by the name of Colleridge.   Some of these young men, having gotten out of hand at home, had been persuaded by their parents to join the expedition with the hope that the strict discipline might be the means of reforming them. Each man, upon joining the company, signed a contract agreeing to obey strictly every order from the chief, and also agreed not to possess, trans­port, or drink any intoxicating liquor. The organization was conducted along lines of very strict and almost military discipline.   Two years were allowed to complete the survey of the line but if it was finished in a year's time the crew was to have a reward of a dollar a day extra, in addition to regular pay.   As the expeditionary force prepared to set out Captain Talcott was alerted by his superiors as to what they would encounter. "You will soon be in a country frequently traversed by Indians, from whom you need expect no molestation except by stealing your horses and provisions. Care should be taken to guard against that."   Capt. J.M. Marsh was sent out to lead the advance team. The exploratory party was to provide information necessary for transporting equipment, as well as to enable preparation for running the line over any difficult parts that would require special preparation, such as "scaffolding, boats, etc." In running the line, a sod monument was established every five miles. These were three feet square at the base and about three feet high.   Every fifty miles a granite boulder was erected. Sometimes the men were compelled to drive a day or more to find a rock suitable for the purpose, and as they often weighed as much as a ton, they had special vehicles for hauling them in by ox team. Before they were put in place, a glass bottle was buried on the spot, and this bottle contained a paper containing some mathematical computations by the surveyor.   The line from start to finish ran through country peopled by Sioux Indians, and while they made no open demonstration, they were unfriendly and suspicious, and often questioned the interpreter as to the purpose of the organization. David B. Sears Jr., son of the quartermaster, and who accompanied the party as a boy, recalled a conversation between Captain Talcott and his father.   This was a beautiful country, the two men agreed as they talked. But Captain Talcott remarked to his quartermaster that he "would not give a jackknife for a whole county of it, as the distance from transportation rendered it almost worthless."   Sears recalled that his father replied, "Well, then, we will have to leave it to the Indians and the buffalo."   But that wasn't to be.

~Allamakee Journal, October 7, 1992
~contributed by Errin Wilker


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