Labor Day our Worker's Holiday

Labor Day our Worker's Holiday
October 31, 2014

Friday, March 26, 2010

Lucas County Genealogical Society - The Beginning

The past few weeks NBC along with Ancestry.com has presented very interesting stories of people trying to trace their heritage.  Famous people have been opening their eyes to see a trail of interesting facts about people in their lives who they never knew existed.  Some of the things they uncovered were not very pleasant and others brought joy to loved ones waiting for the answer to their prayers.  Genealogy has brought a new meaning into our lives, "Once you find out where you came from, you will be able to find out where you are going."

In the spring of 1976 some local family members decided to learn as much as possible about where they came from.  Around the middle of the nineteenth century when families were migrating to the west, Lucas County, Iowa, was born.  This group of family members, together, formed a group known as the Lucas County Genealogical Society.  Together they helped each other, and anyone else who was interested, to locate the histories of people and families who had a part in the development of this part of the country.  A genealogist has a very inquisitive mind and will never stop looking for their family histories.  So the Lucas County Genealogical Society took advantage of this opportunity to carve a place in the history books by investigating the record books kept for those very purposes.  Over a trillion memorable events, such as marriages, births, deaths, and legal records were kept in local churches, courthouses, and archives to preserve the facts that carved the destiny of how and why we are here today.

As researchers uncovered their stories and family members were found, kinships connecting many of the people they saw everyday, such as families, friends and neighbors became stronger.  At times it only took a few hours to unveil a family story and other times the search never ended.  Common ancestry during the mid 1800's was common, but as the years passed us by, families migrated elsewhere and the search for these family members became more difficult.

Mrs. Ruth Curtis deserves much of the credit for founding The Lucas County Genealogical Society.  She spearheaded the initial organizing of the society.   The organizations meeting night was the first Monday of each month and still is held on this same day.  From approximately 55 persons attending the first meeting, officers were elected and by-laws were determined.  Committees were formed to do in-depth research on specific types of Lucas County records.

In the early part of 1977 members voted to publish a book about Lucas County history as a record for future generations of the life and people of this area.    Besides publication of this book, the group presented informative programs at its monthly meetings.  Outside groups were invited to speak and present information on their organizations.  Society members have copied records from the county courthouse for preservation for posterity and for current use.  Cemeteries were platted throughout the county, including the inscriptions on all of the tombstones.  A cemetery book including all this information was published in 1981.

Much has been done by the Lucas County Genealogical Society to preserve the fascinating history of Lucas County.

An Old Settler Passes On - William Henry Palmer

From the Chariton Herald-Patriot   December 11, 1924
William Palmer was one of County's Real Pioneers
Here Before the 50's
Aged Ninty-One Years; Was Active Citizen and 
Cast his Ballot for President Eighteen Times;
Was Buried Today
One of Lucas County's oldest settlers, a man who took up land and built his home in this vicinity before there was a hut or cabin where now Chariton stands, has passed on.  William Henry Palmer died on Tuesday evening at 8:15 o'clock at the house of his daughter, Mrs. C.P. Chase, on Osage Avenue.  His age was ninety-one years, 4 months and 25 days.  He was a pioneer.  He was one who opened the way in the larger sense of the word.

William Henry Palmer was born in Illinois, July 14, 1833.  He was the last in a line of sixteen children.  His health had been unusually good for a man of his age until several months past when a limb became infected.  In a short time the infirmities fastened their hold and the life surrendered.  He was conscious of the presence of his people and generally recognized them until the last days.

In the forties, the family came to Iowa and Keokuk County.  Shortly after, the move was made on west to Lucas County where Mr. Palmer spent the greater part of his life.  In about the year Iowa was admitted to statehood, the family took up a holding of some 300 acres of land in the vicinity of about seven miles south across the stream of Wolf Creek.  The school known as Palmer school was built on a piece of this land.  Within a few years W.H. Palmer came into possession of the farm and operated the place until its sale in 1885.

In 1885 the family home was established in Kansas.  Farm land was purchased in that state and that was the place of residence until the return to Lucas County in 1895.  mrs. Palmer died in Kansas.

Again in Lucas County, Mr. Palmer did not take up new land but made his home with several of his children who were established and had homes of their own.  There were three sons and one daughter.  Foster M. Palmer, who died in Lucas County about a year ago, Robert F. Palmer, who lives in Chariton, another son who died in infancy, and Mrs. C.P. Chase with whom the father had made his home off and on for many years and where he passed away.  For the last two years, he has been at the Chase home, where, in his decline every effort was bended for the comfort and convenience of this venerable man.

