Thursday, December 17, 2009

The Lucas County Historical Society Museum - Early Days

A portion of this information was taken from the History of Lucas County Book -1978.  

Records indicate the first Lucas County Historical Society was organized on June 10, 1901.  This was the first county historical society organized in the State of Iowa.  Officers at that time were Warren Dungan, President; Thomas V. Gay, Vice-President; Miss Effie M. Dungan Brown, Secretary; B.F. Bates, Treasurer; and Miss Margaret Brown, Curator.  Directors were Smith H. Mallory; R.A. Hasselquist; Mrs. F.H. Boynton; and Mrs. B.R. Van Dyke.  

At this time all records from the "Old Settlers Association: organized September 7, 1895 and the "Veterans Association" were donated to the first Lucas County Historical Society and protected for many years by the Chariton Library.  In 1974, said papers were donated for further protection and care to the present society.

An interesting partial quote from one of these papers reads, "What are the objects and benefits of such a society?  Blot out the past history of the world and the midnight darkness, which at once surrounds you, gives you a practical illustration of the value of the light of history.  Whatever use the present makes of the light history sheds upon it's pathway, measures the benefits of such a society."

The Museum House was built between 1907-09, by A. J. Stephens, a Chariton contractor, for his family home. The Lucas County Historical Society, which was organized on June 17 1965, purchased the home in 1966 for $10,500.  All restorations and additions were supported by contributions.

In 1968 a rural school, "Puckerbrush", the last to close in Lucas County, was purchased for one dollar from the Chariton Community School District and moved to the Museum grounds.; a rural "Otterbein Church" was moved onto the grounds in 1976; The John L. Lewis Building, the fourth building to be moved onto the property, was dedicated on July 4, 1976 and expansion was done in 1981 and 1992 and a timber framed barn in 1995; and a log cabin in 2001. 

This entire complex has been an encouragement to those who have labored since 1965.  It is rewarding to have the feeling that we are keeping faith with our fore-bearers who also dreamed and labored.


Reflections - Norma Pim - June 1986     Curator at the Lucas County Historical Society

Puckerbush Schoolhouse

     This is what I remember about bringing Puckerbush Schoolhouse onto the grounds and the story about how it came to belong to the Historical Society.  It was the last building to be sold after the re-organization of the rural schools in the county.  The building belonged to the Lucas County school board and they were offering it up for sale.  It was out in the northwest part of the county, close to Bill and Betty Osenbaugh's farm.  A few of the people at the museum got to talking about how it would be nice if we had ownership of this building and could move it onto the grounds for future young people and adults to enjoy.

     Irene Garton, the first curator asked me if I would go with her to the sale as the school board had advertised the school was for sale.  We heard that some people in the Puckerbush area by the name of Helen and Warren Rush were planning on buying it and making a chicken house out of it.  One day I got in my car and went up to Betty Osenbaugh's to see if she would go with me to talk to these people to see if there was any way we could obtain this building.   She agreed to go.  She had her young son David with her and we started out toward Warren Rush's place.  We didn't know what we were up against because they said they wanted to buy it and we didn't have funds to buy it at that time.  The Historical Society was organized in 1965 and here it was 1967 and we had been getting by on just donations and things.  So on the way up there I said to Betty, "I know you as a praying Christian and I was wondering if we could say a prayer about this before we talk to these people."  I didn't even know them.  So she said certainly and I stopped the car and we had prayer about it right there in the road on the way up to their place.  The first conversation we had about it sounded very definite that he wouldn't abstain from bidding.  He was concerned that it was just a building and they had some use for it and he was going to buy it.  We went on to visiting a while longer and then his wife, Helen, said "I think these people should have the building and move it onto the museum grounds.  He said, "You Do!"  She said "Yes."  He said, "If that is the way you feel, I won't even go and try to buy it."  He was the only one that we knew of at the time that was interested in buying it, so we figured we had a chance.  Irene asked me if I would go with her to the school board meeting to see what happened.  To make the story short we were able to buy that school building for $1 that evening.  We were quite elated.

     We still had the problem of moving it and this would cost quite a bit of money.  Keith Kent came to mind because he owned a construction firm at Lucas with some very big machinery and we wondered if he could move it.  I was asked to go and talk to Keith Kent.  He was very gracious and made the statement that his mother, Mary, had taught school at Puckerbush School at one time and it meant a lot to him to have it saved.  He would move it for us as a donation.  That was my recollection of how this building came to be moved onto the historical Society grounds. 

