Country Facts and Folklore
By Andy Reddick

Traces of Upton Still Remain

A rough little town called Upton existed for many years along the Iowa-Missouri State Line. In fact, part of the little town was in Iowa, and part of it was in Scotland County, Missouri. A plat of the village was printed in the 1897 Atlas, Northwest Publishing, on a page with Plymouth, below the plat map of Farmington Township, Van Buren County.

Upton was actually in Des Moines Twp., Section 17, and was 741 feet above sea level. John Upton registered the plat on April 14, 1852, comprising six blocks, each with a north/south alley. The plat was bounded on the north by North Street, on the east by Public Road, and on the south by Public Road. From east to west were Public Road, East Street, Main Street and West Street. Running from south to north were Public Road, Cross Street and North Street.

The community’s heyday was during the 1870s and 1880s, when it boasted a store, blacksmith shop, post office and sorghum mill. The post office existed from 1852 to 1903, and the sorghum mill until 1920. At one time, there were three stores and a flour and grist mill, according to Gladys Carpenter and Mamie Wollam (Memories of Upton, an unpublished photo copy, Keosauqua Library) Still standing twenty years ago, was a two-story building which was the school, on the Missouri side. The post office was on the Iowa side, as well as a church and Upton Cemetery. Indentations where streets existed can still be found.

The ladies who wrote the history claim that 75 people lived in the hamlet at one time, and this is no surprise, considering the area that it covered. It appears that more people lived on the Missouri side of the line. It had an employment base, but its reputation for fights and brawls may have prevented it from growing into a larger community. 

The 1858 Atlas of Scotland County, Missouri shows Upton as comprising about a half dozen blocks on the Missouri side. The only sizable town in Scotland County at the time was Memphis. Arbela, Sand Hill, Etna and Granger were the only other towns, and they were tiny hamlets similar to Upton.

Upton continued to be shown as a town in 1876 and 1898. The place name was no longer mapped in 1930, with just a school to mark where the little village stood.

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