Sunday, April 3, 2011

Kanesville, Iowa/Council Bluffs City/Fire on the Pawnee Reservation

My great-grandfather on my mother's side of the family lived in the area or in the town of Kanesville, Iowa, from 1846 to 1850 when he and family emigrated to the Rocky Mountains. Kanesville was the fitting out point for the Mormons traveling to the West, and with the gold-rushers going to California in 1849, it became the main starting point along the Missouri River for emigres along with St. Joseph and Wesport, Missouri. Kanesville was named for Thomas L. Kane, a man sympathetic to the Mormons who negotiated in Washington for the Mormon use of the land. On the western side of the Missouri was Winter Quarters, Nebraska Territory, now surrounded by Omaha..

My ggfather grew corn on his property, worked as a miller, and cut logs during his stay in Kanesville, from which he was able to make enough money to outfit a wagon to carry him and family West. The rush of gold-seekers helped a lot of them that were stuck while working to get in shape for the journey, sending prices higher than normal and causing scarcities in some crops and supplies.

Kanesville was changed to Council Bluffs in 1852 as being more fitting since the Lewis and Clark expedition meeting was held here at Council Bluffs with the Indians and with most of the Mormons having departed.  As far as I know, the Indian Agency has always been called the Council Bluffs Agency. At least is was called that when my other gggrandfather on my father's side was working for the Indian Agent in the late 1830's until 1847 in the Territory of Nebraska on the Pawnee Reservation. When the Pawnees became upset and set his house on fire, there was no mention of my gggrandmother, although his two sons were there with him. I assume she was living in Kanesville or maybe Winter Quarters during this time.

You may get a chuckle from my story about my great-great-grandfather's Journey to the Rocky Mountains published in the May 2010 issue of Frontier Tales,

1 comment:

  1. Thanks Oscar, for another interesting slice of family history.