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Stones in Russell Cemetery

To the right is one of the very old stones in Russell Cemetery that was very hard to read.  Even so, it is in pretty good condition.  

T.M. Livingston  Co. E.  85th Ill. Inf
From the Chariton Patriot newspaper of June 24, 1897

Another old soldier has gone to rest.  Thomas M. Livingston died Saturday afternoon, June 19th, of heart disease, at the age of 72 years.  He had long been an invalid, not having been away from his house for several years.  Funeral services were held at the Presbyterian church Sunday afternoon, of which church he was a member.  A short and impressive discourse was delivered by the Rev. J.Q. Hall, after which his remains were taken charge of by his comrades of the Grand Army, and laid to rest in the Russell Cemetery.
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Who Am I?
We have no death or obit in our newspapers.
The cemetery plat doesn't list him.  He is buried by:
Harison H. Scovel  GAR  Marker
June 1, 1877 - Aug. 10, 1901
Eli H. Scovel and Wife and Dau
Aug 16, 1835 - Nov 25, 1881
May 14, 1840 - Nov. 5, 1872
Ellen E.
Mar. 14, 1845 - Mar. 14, 1876

On Jan 11, 2010, we received an answer regarding the gravestone of Jasper Newton Scovel.  A Mr. Mullins wrote us with more information about his great-great-grandfather's brother.  He married Mary Martha McCoy on Oct 15, 1874 in Chariton.  He was born about 1851 in New York (possibly Cattaraugus County) and died Oct 27, 1877
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Recipes From the Past

One Dish Meal – by Myrtle Wagner
Brown 6 Pork Chops, put in casserole and cover with water.
Put 1 tblsp uncooked rice on each chop.
One slice tomato on rice and
Small chopped onion on tomato.
Salt and pepper to taste.
Bake 3 hours.
Irish Stew - by Mrs. Joe Parkin
1 tblsp of fat - put in kettle,
Add small onion chopped and
1 cup raw beef, cut in small pieces, let brown,
Add 3 cups water, salt and pepper to taste.
Cook slowly 1 ½ hours.
Add 2 cups raw diced potatoes,
Cook till tender, adding water if necessary,
Thicken with 1 tblsp flour and serve hot.
White Floating Soap
Into an iron kettle put 2 ½ quarts melted grease (left over from cooking meats).
Stir in 1 can of Watchdog Lye which was previously poured into 1 qt. of water and allowed to cool.
Stir into grease, add 1 cup ammonia, 2 tablespoons Borax dissolved in ½ cup warm water.
Stir for 5 minutes, then beat into warm soap until too stiff to handle.
Put away to cool. Cut into bars and do not use until soap has aged for four weeks.

The Kickapoo Bottle

From the Booklet "Medicine in Lucas County" by Dr. Throckmorton.

     He was a bewhiskered doctor who lived in the old Penick house on the hill north of where Southgate is now located.  He called his domain a sanitarium and people went there to stay a week or two, sometimes three for steam and herb treatments, or fresh air to cure T.B., in his outdoor rooms, even if it was 20 degrees; they say many got well.  
     He was a Chickasaw Indian, tall and muscular; occasionally wore his bright, robe like clothing on the Chariton square and was around 60 years old.  He even had a booklet about his work and cures and treated according to the Zodiac.  He had picnic tables and shade trees on his lawn and lectured on Sundays, around World War I times.  We hear numerous interesting things about him, but some called him a fake and few seem to remember his name.  He outgrew his location and moved to the Bates Hotel, where he continued a few years.   
     We have a picture sent to us of a bottle picked up on his hill that had contained Kickapoo Indian Oil, one of the Doctor's remedies.

NOTE:  There is a picture of the sanitarium in the Family History Room of the Public Library, but the picture above came from the Chautuaqua Assembly 1903 booklet.

Chicken Swallowed A Nail

from the Chariton Herald-Patriot, July 7, 1927

     Recently Atlee Winsor noticed one of his prize Minorca's rather dumpy, and upon investigation found a shingle nail protruding from the body just back of the leg.  The nail was removed and the chicken regained its good spirits and appetite and was soon as good as ever.  The nail must have been swallowed and forced its way out in that manner.  Atlee certainly has a fine bunch of chickens and an ideal place in which to care for them.  He hopes to flood the market with eggs this winter when they are almost 50 cents per dozen.