Monday, June 28, 2010

Chariton Newspaper History

From the History of Lucas County 1978 book

The first settlers broke the prairie sod and established Chariton 121 years ago.  For the identical 121 years, starting with the Chariton Patriot in 1857 and the Leader, founded in 1867, have mirrored the news, week after week, without interruption.

The existing corporations have provided continuity of ownership for half the period, since 1920.  The present publisher, John Baldridge, has been associated with the newspapers for one-third of the period, since 1938.  Norval Lowe, president of the Chariton Publishing Company, for one-tenth of the time.

In 1920, the only paving in Chariton was brick, covering the square and a few adjoining blocks.  During the years the newspapers have been full participants in change with a constant objective of always working for the betterment of Chariton and Lucas County.

John Edwards and F.M. Fairbrother founded the Patriot.  In 1898, S.M. Green, publisher of the Herald, founded in 1885, bought the Patriot and the new publication was named the Herald-Patriot.

The Leader was founded as the Chariton Democrat with a name change to the Leader in 1875.  The publication became the Democrat-Leader for a period in 1883, changing back to the name Democrat until 1904, when the name again became the Leader, this time permanently.

There were many newspaper owners and editors during the years until in 1922, the Leader Publishing Company, which had purchased the Chariton Leader from H.W. Gittinger in 1920, became affiliated with the Herald-Patriot.

A new firm, the Chariton Publishing Company was formed to purchase the Herald-Patriot from Paul and W.D. Junkin who had owned it since 1913.

For economic reasons, both weekly newspapers were then printed in the Herald-Patriot plant with publication dates arranged to provide a semi-weekly service.  This system has continued unchanged for 56 years.  W.D. Allender became manager of the new jointly operated publishing organization and continued his association until his death in 1961.

Among the stockholders was Walter H. Dewey, who earlier had published the Chariton Democrat (Leader) and who had owned the Herald-Patriot for a brief period.  His heirs, Allen and Jane Dewey, still retain an ownership interest.

In the Technology of printing there have been three principal phases.  First, the setting of each letter by hand and printing on a hand-fed press; second, composition by linotype, with printing on a web-fed press; third, and only since 1971, composition by computer and printing on a high-speed offset press.

The newspapers have won numerous awards for excellence and community service.  The Iowa Press Association named both Allender and Baldridge Master Editor-Publishers.  Baldridge is serving the Association as its president in 1978.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Red Haw Hill State Park

From the History of Lucas County 1978 book

Grassy slopes dotted with hundreds of showy white flowering trees leave little doubt as to the reason for Red Haw Hill being the name picked for the State park near the city of Chariton.  This springtime treat is a sight to behold and many park visitors drive long distances to see the sight.  Redbud, crab apple, plums and locust trees also add to this spring spectacle.  At least two of the more than one hundred species of hawthorns native to North America can be found here.  As fall draws near, each of the many flowered clusters produces oval, scarlet fruits about one-half inch long.  The attractive, though dry and mealy, apple-like fruits are red to orange in color and are guarded by 1 to 3 inch spines or thorns.  These haws along with the wild grapes, plumbs, berries and nuts provide food aplenty for the abundant wildlife that inhabits the 420-acre park.  Bass, crappie, bluegill, perch, bullhead and catfish await the lucky angler who fishes the 73- acre lake.  With the hint of frost in the air, Mother Nature tries to outdo her spring display with a fall spectacle.  Starting with a splash of scarlet of the Virginia creeper and sumac soon to be joined by the gold's of the maples, oaks and other trees and shrubs the show reaches a climax that gladdens the eye of the beholder.

As our nation struggled to escape the crippling effects of the most devastating depression of its history, the Civilian Conservation Corps was born.  More than two million young men served in this program, doing conservation work, between 1933 and 1942.  The C.C.C. conserved and developed natural resources by such activities as planting trees, building dams, building recreational buildings, trails, roads and fighting forest fires.  It provided training and employment while helping the economy and allowing the participants to maintain their dignity.  These young men worked for $30 per month, $5 of which they were allowed to keep and $25 going to their family.  Much of the work was hard physical work and handwork, and today still shows the pride of workmanship.

Cooperation between the Federal, State and Local governments, and the help of Mother Nature, brought into being Red Haw Hill State Park.  Several hundred thousand-park visitors each year enjoy this park that was built in the mid 1930's.  A house was added in 1952 for a full-time park officer.  Red Haw has an eighty unit camp area with shower building, water and thirty eight electrical sites, swimming beach, concession building, four picnic shelters, three public toilets, boat ramps, boat docks and a biology research station.

Friday, June 25, 2010

The Party Line Club

From the History of Lucas County 1978 book

Mrs. Ben Peterson welcomed seven women into her home in the year 1925 and as they were visiting, they decided to have a neighborhood club.  For a lot of women in those days, they did not have to work, so their afternoons were open.  They met in the afternoon and did sewing, quilting, and mending for the hostess.  This is how the 'Neighborhood Club' began.  In 1937 their club had grown to twelve members, who were all on the same telephone line.  They did a lot of visiting on the telephone, so they decided to change their name to the Party Line Club.  In the winter months they had an all day meeting with a potluck dinner at noon.  Back in those days they had mud roads and weather was bad.  Their husbands would take them with a team and wagon and would stay and visit, too.

They paid dues once a year and took a penny collection each month to buy flowers for the family that had lost a loved one.

They had served the Senior Citizens group of Chariton and the farm sales many times through the years.  During World War I, they sewed bandages, made lap robes, knitted socks and sweaters for the soldier boys and sent packages of candy, gum and razor blades overseas, as many of them had sons in the service.  Through the years the club had done many things to help people who weren't club members.

