Sunday, November 17, 2019

Pete Buttigieg and the Iowa Poll

I signed a caucus pledge for Pete Buttigieg the first time one was offered, hardly surprising when you consider my sexual orientation and all of that. But there's more involved.

Only four candidates in a big field have managed to get their campaigns off the ground --- Elizabeth Warren, Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders and "Mayor Pete." Biden and Sanders are too old, in my opinion. Sorry, Joe, but your recent ad --- "I'm experienced, steady and ready to step in" --- didn't resonate. Sanders just had a heart attack, for heaven's sake.

Love Warren, but Buttigieg is a more effective campaigner who pulled himself out of relative obscurity and up by his own bootstraps in quick time. 

So it was interesting to see this morning that Buttigieg has "rocketed" to the top of the field in Iowa, according to the latest Des Moines Register/CNN/Mediacom Iowa Poll.  The South Bend mayor pulled down 25 percent support among likely Democratic caucus-goers (up from 9 percent in September); Warren, 16 percent; and Biden and Sanders, 15 percent each.

Some say Warren and Sanders are "too liberal"; others suggest that Buttigieg is not liberal enough. Nonsense. All bring similar progressive agendas into the campaign with them. 

Can a gay guy with a husband and two dogs get himself elected? Probably.

But of course I'll vote gladly for whoever the Democrat nominee turns out to be.

I've been thinking of a couple of statements by the late Harvey Milk, generally acknowledged to have been the first honest LGBTQ person to win elective office:

"If you help elect more gay people, that gives a green light to all who feel disenfranchised, a green light to move forward. It means hope to a nation that has given up, because if a gay person makes it, the doors are open to everyone."

And: "A gay person in office can set a tone, can command respect not only from the larger community but from the young people in our own community who need both examples and hope."

I wish that there had been role models like Mr. Buttigieg when I was growing up.

Saturday, November 16, 2019

The "scandalous" state of Chariton schools (in 1889)


Few paid much attention to Samuel S. King, fire-breathing editor of The Chariton Democrat during the 1880s --- in large part because of his tendencies toward exaggeration, overstatement and sometimes downright hysteria. He was described after his death during the 1920s on the west coast as "brilliant but erratic" by a former colleague.

Those tendencies all came to the fore during November of 1889 when Mr. King attempted to inflate what actually were relatively minor personnel issues in the Chariton Public School District into a full-blown crisis. His opening salvo was fired in an editorial on the local news page of  The Democrat of Nov. 21, 1889.

Among those targeted in the editorial were Joseph A. Brown, school board chair who also was an influential (and prosperous) entrepreneur, and his brother-in-law, Laban F. Maple, school board treasurer and operator of Maple's Book Store on the north side of the square. The two men were married to sisters, Bella and Ella Wright, daughters of Dr. James D. Wright, a Quaker physician revered by nearly everyone. King refers to Brown as "Barnacle."

At the time, the Chariton scholars were housed in three buildings --- South (later Columbus), above, the largest and home to the high school and upper grades; East (later Garfield) and North (later Bancroft), located on the current site of Johnson Auditorium and the Chariton Community Center. The latter two buildings contained four classrooms each and house elementary grades.

Here's the editorial:

THE CHARITON SCHOOLS
A Roaring Farce and a Miserable Failure

Last spring when the Democrat saw where our public schools were drifting it sounded the alarm and made the best fight it could for the schools. A horde of conscienceless scoundrels and gibbering idiots of both sexes raised the cry that we were fighting against the schools, and thereupon set in to cry down the Democrat and its editor. By a preconcerted and well arranged system of lying they succeeded, no doubt, in making a few weak-minded men and decrepit old women believe their falsehoods.

So this fall after the board had made a cowardly surrender of principle in order to placate the malcontents, and had employed their Superintendent and teachers, the Democrat resolved to keep aloof from the school question and see it work out its own success or failure. We very well knew which it would be. In the nature of things, it could not be otherwise than a failure. A cowardly compromise with Wrong never has been and never can be a success. And the failure has come.

