Grove City House
The Underground Railroad in Iowa John Brown Freedom Trail 1859 - Stop Number Five Iowa Freedom Trail Project
Backstory and Context
John Brown, with twelve men, women, and children escaping slavery from Missouri, plus ten of his own men, stopped near Grove City in Atlantic Township in Cass County on February 14, 1859. They stayed at the Grove City House, operated by David A. Barnett. Barnett, a large farm owner, local town promoter, and husband of Grove City’s postmistress, worked with Oliver Mills and Rev. George Hitchcock of nearby Lewis to assist those escaping slavery. Brown’s party rested overnight at Grove City on their three month trek toward freedom.
The then new, but now bygone, town of Grove City briefly boomed in hopes of becoming the county seat with the railroad’s arrival. Unfortunately, the railroad tracks skirted the edge of Grove City and the train barreled by the settlement at full speed on the way to Atlantic, Iowa. Grove City, the size of a quarter-section of land and a 24 block town (see historic maps) dried up and is now denoted only by a historic marker.
Next Stop: Dalmanutha, Iowa
Iowa and the Underground Railroadhttps://iowaculture.gov/sites/default/files/History%20-%20Education%20-%20Lifelong%20Learning%20-%20Iowa%20Underground%20Railroad%20(PDF).pdf