They had sixty-two members belong to the club in the fifty-two years it was active.  They had twenty-two deceased members.  At the time this story was written they had eighteen active members, three members who were able to attend occasionally.  Mrs. Margaret Randl, who was ninety-nine years old, passed away in 1974.  She missed very few meetings.  Two charter members were still living in 1977, Mrs. Grover Dale and Mrs. Edith Potts.

On May 12, 1977 they celebrated their anniversary with a trip out of town, visiting different places.  They have secret pals each year for birthdays and Christmas exchange gifts.

All in all, they have had a very active club for the past fifty-two years.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

2010 Fair Reminder

The categories I have shown here may not be exactly correct, they are last years list, so bear with me.  You can contact Ev Brightman for a copy of this years booklet or call her for answers to any questions.

CLASS - Photographs (copies of photographs are accepted)

Ancestral portrait (1 or 2 persons)
Family group photograph (more than 2 persons)
Ancestral home photograph
Wedding photo
Pictorial family history or poster
Organized collection of family pictures
Ancestral church
4 or more generation photos (1 picture)
Miscellaneous photo or picture item

CLASS - Books and Legal Documents

Records from family bible
School records
Diary or ledger
Personal letter
Birth certificate
Marriage license or certificate
Land grant, deed, mortgage or record
Military record
Will or probate record
Church or religious material
Organized collection of documents
True story of the past, written by the exhibitor (limit 500 words)
Miscellaneous document

CLASS - Genealogical Research Material

Pedigree or family tree chart (shows parents, grandparents, great grandparents, etc. or an individual)
Lineage chart (shows blood relationships between any 2 persons)
Genealogical record book
Genealogical map
Family census records (three years)
Organized collection of newspaper research
Organized collection of genealogical research material
Family poster
Published family history
Miscellaneous research material

CLASS - Heirlooms and Artifacts

Scrapbook (clippings, greeting cards, etc.)
Small piece of silver
Piece of china
Kitchen utensil
Small household item
Small tool
Personal item
Religious item
Small toy
Child's clothing
Heirloom display

CLASS - Lucas County Heritage

Picture of early life in Lucas County

CLASS - Poster

Poster depicting the history of Lucas County town, township, organization, or event
Poster depicting the history of a method of lost art, craft, trade, or custom common to Lucas County

CLASS - Mixed Display

Visual Display (display may use items from all classes).  Display means "at a glance" or may be suitable for framing.

YOUTH - 5 through 16 years of age

A pedigree of lineage made by the exhibitor
A family pedigree
Family record book, compiled by the exhibitor
Genealogical poster
Map showing where ancestors lived
Photographs showing recent present home and an ancestral home
Any other not specified

Last year there were 105 entries using 48 of the 60 categories.  Twenty participants entered.  Seven were members who had participated previously and one member entered for the first time.  Six non-members entered who have participated before and four non-members entered for the first time.  A family member of one of the new participants state, "I think you have her hooked".  Also two youths participated. 

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Lucas County Cooperative Creamery

From the History of Lucas County 1978 book

Early in 1930 a group of Lucas County cream producers got together and promoted a cooperative creamery.  They held meetings and formed an association.  They made a drive to raise funds which was done by many people making pledges which when paid were loans drawing 6% interest.  The total cost of the building, the necessary machinery and equipment was $22,500.  They were ready to start operating in the fall of 1930.  Cream routes were established and work began.

A contest was held to give the butter a name "Pound o' Gold" was decided on.

A check-off of one cent per pound of butterfat was made and put into a revolving fund.  This fund was used only to repay loans that had been made to build the creamery.  These loans had been numbered as they were made and when paid off from the revolving fund, they were paid by number.  When all the original loans were paid off, the creamery became the property of the patrons.  When the patrons delivered butterfat to the amount of 1000 pounds a certificate of indebtedness was issued in ten-dollar amounts.  These were also numbered.  When all original debts were paid the old certificates were paid off beginning with Number 1.  Thus the ownership was constantly revolving.

The creamery was a success from the start.  It reached a production of one and a half million pounds of butter in 1962.  Butter was shipped to many destinations - two of the distant buyers were J.R. Cramer, and Zenith and Godley in New York.

Raymond Pim was the first president of the Lucas County Cooperative Creamery.  The first board of Directors included Burns Byrum, Tod Mauk, Andy Morrett, Paul Milnes and Charlie Wright.

The first creamery manager was Fred Carolus.  Later J.D. Fiete followed by Judson Burtch and the last one was Percy Ostrum.

Elmer Poush brought the first load of cream to the new creamery.  Every year following, and on the anniversary date, he sent the creamery a large bouquet of flowers.  Other cream haulers were Charley Hamilton, Earl Auxier, J.L. Hamilton, Clarence Foote, Paul Wright, Bill Agan, Burke Milnes, Hazel Morton, Troy Irving, Ivan Sullivan, Abe Throckmorton, Clarence Ansley, Russell Davis, Charles Best, Paul Robison, Walter Cain, Jack Kunch, Homer Chapman, David Pardoe, and Walton Cain.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Lakeview Golf and Country Club

From the History of Lucas County 1978 book

When the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad needed water for their steam engines in 1905, they purchased a track of land one mile west of Chariton for the purpose of building a reservoir.  The Chariton Gun Club leased a portion of this land in 1906 or 1907.  The land they leased was not in use by the railroad, for recreational purposes.  About 1918, a group formed the Lakeview Golf and Country Club.  A nine-hole golf course was their first project.  The water formed by the reservoir was called Crystal Lake and the golf courses east boundary.  The course itself was laid out and completed over the rolling terrain.  Golfers were attracted to the well-kept greens of creeping bent grass, where every green was watered individually.  In 1921 the club was incorporated.  The golf course had proven so successful that a clubhouse was now needed.  The first one was built in 1921, and planned to cost less than ten thousand dollars.

