Monday, February 22, 2010

LaGrange Tavern

This article was taken from the Chariton Leader, written in 1929
Recently appeared in the Chariton Leader January 19, 2010
LaGrange was located northeast of Russell.  The cemetery is all that remains

The LaGrange Tavern, The Wayside Inn by the side of the State Road

Old LaGrange, in the pioneer days had the distinction of being the second city in size in Lucas County and was a station on the "State Road" of the overland Stage Company.  Now, the road is paved, known as the Harding Highway, or primary 34, and through it passed daily, the Burlington motor propelled bus - on through landscape where the town used to be - the site is farm land now.

The sweep of the stage horses, to the crack of the drivers whip, are but echoed memories as they halted in front of the Tavern to load and unload passengers.

The Monnyhons, Trowbridges, Linds, Parrs and the others have receded into history - some resting forever in the neglected graveyard not far away, but the majority migrating as pioneer spirits led them, somewhere into forgetfulness.  The two old churches yet stand as monuments to the age, but the old Tavern long since crumbled into decay and no trace of it is left.

However, the window decorator in the J.L. Piper store, Dayton Piper, has seen his imaginations work, and has reproduced the old tavern and stage house, attired in winter, but has departed from the antique in honoring the editor of the Leader as "mine host" which distinction is appreciated, but while youth has long since departed his memory goes back only dimly to the days when LaGrange flourished by the side of the road, and the confession that he never beheld the stage coach as it swung into town.

(If anyone has pictures of the LaGrange Tavern or any other pictures of LaGrange and would be willing to share them, please contact Marilyn at the Russell (Iowa) Historical Society; their link is on this blog) 

Friday, February 19, 2010

National Register of Historic Places

Iowa - Lucas County

Burlington Railroad Overpass ** 
(added 1998 - Structure)  
Co. Rd. S23 over
Burlington Northern RR, Chariton
Historic Significance - Architecture/Engineering
Architect, builder or engineer:  Cole, Ben, and Son, 
Iowa State Highway Commission
Period of Significance:  1925-1949
Historic Function:  Transportation

Caviness, Carl L., Post 103, American Legion 
(added 2006 - Building)
201 S. Main St., Chariton
Historic Significance:  Event, Architecure/Engineering
Architect, builder or engineer:  Perkins, William L., 
Johnson, Cecil

Period of Significance:  1925-1949-, 1950-1974
Historic Function:  Social/Meeting Hall

Chariton City Hall and Fire Station 
(added 2006 - Building)
Historic Significance:  Event, Architecture/Engineering
Architect, builder or engineer:  Perkins, William L., Best, 
E.H. and Sons
Period of Significance:  1925-1949, 1950-1974
Historic Function:  Government/Fire Station

Chariton Free Public Library 
(added 2005 - Building)
803 Braden, Chariton
Historic Significance:  Event, Architecture/Engineering
Architect, builder or engineer:  Johnson & Best, 
Patton and Miller
Period of Significance:  1900-1924, 1925-1949, 
Historic Function:  Education

Chariton Free Public Library 
(added 1983 - Building)
Braden Ave., Chariton
Owner:  Local Gov't

Chariton Herald-Patriot Building 
(added 2006 - Building)
815 Braden Ave., Chariton
Historic Significance:  Architecture/Engineering
Architect, builder or engineer:  Perkins, William L., 
Johnson, P.E.
Period of Significance:  1900-1924
Historic Function:  Commerce/Trade

Chariton Masonic Temple (added 2006 - Building)
Also known as the Chariton Masonic Lodge #63 A.F. and A.M.
821 Armory Ave., Chariton
Historic Significance:  Architecture/Engineering
Architect, builder or engineer:  Perkins, William L., Best, E.H. and Sons
Period of Significance:  1925-1949
Historic Function:  Social

