Project Wassonville  - 2007

During 2007, we're focusing special attention on the ghost town of Wassonville, Iowa and its rich early Iowa heritage.   Settled just east of the boundary line of the Blackhawk purchase, Wassonville was a true frontier town for several years.   As the treatied Sac and Fox Indian lands opened up directly to the west in 1843, a major trail developed through Wassonville that brought a continuous flow of travelers hoping for a new life in the West, and was exposed to the frequent outside influences that went with a developing frontier town.  Wassonville, and its companion town of Dayton were sometimes referred to as "Sodom and Gomorrah"  in the early days, due to the availability of whiskey and frequent agitation by broader, external political interests and activities.  Settled in a scenic, low-lying valley of the English River, the town flooded semi-annually, devastating the homes and businesses, which were quickly rebuilt on higher ground by the tenacious settlers. 

Do you have old Wassonville information, family history, photographs or memorabilia you would like to share to help with this project?    Images and family histories may be scanned and sent electronically (.jpg, .bmp, .pdf ).  Please indicate whether you  are willing to have information shared on the web, written publications, and/or shared with local historical and genealogical societies.   
Contact us for more information. 

 

Chapter I

Founded in 1839 and settled in 1840, Wassonville was the first village in Lime Creek Township, Washington County, Iowa.   Discovered by an expedition from Burlington, Iowa, the mill site on the winding English River became the early center of activity. Wassonville quickly grew into a significant trading post on the early trail between the Mississippi towns of Burlington, Muscatine and Fort Des Moines, which would replace Iowa City as the Capitol of Iowa.  With early Indian activity, the town also served as a stop on the underground railroad,  the Gold Rush of '49, and served as a base for representatives of the Massachusetts Emigrant Aid Society, who agitated and recruited travelers to settle Kansas as a Free State.

Chapter II

Chapter III

Chapter IV

Chapter V

Chapter VI

Chapter VII

Chapter VIII

If you have Wassonville history to share, please Contact Us!

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