For weeks past the parents of the district have been filling our ears with stories of the worse than useless waste of time to their children while attending. While but poor advancement is being made in any of the grades, in the Grammar and High School departments the pupils appear to be "advancing backward," and disorder runs riot throughout. Miss Shepherd has been compelled to resign from the Grammar department, and Mr. E:vans will doubtless be compelled to give up the High School. Like horses with the bits in their teeth, the pupils have run things to suit themselves, utterly refusing to respond to the drawing of the reins which the teachers have unsuccessfully tried. In several of the lower rooms the pupils have no respect whatever for the fledgling Amazons who nose as teachers, and several resignations will doubtless occur there, or the board will be compelled to turn them out.

It is a lamentable condition of affairs to be earnestly regretted by all. Yet, in the nature of things, it could not be different under the cowardly and vascilating course pursued by the board. A stream cannot rise above its fountain. A school cannot rise above the business sense, courage, honesty and intelligence of the brain and heart that direct it.

Look at it a moment. There is Barnacle Brown holding on to a place on the board although repudiated by the people by a vote of two to one. Although repudiated and spewed out by the people three times in one year in his three several efforts to get some little office where he could fleece the people and serve his relations. Barnacle Brown has grown immensely rich on tax-titles, subsisting on the misfortunes of others as a toad feasts on the vapor of a dungeon. He was anxious to keep his brother-in-law, Maple, in as treasurer in order that he may have the district money to run his business on, and thus be in a position, by reason of special favors shown him, to monopolize the book trade of the district at his own prices. Barnacle Brown had his faithful servant Routt on the Board to help him. Last year he had a principal who would kindly assist in running all the book trade to Maple. This last year's principal, who was lacking in education, never having taken even a high school course, became extremely jealous of her subordinate, the high school teacher, who was a college graduate. So these persons all conspired to defeat, and so far as they could, disgrace the high school teacher. Then the Democrat showed up their villainies, and the unprincipled principal was forced to resign. The high school teacher was vindicated and re-elected. Then the conspirators howled.

The board surrendered. At the demand of Barnacle Brown the high school teacher was asked to resign and the present one elected in her place. At the demand of Barnacle Brown, brother-in-law Maple was again elected treasurer in order that he may have another year in which to line his pockets and fleece the people. It was a complete, disgraceful and cowardly surrender of the Board, and the men who compromised with Wrong for the sake of peace can now see the result of their action.

Now, what is to be done. It costs about $1,000 a month to run the schools. It is worse than a waste of money to run them as they are now. Insubordination runs all through the schools. The children understand the situation as well as their parents. They have no respect for the board, and consequently they have no respect for the teacher. All the clubbing that the principal and the janitor can do, and they do a deal of it, can't beat into Young America a spirit of obedience and good behavior. No man ever worked worthily who was not moved by a love of his work. No child will ever study worthily who is not moved by love. No changes of teachers now can accomplish much, if any good.

Perhaps the best thing to do would be to close the schools and thus save the money that is now being wasted. The children will do no good this year. That matter is firmly settled. There being three directors to elect next spring, there is hope that the people will see to it that next year's board shall have at least three members fit to conduct school matters. Whether or not the closing of the school would be the best to do, we are not quite certain. It would be a humiliating position to place our little city in to say that by reason of the conspiracy of Barnacle Brown and his satellites we are compelled to close our schools, but it may be the best.

One thing, however, we are certain of. The board should promptly and unconditionally resign --- every many of them. There is no a man among them who is fit for the place --- not one. Every one has contributed his full share toward the present unfortunate and disgraceful condition that exists ---- some ignorantly, perhaps, and others designedly. But no matter how.

They should resign and give the people a chance. Then if the people every again elect any of them to a position, the people will deserve all the suffering they will have to bear.

+++

Editor King's campaign seems to have been  inspired, in part, because he hoped to help elect three new school board members more to his liking during March of 1890, when those positions opened.

