Near Wilton in Cedar County, Iowa — The American Midwest (Upper Plains)
Historic Iowa City / Mormon Handcart Trail - 1856
The land on which Iowa City is located was a wilderness when it was selected and surveyed for the capital of the Territory of Iowa in 1839. The cornerstone of the new capitol building was laid by Governor Lucas on July 4, 1840. The Legislative Assembly met first in a frame building in 1841; the following year it moved into the new stone capitol -- now one of Iowa’s most prized historic shrines
Iowa City served as capital for sixteen exciting years. Here five sessions of the Legislative Assembly and six sessions of the General Assembly met to enact Iowa laws. Here the Territorial and State Supreme Courts met to pass on these laws. Here three Constitutional Conventions were held -- in 1844, in 1846, and in 1857.
The State University was established at Iowa City in 1847 but the first classes did not open until 1855. The State Historical Society of Iowa was established by law at Iowa City in 1857. The Constitution of 1857 moved the capital to Des Moines, leaving the University and Historical Society in Iowa City.
In 1857, some 1,300 Mormon converts from Europe,
The Mormons encamped at what is now Coralville, while awaiting the completion of their handcarts. The first company of 226 Mormons set out bravely from Coralville on June 7, pushing or pulling their carts through Homestead, Marengo, Newton, Des Moines, Adel, and historic Dalmanutha. It joined the Mormon Trail of 1846 at Lewis and crossed the Missouri River north of Council Bluffs. The Mormon Bridge at North Omaha stands as a symbol to their trek across Iowa.
Meanwhile, two other companies followed close on the heels of the first Handcart expedition, all three reaching Salt Lake City safely before cold weather set in. The fourth and fifth Handcart companies suffered untold hardships and death before they reached their Zion in president-day Utah.
Erected 1967 by State Historical Society of Iowa and the Iowa State Highway Commission. (Marker Number 3.)
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Churches & Religion • Education Roads & Vehicles • Settlements & Settlers. In addition, it is included in the Iowa - State Historical Society of Iowa, and the Mormon Pioneer Trail series lists.
Location. 41° 38.529′ N, 91° 3.29′ W. Marker is near Wilton, Iowa, in Cedar County. Marker can be reached from Interstate 80 at milepost 270,, 1 miles west of Rose Avenue (County Highway X64), on the right when traveling west. The marker is located at Rest Area 4 Westbound, .9 miles west of Exit 271 on Interstate 80. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Wilton IA 52778, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 1 other marker is within walking distance of this marker. Hoover Historic Site / Hoover’s West Branch (within shouting distance of this marker).
Also see . . .
1. Old Capitol Museum - University of Iowa. (Submitted on July 26, 2010, by PaulwC3 of Northern, Virginia.)
2. The University of Iowa. (Submitted on July 26, 2010, by PaulwC3 of Northern, Virginia.)
3. State Historical Society of Iowa. (Submitted on July 26, 2010, by PaulwC3 of Northern, Virginia.)
4. Handcart Companies. Five handcart companies were organized in 1856 to make the thirteen hundred mile trip from the end of the railroad at Iowa City, Iowa, to Salt Lake City. The first three Handcart Companies made the thirteen hundred mile journey faster and with less problems than had been experienced with wagon trains. The last two companies, the Willie Company and Martin Company were an entirely different story. (Submitted on July 26, 2010, by PaulwC3 of Northern, Virginia.)
Credits. This page was last revised on May 27, 2023. It was originally submitted on July 26, 2010, by PaulwC3 of Northern, Virginia. This page has been viewed 2,865 times since then and 228 times this year. Last updated on May 26, 2023, by Jeff Leichsenring of Garland, Texas. Photos: 1, 2, 3. submitted on July 26, 2010, by PaulwC3 of Northern, Virginia. • J. Makali Bruton was the editor who published this page.