View Over the
the Missouri River
From Area of Council Point
migrants to this place, by the Missouri
River should land at Council Point, some three miles above
Trading Point of Bellevue. Charles Bird resides there
and to him should our friends make application for
information immediately on landing. This is the most
eligible point on the river for accommodation of emigrants to
get removed to their friends in the various settlements in
this region, and also the nearest point to this [Kanesville]
Feb 21, 1849 To Emigrants:
From the Frontier Guardian,
edited by Orson Hyde,
President of the Quorum of the Twelve, and presiding officer
over Latter-day Saints in Iowa, 1848 - 1852.
Gail Geo. Holmes
Established: 1846 - 1868
Ferry, Steamboat Landing, Ropewalk, Warehouse
Middle Mormon Ferry
Council Point School, Mr. Brown teacher, as noted in
"Saturday Last," Orson Hyde, ed., in Myrtle Hyde, comp.,
1846 - Washed away by the Missouri River
for a Google map
giving directions to the
area of the
historic settlement of Council Point.
Council Point, Iowa on Missouri
Was Primary Shipping, Receiving Point
West Lewis Township,
Pottawattamie County, Iowa Survey Map 1851
Click on map for greater detail.
Close behind Grand
Encampment, Kanesville, and Winter Quarters, Council Point, Iowa was
the next largest of Mormon (LDS) refugee communities of 1846-1853 by
the Missouri River. Its name was drawn from a
Pottawattamie/Ottawa/Chippewa Indian council held there nine days
before arrival June 14, 1846 of the first three Latter-day Saint
refugee wagon trains. The Latter-day Saints had fled mob attacks in
west central Illinois and southeastern Iowa.
There were two good
reasons for the largely Pottawattamie Indian council in that
location. Their purpose was to test tribal members willingness to
sell southwestern Iowa and move to northeastern Kansas territory.
First good reason for meeting there was the accommodation afforded
by the partial remains of the 1843 flood-damaged Fort Croghan.
Second good reason was the continued presence of the Davis Hardin
family which had established in 1837 a short-term government farm
there for the Indians.
and scattering of Ottawa and Chippewa, members approved at that
first of several councils the sale of southwestern Iowa to the
American government. As other parts of the tribe also approved, at
their scattered village sites, it was determined these Algonkian1-
speaking natives from the Great Lakes area would leave Iowa in 1847
Council Point and the
partial ruins of Fort Croghan were at the southwest edge of what
today is Council Bluffs, Iowa. It is about a quarter mile west of
today’s Lake Manawa, itself an 1880s remnant of the Missouri River.
Steamboat Landing by
Click on artwork for larger version.
The American government
built a steamboat landing on the north bank of an elbow the Missouri
River poked up to the Hardin farm or original 1837 Indian Farm.
Local historians have called that landing the Hardin Landing. Some
8,000 European Saints landed there in the Mormon years, and it was
then called Emigrant Landing. Being a steamboat landing, Council
Point was subject to contagious diseases. The Frontier Guardian
of May 16, 1849 (p 3 col. 3) reported the death from cholera of
widows Bennel, and Gee, and Mrs. Rogers and her son.
Council Point was four
miles southwest of Kanesville, renamed Council Bluffs in 1853. The
two communities were linked together by a remarkably modern-style
development called Stringtown. A good road was built between the
two large communities. On the west side of the road at regular
intervals were pioneer homes. On the east side of the road, also at
regular intervals, was cropland running up to the bluffs. On the
west side of the road, in equal lots was pasture land. Beyond those
pastures was more crop land.
A High Council was named
at Council Point to manage development, civic, and church affairs.
It was composed of Isaac Morley, George W. Harris, James Allred,
Thomas Grover, Phinehas Richards, Herman Hyde, Andrew H. Perkins,
Henry W. Miller, Daniel Spencer, Jonathan H. Hale, and John
A warehouse was
constructed at which immigrants could store their goods while
looking for a place to live. It must, also, have well served
Kanesville merchants who ordered goods from St. Louis and shipped
them up to Council Point by steamboat. When 10,000 Gold Rushers in
1849 crossed the Missouri River at or near Kanesville, steamboats
were busy keeping the large mercantile houses at Kanesville
the Prairie Towards Area
of Emigrant Landing and Reuben W. Allred's Ropewalk
One of the most
interesting businesses at Council Point was Reuben W. Allred’s
Rope-walk2. His advertisement in the Frontier Guardian
weekly newspaper said in part:
“… prepared to supply merchants, citizens, and emigrants with all
kinds of rope and cordage, from a fish line to a cable. Rope of all
kinds constantly on hand, and manufactured to order.” What he
didn’t say is that all was made of hemp growing naturally in the
area. And he doesn’t point to the fact that his rope-walk was a
long shed under which cable was made to reach twice across the
When the Middle Mormon
Ferry was built to transport LDS refugees across the river to
Nebraska territory, a plan was devised to make the river do the
work. A dug way3 was cut into the Iowa bank of the
Missouri, half a mile south of the present east end of the South
Omaha or Highway 92 Bridge. The dug way was large enough to keep
the boat from being rocked by river-flow as it was being loaded.
