Did You Know? 1839.

Lyman Dillon – Plowing the Straight & Narrow.
Did You Know – the audio version

In 1839, R.C. Tilghman, as he was completing his survey of the land, laying out a map for Iowa’s first “official” road, hired the Langworthy brothers – Edward, James and Lucius – of Dubuque as contractors for actually constructing the National (Military) Road. The brothers, in turn, contacted a young single farmer, age 39, from Cascade in Dubuque County named Lyman Dillon to do the dirty work of plowing up a guiding furrow between Dubuque and Iowa City, marking Tilghman’s route for road crews to follow.

Beginning just outside Dubuque, in the fall of 1839, Dillon took a large sod-breaking plow with a team of five oxen, a horse-drawn covered wagon for provisions, and under the guidance of an army engineer, began plowing up what later would become known as Dillon’s Furrow – 86 miles – at $3 per mile.


Did you know? is an Our Iowa Heritage blog series that offers you a little bit of Iowa trivia from a large selection of stories on our website. Subscribe to this FREE blog and you’ll get a new email from us every Monday – Wednesday – Friday.

Join us for Our Iowa Heritage blog posts.

Learn some historical facts about Iowa City, Johnson County, or Eastern Iowa.

Amaze your friends.

Click to learn more.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s