This article appeared in the Chariton newspaper in 1921:  "Chariton is just beginning to appreciate its advantages as the only town in southern Iowa offering real summer resort privileges.  This handsome clubhouse will afford a splendid place of recreation to the members, more than doubling the pleasure of membership.  We believe it will also serve to make the Gun Club more popular and make it possible to add many improvements.  There is no reason why Chariton should not build up a summer resort at this lake, which will attract people for many miles and make this city, to southern Iowa, what Okoboji is to northern Iowa.  More than three-fourths of the necessary funds have been pledged and the committee anticipates no difficulty in securing the balance of the funds in view of the fact that the privileges offered far out-balance the expense."

Long-time Chariton resident's who recall those early days, say that the Clubhouse was the center of many activities.  Just as today, the calendar showed stag golf dinners, stag bridge dinners, ladies' luncheons, mixed-dinner parties and dinner dances.  Family picnics and recreational events were very popular.

The Lakeview Golf and Country Club purchased the property on July 21, 1955 from the C.B. & Q. Railroad, as the railroad no longer needed the water supply.  Forty homes occupied the building sites around the lake in November 1977.  25 were on the east side, with 12 permanent homes; 15 were on the west side with 10 permanent residences.  The country club had 243 members and their families when the article was written for the 1978 history book.

The Knotts Opera House of Lucas, Iowa

      A multiple purpose hall was built, in Lucas in the early 1880's, by Absolom Knotts on the southeast corner of the intersection of Vine and James Streets, which is on the block north of Front Street. 
     One of the earliest industries in Lucas, The Southward Brick Kiln just south of Lucas, supplied the bricks used in this building.  The Abe Southward family owned and operated the kiln.
     This three-story building came to be known as 'The Brick Building'.  The entrance on the south and southwest side of the building opened into a walk-in basement made possible because the building was built on the slope of a hill.  Small businesses rented these lower rooms as offices.  Some dressmaking shops and the Lucas Ledger Newspaper occupied some of this space.
     The ground level on the north was divided into three long rooms making up the second floor.  Farmer's and Miners Bank once occupied the middle room.  Clark Baker's store was in the rear and K.E. VanScoy's Store, the Post Office and a restaurant occupied one of these rooms through the years.  Keeping track of other businesses that occupied these rooms from time to time would be impossible.
     A large auditorium, a stage and dressing rooms for the Opera House, occupied the upper or third floor of this building.  For thirty or more years, the High School held its graduation exercises here.  Community plays, rally's, celebrations, Oratory Society meetings and anything else that would be of interest to the community, were held in the Opera House.
     H. L. Byers owned the 'Brick Building' in 1914 when a man named Atkinson came to Lucas to invest in the Big Hill Mine.  Atkinson remodeled the building and put in an elevator and a boiler for heat, leaving the outside stairs for entry to the third floor.
     As history has proved through the years, building such as this one seem to go by the wayside.  The Opera House that was once considered one of the largest and most beautiful in the Midwest, was seldom used.  At times storage areas and repair shops would occupy the main floor.
     In the mid 1930's the Opera House, which had withstood the ravages of small fires several times, was succumbed by fire.  R.K. McGee owned the building at this time.  This architectural beauty of the 1880's was eventually torn down because of the danger to people walking past.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Chariton Lodge No. 63 A.F. & A.M.

From the History of Lucas County 1978 book
Masonic Temple

The lodge was formed in 1853 by James I. Baker and Stephens P. Yeomans.  The two men called a meeting to petition to organize the local order with dispensation being granted August 27, 1854.  Robert Coles was the first initiate on Nov. 2, 1854.

Charter members of the lodge were Yeoman, Baker, T.N. Goss, Joe Mitchell, John Edwards, J.N. McClurg, G.W. Glenn and James Glenn.

The first meeting of the organization, as a fraternal unit, was held Oct. 5,1854, in the Sons of Temperance Hall.  On Jun 6, 1855, the charter was granted and was number 63, although it was believed the number should have been 55.

A committee of two men was appointed May 6, 1866, to inquire into the possibility of purchasing a lot for a proposed Masonic Temple.  Serving on the committee were E.E. Sargent and D.Y. Collins.  A lot was eventually bought, March 5, 1867, upon which is now situated the Central Savings Building.

During 1870-1871 the members met in the Penick building on the west side of the square while plans for a new building were studied.

The lodge was incorporated Oct. 4, 1872, under laws governing benevolent organizations.  On July 27, 1882, a new building was completed in unison with the Odd Fellows for $11,405.02.  In 1904, the Masons bought the building from the Odd Fellows for $16,500 and used it as their meeting place until construction of the present temple was done.

Construction for a new temple to be located at the corner of Grand and Armory was authorized Oct 3, 1935.  The building committee was Mark L. Spencer, Noel W. Cloud, Homer L. Stewart, Charles E. Fluke and L.E. Callison.  The corner stone was laid May 28, 1936.  The complete cost of the new temple was $50,000.  Three hundred Masons attended the temple dedication April 28, 1937.