And he did show up at the nominating convention that spring with a slate, rejected by those who attended. Instead, the school board seats went to three more prominent (Republican) males: N.B. Gardiner, George W. Larimer and Albert E. Dent.

According to the editor of the competing Chariton Herald, Mr. King was heard to mutter as he walked away from the tally site after votes had been counted, "Those damned Methodists are still on top."

And actually, obscured by the editor's overstatement, some of his concerns were justified. Most likely the fact that board treasurer Maple operated the book store at which a majority of Chariton scholars purchased their texts would be recognized today as a conflict of interest. 

And some 20 years later, when the county presented Mr. Brown with a bill for $55,000 in back property taxes, it became evident that he had been cheating for decades.

Friday, November 15, 2019

Restoring context to "Palmer" and "Cecil"



Two small headstones shaped like pillows stand side by side, each bearing a name in raised lettering --- "Palmer" and "Cecil." Located just south of the Chariton Cemetery's north driveway, a quarter of its length in, they are separated from the asphalt by another grave, this one marked by an even smaller stone of red granite inscribed, "Nellie Libby, 1873-1926," still snowed in after this year's mid-November storms.

There's no way to tell from the stones who these people were and no clue other than proximity and the similarity of their stones to tell us who Palmer and Cecil were. 

Cecil, as it turns out, was a little girl, only eight years old when she died on July 6, 1897. Her death was attributed, according to a brief obituary published in The Chariton Herald of July 8, to inflammation of the stomach that resulted from consuming too many green apples two weeks earlier. "Inflammation of the stomach" is the cause of death given in Lucas County records. Was it appendicitis? We'll never know.

Palmer was Cecil's little brother, only seven when he was killed two years later in an accident on the northeast corner of the the square at the intersection of North Grand and Braden on Nov. 20, 1899. Both were children of Nellie (Proctor) and Carl Amos although their parents had divorced in 1894 and Nellie was raising them as a single mother.

Details of the accident that killed little Palmer were included in the following report, published in The Chariton Democrat of Nov. 24:

+++

On Monday evening, November 20, about five o'clock, Palmer Amos, the little seven year old son of Nellie Amos, met with an accident which resulted in almost instant death.

During the absence of his mother, who has been in Burlington at the hospital taking a course for trained nurses, he has been making his home with his grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. Thos. Proctor, who reside on North Grand street.

On Monday evening he started down town on an errand and jumped on a wagon loaded with coal. When he reached the northeast corner of the square, near Stanley's grocery, he either jumped off, or slipped and fell, and the hind wheel passed over his head, crushing it and causing death in about five minutes.

The driver of the wagon, Frank Wright, stated that he did not know that the boy was on the wagon. The unfortunate lad was carried to Dr. Yocom's office, but life was extinct. His mother was summoned from Burlington and arrived the same night.

The sad affair has cast a gloom over the entire community and expressions of sorrow were heard everywhere. Although a home has been rendered desolate and a lovely flower has died, the bereaved ones can console themselves with the assurance that he is now safe in heaven.

Palmer Amos was born in this city July 15, 1892, and his short life was spent here. He was a bright, lovable child, and all who knew him were much devoted to him.

Funeral services, conducted by Rev. Vollmar, were held at the family residence on Wednesday afternoon at three o'clock, the school children attending in a body. A large number followed the remains to the Chariton cemetery where they were laid to rest by the side of his sister, Cecil, who died two years ago.

+++

Some years after her children's deaths, Nellie --- who had trained as a nurse after her divorce --- moved to Vermont to work and married Palmer Mahew Libby, who died about 1920 in New Hampshire. About 1924, Nellie moved to Los Angeles, where a brother lived.  She died in Los Angeles of a stroke on Sept. 25, 1926 --- her 54th birthday.

Three of Nellie's sisters still were living in Chariton when she died --- Jennie Rose, Mary Ellen Curtis and Elizabeth McKinley --- and they arranged to have her remains returned to Chariton for burial beside her children.

