Chapter 7 – The St. Louis and New York Land Companies

140,000 acres in the southwest corner of Iowa Territory had been designated by the US Government for the use of Indian Half Breeds of the Sac and Fox Indian tribe.  Later legislation was passed with the intent of allowing the Half Breed residents on this tract of land to receive individual land areas for each qualified Half Breed Indian resident which they could keep or sell.  In 1834 Isaac Galland was active in buying land rights from the Half breed Indians on the tract.  In October 1836 the New York Land Company was formed to secure large land areas from the Half Breed Indians.  They hired Isaac Galland to serve as a partner and local agent.  Shortly thereafter, Isaac Campbell and a few St. Louis investors formed the St. Louis Land Company to purchase land rights from the Half Breed claimants as well.

After surveying the Des Moines Rapids, Lt. Robert E. Lee discovered what he called the “Spanish Chute”.  He believed that with further blasting of the rocks in the Mississippi Rapids a steamboat route could be secured to allow year round passage.  This natural course would continue from Keokuk to Nashville and on to Montrose on the Iowa side and then cross over to Commerce (Nauvoo).  Warsaw would however be excluded as it was not practical to try to clear the area around the Warsaw steamboat landing site.  As an alternative to solving the Des Moines Rapids problem, Illinois approved plans for the Des Moines Rapids Railroad in February 1839.  Commissioners for this railroad approved by the state included Mark Aldrich, Governor Joseph Duncan, Richard Barrett, Isaac Galland and seven other commissioners.  The plan was to use cranes to unload steamboats at Nauvoo and load the cargo on the new railroad which would continue to Warsaw and unload the railroad cars back on to steamboats to continue down to St. Louis or on to New Orleans. (And vice versa)  This railroad would ensure Warsaw was a critical commercial center for the region.