Two members of Chariton Lodge No. 63, John N. McClanahan - 1880 and William L. Perkins - 1944-45-46, have served the Grand Lodge of Iowa as Grand Masters.
with new "Cap" 2011

Saturday, June 12, 2010

The Rainmaker - Ursa S. Swisher

From the 1978 History of Lucas County book.

Chariton was not out of the ordinary back in 1894 when one of the memorable episodes of its existence took place.  At that time, the event was probably being repeated in many other places, too.

In the year 1894 the most severe droughts known to Lucas County occurred.  The results were widespread and disastrous.  Pastures were as dry as if they had been burned, as early as the first part of July.  The cornfields were withered by the hot winds.  Barren corn stalks were cut for fodder to feed the animals.  Even so, much of the livestock in the area had to be sold - at a sacrifice quite often.  Some were destroyed rather than to let them starve to death.  This loss was felt for several years, especially where  young stock had been sold.  Many of the shade and fruit trees died from the lack of moisture.  Creeks ceased to run, wells, ponds and sloughs were dry and wild life perished.
Even in the face of the hardships there seemed to be plenty of money.  Rainmakers swarmed all over the country, promising rain for a price to those who were willing to listen, to try.  One of these rainmakers came to Lucas County in this July of 1894.  His name was Ursa S. Swisher.  An attorney drew up a contract between the rainmaker and the citizens who pledged the finances.  The basic facts were that the rainmaker would, for the sum of not more than five hundred dollars, cause within five days, rain in the amount of at least one inch in Chariton and on all of the territory extending ten miles in all directions from the courthouse.  No rain - no money.  Signing the contract were more than seventy subscribers from nearly all walks of life, pledging amounts of $1.00 upwards to $25.oo each.  These were merchants, businessmen, storekeepers, blacksmiths, lawyers, doctors, grocers, farmers and private citizens.  

Mr. Swisher set up his apparatus in an upstairs room on the south side of the square.  He burned various things, creating an ill smelling gas that escaped skyward through a pipe stuck out a window.  Though the people watched, smelled, and waited - no rain came.  Needless to say the faker had to move on without the money.  However, a donation was subscribed to help defray expenses of the rainmaker's stay in Chariton.

Nature took its course and the drought was ended - without man's assistance.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Wolf Hunts (continued)

The Wolf Crop
April 1906
It is reported that the wolf crop is going to be immense this spring.  F. L. Pim, of Jackson Township, brought to the auditors office Tuesday, a crop of an even dozen young whelps, which he had gathered in the day before.

The bounty upon these young sheep killers amounted to twenty four dollars.  This is the same as finding money.  Why wouldn't it pay the farmer to pay more attention to the propagation of wolves, and do less hard work.
Dec. 1910
The English Township wolf hunt, which was held yesterday, adjourned until a later date.  The dog of Ed. Spiker and John Ragins caught one that got out of the ring.  One wolf was shot.

Proved Great Success From Social and Sport View

About 30 hunters from town and country joined in the great wolf hunt as a means of celebrating Washington's birthday.  The going was soft and the weather chilly, so the number engaged in the drive was not as large as expected.  Two wolves were sighted but both got away where the lines were not fully manned.  At May Church the Ladies Aid Society had prepared a lunch of coffee and sandwiches.  The Chariton boys cannot say enough about the generous portions and the delicious quality of the eats.  Altogether it was a very successful hunt, with no casualties, even to the wolves.


First Milling in Lucas County

The following is from hand written notes (author unknown), excerpts from the 1881 History of Lucas County and notes cut from the Chariton newspapers about early sawmills in Lucas County, Iowa.

From the Lucas County Genealogy Newsletter April 2010

Before the first mill was built in Lucas County the early settlers had to go to Eddybille or to the Comstock and Dunham Mill on the Skunk River near Oskaloosa.  This would have been over 60 miles away.  Mr. S.B. Chapman procured a hand-mill, and fastened it to the wall of his house, with which a very energetic man could grind about a bushel an hour.  It was kept in constant use, and people would come nearly twenty miles, very frequently on horseback, to use it.  Mr. Chapman would usually give them their dinner and send them on their way rejoicing without charging any toll.

1848 appears to be the first year any milling was done in Lucas County with the mention of a little water mill on the Chariton River that the Mormons used to grind their scant supply of corn.

In 1849 some early settlers went to Warsaw, Illinois for wheat flour and also Bonaparte on the Des Moines River was a source of milling.

In 1850 there was a mill on the South Chariton River, south of where Confidence is now located.  In the winter of 1848-1849 the snow was 3 feet deep.

In 1851 some early Liberty township settlers couldn't get to Oskaloosa for milling and they lived on hominy for 2 months.

1851 was when the first mill was built in Washington Township by A.G. Kendall and Samuel McKinley.  I remember a great deal of fun was made about the mill.  It was a kind of Noah's Ark affair, a lifesaver, so held by the builders.  The mill was a cheap arrangement.  It did not have the modern roller process, or electric motor power.  But it was a creature of necessity.  Such material as was at hand had to be used.  The mill when complete and ready for business was composed of four upright pieces, seven feet long, eight cross pieces four feet long, a cog wheel, a trunnell head, two cranks and a round rock.  That was the kind of mill that furnished our bread stuff and it was some satisfaction to the builders I suppose to see some coming to the mill to get their grinding done, who had sworn they would gnaw the corn off the cob before they would patronize that mill.

Also, a saw and grist mill was built in Liberty Township by Pleasant Williams and Isaac C. Cain on the Whitebreast.  They constructed a dam across the creek to use water for power.  The mill was a small rudely built structure; the burrs were made of boulders or round rocks.

