Trails to the Past


Van Buren County



Trails to the Past of Iowa is excepting any donations of genealogy materials that you may have such as marriage announcements, news articles, old obituaries, births, (you do not need the birth certificate) just the information, and biographies.  If you have any of these items please contact me Marie Miller the Iowa State Administrator.

Van Buren County was formed on December 7, 1836 as a part of Wisconsin Territory, and was split off from Des Moines County. It was named for President Martin Van Buren. It became a part of Iowa Territory (later the state of Iowa) when that territory was organized on July 4, 1838.

The county's courthouse was built in September 1843 in the style of Greek Revival and stands as Iowa's oldest, and the nation's second oldest, courthouse in operation.

"The Honey War" refers to a colorful episode in Van Buren County's history when the State of Missouri and Wisconsin Territory border came into dispute. Missouri attempted to collect taxes from residents north of the disputed Sullivan Line of 1816, which residents said was not rightfully theirs to tax. The sheriff of Van Buren County subsequently arrested and jailed the sheriff from Kahoka, Missouri, and Missourians were charged with "stealing honey from bee trees in what in now Lacey-Keosauqua State Park. Each governor sent troops to resolve the problem but no bloodshed resulted. The matter was turned over to the U.S. Congress for arbitration. The dispute, however, was not resolved until 1846, when Iowa became a state.  Congress ruled "in favor of Iowa, allowing the original Sullivan line of 1816 to remain intact".

On Line Data

Census-designated places
    Mount Sterling
Unincorporated communities
    Mt. Zion

    Birmingham Township
    Bonaparte Township
    Cedar Township
    Chequest Township
    Des Moines Township
    Farmington Township
    Harrisburg Township
    Jackson Township
    Keosauqua Township
    Lick Creek Township
    Union Township
    Van Buren Township
    Vernon Township
    Village Township
    Washington Township

Van Buren County Court House

Adjacent counties
    Jefferson County (north)
    Henry County (northeast)
    Lee County (east)
    Clark County, Missouri (southeast)
    Scotland County, Missouri (southwest)
    Davis County (west)


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