Last night we stayed at Council Bluffs Iowa with a great room overlooking the wide Missouri River. What a grand sight! We headed East across Iowa to a small place near Lorimor called Mt. Pisgah. This was a permanent settlement used as a way station for pioneers readying to cross the plains to Utah territory. I have several ancestors who lived and are buried there. In the photo above I am standing by the monument which lists my ancestor, Jacob Hess.
The farmer who owns the 1500 acre spread adjacent to the monument and graveyard took us on a wonderful tour and showed us how to “witch” for water and places where the ground had been disturbed deeper than 18 inches (amazingly, it really works!). In several years of studying and researching they have documented the locations of literally hundreds of log cabin and dugout homesites there, as well as identifying the exact locations of the trails into the settlement.
Three more hours to the east brought us to Nauvoo Illinois, where the early Saints had built a huge and lovely city overlooking the Mississippi River. The old town has been restored by the LDS Church, and tourists can visit many of the buildings. In the photo above, Nellie’s first stop is the Scovill Bakery. I headed for the land office and found where some of my ancestors had owned property. Tomorrow we will visit all those sites. What a fun time we are having following the actual footsteps of our ancestors.