Chicago, Burlington, and Quincy Freight House - 
Chariton (added 2003 - Building)
Also known as CB&Q Freight Depot:  Burlington Freight House
Jct. of Auburn and Brookdale, Chariton
Historic Significance:  Event
Period of Significance:  1900-1924, 1925-1949, 1950-1974
Historic Function:  Transportation/Commerce
First United Methodist Church (added 2002 -
923 Roland, Chariton
Historic Significance:  Architecture/Engineering
Architect, builder, or engineer:  Bullard, S.A., et,al
Period of Significance:  1875-1899, 1900-1924, 1925-1949, 1950-1974
Historic Function:  Religion

Hotel Charitone (added 2006 - Building)
831 Braden Ave., Chariton
Historic Significance:  Event, Architecture/Engineering
Architect, builder or engineer:  Perkins, William E., 
Johnson, P.E.
Period of Significance:  1900-1924, 1925-1949, 
Historic Function:  Hotel/Domestic

 Lucas County Courthouse 
(added 1981 - Building)
Courthouse Sq., Chariton
Historic Significance:  Architecture/Engineering
Architect, builder or engineer:  Stewart, G.J. & Co.
Period of Significance:  1875-1899
Historic Function:  Government

Payne, O.E., House (added 1979 - Building)
Also known as "Dual Gables"
702 Auburn Ave., Chariton
Historic Significance:  Architecture/Engineering
Architect, builder or engineer:  Unknown
Period of Significance:  1875-1899
Historic Function:  Domestic

Stephens, A.J. House (added 1987 - Building)
Also known as Carpenter House;
Lucas County Historical Society Museum
123 Seventeenth St., Chariton
Historic Significance:  Architecture/Engineering
Architect, builder or engineer:  Stephens, AndrewJackson
Period of Significance:  1900-1924
Historic Function:  Domestic

Williamson School (added 1998 - Building)
Also known as District High School
301 Williamson Ave., Williamson
Historic Significance:  Event
Area of Significance:  Education
Period of Significance:  1900-1924, 1925-1949
Historic Function:  Education/School

August Lindquist Retires after 42 Years of Service

From the Chariton Leader - January 12, 1932

Veteran Chariton Tailor Concludes 42 Years
of Service as Deacon in Church

August Lindquist Came to America With Provision
That He Might Go Back

August Lindquisat, veteran Chariton tailor, has retired as a deacon in the First Lutheran church in Chariton after forty-two years of service.  This announcement was made this week by the Rev. Clarence Thorwald, pastor of the church.  Included in Lindquist's long years of service as a member of the Chariton church is twelve years as Superintendent of the Sunday school of the church.

Lindquist was born in the state of Halland, Sweden, more than eighty years ago and spent his boyhood on his father's farm in that state.  His mother died at the time of his birth.  At the age of fourteen Lindquist entered the apprenticeship of a tailor in one of the larger cities of Halland and after several years of apprenticeship went into business with another young apprentice as tailors.

The feverish urge to leave the old country and seek new fortunes in the miraculous country of America found no foothold in the Lindquist home as the young tailor was quite content to remain with his work and family in Sweden.  The cousin was insistent.  "Please come," he begged.  "If you do not like America you can always return to Sweden." And it was upon this provision that Lindquist finally consented to leave Sweden and sail for America.

The party of Swedish immigrants landed in New York in August, 1873, and immediately moved to Connecticut where the tailoring firm was re-established.

For more than a year after Lindquist came to America he understood little of the American language.  "I could not even tell the difference between 'yes' and 'no', Mr. Lindquist said.

Short stays were spent in Pennsylvania before the family moved to Iowa, locating first in Des Moines.  It was while in Pennsylvania that some of the most stirring moments of their lives occurred.  The country was ridden with strikes in 1877 and the coal fields of Pennsylvania were the seat of many miners' difficulties.  The strike extended to railroaders, factory workers and consturction men.