1856 a saw mill and grist mill was established around Freedom probably on Wolf Creek.  By 1881 this saw mill was in Benton Township.  The corn burrs are still occasionally used and make first rate corn meal.  According to the 1881 history book these mills were in use at that time:
Wheeler's Mill on Whitebreast Creek in Whitebreast Township.
A Steam mill on North Cedar in Pleasant Township.
Thompson's mill on Whitebreast Creek in Lincoln Township, 2-3 miles N.E. of Chariton.

Some very good timber is found along the Cedar Creek and in the south part of the township, near Cedar Creek is a saw mill owned by Mr. George N. Shore, who is kept busy converting saw logs into lumber of various kinds.  Some of the best white oak lumber in the county can be obtained at this mill.  Mr. Shore has also, at the request of his neighbors, attached a corn burr, and supplies the neighborhood with meal.

Many portable sawmills dotted the wooded and timbered area along the streams.  Ottercreek had splendid timber while Union Township had the least timber.

In October of 1908 there was a sorghum mill running full blast in S.E. Chariton.

George Steinbach Interview 1975 (continued)

(continued from June 4)

George Steinbach - interviewed by Kelly Everett, Interviewer, 1975
On this part of the tape they are talking about the Chariton Volunteer Fire Department.  George was a long time member.

It was organized in 1877.  Organized with two companies; an engine company and a ladder company.  I don't recall exactly what year it was that they consolidated but along about 1900.  The department is strictly volunteer.  No one receives any wages or anything, no matter how much you do.  Although they do accept donations from the party that has had the fire, if he feels he owes them something for their effort, many times the department instead of taking their money, would put another check with it and send it right back to them, equal to what they offered to give us.  That has been done several times.  There have been times when people would be under very poor circumstances, but they would still want to give us money. 

 In the earlier days before we had this modern equipment about the only thing that we had really of any value was the old steam engine.  At the end of the year or so there would be a convention somewhere in the state.  This old steamer, Old Betsy, was taken to Dubuque two different times.  We would put it on a train and haul it over there and went into competition.  It took first place two years in a row.  So, the following year they had an International Convention held in St. Louis.  The idea was, with the old steam engines, the one that could throw a stream of water the farthest in a certain given time would be the one that would be the winner.  Starting with a cold engine, we had to build a fire and get the stream up high enough to hit a target at a certain distance.  Well, the boys running that old steamer pulled a few shenanigans.  The others tried their best to find out about it, but they never did.  What Ed Jones and Billy Briles, who was running the drug store on the west side of the square, did was, they had these little two ounce bottles of Benzine wrapped with paper and tied a string on them and there are five sets of cones in the side of that boiler where that heat goes up through and around the water in the tube.  They would tie those little bottles together and drop them in the tube about half way down.  They put several of those in there and when they got to St. Louis, the idea of wrapping the paper around the bottles was to keep them from breaking.  We had a certain kind of wood that everybody had to have.  Pine wood and shavings and that sort of stuff to build the fire.  Every steamer was in the same condition; with an empty firebox.  They were examined.  But, they weren't smart enough to know what was going on inside.  So, when the fire was lit the Benzine bottles burst and burnt up and they had the water out there and they kept pouring the coal in there.  Then they came around and they smelled a mouse, thinking something was wrong and they want us to put the fire out.  We said we can't kick that fire out yet, it is so hot, it will burn up the pavement it was sitting on.  So, they had to wait another 10 minutes.  By that time all the evidence was burnt up.  We came back home with a silver trumpet.  I don't know what happened but someone stole that silver trumpet.  So, they won two state titles and the International with that old steamer.  It will still pump water today.

Of course we have lots of new equipment now.  A new truck that just arrived yesterday, they tell me.  I haven't seen it but I heard that it came in.  The fire department has 35 active members, in Class A, but there are a number after 10 years that will drop out.  They are still members but they are in Class B.  So I imagine there are in the neighborhood of 50 to 55 in all; in case of the second alarm.  If that second call comes in the other guys have to come in.

Old Betsy's name was put on the fire truck at the manufacturer.  We didn't put that on.  That was her name when she came here.

They had a fire team that was kept across the street at Doug Thomas' livery barn that is where Ford Motor is setting today.  Whenever they had a fire they would bring them across the street and the harness was all hanging up there ready to put on.  They just had three buckles to buckle and they were ready to go.  The firebox with the wood was all set and they would throw in a little Kerosene and a match in it and they would build a fire in it while they were on their way to the fire.

I remember that steamer before we ever had any pavement in this town.  There wasn't a foot of pavement up until around 1900.  The Methodist Church was built, the corner stone says 1899 but it was 1900 before they ever got it completed.  I saw them build that church.  They had a jinney pole on the outside and a team of horses and they would raise up one stone at a time, lay it down and that is the way they build that.  You can imagine that with as heavy of stone as that is and as big a building as that is, it took a while to do that.
(this will be continued)

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Wolf Hunts (continued)

