The Courthouse Coup in Iowa

  • David Ress


In the absence of any real community of treaty rights holders or of any Congressional, General Land Office or Office of Indian Affairs directions, groups of speculators and leaders of the Church of Latter Day Saints took it upon themselves to carve up the Iowa Half Breed Tract. The group that eventually managed to apportion the Tract did so through the Iowa territorial courts, creating fictional shares in a commons—the Tract—and allocating the bulk to an investment syndicate they had formed that had already been buying “shares” in the Tract from supposed rights holders. The legal process was rife with conflicts of interest, which were eventually condemned by the US Supreme Court, although it did not nullify the division and allocation of land on the Tract.


Severalty Commons Land tenure Iowa Half Breed Tract Mormons 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • David Ress
    • 1
  1. 1.Newport NewsUSA

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