Early Travelers Face Danger
With no established roads or bridges, settlers faced adversity as they traveled to Iowa in the mid-1800s.
Once the pioneers crossed the Iowa border, their journey became more difficult. Within Iowa there were no established roads, ferries or bridges. Settlements were few and far between. Travelers had to depend on old Indian trails along the rivers and creeks or follow the high ground across the prairie.
When the pioneers reached a river, all wagons halted. While one person took up, another person took down the stream in search of a safe ford, often spending a whole day in such pursuit. But once a safe ford was located, the best swimmer, along with a horse or ox, started across to test it. If neither drown, it was pronounced safe.