Russell, IA  March 16, 1910
At the Call of the Wild
      Out of the east rose a big red sun, as glorious as ever graced the landscape in old Iowa, and that's saying a plenty.  The air was motionless, crisp, electrifying.  A calm, clear March morning.  It is the day of the big wolf-hunt.
     The Big Wolf-Hunt - what an epoch in the history of Lucas County that phrase is destined to mark!  In our mind's eye we glimpse the future, and with the mind's ear we bear our grandchildren ruminating like his:  "Let me see, Cy Larkin has lived right thar fer jist forty year - I know 'cause he bought that place the year of the Big Wolf-Hunt, and that was in 1910."  This event, too, we surmise, will simplify the problem of "how old is Ann" for the coming generations.  Open the Good Book and read from the pages of the family record "Anna Jones, born three years after the Big Wolf-Hunt", etc.  Oh it was great!
     At eight o'clock men were associating the fact of the great hunt with their pecuniary interest in lambs, turkeys, pigs, calves, etc.  At half past nine such trifles were completely eliminated from the psychology of the throng that formed itself into a human cable twenty miles long and encircling an area of thousands of acres.  Now it was wolves, simply wolves, and the spirit of adventure shot round that ring in telepathic waves.
     From somewhere way down the line came the cry:   "Lookout, lookout, he's coming east - tighten up the line - bang, bang, bang, bang."  We glimpsed him for one supreme moment, then he dropped out of sight into the great interior.  But he was within the circle, and and the word persisted in coming to us from both right and left that the line was tight the entire way around.  If not before, then certainly at the finish he would have to give an account of himself.
     Slowly but impatiently we advanced through timber, underbrush and across the prairie.  Sometimes we would rise to a high point, a meadow or a cornfield, and always the human dragnet stretched away unbroken until it disappeared beyond a hill or into the woods.  Ever and soon, too, we would glimpse a section of the line, two three, four miles away, and coming toward us, their gun-barrels glistening in the sunlight.  Rabbits were literally kicked out of the way, and quails looked like pesky flies against the larger perspective.
     At last, nigh upon noon, there is a sound as of cannonading, and the word comes rolling in that our neighbors a mile to the right have killed a wolf.  No sooner have we swallowed the lump in our throat than another bombardment takes place to our left, followed by a "Lookout, lookout down east - he's coming east."  Guns are raised along our quarter, and after the clickety-click of preparation there comes a moment when the air is tense with the hush of expectancy,  followed by a babble of excitement as the wolf rounds a point three hundred yards toward the center and speeds straight toward us.  Our turn has come.  Bang, bang, bangety-bang.  A hundred volleys tear up the ground round about him.  He turns and shoots like an arrow at right angles with our line and vanishes behind a clump of brush, unharmed.
     By this time the ring is less than a mile across and things are happening fast.  Way down on the bottom at the southwest extremity of the circle we catch glimpse of a conflict between a monster wolf and a lop-eared hound.  Along a grassy slope to the north speeds another wolf with a dog at his flank.  The sport gets so thick that we can't see it all, much less relate it.  Oh, you should have been there!    Sport.
     On Tuesday the second big circle wolf hunt was held and something like eight hundred men were in the lines.  This time they succeeded in killing three wolves.  Others got away.  The lines were not compactly held.
     The great Jackson and Washington Township wolf hunt is over, and it was a howling success.  700 men and that many guns and about 1300 dogs succeeded in capturing large Owls.  Don't misunderstand me (the owls were not too large to be captured) and the wolves! Oh, nobody was bitten by a wolf but several men badly snake bitten and had to take medicine for it.  Hurrah!  for our side.
Heroes of the Chase
     Chas. Foster, Amos Homsher and J.M. Wright, of Cedar Township, were heroes of the wolf hunt, on Tuesday, each landing a canine monster with his gun.  How Theodore Rossevelt must have regretted that he could not be present.
The Trapping Industry
     Alfred F. Roberts presented the pelt of a big timber wolf at the auditor's office, Tuesday, and received the $5.00 bounty.  Besides this he received several dollars for the pelt, the auditor cutting off the head, which made the pelt sell for $1.00 less on the market, but "that is the law".  This wolf was caught on the Wright Newsome farm, in Union Township.  Mr. Roberts has captured two red foxes this winter and sold their pelts for $7 or $8 each.  He thus far has trapped 40 minks, some of these furs, the prime ones bringing as high as $5 or $6 - but these are the exceptionally pretty ones, and one could not calculate on that high price for the run of the catch.  Taking it all the way through the trapping industry in Lucas County is good.

Saturday, June 05, 2010

Charley Abrahamson Sawmill

More on the stories behind Sawmills in Lucas County

Glenn Abrahamson wrote the following on Dec. 5, 1994

In the early thirties my dad, Charley Abrahamson wanted to try operating a sawmill.  George Pierschbacher owned a sawmill but he didn't want to sell, so Charley rented it from George.  Later he purchased the same sawmill from George and later still Charley sold it to Stanley Feight.

Charley set it up in the Carnie timber about a mile and a quarter north and one mile east of Renfro School.  A Wallis Cub tractor powered this sawmill.

The next move was to the south edge of Marion County at the Louis Booth farm.  Here he sawed out over 100,000 feet of lumber.  It was still powered by the Wallis Cub tractor.

The farm of Jake Feight, north of Newbern, was the site of the next move.  This mill was powered by a steam engine belonging to Stanley Feight.

In the timber south of the May Church in the timber belonging to George Chapman was where the mill, powered by different tractors, was moved the next time.

South of the Amity school to the Guff Larson timber was the next move; being powered by a Heartparr Tractor.

The last move while Charley owned the sawmill was to the Shaffer farm south of Amity School, in Warren Township.  At this time a Case and a John Deere tractor powered it.

Last Friday a new saw mill began operation at Lucas.  It is owned by B. Goben  and he says he has enough work lined up to keep it going all winter.  The outfit, powered by a 78 horse power diesel unit, is pictured ready to put through its first log.  The log belongs to R.W. Alexander and is a cottonwood log about 74 years old.   From left to right are:  J.L. Hamilton, Orie Dachenbach, Bud Goben, R.W. Alexander, E.F. Davis and George Sams.

