Show Me The State: The Honey War | KBIA

Show Me The State: The Honey War

Mar 11, 2019

Did you know Missouri and Iowa almost went to war in the 1800s? Each claimed ownership over a strip of land along the border and believed it had the right to tax the people living there.

Several surveyors drew different lines leaving the disputed land in a tug of war between two petty governors for years.

Stuck in the middle was “The Hairy Nation” – a community of transplants with varied backgrounds – longing to know where they belonged and what their identity was.

Before this story is over, trees with honey beehives will be chopped down, a sheriff will be kidnapped and ragtag militias with kitchenware and garden tools as weapons will march to meet at the border to settle this dispute once and for all.


The Honey War marks the border dispute between Missouri and Iowa in 1839.
Credit Rosemary Belson / KBIA