William Henry Palmer was a good citizen.  He was active in the affairs of the general interest and his keen mind was employed even to the last in the consideration of the public matters.  He was a voter who voted.  His first presidential ballot was cast for Freemont in 1856.  At each presidential election thereafter and including 1924, Mr. Palmer was either at the polls or as in the case this year, arranged to have a ballot brought to his home.  Thus he voted eighteen times for his candidate to head this government.

Mr. Palmer was a keen observer and had a strength of recollection seldom found.  This combination made it possible for him to recite to the second and third generations the lore of the real pioneer times.  In Lucas County, the family saw not a few of the Indians who roamed these grounds.  At that time the redmen were leaving their habitation to the government which had taken over the lands.  Other interesting stories about the intensity of the Civil War days and about early affairs, generally were held in treasure by W.H. Palmer.  His passing takes from a county like Lucas a fund of information about early history that would be almost invaluable in permanent form.

The funeral services were at 2 o'clock this afternoon at the Chase home.  Burial was made at Russell.  M.C. Larimer of Chariton spoke to the friends and relatives assembled for the service at the home.

Parkison Williams

This obituary appeared in the Lucas County Notes and Shakin' the Family Tree Volume 12 issue 1 in 2007

Parkison Williams

On the 15th of June, 1912, there was called to his final rest one of the oldest and most esteemed pioneers of Lucas County in Parkison Williams, who had been brought to Warren Township by his parents when a child of but four years, in 1845, and who had made that township his home and the field of his activities to the time of his death, which occurred when he had reached the age of seventy years.  Parkison Williams was born in Decatur County, Indiana, on the 3rd of November, 1841.  His parents were Samuel and Susan (Swiney) Williams, natives of Virginia.  The father was one of the heroes of the Civil War, meeting his death at the battle of Pea Ridge in 1864, his wife surviving until 1881., when she passed away in Wayne County, Iowa.  They came overland to Iowa in 1845, bringing with them their four-year-old son Parkison, and settled in Warren Township, Lucas County, so that they must be counted among the very first pioneers in this section.  At that time there was no indication of the wonderful agricultural development that should later ensue and settlements were yet very sparse, the land being mostly raw, unbroken prairie.  Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Williams were the parents of the following children:  Parkison; Mrs. Margaret Wells; John, also a Civil War veteran,  who died in the hospital at Rolla, Missouri, while in the Union army; Ned; Mrs. Marjorie Tuttle; Mrs. Martha Fent; Mrs. Mary I. Wilson; and Mrs. Jennie Tuttle.  The seven younger children were born near Freedom, where all of them were reared.

Parkison Williams, being brought to Warren Township in 1845, there received his education and early became acquainted with agricultural methods under pioneer conditions.  Gradually he made himself independent and successfully followed farming and stock-raising through all his life, his efforts being attended with considerable success.  His death took place near where the first settlement of the family was made, on June 15, 1912 and was the cause of deep mourning and regret not only to his family but to the many friends which he had made during a long honorable and useful career.
Parkison Williams was united in marriage, in 1860, to Sarah J. Essex, who was born in Eagle Village, Indiana, July 8, 1844.  She came overland to Iowa with her parents in 1855, when eleven years old, and has made her home in Lucas County since.  Her parents, Edward and Salena G. (Guge) Essex, natives of Indiana, both passed away in Lucas County, the father dying in Lincoln Township.  In their family were six children, of whom Mrs. Williams and Mrs. T.J. Hawkins are the only ones now living.  The others were James M., Mary E., Anna E., and one who died in childhood.  Mr. and Mrs. Parkison Williams became the parents of eleven children:  Mrs. Etta Tuttle, residing in Wayne County; Mrs. Elizabeth Ryan, also a resident of that county; Samuel L., who is mentioned under that caption; Mrs. Anna Wilson, of Centerville, Iowa; Mrs. William Connor, of Chariton, Iowa; Dr. C. E. Williams, of Russell, Iowa; Mrs. Nora McInnes, residing in Chariton; Mrs. Hattie Layton, of Wayne County; Salene, a native of Wayne County, Iowa, who makes her home with her mother in Chariton.  All of the children were reared and educated in Lucas County, and Mrs. Wilson, Mrs. Connor and Miss Salene, after completing the public-school course, took up academic work.  The family home in Chariton is commodious and well furnished.  Miss Salene Williams has for a number of years most successfully taught school in Lucas County and for the coming year has been selected to take charge of the sixth grade of the Columbus school of Chariton.  She takes a deep interest in her work and is recognized as one of the most efficient teachers in the city.  Mrs. Wilson and Mrs. Connor also taught school for a number of years.

