In 1820, a guy named Le Moliese set up a trading post here, one of a handful of French-Canadians who settled along this part of the river. He was buried at Sandusky but his grave is now under water thanks to the Keokuk hydroelectric dam. The village had a canning plant at one time but little other industry. In 1867, Isaac Campbell wrote about his recollections of those early French residents:

The next settlement, and, probably the first made by a white man in this country, was six miles above at Lemoliese, now Sandusky, a French trader occupying this post, being engaged in traffic with the natives. His nearest neighbor, Blondeau, resided about one mile above. Monsieur Lemoliese had a very amiable lady for a wife, who was fond of dress. She frequently, to please him, arrayed her person in gown, bonnet and shoes, but could not be prevailed upon to continue the costume, as her native garb—the blanket and petticoat—were more congenial to her taste.”

–Isaac Campbell’s 1867 letter about early settlements; Lee County History; Western Historical Company, 1879

Heading upriver? Check out Galland.

Heading downriver? Check out Keokuk.

© Dean Klinkenberg, 2014

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