Andy Cazier's Illinois and Iowa Trip

 Day 1  Friday August 2nd, 2002

 I arrived in Chicago about 5:00AM and rented a car. I headed west to Nauvoo arriving about 3:00PM. I drove around Nauvoo finding where things were and eventually ending up at the Fudge Factory where I met Durell Nelson, also a descendant of Benjamin Sr. We arranged to meet the next day to discuss information about the family.

 Not having made any reservations in a motel, I drove South to Hamilton, crossed the Mississippi river and North to Fort Madison, Iowa before I found a place to stay. I thought this was a good place to stay as family history reports that William Cazier and most of his family crossed the Mississippi here in May of 1846 (Benjamin and to be Brother-in-law James Bigelow, crossed at Nauvoo Feb. 8th 1846).

 After acquiring my place to stay I crossed the river again and drove back to Nauvoo to attend the City of Joseph pageant. It was great and had an added ambiance with the constant clicking of the crickets.

 Day 2 Saturday August 3rd

 In the morning I drove back to Nauvoo with a stop on the bridge when they opened it to let a string of barges pass down the Mississippi. As I waited and watched I wondered if the river was the same when the Caziers crossed there. I assume that it was not as wide in 1846 as there is a dam with locks down river by Hamilton that holds a lot of the water back.

 I looked around Nauvoo and then met with Durell. We discussed (among other things) his work to find more information on the burial place of Pleasant Drake Cazier in Iowa. He pointed out several things in our history that I knew was there, but it had not registered in my mind. For instance there are several references to “Highland Grove on Keg Creek”, including, arrivals, departures and references to a “Cottonwood grove”, and a “grove of timber”. The key would be to locate were this “Highland Grove” was or is.

 Durell during our discussion indicated a willingness to host a reunion in Nauvoo some time in the future maybe in 2004. Also when I met with the James Cazier descendants they stated a willingness to attend a Cazier reunion held in Nauvoo. This would be a long way to travel for most of us, but this would be going further back to the Cazier “Roots” as was stated at the Nephi reunion.

 In the afternoon I left and drove to Carthage, Il and saw the jail where Joseph and Hyrum Smith were martyred. I then drove to La Harpe, Il where the Caziers stayed for a short time after leaving Lovington. Then on to Springfield, Il where I stayed for the night.

 Day 3 Sunday August 4th

 In the morning I drove to Sullivan, Il and found Wyman Park. Dick Cazier was already there waiting for the others to arrive. We talked in the shade until the rest arrived totaling about sixteen in all. We introduced each other, talked, had a prayer and ate. I was impressed that this was a good bunch of people.

 Late in the afternoon people started to leave and I drove to Decatur, Il for the evening. Dick had given me two books, one had some information of what the Black Horse Tavern probably was like, and the other a History of Moultrie county Illinois. The history book had information on the “Mormon” problems and specifically talked about the Caziers. Reciting an episode concerning, money owed by William, a wagon that was sold at public auction and purchased by Benjamin, hidden, found and a law suit that was won by the Caziers. There was a story of James being chased by a mob and him begging the mob not to kill him. It was good information but seamed a little one sided on the side of the mob.

 Day 4 Monday August 5th

 In the morning I returned to Sullivan and met Dick for Breakfast at the “Spot” restaurant. We then drove north to Lovington, Il and Dick showed me the place where the Black Horse Tavern is believed to have been located. It is on the corner of E. State and S. Broadway in Lovington, behind the Post Office. It is currently a paved over lot. We also went to Springfield Road, that was the stage line that the Blake Horse Tavern was there to service.

After looking around Lovington we drove to several cemeteries were Caziers are buried including William J. Cazier the son of James Cazier.

We then drove back to Sullivan and had lunch at the “Spot” again. We then went down the street to the Sullivan Genealogy and History society building. After not finding anything new we went to the court house and was able to get permission to look through the old court records for the Cazier verses Keller lawsuit. But we could not find records that went back to 1844 to 1846. Apparently there was a fire in about 1850 that destroyed most of the records.

 I spent the night in Decatur, Il.

Day 5 Tuesday August 6th

 I drove back by way of La Harpe and stopped at the Carnegie Library and looked through there records in hope of finding something on the Caziers. There records only went back to 1859 when the town was officially organized, so no information was found.

 I arrived back in Nauvoo in the afternoon and spent the rest of the day going to the different performances and seeing the sights. I went to a performance by the “Young Performing Missionaries” at the visitors center, then to one by the “Senior Performing Missionaries” at the historic Cultural Hall and then to “Sunset over the River” in the open down by the river. What a beautiful sight as the sun went down over the river. All the performances were very good.