His political views inclined Parkison Williams toward the republican party and he was actively and helpfully interested in all matters of public importance.  For a number of years he served as justice of the peace and discharged the duties of that office with great impartiality and to the satisfaction of the general public.  He was a member of and deacon in the Baptist Church, both he and his wife having joined that denomination near Freedom, where they were charter members of the Sharon Church.  The family formerly also owned one hundred and twenty acres of land in Lucas County, which, however, has been disposed of.  The death of Mr. Williams was a severe loss not only to his immediate family but to his locality, for he had always actively participated in all matters pertaining to the general welfare and did much toward advancement and progress in this section, especially along agricultural lines.  His name is held in high repute by his friends and neighbors, who found in him a man of high qualities of mind and character.

Celebrate 67th Anniversary - Mr./Mrs. Emory J. Smith

From the Chariton Leader - December 2, 1947
Lucas Couple Celebrates 67th Wedding Anniversary
Mr. and Mrs. Emory J. Smith, who for the past several years have been residents of Lucas, celebrated their 67th wedding anniversary November 27, here at their home.  Mrs. Frank Tredenick helped to make the occasion more pleasant by bringing their Thanksgiving dinner to them.  Mr. Smith is 97 and Mrs. Smith is 93.  Their only son, William, passed away several years ago at Des Moines.  Their two grandchildren were unable to be present.  Mr. Smith was born in New York state and Mrs. Smith was born in Prouge near Belgium.  Mr. and Mrs. Smith have a parrot which they have had for 25 years.
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Friday, March 19, 2010

Smith Henderson Mallory

This article was featured in the Cemetery Tour of September, 2006

Smith Henderson Mallory was born to Smith Legg and Jane Henderson Mallory in Yates County, New York on December 2, 1835, the eldest of six children.  His early education was in Penn Yan, New York and at the prestigous J.W. Irwin's Academy in Danbury, Connecticut.

At the age of 14, Mallory moved to Batavia, Illinois to work with his grandfather, Meredith Mallory and uncle, Barnum Dow Mallory.  His uncle was the chief construction engineer of the Galena & Chicago Union Railroad.  The rest of the Mallory family joined them in 1852.

Mallory's first railroad job was as an axeman and he was soon appointed to rodman, helping in making surveys for the Aurora extension of the C.B. and Q. Railroad.  After completion of the road to Burlington, he was appointed engineer.

Seeing the rising value of land, he resigned from the railroad in 1857, and went into the real estate business in Fairfield, Iowa.  The change in careers came at a bad time for Smith, however, because it was at the end of the real estate boom.

On March 22, 1858, Smith H. Mallory married Annie Louise Ogden of Pen Yan, New York.

Soon after their marriage, they moved to Fairfield, where Smith was appointed engineer of that division of the Burlington and Missouri River Railroad.  In December, 1858, Mallory was named roadmaster and took charge of bridge construction from Ottumwa west.

On September 26, 1863, Mrs. Mallory gave birth to their only child, daughter Jessie Ogden Mallory in Napierville, Illinois.

The Mallory's moved to Chariton in the spring of 1867, where they proceeded to buy property - eventually 1300 acres in north Chariton and Lincoln Township.  The Mallory's claimed $170,000 in personal property and real estate on the 1870 U.S. Federal Census.

The rail line was completed to Chariton on July 1, 1867.  Before resigning from the B. and M. R. Railroad in 1878, Smith was overseer for completion of the railroad to the Missouri River.  In 1881, S.H. Mallory became President and General Manager of the Fulton County illinois narrow Gauge Railroad and held that position until his death.

In 1870, Mallory organized the First National Bank and became their first president.  The Bank enjoyed much success through Mallory's guidance, but fell on hard times after his death, due to some bad speculation deals and scandal.

He was engaged in a general contracting business, Fitzgerald, Mallory and Flynn and did heavy work on railroads in Ohio, Colorado, Kansas and Nebraska.

Mr. Mallory and his partner, John Howard of Whitebreast Township were among the largest stockraisers in the county, raising mostly shorthorns.

Smith was elected President of the Lucas County Agricultural Society in 1873 and served as president or committee member for several years afterward.