Carl Amos? He apparently relocated to North Dakota where he lived and died.

Thursday, November 14, 2019

In the Time of My Thanksgiving ....

Heaven knows I'd not want to be accused of rushing Thanksgiving, but came across "My Thanksgiving Prayer" this morning and took a liking to it.

The composer is Steve Schalchlin (left) and is part of a larger work, "New World Waking." But the lyrics are by the Rev. Peter J. Carman, a progressive Baptist preacher. 

The performers: A touring company of the San Francisco Gay Mens Chorus at First Congregational Church in Santa Cruz, Calif. And here are the lyrics:

In this time of My Thanksgiving
As my song begins to rise
Listen to the prayer within me
Look into my grateful eyes

As I humbly stand before you
As I reach out with my hand
May the music bring a healing
To this cold and troubled land

In this Time of My Thanksgiving
In this Time of My Thanksgiving

God of Love who made apostles
Out of every clan and race
In this time and in this valley
You are there in every face

As I face the burnished offerings
To the gods of power and fear
Make of me a living offering
Let me be your servant here

In this Time of My Thanksgiving
In this Time of My Thanksgiving

Give us grace to face the struggle
Which the world yet holds in store
Walk beside us ever loving
Grant us peace forevermore
In this time grant us peace
In this time grant us peace

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Trouble Right Here in (Chariton) River City ....

Back in 1909, The Chariton Herald-Patriot accused Mayor George F. Carpenter of being soft on crime. In an attempt to prove that he wasn't, the mayor caused the following notice to be published on the front page of the Herald-Patriot's competitor --- The Leader --- in its edition of Nov. 27:

"To Whom It may Concern: Attention is called to Ordinance No. Thirty Five, 'An Ordinance regulating the keeping of Billiard Tables,' and I will endeavor to enforce the same. Geo. F. Carpenter, Mayor."

Now Chariton's older generations had been convinced since at least the 1870s that the younger generations were going to hell --- and that one of the major devices propelling young men in that direction was the public billiard table. Preachers preached against it; city councils legislated against it.

Some years later, during the early 1950s, Mason City's Meredith Willson even wrote a song about it, "Ya Got Trouble" --- "Trouble with a capital 'T' and that rhymes with 'P' and that stands for pool!"

+++

Mayor Carpenter's front-page notice included all of the relevant sections or Ordinance No. 35, including Section 4:

"It shall be unlawful for any person keeping a billiard table in any other place than his private residence, and who allows the same to be played upon, to permit or allow minors to play upon the same; any person violating this section shall be fined in the sum of twenty-five dollars for each offense, and stand committed until the same is paid; and any person violating this section, upon conviction thereof, without any further proceedings, all licenses or permits he shall hold to keep a billiard table or tables shall be forfeited and of no further effect, and the Mayor shall issue to such person no new license or permit to keep a billiard table or tables for the full term of one year from and after the date of said conviction."

And then there was Section 5 which declared it illegal "to permit or allow minors to be and remain in the hall, house, or building, or any place, house, or building, appurtenant thereto, where such table or tables are kept" and imposed penalties that included a $10 fine for every violation, imprisonment or hard labor on the public highways

Even the younger generation was not spared. Section 6 provided that "any person, under the age of twenty-one years, who shall have entered a public house, hall or building where a billiard table or tables are kept and allowed to be played upon, who shall refuse, fail or neglect to immediately retire from and leave said house, hall or building" should be fined $5, imprisoned or sentenced to hard labor on the public highways.

+++

Concern about pool tables waned during the World War I years, but sputtered on during the 1920s. And then in 1929, Carl L. Caviness American Legion Post No. 102 formed the American Legion Junior Band. And the rest is history.


Tuesday, November 12, 2019

An outbreak of polio in Russell

The Americas were declared polio-free in 1994, due to effective vaccines, and it was hoped that the same could be said for the world by 2018. But as October turned to November in 1949, that infectious, crippling and sometimes deadly disease still was very much on the mind of most Lucas Countyans.