In Pennsylvania conditions became so acute that it was necessary to call out a regiment of troops to patrol the town.  Mr. Lindquist compares the situation then with now and finds that modern economic problems were trivial compared with then.  "It was necessary to have the troops to keep the miners from destroying banks," Mr. Lindquist said.  "For a long time we could not even leave our homes, except for trips through the back door and through the alleys.  Everyone kept their doors locked and the shades drawn tightly.  Merchants were afraid to open their doors for business and little money was spent."

Iowa was much more peaceful after the hectic days in the Pennsylvania coal fields and the Lindquist's lived in Des Moines for several years.  While a tailor in Des Moines, Lindquist was a president of the Tailor's Union of Des Moines and served that organization in many other capacities.

In 1887 the family moved to Chariton where the tailoring establishment was again re-opened.  The first office was in a building across the street from the Alma Clay Memorial building high school and later Mr. Lindquist moved into offices on the square.  The Lindquist tailoring shop has occupied offices on every side of the square with the exception of the east side.  On the south side Mr. Lindquist was located in the Gove building; on the west side, in the Penick building and on the north side in the Blake building.

Shortly after arriving in Chariton, Mr. Lindquist joined the Chariton church and has been an active member of that church ever since.  He aided in the constuction of the new church in 1903, and Mrs. Lindquist even recounted that her daughter, Josephine, was married in the Methodist church because the new church was not finished.  Mr. Lindquist, in all his travels before definitely locating here always sought for Swedish settlements where he could worship in the religion of his country.  It was in a church that he learned to speak the English language and many of his fondest memories are irrevocably bound up in church work.

Mr. Lindquist acted as tailor here continuously since 1887, but was forced to discontinue his work following an accident in which he was run down by an automobile on September 22, 1929.  Mr. Lindquist was crossing the street by the First Lutheran church Sunday evening and as he moved into the center of the street observed a car coming from the north.  He dodged this car, only to step into the path of a second car coming from the south.  All the wheels of the car passed over his body, but not a bone was broken.  Mr. Lindquist was taken to Yocom's Hospital where he received treatment and was later removed to his home.

Mr. Lindquist has given two sons to the defense of this country in the World War.  Victor, the youngest, served in the army, while Wilbert Larson, an adopted son, served in the Navy.  Mrs. Lindquist shared the family with Wilbert Larson when the foundling was abandoned here by his parents.  Other children are Mrs. Josephine Hanson; Mrs. J.M. Persenius and Carl Lindquist.

Mr. Lindquist became a citizen of the United States during his stay in Des Moines.  He admits that his life might have been as complete in Sweden, but he has never regretted the move to America.  His life is a complete one in every respect.  He has served the church, his adopted country and his fellow countrymen well.  It is a life worthy of high commendation.

Friday, February 12, 2010

The Golden Wedding

A privilege has been granted to Uncle Sammy Stackhouse and his wife which is granted to a very few, that of celebrating a Golden wedding.  It took place on Christmas eve in the Odd Fellows Hall and was an affair long to remember by those present.  A half century is a long time, and they have seen this country grow and spread out over the fertile plain of the far West.  The Hall was crowded with friends, still many more would have been present had not the weather been so extremely cold.  Elegant and costly gifts were made to the venerable pair, testifying the regard and esteem of the givers.  The following is a brief synopsis of the fits present.
Mr. R. Coles and Lady and 67 contributors,
two chairs and a purse of $6.00
Masonic Lodge, $31.00, gold
R.J. Coles and 39 others, gold beaded cane
J.D. Lewis, $1.00
E.K. Gibbon, sack Golden Eagle Flour
A.E. Dent and 37 others, gold coin, $5.00
S.H. Mallory, gold coin, $5.00
Miss Maggie Palmer, $5.00
Mrs. M.A. Hatcher and  others, gold, $6.09
Mrs. A.U. McCormick, Misses Emma, Maggie,
and Nellie McCormick, gold, $5.00
North House School, 2nd Intermediate, 
1st Intermediate, Primary, 1st Primary, $13.50
North School Teachers, pair of gold glasses
Thos. Baxter, 25 cents
Blacksmiths of Chariton, $5.50
C.M. and Frank Gow, $5.00 gold
Mr. and Mrs. J.C. McCormick, $10.00
R.A. Day, photograph and match safe gold
F.W. Fawcett, $1.00
David Gow, $1.00
Miss Joe Millan, 2 tidies
Mr. and Mrs. Custer, tablecloth
Mrs. John Bartholomew and others, dress pattern