The Chariton Elevator was built by S.H. Mallory in 1871 for $10,000.  It was moved 300 feet for convenience of the railroad.

The Chariton Plow Company was organized by Mallory and 2 colleagues, May 26, 1879 with a paid up capital of $20,000.  Mallory was the first president of the company.  They had many holdings and were the makers of the Chariton Sulky Plow attachment.

In 1880, S.H. Mallory, D.Q. Storie and D.M. Thompson formed the Chariton Coal Company on the site of the former Lucas Coal Company, 3/4 mile northwest of the Cleveland mine.  The mine was the deepest in Iowa at the time at a depth of 330 feet.

Mallory's property interests outside of Chariton continued to grow.  He laid out the town of Oakley in 1879.  He owned the town of Midway, which was east of Lucas and west of Old Cleveland.  He owned Murray, Iowa and founded Milo in 1878.

Mr. Mallory served this city and state in many areas.  He served as Senator for Iowa's 6th district in 1875 and in 1877, he was elected as state representative.  He was director of the State Agricultural Society.

He was named President of the Iowa Board of Centennial Managers in 1875, but declined the position due to business matters.

Smith was chairman of the Iowa commission for the 1893 Columbian Exposition in Chicago and devoted a year to the exhibit.  Mallory gave a gift to our community from the fair which can be seen above the courthouse upon his return from Chicago.  The courthouse clock, made by the Seth Thomas Clock Company, stood atop Iowa's impressive pavilion and was formally given on January 1, 1894 and was up and running by March of the same year.  After the Chariton Public Library, a Carnegie Library, was built in 1904, Annie and Jessie donated a set of andirons for the fireplace which were also a part of the Iowa building at the fair.

By 1880, Mallory instructed Des Moines architect William Foster to design 2 structures.  One of them was the Mallory and Law Block on the northeast corner of the square.  The other structure was the family home, "Illion", begun in 1879.  The house took 3 years to complete.  The Mallory family spent most of that time touring Europe and can be found on the 1881 England census living in a hotel in London.

The Mallory home was the site of Jessie Mallory's marrage to Deming Thayer of Boston, Massachusetts on June 9, 1886.  It was a lavish affair as all social occasions were at the "Illion."  The couple left soon after the wedding for a short stay in Kansas, where Deming worked as Chief Engineer on the D.M. and A. Railroad.  Deming later became manager of Mallory's Brook Farm.

In 1888, Jessie gave birth to a daughter, Louise, who was stillborn.  She was interred in the Stanton Vault.

After Deming's untimely death in 1898, Jessie took over the reigns of Brook Farm and Dairy, Mallory's huge 1300 acre estate.  They had 29 Jersey and Shorthorn cows to produce milk and butter.  The farm had 8000 trees, which furnished the world with the famous "Ilion" brand of apples. Fifteen acres of land was the afrm garden that had all kinds of fruits and vegetables.  The stock on the farm numbered about 225 head, which included cattle, horses and hogs.  Brook farm supplied butter, cream, milk, fresh fruits and vegetables and poultry for the C.B. and Q. Railroad.  Brook Farm was also the site of an acre of catalpa trees, planted close together and trimmed to a height of 15 feet.  Mallory's original plan was to use the catalpas for railroad ties because they are fast growing and don't rot.  The Mallory's planted tens of thousands of catalpa seedlings in Chariton and Lucas County, many of which are still blooming.

Many of the Brook Farm catalpas can be seen by the pond today while traveling along the Hy-Vee by-pass north of Chariton.  That pond and the trees were inside the 3/4 mile race track on Mallory land that was run by the Lucas County Joint Stock Association and was the site of the Lucas County Fair.

Smith Mallory was involved in civic and fraternal organizations.  He was a member of the Masonic organization, Knights Templar and was a member of the Odd Fellows.

Smith and Annie were devoted charter members of St. Andrews Episcopal Church.  They were instrumental in getting the first frame structure built in 1867.  The Mallory's gave $10,000 to the building fund for the beautiful red stone church built in 1900.  Jessie, a building committee member, selected a church in Philadelphia to pattern the structure after, at a total cost of $25,000.

Smith attended the first meeting of the Lucas County Historical Society on June 10, 1901, which was arranged by Col. Warren Dungan.   Mallory served on the first board of directors.

Smith Mallory died March 26, 1903 after a lengthy illness.  The funeral took place at St. Andrews.  Mayor Alexander proclaimed a "day of mourning", and city offices and businesses were closed.  The clock on the courthouse tower was stopped at 11:40 a.m., which was the time of his death.