No cases had been reported here during 1947, but two Lucas County youngsters, Tommy Mays and Johnny Fisher, were among the 1,247 affected statewide during 1948. Both survived, but remained under treatment well into 1949. Three-year-old Eric Atha, of Chariton, hospitalized at Blank Childrens Hospital in Des Moines on August 4, was the first case of 1949.

Then everyone's attention turned to Russell when The Chariton Leader carried this report on the front page of its Nov. 1, 1949, edition under the headline, "Polio Strikes Russell Vicinity."

FLASH: As we go to press, another case has been tentatively diagnosed as polio in the Russell community. It is that of John Boozell, 39, who was taken to Des Moines just before noon today.

The first case to be reported was that of Larry Turbot, son of Mr. and Mrs. Hilton Turbot. He was taken to the Blank Memorial Hospital in Des Moines Sunday.

Yesterday, two young girls were stricken. They were the Brong sisters, Mary, 6, and Martha, 7, daughters of the Rev. and Mrs. Donald Brong. The girls were taken to the Blank Memorial Hospital last night. Their cases were said to be light.

Mrs. Clyde Milnes, chairman of the Lucas County Infantile Paralysis Foundation, reports that her organization is ready with every available resource and will do everything possible to stem the outbreak and halt the spread of the disease. She is going to Russell this afternoon to survey the situation.

A meeting of the Russell school board was called this morning and school was dismissed for the week, the children being sent home right after the meeting. Pending further developments school is tentatively scheduled to reopen next Monday.

+++

The situation had not changed by Thursday, Nov. 3, when The Herald-Patriot reported, "As far as can be determined as we go to press today there is nothing new in the Russell polio epidemic. To date four cases are reported. They are Larry Turbot, Mary and Martha Brong and John Boozell. A couple of others are reported ill, but polio is not indicated, advices say. All public meetings have been banned for the week and schools closed until Monday in the Russell community."

The Leader of Nov. 8 was able to report "Russell Back to Normal --- Information from Russell today is that the situation is again normal after the polio scare of last week in which four were sent to Des Moines for treatment. There are no new cases reported. Schools opened as usual Monday morning and other public meetings are held as necessary. Condition of the patients has not been determined."

+++

Of the four Russell cases, I believe that Mary Brong and John Boozell were the most severely affected, handicapped to an extent for the remainder of their lives. Mary's father, Donald Brong, was pastor of Russell's First Baptist Church at the time.

Nine more cases of polio were diagnosed in Lucas County during 1950, but nothing quite like the concentration in and near Russell occurred again.

Introduction of the Salk, then Sabin, vaccines eventually assured that polio was not among the various diseases and disorders Lucas Countyans need worry about.

Monday, November 11, 2019

Lucas County, Matt Moul & "Surviving Home"


Matthew Moul
Snow covers the ground here this Veterans Day morning --- and the projected low tonight is 9 degrees. While not a rerun of the great Armistice Day blizzard of 1940, it is a good day to stay inside, if you can, and watch a remarkable new film by Iowa native Matthew Moul and Jillian Moul, his wife. "Surviving Home" now is live-streaming free on PBS and other platforms.


As the title suggests, military veterans, especially combat veterans, face formidable challenges not easily understood by civilians after coming home, faced with the expectation that they'll be able to slip seamlessly back into the life and the lives of family, friends and loved ones they left behind.

Released in October of 2017, "Surving Home" had been on the independent film circuit, winning numerous awards, before it was picked up by America ReFramed, a weekly independent documentary series broadcast on PBS. It premiered Nov. 7 and will live-stream on various platforms, I believe, for 30 days.

+++

Matt Moul has roots in various parts of Iowa --- born in Dubuque, he was raised from third grade on in Mason City and graduated from high school there.

But the link to Lucas County is a strong one --- his paternal grandfather, a young man and native son named Mark Bingaman, who did not survive World War II. Mark's life is commemorated by a cenotaph at Oxford Cemetery near the graves of his parents, Robert and Elsie Bingaman.

