Pearson House open house Sunday

KEOSAUQUA ? The Pearson House Museum Complex in Keosauqua will be open for tours from noon to 4 p.m. Sunday.

The museum complex includes the Pearson family home, which was an Underground Railroad safe house for escaping slaves, the Ellis School House and the Moughler Pioneer Log Cabin.

A Historic Circuit Rider Service will be held at noon in the upstairs church meeting room of the Pearson house.

The Pearson House is a unique stone and brick house built around 1845 to 1847 by Benjamin Franklin Pearson as his home.

Pearson was a skilled stonemason who had intended to build the entire house of stone, but after constructing the first story, he accepted a quantity of brick as payment on a debt so he used the brick to complete the house.

The second floor was originally one large room and was used for Methodist church services.

Pearson?s anti-slavery beliefs and a hideaway reached through a trapdoor in the floor endorse local legacy that the house was a station on the Underground Railroad, the escape route of runaway slaves from the southern states.

The house was damaged by a tornado in 1967, but has been restored. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1977.

The 1847 Ellis School was moved to the museum site by the Van Buren Historical Society.

The school has its original desks and potbelly stove and appears ready for the teacher to ring the bell to start class for rural students.

The Moughler Log Cabin, like Ellis School, was moved to the site by the historical society. The cabin is furnished for 1800s living.

Costumed tour guides will be on site Sunday. The tour is free, but the Van Buren County Historical Society will accept donations.

Call the Van Buren Historical Society at 319-293-3088 or 319-293-3486 for information.