The Southern Iowa Border Was Not Drawn in Blood, But in Honey?
This is one, not so sweet bit of Iowa history.
We once settled our disputes by cutting down trees to steal each other's honey!
That's the simplified version of what was not exactly a sweet dispute started in 1839 and became known as the "Honey War". It was a territorial war that started between Iowa and our southern neighbors in Missouri. They wanted to stake claim to several miles of the border between the two states as their own. Here's how Wikipedia describes the whole affair:
the Honey War was a bloodless territorial dispute in 1839 between Iowa Territory and Missouri over their border...The dispute over a 9.5-mile-wide (15.3 km) strip running the entire length of the border, caused by unclear wording in the Missouri Constitution on boundaries, misunderstandings over the survey of the Louisiana Purchase, and a misreading of Native American treaties, was ultimately decided by the United States Supreme Court in Iowa's favor.
So in other words it was sort of Missouri's fault for not clarifying boundaries in their constitution, but to stake their claim they cut down three beehive trees from our side of the border. The mind-blowing part of the whole deal was that it wasn't really "officially" settled until the Supreme Court said "enough" and intervened in 2005. Missouri kept seeking a re-survey of the land until that point. The initially disputed 9.5 miles became a straight line of 30 miles across the border between the two states. With lines drawn at Keokuk, Iowa, it was considered the southernmost part of our state. Learn more about the infamous "Honey War" in the video below from This House.
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