Picture was from the October 20, 1949 Herald-Patriot. 

Friday, June 04, 2010

The Baby Catchers of Yesterday

By Carol (Ashby) Brees
From the Fort Dodge Messenger, July 2006 Issue
Appeared in the Lucas County Genealogical Society Newsletter January 2010

Medical practices and related social customs have changed radically in 100 years.  Diaries and journals of the 19th century bear witness to the fact that 'pregnancy' was neither mentioned nor publicly discussed.  In such written records, pregnant women of that time referred to morning sickness and other related discomfort as being 'ill'.  If modern readers aren't aware of this while reading a daily diary from the nineteenth century or before, they're amazed to suddenly come upon an entry such as, 'Thomas was born at midnight, a healthy baby boy.'  Society forbade direct references of a woman's impending birth, and women were even reticent about referring to their pregnancies in their personal diaries and journals.  In that era, a commonly-used synonym for 'pregnancy' was 'illness' and when applied to a married woman in childbearing years, was perfectly understood.  Though pregnancy wasn't a socially acceptable topic of discussion in 1850, being 'in a family way' was a phrase disrespectfully whispered and never around children.  I recall my own grandmother referring to a woman's pregnancy as 'being in the family way,' - she was born in 1897.

It has always been natural for experienced women - midwives - to aid and comfort women giving birth, learning their craft by apprenticeship.  Midwives had various names:  baby catchers, lay midwives, granny midwives, zieckentroosters in the New Amsterdam  colony, but the actual translation of 'midwife' means 'with woman' and 'wise woman.'  Two of the first known midwives appear in the Old Testament.  Shiphrah and Puah, who practiced their art around 1520 BC.  In early New England towns midwives were valued members of society, often provided rent-free housing to tend home births.  Some of the early midwives history remembers are Martha Ballard of Hallowell, ME, who kept a midwife diary from 1785-1812, Ruth Barnaby, Boston's Rebecca Fuller, who practiced from 1630-1663 and Elizabeth Phillips who delivered 3,000 newborns from 1719-1749.  These midwives performed their merciful duties by sled, canoe and horse back, armed with vast experience, their 'midwife' book for difficult deliveries and their herbal brews and potions.  These women grew and gathered their own herbs (early pharmaceuticals) and with great skill and effectiveness administered them on their maternal patients to aid in natural childbirth.  Child bed fever (postpartum infection) and puerperal infection (maternal morbidity) were two common causes of death of women during childbirth.  Some of the better known remedies midwives used were slippery elm bark (to speed delivery), raspberry tea (to relax muscles and improve the efficiency of labor), blackberry tea (for use during and immediately following birth to prevent hemorrhaging).  20th century studies reflect the fact that the mortality rate using midwives in the 17th century shows no higher maternal or infant deaths than modern births by physicians in hospitals!

The period before 1750 is considered the 'age of midwifery.'  'Male midwives' were used by some of the wealthier women from that time until about 1790.  As previously discussed, women weren't permitted to train as doctors and male doctors of the time were poorly trained, having been required to attend only several weeks of lectures given by other poorly trained doctors.  Nor did they learn through actual observation of childbirth.  What doctors - as professionals - did bring to childbirth was chloroform, which could ease the pain of childbirth and instruments, such as forceps.  Doctors were quick to realize the profit to be made in the field of obstetrics, and the medical profession began insisting that childbirth was a 'medical' issue requiring their services and - for their convenience - a hospital setting.  The debate was on.  Midwives resisted the bad press given them by the medical community and were averse to the higher fees doctors charged.  The 'midwife problem' controversy raged in the late 19th century, resulting in licensing, training, and regulations, one of which required midwives to register births.  By 1900, midwives were still attending 50% of America's births.  By 1935, midwives attended 35% of all births.  Today midwives are nurse midwives - registered nurses certified as midwives who practice in hospital settings or birthing centers.  America's 5,000 nurse-midwives assist in approximately 8% of all births.

The art of midwifery has withstood a storm of controversy over the centuries, which began before immigrants came to America.  Many of the millions of women who were put to death during the Middle Ages were midwives and healers.  They were feared by the ignorant masses that viewed their mysterious art of bringing life forth, as a supernatural power, an alliance with the devil.  The stigma 'witch' never completly died out and the Salem witch hunts of the late 1600's targeted midwives, some of whom were condemned and hung.

The history of midwives predates written history - women have always assisted their 'sisters' in bringing life into the world.  Baby catchers around the world have often been greatly revered members of society and sometimes feared.  Not many generations ago, midwives were the ONLY 'doctors' assisting in births.  Though you may never have given it thought, you may find it interesting to realize your ancestors born before 1790 were certainly brought into this world aided by an experienced midwife who's wisdom came from generations of the midwifery art.

We family historians who seek vital records to complete family charts are familiar with the problem of locating birth records in those years prior to mandatory birth registration.  We must rely upon alternate records to obtain these:  Bible records, parish records, old town records, tombstones and obituaries.  Midwives in this country's history helped bring forth centuries of American babies and hold an important place in our countries past.

George Steinbach Interview 1975 (continued)

(continued from May 28)

George Steinbach - interviewed by Norma Pim on April 18, 1975
(Note:  This tape seems to be out of order and some of it is cut off)

In 1912 Ron Boyles, a road contractor put in the first lake out east of town.  When he got through with that he went to work right away for the Rock Island to get the Rock Island through here.  He was here about three years putting the Rock Island line in to the slaughterhouse.  They were three months on that hill.  It was a half-mile long and 42 feet deep; horses and mules did all the work.  They worked day and night on that cut.