S.H. Mallory was laid to rest in the cemetery, next to son-in-law, Deming.

Following the banking incident, and subsequent litigation, Annie and jessie moved to Orlando, Florida in the fall of 1909.

Jessie married Orlando socialite, William O'Neal in 1914.

In 1920, Jessie returned to Chariton and had her father's remains disinterred and cremated.  Mallory's beautiful Colorado red storie monument that was in the Chariton cemetery was dismantled and shipped to Orlando's Greenwood Cemetery.

Annie Louise Odgen Mallory died in Orlando in March of 1923 at the age of 81 and was laid to rest beside her husbasnd in Greenwood Cemetery.

Jessie died on November 16, 1923 at the age of 60, after a lengthy illness and is buried beside her parents.

With Jessie's death, the Smith Henderson Mallory family line ended.

So please, take time to look around Chariton and see the legacy that Mr. Mallory has left for us - the railroad; the catalpas, still blooming after 120 years and our beautiful courthouse clock.

After Many Years

From the Chariton Patriot - June 9, 1880
 Murder Will Out

Last week an article appeard in the Patriot, copied from the Hawkeye under the caption of "Murder Will Out," giving a brief account of the arrest of Jacob Smith, of Russell, Iowa, on the charge of murdering a man said to be his uncle.  The Ottumwa Courier contains the following information concerning Smith, and the circumstances of the murder.

Tuesday afternoon Isaac Logan, Esq., living near this city, gave a Courier reporter the full particulars of the murder as far as known.  He says that Jacob Smith was raised in Muskingum County, Ohio and was never known by any other name.  His wife is a sister of E.B. Vogel of this county in 1868 and settled in the Rhinehard neighborhood and worked in Blakesburg at blacksmithing, his family living on Vogel's farm one winter.  From there he moved to Russell, Lucas County, where he has ever since resided, with the full knowledge of the people of Muskingum County, Ohio.

"The name of the man murdered was Jacob Baughman, a well know bachelor, living by himself two miles of Smith's place.  Baughman was Smith's cousin - not his uncle as reported.  Smith was well acquainted with all Baughman's affairs, and they were intimate and warm personal friends and Smith frequently borrowed money from the murdered man, whenever he wanted it.

In regard to Smith's leaving there, surreptitiously, he says that it is not true.  Smith had a farm which he had sold before the murder was committed, and the sale of his surplus stock, farming implements, etc., took place on Friday, August 29, 1863, and that Baughman was murdered in the evening of Saturday, August 30.  Smith left for the west at the time announced by him before the murder.

Jacob Baughman, who was a brother-in-law of Squire Logan, was plowing on Saturday, the day that he was murdered, near the little town of Roseville.  He left in the evening for his home, where he was found dead on Sunday with his head smashed with a pick or something of that sort, the team being found near the well with the harness still on, indicating that the murder was committed on Saturday evening when he went to water his horses.

Mr. Logan does not believe that Smith committed the murder as he could not have got all the money he wanted without committing any crime and there was the best of feeling existing between the men.

Sometime not long since the grand jury of Muskingum County found a bill against a man by the name of Smalley, charging him with the murder, and it is barely possible that he has in some way tried to incriminate Smith.

When the officer arrested Smith, he expressed a willingness to go immediately and did not ask that the officer produce a requisition as was his right.  He heard this spring that there were some suspicions resting against him and could easily have left the country if he had wanted to, as he was possessed of abundant means,.  His family are all grown, and like himself, are well respected by their neighbors.

This is a curious case, most certainly, and if Smith is innocent as persons most interested seem to think, it is to be hoped that the fact may soon be made apparent and if guilty, let him suffer the full penalty of the law.

Friday, March 12, 2010

P-38 Crashes Near Russell

From the Chariton Leader, April 24, 1945

A P-38 army fighter plane, piloted by Lt. Joe Edwards of the Coffeyville, Kansas army air base made a crash landing three miles south of Russell at 3:00pm Saturday.  Carol DeBok who was driving past the field and saw the plane hit the ground, summoned Lucas County Sheriff Paul T. Laing's office and Laing and Deputy Sheriff Byron Blanchard went to the crash and took charge.  Laing then notified military authorities.

An army regulation censorship was clamped down on the whole affair immediatelyh following the crash and few details have been revealed.  However, the pilot was not injured and guards from the Des Moines army air base were thrown about the wreckage within a couple of hours after the accident.  Officials from the Coffeyville base were flown to Des Moines and were in Chariton by 11:00 the same evening.

