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Council Bluffs, 1846-1852

by Robert Raymond

On their way from Illinois to the valleys of the Rocky Mountains, members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (the Mormons) stopped for a time in the middle Missouri valley. They established settlements on both sides of the river in and around present-day Omaha, Nebraska and Council Bluffs, Iowa. I've constructed a map from my research regarding possible burial sites for Pearis (Perez/Pearce) Raymond who is reported to be buried at "Mosquito River, Nebraska" before September 1846.




Map Notes

Names on the map and below are mostly from 1846, if known. Other names are shown in parenthesis, below. Present day highways and waterways are shown for placement. If the map is wider than your screen, scroll left or right to see the whole thing. Source abbreviations are given at the end of this article.

Big Lake (Hart's or Heart's Cutoff, Iowa Lake) - "Big Lake" in 1846. Known as Hart's or Heart's Cutoff earlier. (EDC, 7,12)

Carterville - I've placed the location of Cartersville less than a quarter mile east of Babbitt's location (EDC, 7). This matches Everest (MC), the topology of the area, and the location of streets in 1985 (USGS). The Carterville cemetery is one candidate for the final resting place of Pearis Raymond. 

Cold Springs Camp - This was the first church headquarters west of the Missouri River until replaced by Cutler's Park. Cold Springs Camp was located northwest of the present intersection of L Street and 60th.(MHMT; MTCT).

Council Bluffs (Hart's Bluffs) - Council Bluff was the name given by Lewis and Clark to a location near Fort Calhoun, Nebraska. Over time the term "Council Bluffs" was applied to the bluffs on both sides of the river from Council Bluff down to the Platte. In 1850 the name was given to the post office at Sarpy's (Traders) Point. In 1853 the name was given to the present city of Council Bluffs. (EDC, 9-10)

Council Bluffs Bowery - On 12 July 1846, Elder John Taylor's camp was on a bluff about 60 feet west of the lower bridge on Mosquito Creek. Wilford Woodruff was camped at the lower bridge and Elder Parley P. Pratt was camped about 160 feet to the north. A large bowery had been recently built between Elder Taylor's tent and Elder Woodruff's. The bowery or arbor was used for church meetings and social activities and was where the Mormon Battalion cotillion ball was held. A "Liberty Pole" had been raised nearby. It consisted of a white sheet with an American flag underneath. The pole would be a rallying point for raising the Mormon Battalion. I've placed the location of the bowery near the U.S. highway 275 bridge over Mosquito Creek (EMT; IT). See also, "Grand Encampment."

Council Point - The location of Council Point is placed on the map at the location shown by Babbitt (see EDC, 7) and Everest (see MC). On 21 July 1846 a High Council was organized at Council Point to preside over the Saints on the Iowa side of the Missouri River. The Council Point cemetery was washed into the river as it changed its course and flooded over the years. Its location on the map was arbitrary on my part. In 1846, Lake Manawa was part of the Missouri's channel (EDC, 83). I've shown a representation of the old course of the river through Lake Manawa in a darker blue color. I've followed Babbit's map for the northernly flow up into the lake, but I've moved the southernly flow exiting the lake east enough to match up with the current course of the river south of the lake.

Cutler's Park - Some sources place Cutler's Park just north of the confluence of Little Papillion Creek and Thomas Creek (see HAM, 74-75). I've shown it near the intersection of Mormon Bridge Road and Young Street, where a small monument recognizes Cutler's Park as Nebraska's first organized community. It was the headquarters of the church from the 6th of August 1846 to the 11th of September (MHMT; MTCT).

Garner Township Cemetery - To get to the Garner Twp. Cemetery, take Highway 6 to the intersection of Highway 191 and turn north onto 191. After about 3/4 of a mile, turn left onto Jennings Avenue. After about 1/2 mile, at the top of the hill you'll find the cemetery on the left. This has many unmarked burials in the western section. (GTC) This cemetery might be a candidate for Pearis' final resting place.

Grand Encampment - The pioneers reached the Missouri River on 14 June 1846 and made camp near the present location of the Iowa School for the Deaf. The Saints built a bowery on the north side of Mosquito Creek. Brigham Young had a large tent with a "liberty pole" (flag pole) sixty or eighty feet high. As later companies arrived, they set up camps easterly along the trail, ultimately stretching nine miles to the present city of Traynor. From the Grand Encampment the pioneers spread out into about 80 small communities. The Grand Encampment was the staging ground for the Mormon Battalion, which departed on 20 July 1846 (MPT, 7; EDC, 7,78,80).