Friday, February 05, 2010

Quiet Reminiscences of Bygone Days

From The Humeston New Era, date unknown

(The Humeston New Era, established in 1880,
is now online at for the years, 1900-1921)

There is always something of interest in the lives of old people.  Their memory reaching back to long years before the most of us were born, gives us a bit of history of great events but it remains for the old people to furnish those quiet reminiscences of bygone days so interesting to the younger generations.  The thought of this occurred to your correspondent, and having occasion to visit Mr. A. Sears, one of the old and honored citizens of Washington Township, (Wayne County), I will give your readers the benefit of the pleasant chat I had with him.

Mr. Sears was born in Orange County, New York, May 5, 1826, and at the age of twenty started west to seek his fortune.  His worldly possessions consisted of a grip sack, a few clothes and $100 in gold, which he earned by working for four dollars per month in winter and nine in summer.  He went on foot to Harrisburg, PA., a distance of 180 miles, and finding this kind of travel wearisome, he went by canal to Pittsburgh, being 14 days on the road.  The canal boats at that time were built in sections so that they could be transferred over the mountains, there being an engine on the top and a track like our present railroad track was built up the side of the mountain, on which the sections of the boats were carried over.  Three different mountains were crossed  in this way.

After the boats were safely in the canal again, they were fastened together, and started making about five miles an hour, changing teams every six hours.  From Pittsburgh he started by steamer to Wheeling, VA.  The Ohio River being very low at this point,  several of the passengers, Mr. Sears among them, waded ashore.  From there, he walked to Wheeling and then by stage to Cadiz, Ohio, then to Newcomerston.  A few miles from there he found an old friend named Daniel Burt.  He had been 28 days making the trip which would be considered very short these days.

He hired to Mr. Burt at $10 a month and remained there seven years, during which time he made several trips with stock to New York City.  One trip with fat cattle taken from Coshocton County took from April 18 to July 4.  The cattle were on full feed all the way through and often traveled but 7 or 8 miles a day.  During his stay with Mr. Burt, he had accumulated some $800, and thinking to make a speck, he bought two good teams and took a contract of one mile of grading on the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad.  He did $1,000 worth of work and received $200, the head contractor skipping out and leaving subcontractors in the ditch.  One team and wagon was all that was saved from this wreck.  About this time a printer named Wolf, at Wheeling sent out cards offering to send people to San Francisco for $200, half to be paid down and half at the end of the journey.  This caught Mr. Sears,' eye along with about a hundred others, and he sold his team and paid his $100 to Wolf.  After waiting ten days for the steamer to take them from Pittsburgh to New Orleans, they found that the Wolf had fled to his den.  Some of them have their tickets yet and the Wolf the $100.

He and his brother, Amos, then went to Illinois, arriving there in February, 1853.  He took a job of driving back from Danville to Champion, and had the honor of carrying Judge Abraham Lincoln, and several other lawyers, two trips.  They were a jolly set of fellows and many a good joke was passed among them.  One trip, being in the night, some of the lawyers lost their stovepipe hats.  There was a jug of peach brandy on board, which probably had something to do with the losing of the hats.