Workmen crossed over and cut similar dug ways into the Nebraska
river bank a half-mile below and a half-mile above the Iowa dug
way. Two cables were stretched from the Iowa dug way. One went
down stream half a mile. The other went up stream half a mile.
Philadelphia lawyer/observer Thomas L. Kane claimed the river was a
mile wide at that point. The Middle Mormon Ferry was attached to
the cable as it crossed the river, pushed by the current of the
A substantial number of
the European Saints landing at Council Point were from Wales, in
southwestern England. A Welsh Tabernacle was built west of Council
Point, perhaps a quarter of a mile, for their accommodation.
After Latter-day Saint
refugee times, the Missouri River swept away Council Point, but we
don’t know when that occurred. There is a historical marker there,
well hidden behind evergreen trees, a few yards east of South 24th
Street on Gifford Road, west of Lake Manawa.
By Gail Geo. Holmes
Algonkian - A family of North American Indian languages spoken or
in an area from Labrador to the Carolinas between the Atlantic
coast and the Rocky
2. Ropewalk - Is a
long alley or covered pathway where stands of material, such as
hemp fiber or animal skins are laid and twisted into rope, also a
building in which such a pathway is created.
3. Dug way - A way or
road dug through a hill, or sunk below the surface of the land.
Quote From Historic
Marker at Council Point
Latter-day Saints emigrants built
Council Point in 1846 as a support town for the Middle Mormon
River. The community was centered near Gifford Road, just off
South 24th Street.
It was at Council Point in 1846
that Brigham Young appointed acting bishops to care for needy
Latter-day Saints, especially the families left behind when the
Mormon Battalion marched off to New Mexico and California in the
Council Point served as a river
port for nearly eight thousand European Latter-day Saints who
landed here in the late 1840s and early 1850s on their way to
Salt Lake Valley in Utah.
The steamboat dock, known as Emigrant Landing was located on a
north elbow of the Missouri, then about two blocks south of here
and about four blocks west of modern Lake Manawa.
During the California gold rush,
steamboats coming up river from St. Louis landed great
quantities of merchandise at Council Point. Large mercantile
and supply houses flourished in Kanesville (now downtown Council
In Reuben Allred’s rope walk,
near the landing, workers fashioned local hemp into ropes used
to guide the Middle Mormon Ferry across the river west of here.
The north bank of the river at these sites can still be seen by
looking west from South 20th Street about three
blocks south of Gifford Road.
Hundreds of Welsh emigrants, many
of them speaking very little English, met for worship services
in the Welsh Tabernacle, located a little to the northwest of
Sometime after the last
Latter-day Saints left southwest Iowa for the West in 1853,
floodwaters washed away Council Point and the Welsh Tabernacle.
Rising water had similarly destroyed Fort Croghan on this site
in 1843, only a year after it was built by the United States
Cemetery at Council
Point Washed Into the River
Point, west of Manawa, a settlement of Mormons started a
cemetery in 1848. A large number of them were buried there while
the Mormons occupied this section of the country. After the
cemetery was abandoned it was in after years washed into the
river, and the exact location of it could hardly be determined
at this date.1
death information is taken from death and marriage notices from
the Frontier Guardian newspaper of the Kanesville area from 1849
Allred, John F.
17 July 1850 at Council Point, of cholera, 23 years old.
(Frontier Guardian, 7 August 1850).
Dr., 8 October 1851, at Council Point, of congestive fever,
50 years and 18 days (Frontier Guardian, 17 October 1851).
daughter of Orrin D. and Falvilla Farlin, 8 January 1852, at
Council Point, 19 months old (Frontiers Guardian, 20
W., infant son of James and Mary Matthews, 24 July 1851, at
Council Point, 3 months and 18 days (Frontier Guardian, 8
Muir, James, 15
July 1850, at Council Point, 21 years and 4 months (Frontier
Guardian 24 July 1850).
Elizabeth, wife of Samuel G. Raymond, 2 November 1850, at
Council Point, 40 years, 6 months, and 10 days (Frontier
Guardian, 25 December 1850).
late from England, 31 December 1850, at Council Point, of
acute bronchitis, 21 years old (Frontier Guardian, 8 January
Other deaths are
found in the Early Latter-day Saint database. See listing
into the River," unknown author, Council Point File, Pioneer
Research Library, Mormon Trail Center at Historic Winter
2. Death and
Marriage Notices from the Frontier Guardian 1849-1852 compiled
by Lyndon W. Cook and published by the Center for Research of
Mormon Origins, P.O. Box 2125, Orem, Utah 84059