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Mormon Pioneer Trail

Bonaparte, IA 52620

The Mormon Trail is the 1,300-mile route that members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints traveled from 1846 to 1868. The Mormon Trail extends from Nauvoo, IL, to Salt Lake City, Utah.

The Mormon Trail through Van Buren County.

Bonaparte - Mormon settlers stopped in Bonaparte long enough to have their grist processed at the local mills. They crossed the Des Moines River and camped downstream from the current bridge in Bonaparte on March 5, 1846.

Bentonsport - Bentonsport National Historic District boasts a number of building constructed by Mormon settlers who stopped and labored to earn money for their trip westward. One of these building is the Mason House Inn, which retains its original 19th-century furnishings.

Keosauqua - Van Buren County Courthouse is one of several places along the route where the Nauvoo Militia Band (also called Pitt's Brass Band), traveling with Brigham Young's company, performed in 1846. They played for the exchange of supplies and money to support the struggling Mormon pioneers.

Keosauqua - Ely Ford, located within Lacey-Keosauqua State Park, was a river crossing point for them to use.

Milton - From March 7-18, 1846 the Morman pioneers encamped at Richardson's Point as they waited for weather conditions to improve before traveling farther. The first and second of hundreds of deaths on the Iowa Mormon Pioneer Trails occurred at this encampment - James M. Tanner, 15 months old, and Edwin S. Little. Today, the grave sites are memorialized and available to the public to visit.

Download the "National Historic Trails Auto Tour Route Interpretive Guide"