Mr. Sears came to Lucas County, Iowa in 1855 and having some $250 in cash, he invested $100 in 80 acres of land in the southwest corner of the county.  A few days after securing his land he took sick with fever, and was attended by the late Dr. Fitch, of Chariton.  The spring found his pocket book much depleted and he went to work making rails at 50 cents per hundred, and after gathering a few dollars together he bought 40 acres of University land, mostly on time, and went to work improving it.  He got 20 acres broke the first year and the next year fenced it with rails and built a log cabin.  He married Miss Mary Fudge June 18, 1857, and together they began life in his new home.  He got a job making shingles for a new mill being built at Chariton, doing the shaving mostly by night.  The spring of 1857 was one extremely hard on the new settler.  Corn was $2 per bushel, flour $9 per hundred.  Coffee was manufactured from corn meal and sorghum molasses and people had but little use for sugar.  In 1858, his wife took sick and continued so for over a year, leaving Mr. Sears badly in debt.  In 1859, the Pikes Peak fever struck him and he went through with an ox team in the hope of building up his fortune.  He returned in a short time, however, poorer than when he went.  In spring of 1860 he went to work for G. Westfall for 50 cents per day, having to walk 2½ miles to his work each day, the price being raised to 75 cents per day through harvest.  in the fall of '60, he sustained the first real grief in the loss of his son, aged some 18 months.

At the age of 17, he joined the M.E. church and was baptized by immersion in Ezra Stanford's mill pond, close to the line of the state of New Jersey.  He has been sometime in the valley, sometimes on the mountain top, but never forgetting the time and place where he first obtained a hope that reaches beyond the grave,

This article, was submitted by Melody Wilson, and it appeared in Vol 12 Issue 4 of the Lucas County Notes and Shakin' the Family Tree

Grave Witching

Many of you have heard of "Water Witching", but how many of you have heard of "Grave Witching"?  If you live in Lucas County in Iowa, you probably have heard a lot about this technique to locate unmarked graves in abandoned cemeteries.

Darlene Arnold and Mary Ruth Pierschbacher, members of the Lucas County Genealogical Society, are experts at finding male, female and even infants with their magical rods.  If you didn't believe before you saw it done, you believed afterwards.  Mary Ruth is also a member of the Lucas County Pioneer Cemetery Preservation Commission and Darlene is the treasurer of the genealogical society.  They have been witching for years.  Their tools are two lengths of No. 9 gauge steel wire - the same kind of wire farmers use to mend things.  These wires are about 2 feet long, the wires are bent into an "L" shape and the short end or handle, is inserted into pieces of PVC pipe.  When they grab the PVC pipe, the wire can move easily. Lots of old Pioneer Cemeteries have old headstones that become hard to read and it is hard to determine what family member might be buried there.

Darlene and Mary Ruth walk through a cemetery with a sense of reverence.  This is serious, if not grave, business for them.  After they locate a grave, they're often able to match it to old records and identify the person.  A relative will be thrilled when they are able to piece together a family tree.

The rods are held one in each hand, straight out in front of the body.  As Darlene and Mary Ruth walk through a cemetery, the wires will suddenly begin to move and crisscross in front of their hands.  "There's a man buried here," Darlene explained.  At another spot, the wires swung even further.  The wires crisscrossed behind Mary Ruth's hands, an indication a women was buried there.  She said they can also determine the site of an infant burial by marking the short distance from when the wires begin to move and when they return to their normal position.  One time they were both stumped as they approached a grave, the wires clearly indicated a woman was buried there, but after a couple more steps over the site, the wires definitely moved to the male position.  It was only after they checked the headstone that they realized another woman had been buried there with her infant son in her arms.

Nobody can explain how or why grave witching works (or water witching either).  Dowsers, as they are sometimes called, have been successful using different types of rods, including their hands.  Some believe it is a gift from God and others say it has something to do with the electromagnetic pull between what's in the ground and the wire (or tree branch, a peach branch seems to be the tree of choice among many dowsers).  But that doesn't explain why some dowsers can locate water with their outstretched hands and no divining rod at all.  Everyone has different magnetic fields in their bodies.  Mary Ruth notes that one member of the Cemetery Preservation Commission can dowse for water, but he can't locate graves.  She adds that the pull in some cemeteries is stronger than others.  Grave witching is a fascinating subject and the mysteries that are uncovered with the identification of these lost souls is even more so.  I have heard that some dowsers are trying it on ashes.  It will be interesting to hear how that works out.