Mark's son, Robert Lee, was not yet a year old when his father died on March 19, 1945, aboard the U.S.S. Franklin near the Japanese mainland when it was struck by two armor-piercing bombs dropped by a single Japanese bomber. Although the ship survived, barely, 836 members of its crew were killed. Mark, with the others, was buried at sea.

In the years that followed, Matt's grandmother, Marcella, remarried and Robert Lee was adopted, assuming the surname "Moul."

Matthew and I became acquainted during 2011 because the Lucas County Historical Society collection includes a photograph, uniform and correspondence related to his grandfather, Mark.

+++

Matt and Jillian and their associates have been at work on "Surviving Home" for about 10 years while employed full-time --- and winning numerous honors --- on other projects in the film industry.

Jillian and Matt Moul (right) with Richard Delgado (left) and Robert Henline during a post-screening discussion session at Texas A&M-San Antonio
All voices in the film are those of military veterans and the stories of a dozen or more are woven into the narrative, but four are featured.


Robert Henline, a U.S. Army veteran of the Gulf and Iraq wars, was catastrophically burned by the explosion of an IED that killed four others in his vehicle. Stand-up comedy has proved therapeutic in his case.


Claude AnShin Thomas, a Vietnam War combat veteran, studied with Thich Nhat Hanh, was ordained a Buddhist monk and now leads programs for other veterans facing the challenges of adjusting to life after combat.


Tracey Cooper-Harris, a 12-year Iraq War veteran, faced the additional challenge of winning spousal benefits for her wife, Maggie, from the Veterans Administration after returning to civilian life.


And Richard Green, a World War II veteran estranged from his biological family, who finds solace in fund-raising for veteran causes with the support of younger members of his VFW post.

+++

The expressed goal of "Surviving Home" is to build bridges between the sometimes estranged veteran and civilian communities as well as to provide veterans themselves with examples of how their brothers and sisters have faced challenges --- and thrived.


And if you stay tuned as the credits roll, you'll find Mark's name at the head of the list of those veterans to whom the film is dedicated.


Sunday, November 10, 2019

Let them say of me ....


I've never found anything more appropriate, in my opinion, as Veterans Day nears, than this small presentation put together during 2010 by Jason Eric Mumaw in memory of his late father, a Vietnam veteran. The song, "American Anthem," was written by Gene Scheer and performed by Norah Jones for Ken Burns' seven-part 2007 documentary, "The War." 

The image at the top dates from 2008 and was taken during a November visit to the Iowa Veterans Cemetery near Van Meter. That's Interstate 80 rolling off to the west. The shield is from my Vietnam unit, the 519th Military Intelligence Battalion.

Saturday, November 09, 2019

Forty years (of 150 total) for Chariton Lutherans


Two of Chariton's religious communities have been observing (and are continuing to celebrate) 150th anniversaries during 2019 --- Sacred Heart (which began as St. Mary's) and First Lutheran (originally Swedish Lutheran).

Of the two, Sacred Heart (events planned October 2019 through June 2020) is slightly older. If you'd like to follow along, you'll find the Chariton Sacred Heart History Facebook page here. 

Nov. 3 was a key date for Lutherans, as the following article, published in both The Leader and The Herald-Patriot during the week of Oct. 31, 1909, explains:

The Lutherans Celebrate

The 40th anniversary festivities at the Swedish Lutheran church which began on Tuesday evening will close this (Thursday) evening with a jubilee program. The program is a splendid one consisting of solos, ladies' quartettes, choruses and several selections by the orchestra. There is no church in Chariton, which for its size, can show forth as much musical talent as the Swedish Lutheran. It will also be in evidence this evening. No one should fail to encourage this home talent concert by their presence. The admission is only 25 cents for adults and 15 cents for children. Children under 12 years accompanied by guardian or parents admitted free. Between the first and second parts of the program, the pastors of the various city churches will be given an opportunity to tender the greetings of their congregations.

