Video Documentary: Rediscovering Hinkletown - A Prairie Ghost Town

The 1870s:  "Union Horse Company,"  & "Jesse James Chase and Campout" Scenes

Filming took place on location at Hinkletown, Iowa on May 17, 2008 - Promotional still photographs below


This group is standing on the original site of the Pioneer Store of Henkle & Littler, Hinkletown, Iowa.

Historical Basis:  In June, 1869, a group of thirty men from the area around Hinkletown, Iowa, and a several-mile perimeter, mustered together to fight horse thieves and outlaws.  One of the charter members was Harmon Henkle of Hinkletown.  In one of the longest lasting organizations of this kind in the country, the Union Horse Company actively pursued criminals through 1925, transitioning its focus to automobile and store thefts.


They created the following:  "Whereas, the stealing of horses, and the commission of other crimes, are becoming so frequent, so much so that no property of any kind is safe. Therefore, we the undersigned, in order to form a more perfect union, the better to protect ourselves against such outlaws and thieves, do ordain and establish the following constitution for our government: This organization shall be known and designated by the name of Union Horse Company, for the detection and apprehension of horse thieves, and any person charged with any crime or misdemeanor whatsoever.


Reenactors arrive on location at Hinkletown and prepare for a day of filming.  They came from Wisconsin and Iowa.  Thanks to members of the Iowa 24th Infantry, 3rd Iowa Cavalry, Wisconsin 1st Cavalry, Red Cedar Regulators and the Hole in the Sock Gang for lending their talents to the Hinkletown video production.

Thanks to the Moffit farm for hosting the location.


Checking out the set prior to filming.  Actors and horses want to be thoroughly familiar with the location.  This is the original 1850s road the settlers cut through from Hinkletown north through the timber and across the English River.  In 1873, upon the establishment of Keota, ten miles south of Hinkletown, the road was extended from Keota to Marengo, the county seat of Iowa County.

Above: Members of the Union Horse Company track three horse thieves, (Right) through the timber around Hinkletown.  Historically, there are several stories of Jesse James gang camping and staying over here.


Left: Villain on the move.      Right: Union Horse Company at edge of Tallgrass prairie.













    On the move through the tallgrass prairie.  The Moffit farm at Hinkletown provided a splendid natural setting for the video work.













                           Left:  Villain's campfire scene.   Right:  Ready to roll out.

1870s Keokuk County Sheriff and Union Horse Company member pause for a promotional shot in the timber.

Also filmed on May 17, 2008:

May Day 1943 at Hickory Ridge School
















All photographs above by Dave Jackson, Copyright 2008 - Request Permission for Reprint or Reuse


8:00 AM - Noon:  Union Horse Company and Jesses James Scenes - Hinkletown

12:30 - 2:30 May Day at Hickory Ridge School - Hinkletown

Here's a special treat:  Hickory Ridge School at Hinkletown, July 4, 1907, Nellie Kernan, teacher.  The new school, built in 1906,  was acclaimed as the best country schoolhouse in Iowa County.  This was the third schoolhouse built at Hinkletown.   The first was a log cabin, measuring 16' X 18', built in July 1849, one of the first schools in the county.

Copyright 2008 - English Valleys History Center, North English, IA,  and Historic Photo Archives, Klemme, Iowa

Video Documentary "Rediscovering Hinkletown" Planned for Release 2009

Historical Basis:  The Making of the Documentary

Hinkletown Home Page

Earliest Published Account of a Hinkletown Settler - 1847
(Music Alert- Hinkletown Bluegrass)

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