TFI #16 – Farmer & Plowman Lyman Dillon – 1839.

Farmer & Plowman Lyman Dillon

In 1838, when Iowa became a U.S. Territory, there were less than 23,000 people in the entire region, with most of Iowa comprised of either rich prairie-land or forested woodlands, with countless creeks and rivers winding their way southward toward the Mississippi River. Transportation, at the time, was pretty much limited to waterways, via canoe or raft, or by walking and/or riding by horse or mule on the limited number of trails that had been cut through the prairies by Native Iowans. Robert Lucas – in one of his first acts as governor – asked the U.S. Senate to fund a Military Road running the length of the Territory from Dubuque to the Missouri border. After an extensive survey of the land, Lyman Dillon, a young farmer from Cascade, was hired to plow up a furrow from Dubuque to Iowa City (86 miles), marking the pathway for road construction workers to follow. Beginning 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, spent 10 grueling days, plowing up, what later would become known as, Dillon’s Furrow.

CHECK OUT THE COMPLETE BLOG SERIES – Iowa City’s Top 50 Influencers – Part I

Back in 1979 – The Iowa City Press Citizen ran a special seven-page section called Chronology 1841/1979 and it featured Iowa City’s famed historian – Irving Weber – and his look at 25 People Who Left Their Stamp On Iowa City. So, here we are – forty-four years later – and now, I’m offering these two posts – dedicated to those who have greatly influenced our city over the first 100 years or so. This page features the First 25, and as you can see, each of the 25 names has a brief overview with a link(s) to read more, if you like. Enjoy!

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: Logo

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

Facebook photo

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

Connecting to %s