There was no pavement until the fall of 1903.  In the spring of 1904, they paved around the square and north down to the Catholic Church and paved west to the main track of the railroad.  The following year they went on around and up to the station where you make that loop and back.  After that, pavement was in.  Steve and Jim Hickman had a Buick.  On Sunday afternoons, they would be up to Ed Jones' and they would put five people in that Buick and drive around the square, all the way up to the depot and come on back and unload them at the Drug Store for 10 cents a trip.  They would do that every Sunday.

Mr. Savage and Mr. Perry were operationg the Old Hotel.  There were a lot of people that went up there for their Sunday meals.  Yes sir, I'll tell you, they were putting out the merchandise.  At that time and in those days, believe it or not, we had 22 passenger trains in Chariton a day.  Every one of them stopped in town.

There were two trips going from Chariton north up to Milo & Indianola and back, two different trains, passengers and freight.  The same for trains going south, two trains would go south to St. Joe and they would come back along with lots of freight.  An hour didn't go by without a passenger train going one way or the other.  At little towns like Russell, Melrose, Lucas and Woodburn, trains would stop and the people could get on a train in the morning, come to Chariton to trade and that evening there would be a train going right back to their home.

A lot of people traveled this way.  You would be surprised how much that railroad meant to us.

Sunday afternoon everyone would dress up and go to see the trains.

Russell "A Town of Pride and Progress"

The articles in this series were published in the Russell Union-Tribune (unknown date).

One hundred years ago, the present site of the town of Russell was uninhabited and was covered by the tall prairie grass.  In 1864, William Nelson built the first house in what is now Russell.  It stood in the northwest part of town, across the street west and a little south of the present Mrs. Harry Latham residence.
Railroad Built
In 1865, the first permanent survey was made for the railroad.  The ground was cleared and the tracks were laid through 1865-66 and completed in 1867.  The railroad company then purchased 30 acres of land from William Nelson on which the town of Russell was to be built.
In 1886, the first depot was built and a railroad agent by the name of N.B. Douglass was stationed here.  Douglass established a post office in the depot and became postmaster, and later he and H.W. Elliott started a general store in the building.
Official Building
 On October 8, 1867, the original town of Russell was platted by H.S. Russell and contained 209 lots.  This was the official beginning of Russell.
First Birth in Russell
The first child born in Russell was a daughter, Bertie, born to the depot agent, N.B. and Mrs. Douglass.  They lived in rooms at the south end of the depot.
Churches in Russell
 The first church to be erected in Russell, strangely enough, was an Episcopal church, completed in 1868, under the supervision of Dr. LaBach of Chariton.  This church later disbanded due to lack of members.

The Methodist church of Russell is responsible for the first church service held in the county (south of town in 1849).  However, they did not build a church in town until 1872.  The organization built another church in 1891-92.

The Presbyterian church of Russell was organized in 1869, and they erected the church which they presently occupy in 1880.

In 1868, after the erection of a new depot, a Baptist minister purchased the old depot for the purpose of forming a church.  This proved an unsuitable location for a church and this first attempt for organization was unsuccessful.  The present Baptist Church was organized in 1881.  They erected a church in 1883, which burned in 1913, and the church which they presently occupy was built in 1915.

The Christian Church of Russell was organized in 1893.  They purchased and occupied the old Methodist Church until 1901 when they erected a church on a lot across the street north of the George Werts residence.  This organization later disbanded.

(This story will continue next month)

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Wolf Hunts (continued)

Postponed Event Near Russell to be Pulled Off
     The wolf hunt which was to have been held south of Russell on Feb. 22 and was postponed on account of bad weather, has been set for next Saturday, March 4.  The north line is north of Huston's farm extending from road to road; south line, Chariton Creek; east line, straight north and south from Bessie Kell's house; west line, road past Ragtown school house.  Come together where O.H. Evans windmill is located.  This covers nine sections of land, 3 miles square.
     Captains - Orville Cottingham, E. one-half of north line; R.T. Hasten, west one-half west line; Ellis May, north half west line; Ed Ralph, Guy Latham and Werts Bros. - south half of west line, south line from Becker bridge to Hull bridge, Jacob Schumann; from Hull bridge to Logan bridge, George Wright; from Logan bridge to cement river bridge on next road east, Bill Johnson, east line, south half, Harry NcNeeley; south half of this line, George Lewis.
     All captains to get all men to man their lines in advance and assemble the men at 9 a.m. on above date and ready to move and move very promptly at 9:30 o'clock, but slowly, all rifles barred.  All adults are solicited to have shot guns well equipped.  Parents will be responsible for minors carrying guns in these lines and over these lands.  This hunt is held on Saturday to give all school boys a chance to participate.  So come with clubs, boys, but don't try to tote a gun and endanger  somebody's life.  Everybody come from 1 mile outside those lines and help hold them.  It won't take long and maybe we can help you in the distant future.
     Would suggest the following:  Preachers on extreme right:  Mrs. May keep her chickens up;  bankers on extreme left, all business men and irresponsible men straight south except doctors, undertakers, and retired farmers, these to bring up the rear line.  Everybody keep stock in lots until after lines pass.  All stragglers and vehicles back of lines.
     Charity and benevolence to have benefit of all.  Everybody serve where asked and all come and let's have a good time.
     In case of bad weather, except mud, this hunt will be postponed one week.