Within the lower tier of counties in 42N country's Iowa is this roadside marker. Immediately this historic story teller stands out because it is not a DOT-type sign but a huge chunk of pink granite, looking just quarried with a plaque. In fact the monument marks the trek of Mormons nearly 160 years ago and was placed at this location in 1917.
Mormons massed in nearby Nauvoo, Illinois before heading west to their destination in Salt Lake City, Utah. These pioneers took a few routes through Iowa before unifying just east of Council Bluffs on the Missouri River.
The inscription reads, in part, "We cross the prairie as of old, the Pilgrims crossed the sea, to make the West as they did the East, the homestead of the free."
Located at this place was Brattons Grove, junction of the Mormon and Dragoon trails. While prairie flowers still bloom thanks to cooler temperatures and plenty of water, the march of the Mormons across Iowa was documented to be harsh travel. Mud, insects, weather and the onset of an winter made at least one expedition (hand carts) through Johnson County, located further north, dangerous. Travel at this location seemed so peaceful today. Know that.