Graybill Cemetery (Graybill-Stoker) - This cemetery has many old and broken stones and is thought to date to Mormon times. The cemetery is 3 miles east of Council Bluffs on old Highway 6. Take State Orchard Road south after the railroad overpass, go about a mile, turn east onto Cedar Ln. about 1/4 mile, then north on a "dead end" road to the first farm gate on the left. With the farmer's permission, walk back about a half mile west through the field. (GTC) This cemetery might be a candidate for Pearis' final resting place.

Indian Mill (Pottawattamie, Nicks, Wicks, Parks) - Built by the Pottawattamie Indian chiefs in 1841. Around 1847 and 48, quite a village sprang up on Mosquito Creek near the mill (HPC, 87-88; EDC, 7, 18).

Miller's Hollow (Kane, Kanesville, Council Bluffs) - The boundaries shown are estimates based on the geography of the bluffs and the ravine containing Hyde Street. During the first year of its settlement, most log houses and tents were on Hyde Street. In December 1847 a 60-by-40-foot log tabernacle was built northeast of the intersection of Kanesville Blvd. and Hyde Street (First street, Madison Ave.). A replica now stands about a block to the southeast at 222 East Broadway. Henry W. Miller's residence was located north of Broadway, near Seventh Street. In 1848 Winter Quarters was abandoned and Miller's Hollow became the main staging point for Mormon pioneers crossing the plains. The name was changed to "Kane" in January and "Kanesville" in April. In December 1852 the name was changed to Council Bluffs (MPT, 7-8; HPC, 83,86-88; EDC, 16-17,83-87; KTT).

Middle Mormon Ferry - The Middle Mormon Ferry was configured in a "V" shape to allow the flow of the river to propel the ferry along the rope from one bank to the other. The eastbound departure site was just below the South Omaha Bridge (L Street or Highway 275). The westbound debarkation site was at the base of the bluffs near the Mount Vernon Gardens park. After debarking, wagons ascended the steep coulee to V Street. I've seen references to a second "Middle Mormon Ferry" south of this point, which may have been Sarpy's ferry. The South Mormon Ferry was located near the mouth of the Platte River (MPT, 8; MHMT; MTCT).

Mosquito Creek -  The final resting place for Pearis Raymond is given as "Near Mosquito Creek." The lower course of Mosquito Creek between the bluffs and the river has been substantially rerouted since the 1840s. The original course of the creek given by Babbitt (EDC, 7) crosses the Interstate five times, so I assume the present course was imposed when the freeway was constructed. The original course is shown in a darker blue and passes underneath the I29 symbol and then goes underneath the map legend. It emerges near the bottom-left corner of the map legend and proceeds southwest off the bottom of the map. In the 1840's, it drained into the Missouri south of Sarpy's point.

Mynster's Spring (Hart's Bluff) -  The cemetery for Mynster's Spring was in use when Pearis RAYMOND died, but seems too far away to be a candidate for his final resting place. (EDC, 7,10-11)

North Mormon Ferry - The North Mormon Ferry was located near the site of the present Mormon Pioneer Memorial Bridge (MPT, 8).

Old Burying Grounds (Kanesville Mormon Cemetery, Fairview) - This is the largest LDS cemetery in the Middle Missouri Valley, although only half a dozen marked graves now date back to LDS times. The Old Burying Grounds were renamed Fairview Cemetery in 1863 and were given to the City of Council Bluffs in 1974 (KTT).

Pigeon Creek (Welch's, Indian Knob, Gopher) (EDC, 24).

Sarpy's Point (Point aux Poules, Point of the Pulls, Pull Point, Nebraska P.O., Council Bluffs P.O., Traders Point) - Down river from Council Point lay Sarpy's Point, named after Colonel Peter A. Sarpy who ran a trading post of the American Fur Company there as well as Sarpy's ferry. In 1849 a post office was established there named “Nebraska.” It was changed to Council Bluffs in 1850, and Trader’s Point in 1852. (EDC, 7, 10, 85-86). The river has changed course over the years. I've chosen to show the modern location of Trader's Point, which is a little bit south of Sarpy's Point of 1846. The tip of the point and the ferry itself were probably 1/4 mile northeast of the location I've shown.

Springville - The RAYMONDs, CUTLERs, and later the WILLIAMs lived in the community of Springville. Pearis RAYMOND probably resided here when he died. (RMA) The location is shown on Babbitt's map (EDC, 7;MC).

Winter Quarters (Florence, Omaha) - Winter Quarters was founded 23 September 1846 and abandoned in the spring of 1848. Winter Quarters was bounded on the north by Turkey Creek (Mill Creek), on the south by Forest Lawn creek (Forest Lawn Ave.), on the west by the bluffs (31st St.) and on the east by the river. Today's 30th Street was Winter Quarter's Second Main Street, where Brigham Young's home was located. The Mormon Pioneer Cemetery is located at 34th and State (MPT, 8-9).


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Wednesday, 18-Feb-2004 20:38:12 MST