Did You Know? Iowa and Missouri Almost Went To “War” In The 1800s
So, get this...In 1839, militias in Iowa and Missouri disputed so strongly over the location of the state border that they actually squared off for battle. This was known as the "Honey War".
Thankfully no one was killed in this so-called "war", but the events that occurred were interesting, to say the least. Let's start from the beginning.
The dispute was over a 9.5-mile-wide strip of land, known as the Sullivan Line. The Sullivan Line was constructed in 1816 by surveyor J.C. Sullivan to identify Native American land. It was the established boundary between the new state of Missouri and the Michigan Territory, which encompassed the area that would soon become the state of Iowa.
The Missouri Constitution's unclear phrasing on borders led to confusion over the survey of the Louisiana Purchase, as well as a misinterpretation of Native American treaties.
During this dispute, a Missouri sheriff was arrested for collecting taxes in Iowa, and three trees carrying beehives were chopped down by a Missouri settler. At this time, honey was the only sweetener on the frontier and was evidently worth risking a battle. Before the matter was resolved, militias from both sides squared off at the border.
Both militias were fighting against rain and snow, as well as a severe lack of equipment and supplies, when six of their leaders (Missouri's Col. Thomas Anderson, F.H. Edmondson, and S.M. Grant, and Iowa's William Patterson, Dr. J.D. Payne, and L.B. Hughes ) met in Waterloo, Mo., to negotiate a truce. In1849 the Supreme Court ruled that the Sullivan Line be resurveyed and officially defined. The new survey was accepted by the court in 1851 and it was ultimately decided by the United States Supreme Court in Iowa's favor.
Did you know this interesting historical tidbit about the border dispute?