It is thought that the motors gave out and the pilot made an expert landing in order to come out unscratched.  It landed in an oat field on the Evans estate farm.  A huge army air base transport came Monday and hauled the wreckage away

Another Plane is Forced Down
From the Chariton Leader, May 1, 1945

It's getting to be an epidemic.  Last week a P-38 made a forced landing near Russell and Sunday night another army plane, this one a liaison scouting plane, was forced to land just south of Chariton.

However, the landing Sunday night was much more fortunate than was the P-38.  The pilot who was delivering the plane from a base in Wichita, Kansas to a private hanger in Ohio, ran out of gas and began to look around for a place to put down.  He flew over the depot in an attempt to find out what town he was over and then looked around for an airport.

As the Chariton airport exists only in the minds of the planning committee as yet, he did the next best thing and spotted a level field in which to land.  He chose the Roy Mitchell farm southwest of town and going in over some power wires, managed to land in a small field.  No damage was done.  Monday morning he filled up with gas from the Chandler farm and left on his way leaving some suggestions that Chariton should build a port.

Friday, March 05, 2010

Former Chariton Lady Celebrates

From the Chariton Herald Patriot - August 4, 1927

Mrs. A.R. Malone, who resided in Chariton many years ago, now of 234 E. 16th Street Des Moines, and who recently celebrated her 86th birthday, is the only real daughter of the War of  1812 living in Iowa.

Her father, Samuel W. Walthal, a native of Virginia, served the entire time of this war.  He received a land warrant for 160 acres of land, which was entered at Iowa City in 1851, when it was the capital city of Iowa.  His land was south of Chariton, known as the Scott Rogers farm, and is now the Penick addition.  He was a slaveholder in Virginia, but decided he wanted to go to a free state, so disposed of his slaves and moved to Indiana.  Later he entered Iowa at Fort Madison.  Among commodities purchased at this point was a cook stove, the first this family had ever owned, therefore, the first which Mrs. Malone, then 9 years of age, had ever seen.  Her mother, having slaves during her early married life, never cooked a meal until after she had a family of four children.  Mrs. Malone, widow of Jacob Malone, has 9 children who are living, Mrs. Ida M. Smyth, Mrs. Nettie Foanot, Mrs Sue Marion, and Mrs. Pearl Robison of Des Moines; Mrs Maud Jeffrey, Burlington; Mrs. Mary Ellis, St. Joseph, Missouri; Chas. Malone, Davenport; Will Malone, Tucson, Arizona; and Frank Malone of Kansas City, Missouri.

The Sawmill Story


This article was taken from an unknown Des Moines Register. 

Iowa Sawmill Industry steady, but not growing

There will always be a sawmill industry in Iowa, but it is not growing.  Dennis Michel, a rural development forester with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, said there are 70 sawmills operating in Iowa, based on a 1994 survey.  It showed that 60 of the mills are located east of Des Moines, with the bulk in the eastern one-third of the state.

One of the largest commercial mills is the Midwest Walnut Co. in Council Bluffs.  The mill makes gun-stock blanks (chunks of wood that are made into gun stocks) and lumber to be used for furniture.

Of the 70 mills, the majority are classified as small, producing 1 million board feet of lumber a year - compared with the larger mills that produce up to 5 million board feet a year and have 70 employees, Michel said.

Virgil Storm has what is called "an old farm sawmill" in Lucas County, which won't be replaced when they sell out or stop sawing lumber.

"The majority of our sawmills are second generation," said Michel.  "I can only think of three sawmills started from scratch.  It is very expensive to start a big mill.  I would compare it to starting out farming, almost cost-prohibitive."

"The ones that have grown and survived are bigger mills, where people have inherited the operation and shouldered debt to upgrade it.  I don't think Iowa ever had any more than 100 sawmills," Michel said.

"The state's first sawmill began production in about 1867 on the Yellow River in northeast Iowa.  Around the early 1900's.   Sawmills in Clinton  processed more lumber than any town west of the Mississippi River."

"Today, there are approximately 75 million board feet of saw logs cut annually in Iowa.  Because trees are a renewable resource, the annual production by Iowa sawmills represents only about 50 percent of the total tree growth that could be harvested each year in Iowa," Michel said.

Iowa lumber comes principally from trees in the hardwood species, mostly in the red oak and white oak families.  Others include walnut, hickory, elm, ash, hard maple, soft maple, basswood and cottonwood.