Was it Missouri or was it Iowa?

(map is 1850)

Once upon a time there was a ten-mile gap between where various people thought the border of Iowa and Missouri was. There was not a yellow-brick road to show you where the line should be. When deciding where people lived and therefore where their marriages are and where they are buried, you must remember that the southern half of Fremont, Page, Taylor (and all the other bottom tier counties of Iowa) were once in the state of Missouri. Since Missouri became a state in 1821 and Iowa not until 1846, many Iowa people's records are actually in Missouri.

In an Iowa South-West (Bedford, Iowa newspaper) article of 1867, Mrs Hindman of Taylor County, Iowa wrote that they paid taxes to Missouri for the first few years after moving to Jackson township in Taylor County, Iowa, because they thought they were living in Missouri.

A.T. Andreas' Illustrated Historical Atlas of the State of Iowa 1875, on page 502 has an early history of Page County which says, "At the Presidential election of 1844 a poll was opened in the south part of what is now Page County, but was then considered a part of Andrew County, Missouri. A return of the poll-books was made to Savannah, Missouri, David Farrrens being the person who made the return. This was the first election ever held within the limits of Page County, which was duly organized in the Fall of 1850, William L. Burge being the Sheriff who officiated in the organization. It took place at Boulwar's Mill, this being the county seat."

Further in this same article a comment was made about the marriage licenses..."The first marriage which appears on record, after the organization of the county, is that of Henry Davidson and Rebecca Sebastian, November 17, 1852. The reader must not infer, however, that this was the first case of matrimony within the limits of the territory now embraced in Page County. More than one marriage had taken place while the south half of the county was under the jurisdiction of Missouri."


Andreas, giving the early history of Fremont County, Iowa, notes that it was once part of Holt County then Atchison County, Missouri, and on page 505 states: "About ten miles of the southern portion of the county was once under the jurisdiction of Holt County, Missouri, until the boundary question was settled between the two States. That part of Old Holt County south of the state line, adjoining Fremont, is now known as Atchison County, Missouri. The north boundary of what was known as the "Platte Purchase," and which gave to the State of Missouri some four or five of her finest northwest counties, extended about ten miles into the territory afterwards conceded to Iowa. The jurisdiction of Holt County was extended to this boundary line, and thus, at that time, included the strip of territory in question. The purhase was made of the Pottawattamie Indians, who were removed to Pottawattamie County, Iowa, as is described in the history of that county, some time before any settlements were made by white men within the limits of Fremont County. This reservation, at that time, extended southward to the north line of the purchase, but soon after the settlement of the county began they relinquished all their lands in Iowa and repaired to Kansas. Major Stephen Cooper, who lived near the present Town of Bartlett, once represented Holt County in the Missouri Legislature. Mr. Hitchcock, above mentioned, kept a hotel about a mile and a half southeast of the place where Sidney was afterwards located. His building stood on the line, partly in what was then claimed as Missouri territory and partly on lands then belonging to the Pottawattamie Indians. Some men in the south part of Fremont County lived in two states and three counties without changing their residences, the States of Missouri and Iowa, and the counties of Holt, Atchison and Fremont.

back to Atchison County, Missouri