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Laid out in 1871, the city of Elsberry was named for Robert T. Elsberry, one of its founders. The community was situated along the St. Louis, Keokuk & Northwestern Railroad, along the western margin of the Mississippi bottom, and on the north side of Lost Creek, which flows into the Mississippi River. The city was surveyed and platted in August of 1879, and the first building erected in Elsberry was a railroad warehouse. Prior to its settlement by European Americans, the area had been explored by Father Marquette and Louis Joliet, who came down the Mississippi from Canada, skirting the banks opposite Elsberry in 1673. Later, trappers and hunters came into the area from time to time, but permanent settlers did not arrive until after the American Revolution. The few who built cabins there then were driven out by the Black Hawk and his allies prior to the end of the War of 1812. Local Native American tribes were the Sauk and the Fox Indians, both part of the Algonquin Nation. Today, Elsberry may be accessed through Missouri Route 79. New Hope is to the southwest, Dameron is north, Apex is south, and the Mississippi River is to the east.



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