It's been a busy few days here. We drove south to Keokuk and after getting set up we drove into town to just give it a quick look, which ended up taking about three hours. We drove down to the river front to check out the city campground and while we were walking around the park we found this plaque on a stone, check out the date that in was erected. I call it a sign of the times, both THEN and NOW.
A little farther down the park was a statue of General Curtis,(Civil War). I was always told that for military equestrian statues if all four of the horse hoofs are on the ground then that person died from natural causes, if one hoof is raised then they died from wounds received in battle and if two hoofs are raised then they died in battle. But as far as we can tell Gen Curtis lived a long life and died of natural causes, of course in Monroe Michigan there is a statue of Gen Custer and that horse has all four on the ground
We tried to follow the river but ran into a lot of streets closed to construction, but the when we got back to the river, on Grand St it was worth it to see all the magnificent homes. Howard Hughes'
grandparents lived here and he visited them often during the summers, the one son built the mother this house on the river front but she insisted that it be built without any closets, because she believed that, that was where germs came from, so that might explain Howard later in life.
This one is called the Queen Anne House
At the end of the street was a nice park where we sat and watched a couple of eagles soar over the Mississippi River, they were to far away to get any pictures. Chief Keokuk is buried here in the park under a statue of him. He never spent anytime here and his remains had to be dug up from where he was buried in Kansas and brought here, the town is named after him because of a bottle of Brandy. It seems that Col Davenport from Rock Island Ill, was down this way and wanted the town named Keokuk, when it came time to vote on the name he placed a bottle of brandy on the table and said that anybody that wants to vote with me step up and have a drink on me, the vote was 8 to 1.
From there it was across town to the National Cemetery, this is one of the original 12 that were designated by Congress during the Civil War, we started to wonder why a Civil War based cemetery was in Iowa, but later found out that because of a surgeons collage was located here the government built a military hospital here and soldiers from both side were shipped here by riverboat for treatment.
That was enough for today.
Cross the Mississippi once again and head north a few miles and you're in Nauvoo. Nauvoo was the Mormon settlement started by Joseph Smith, when they arrived here this was the bottom land near the river and basically a swamp. They dug a canal to drain the water and built there town, when we first pulled in here it looked like a nice little town but we found out later that it grew to be the second largest city in Illinois, second to Chicago by a few hundred people. Here's a list of the buildings and businesses at it's peak.
Because of their political power, religious beliefs and a few other factors they were forced to flee Nauvoo which started their trek to Salt Lake city. They were forced to flee shortly after construction on the Temple was completed, almost over night Nauvoo went from over 12000 to a ghost town. It's a remarkable story of what happen here and how the town was rebuilt more then a hundred years later.
All I can say is if you are ever in this area plan on spending a day here, there are about twenty different buildings that are restored and open to tour, with someone there to explain everything and answer any questions you have. They do refer to their religion when explaining things but they don't try to convert anyone or try to push it on you.
We started at the visitors center then took the wagon ride through town, then walked around to a few of the different places.
The Temple was rebuilt and dedicated in 2002, it is an exact duplicate of the original that was destroyed by arson shortly after the Mormon Exodus.
A small section of Main Street.
The Gunsmith Shop owned by Jonathon Browning, inventor of the automatic firearm.
Making a rifle barrel and the tools that were used.
As always we left enough stuff to do for the next time we come through this area.
We drove up the river road to the bridge that took us back across the Mississippi yet again to the city of Fort Madison, named for the Fort that occupied this area in the early 1800's. As we were driving past the fort we spotted a little diner across the street that looked like it was calling us to come back for lunch, we weren't far off. We circled the block to get back to it and when we walked in they said that they saw us looking when we drove by and they knew we would be back. After picking our seats out of the 12 stools at the counter and four tables for two we had a great lunch, after which we said good-bye to our new friends and were on our way.
We followed the river south through Montrose, where we learned some more about the Mormon Trail and then back to camp to get ready for tomorrow.
It's tomorrow, the temperature has dropped a little and the wind is really blowing so we got a little later start today. We drove back across the Mississippi, of course, and headed to the little town of Carthage to visit the Jailhouse Museum. This is where Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum came to turn themselves into the authority's. While they were in jail being protected by the Sheriff and part of the Illinois Militia, a mob attacked the jail forced their way in and killed both Joseph and his brother.
Bronze in front of the Temple,
"The Last Ride"
Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum, heading to Carthage.
Jail in Carthage which is now a museum.
Cell on the second floor of the Jail, the jailer and his family lived on the first floor.
Summary of what happen here.
It still has the original door with the bullet holes in it.
That's it for this area, this time around, tomorrow we're heading for St Louis.