Military History Monday – Obscure U.S. Civil Wars: The Honey War of 1839

HoneywarmapTweren’t really nothing much this little “war”  — just a misunderstanding (maybe a little blown out of proportion), which was eventually settled by the U.S. Supreme Court, over the interpretation of the Louisiana Purchase and various treaties in ensuing years.

The disputed land was an approximately 10 mile-wide strip — was that land part of northern Missouri or southern Iowa?  In 1820, Missouri entered the Union with the northern boundary being the so-called “Sullivan Line” or “Indian Boundary Line”.   In 1816, surveyor John Sullivan conducted a survey in order to delineate the space between Osage Indian Territory and what was then just called Missouri Territory (new treaties had been drawn up with the Indians after the War of 1812).  Sullivan erected markers along the way, but by the late 1830s those markers had more or less disappeared, making it unclear where the boundary lines laid.

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1 Comment

  1. I thought it a bit amusing that the surveyors were a little “haphazard” we might say — the one author quoted in the article wondered whether Sullivan wasn’t aware of magnetic declination.

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