The long haul across Missouri in the dead
of winter left the Saints wondering how do conduct themselves in the
Landing in Quincy, the brethren were in contact with Joseph Smith who was
still in prison in Liberty Jail, and his
counselors were looking at land in a place called Commerce, Illinois. A
good piece of land along the Mississippi River,
just across the wide flowing ribbon from Montrose, IA. Isaac Galland
offered them this land at a good price. Later,
he additionally offered land in Iowa to which he had no legal right, but
duped them into buying in June of 1839.
The Illinois and Iowa lands were purchased by Church agents Oliver Granger
and Vinson Knight.
James is shown on a piece of land on the Half Breed Reserve in Section 18,
Township 66.5. and another in the
Northwest section of Des Moines Township marked only as T 67.7. This
section would later be in the name of his
son Abraham. The first would be lost because of bogus deeds.
Land Purchase - Half Breed Tract Section
In 1839-40 two hundred and fifty families moved on to the Half
Breed Tract in Iowa, which they were to find had
been sold to them under false pretence. Luckily, at some earlier
period, James' sons apparently had the presence
of mind to become squatters on the tract, outside of the land holdings
sold to the Church. By about 1841 James
and Mary moved from the land on the Half Breed Tract into Nauvoo. But they
seemed to hold dual residency,
perhaps hedging their bets in case of emergency - when and if the mobs
chased the Mormons out of Nauvoo.
Of course, we know that was a good move on James' part. Joseph Smith was
the prime owner of Nauvoo land
and held all the deeds. Section 67.7 was later to be owned by
the Newberry's along with so much more.
After endeavoring to grow Nauvoo up
from a disease and bug ridden swamp, James was driven with the rest of the
Mormons from their Illinois home in 1846, fomented by by intolerance
and strife over new and old mistakes made
by various leaders of the church. Dissident fractionalization
of the Church's organization had been smoldering from
the time of Kirtland. Internal strife was found in Missouri and the
dis-ease followed Joseph Smith to Nauvoo.
and Mary's names are found on the Nauvoo City Tax lists of 1842-43. Land
maps show that the Newberry’s
were given a plot in the city. Whether a house was ever erected is
not known. Although it is known that James lived
in town with some of his daughters under his roof after
Mary's death. Many historical records were destroyed when
the city was in siege. In 1842 Mary died of "the
canker" in Nauvoo. After Mary's death it is assumed Nancy Brown
Newberry lived in the home in Nauvoo.
Back home in
James' mother Jemima died in 1843 at the home of his sister Asenath
lived in Pennsylvania by that time.
History of Iowa and Illinois
land holdings . . . circa 1838
James A. Newberry's sons James Washington Newberry and Abraham Newberry
took up and settled the land on
the Half Breed Tract in
Lee Co. Iowa where the whole family was found in 1838. This
land was at first allotted to
the Sac and Fox Indians who were half bloods.
Did the Newberry's qualify for this land because of their heritage
or because of pre-emptive laws? Probably
neither. Squatters were in great prevalence on the new frontier.
may have made friends with the Indians who owned the land, and when none
worked it, they probably began from
the position of settlers. However, James appears on the Half
Breed Tract Census in 1840. County
they squatted on the land by 1838.
James' sons, James W. and Abraham are shown as owners of various parcels
of land in this county after James Sr.
moves on to SW Iowa. The history of this particular parcel of land is very
difficult to get a straight story on, as the
ownership was in question in the federal courts until 1853.
On to -The collapses of Nauvoo and Exodus
of the Saints