In 1835, a 27-year old Tennessee lieutenant traveled up and down the Des Moines River valley with a Regiment of U.S. Dragoons. Their assignment was to map out this uncharted prairie the Sauk and Fox tribes called kiowa – ‘this is the place’. The expedition was a success, but it wasn’t until Albert Lea, that soldier from Knoxville, published his notes in book form, when Americans united around the name Iowa when describing this beautiful land west of the Mississippi River.
In his book, Lea wrote this about Iowa:
The general appearance of the country is one of great beauty…It may be represented as one great rolling prairie…The transparent waters of the creeks and rivers, skirted by woods…Taking this District all in all for convenience of navigation, water, fuel and timber; for richness of soil; for beauty of appearance; and for pleasantness of climate, it surpasses any portion of the United States with which I am acquainted.
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