 I spent the night at The “Nauvoo Family Inn”. A nice inexpensive place with a good family atmosphere. The halls are lined with paintings depicting the Savior, Joseph Smith and old Nauvoo. It was very moving to look at them and get a little better understanding of them.

 Day 6 Wednesday August 7th

 I arose early and attended a session at the Nauvoo temple. What a bountiful temple, simple but elegant. The circular stair case is magnificent.

 I then started across Iowa fallowing the Mormon trail as close as I could. Following rout 2 then rout 34. I stopped at every spot that indicated anything on the Mormon trail. Museums, markers, and Garden Grove.

 After arriving late at Council Bluffs, I drove around a little to get my bearings.

 Day 7 Thursday August 8th

 I first went to the Kainsville Tabernacle, and took the tour and movie there. I talked to the Senior Missionaries about what I was doing. They gave me some information on James and John in the Mormon Battalion. They also recommended Gail Holmes (who’s name and number I already had from Durell) as the person to talk to about possible locations of Highland Grove and the burial place of Pleasant Drake.

 I called Gail Holmes and left a message and he called me back after I arrived at the Winter Quarters Visitors center and Temple. Gail gave me directions to the location he believed was “Highland Grove on Keg Creek”. I noted in the visitors center on the map that showed the location of the different locations of the Mormon settlements that Highland Grove was listed just a little from Keg Creek. (Click for photo) (Click for map) (Click for close up map)

 After touring the visitors center I followed the direction given and arrived at a marker that described some of the settlements in the area including Keg Creek, but it didn’t mention Highland Grove. I drove around a while and found the monument for Hide Park and then ended up back at the first marker. One of those little impressions sent me up a gravel road that I later learned was 240th. I kept circling a section of land (about a mile on a side) that had a large grove of trees in the center on a raised “High Land”. It looked to me to be virgin timber of what looked to me to be Cottonwood trees. I couldn’t find a good way into the area so I stopped a man riding a bike and asked him about the grove and if he knew about a place called Highland Grove. He didn’t know but he gave me directions to and the name of the owner of the property. (Click for Aerial view showing locations) (Click for closer view of grove)

 I drove to the home of Elton Young (the owner) and talked to him about the grove. He said it had been there as long as he could remember but he had not heard it or any other called Highland Grove. But he said that another person that helped put up the Mormon Trail markers may know.

 So I drove to Bob Scholts’  (sp) home. He said that he didn’t know about Highland Grove but recommended I contact Gail Holmes. On telling him that Gail was the one that pointed out this area he then said I should go see Henry Brandt, stating that he was also knowledgeable of the local history but took a different perspective than Gail Holmes.

 So I drove to Henry Brandt’s home that was back close to the Hide Park marker. He is a friendly older gentleman of about 80 years. We talked for a while, but he had never heard of Highland Grove either, but knew the before mentioned people.

 It was getting late and I started driving east. I was a little discouraged that I had not found more and I wished I had gotten permission to walk in to the grove and look around. I don’t know if that was the grove that Pleasant was buried in or if there is any ruminant left of it, but I was certainly drawn to it. I would at some point like to go back and look around that grove. It sure seams to be in the right place in relation to what history states.

I drove for a while and then slept in the car in a rest area.

 Day 8 Friday August 9th

 I took my time and stopped frequently as I was pretty tired. Sleeping in the car apparently doesn’t agree with me. I stopped in Davenport, IA for the night.

 Day 9 Saturday August 10th

 I drove back to Chicago, turned in the car and caught the plane back to Seattle.


 The more I look at maps showing the grove and compare it to the location on the Winter Quarters topographic map the more that grove appears to be placed correctly.

 The descriptions of people coming and going from Highland Grove match this grove. It is about 8 miles from the river or 10 miles if you were following a trail. Ten miles is what John’s history states he went to find his family after he crossed the Missouri, coming from California, after serving in the Mormon Battalion. It sits close to and in proper orientation to other known Mormon settlement sites. It is also close enough to Keg Creek to be considered “on Keg Creek”.

 It appears to be an old growth  “Cottonwood” grove on a high land (thus the name). The land is being farmed all around the grove and it may have shrunk some since 1846.

 Although there is a lot of evidence that points to this being the place of Pleasant’s burial, there is nothing in hand that confirms it. I however tend to believe that this is the place, whether her grave is in the existing grove or someplace  close outside I can’t confirm. I intend to return at some point and walk the grove looking for further evidence.