Country Facts and Folklore
By Andy Reddick

New Settlement Revealed

I found a website that lists the latitude and longitude locations of some of the post offices that once existed in Van Buren County--though not all of them. My placement of settlements and post offices is correct in every case where the grid components were available from other sources.

Lick Creek Post Office has always been a mystery. When I was working on my graduate thesis about 25 years ago, I found a notation that it was about 2 miles west of Birmingham. Until about 1890, there was a cluster of houses about 2 to 2 ½ miles west of Birmingham, therefore I placed the post office at that location.

Ralph Arnold, who had worked for the county as a surveyor, once viewed the remains of what had been Lick Creek village. He said it was further south than where I had it pin-pointed.

With the latitude and longitude coordinates, I quickly determined an accurate location. Lick Creek Post Office was in Section 21, near the line of Section 20, about ¼ mile east of Hickory Avenue, near the creek, according to the web site.

Zeroing in, this location is nearly four miles southwest of Birmingham, as the crow flies. According to the plat map that I have, the location is roughly about ½ mile north of Dean (Robert) Goemaat. It may have been on a 20-acre, or a 25-acre plot owned by Donna Taube.

I have always been a little uncomfortable with my placing of New Market on the other side of the bridge from Selma, because there is conflicting information. Other information suggests that New Market was simply the post office for the “village” of Black Hawk. Across from Selma, to the northwest was an old Indian race track. Black Hawk existed about a mile west, just beyond the creek. This is where the coordinates place New Market Post Office, in Section 7, along Eagle Drive where it leaves the river for a short distance. Across the river and about ¼ mile west along that creek was Iowaville, which was still clearly within Van Buren County.

The new place name I discovered, however, was at the other end of the county. There was at least a post office, named Lena. Shown as rural Bonaparte, it was near Big Indian Creek on Cull Road, about 1/10 mile north of 290th Street. This post office, which would have been housed within at least a one-dwelling settlement, was approximately four miles east of Mt. Sterling, at an elevation of 626 feet.

If anyone knows anything about the settlement called Lena, please let me know through the newspaper to which you subscribe.

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Contributed to the Van Buren Co. IAGenWeb Project by Andy Reddick