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1833 Black Hawk Purchase, Beginning of Settlement of Iowa

The first of June 1833, was the signal for a rush of immigrants into the Black Hawk purchase. It was the day on which the eastern Iowa country was supposed to be free of Indian inhabitants. This supposition, however, did not entitle the whites to take up their abode in the abandoned Indian country. It still belonged to the United States government, and persons who entered upon its acres would be dealt with as trespassers according to law.

Not until the land had been platted by surveyors and formally opened to settlement might anyone come into the Iowa wilderness. To this rule the government made an exception in the case of mines upon public lands. Licenses were granted to diggers and smelters in return for a certain rent. The old Dubuque lead mines were accordingly occupied soon after the first of June 1833, but elsewhere government rules and statistics and troops were generally disregarded by the adventurous pioneers. They flocked into different parts of the new public domain, impelled by the rare opportunity to acquire choice locations for towns and farms.

[From the July number of the "Iowa Journal of History and Politics," published by the State Historical Society of Iowa, published in Nonpareil, August 3, 1915; submitted by Ann]



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