The various services and programs have been attended by large audience. Nearly a dozen invited pastors from Iowa, Illinois, Nebraska and Missouri having been present.

The congregation has had an interesting career. It was organized on the 3rd of November 1869 with just a handful of members. Its highest membership was attained in 1877, when it had 332 members. Since 1873, it has never been below the 200 mark. Its membership on Jan. 1st of this year was 242.

Statistics show that during its 40 years history the congregation has raised over $50,000 for benevolence and church purposes. Its first church was built in 1875. In 1903, the present modern well equipped church edifice was erected. The property owned by the church today, including the parsonage, is valued at $12,000. There is no encumbrance on the property nor a dollar of indebtedness on all the improvements that lately have been made.

The congregation is in a flourishing condition, active, spiritually wide awake and full of missionary spirit, supporting at present (missionaries) and native workers in India. It has a Ladies Aid society, a young peoples' society, a Luther League, a choir, orchestra and band, all working together in harmony and unison for the common cause of making this community better and glorifying thereby Christ and his church.

Friday, November 08, 2019

Happy 150th, Manning & Penick


It's a challenge to decide when to wish a building a happy birthday, but the Manning & Penick Building on the west side of the Chariton square (the tallest structure in this vintage photograph) has been approaching that milestone since June and will wrap up technical eligibility for a celebration during June of 2020.

Ground was broken for it during June of 1869, construction was nearly complete during November of that year, tenants moved in during January of 1870 and the final details had been completed by June of 1870.

This is the third oldest building still standing on the square. The two-story brick Matson Building to the left was built during 1867 and is currently occupied by Johansen Plumbing & Heating, original brickwork hidden behind a later facade and an addition to the rear. The Oliver Palmer building, on the alley in the middle of the east side of the square, also with a newer facade, was completed during the spring of 1867.

Manning & Penick was a business partnership between Keosauqua-based entrepreneur Edwin C. Manning and William C. Penick, who entered Manning's employ about 1854 as clerk in the general store Manning then owned at Eddyville. Penick became a junior partner in the early 1860s and was sent west to Chariton about 1861 to open and manage a general merchandise branch here under the name Manning & Penick.

The Chariton Democrat published this account of the new structure under the headline "The New Brick Building" in its edition of Nov. 2, 1869:

"Manning & Penick's new brick building is now rapidly approaching completion and within a few weeks will be alive with business. Messrs. M. & P. will occupy the south half of the first floor as a store room, and Mr. Copeland will put a banking room in the north half. The second floor will be divided into office rooms, and will make six apartments. The third story is being fitted up as a public hall, and, in many respects, will be the feature of the building. It is large and airy and will be capable of holding nearly 2,000 people. It is 40 by 80 feet with a 14-foot ceiling. Mr. G.B. Routt did the masonry and the brick-work, and the whole is a piece of work quite creditable to him. The building, when completed, will have cost but little, if any, less than ten thousand dollars."

There actually were two Mr. Copelands ready to move into that banking room, brothers Elijah and Percy, who did business as The Chariton Deposit Bank, which advertised its services as receiving deposits, buying and selling gold and dealing in exchange and government bonds.

"The new safe for the Chariton Deposit Bank has arrived," The Democrat reported on Nov. 23. "It weighs five tons, and it required ten yoke of oxen to draw it from the depot. Cost: $1,700 at factory," That safe would serve banks located in the building until 1896, when it was replaced.

Although finishing work remained, both Manning & Penick and the Copeland brothers moved into their new quarters during early January, 1870. Tenants also were moving into the second-floor offices, including The Chariton Democrat itself and Thorpe & Sons, attorneys and dealers in real estate. They were joined soon after the first of the year by C.T. Brant, dentist, and perhaps Anderson Mason, a barber.

By June, 1870, minor finishing work was nearly complete. Plans to use the third floor as a public hall had been abandoned, however, and the area was by now divided into two parts, one for the Odd Fellows lodge which according to the Democrat of May 24, 1870, was preparing to move in. A use for the other half of the third floor had not been determined.