Sunday, May 01, 2016

Don't know 'bout God; do believe in George Strait

I'm a fan of country music --- honest. But it has to have steel guitars and fiddles in the background. So much of what plays on what passes for "country radio" these days is of limited appeal.

Although lyrics do grab attention now and then while driving down the road. Take these, from Love & Theft:

"No and I ain't afraid of dying,
But what scares me to death,
Is meeting Jesus
With whiskey on my breath."

There's a lot of drinking, meeting Jesus and longing for (heterosexual) sex out there on the "country" airwaves --- always has been. But somehow, someway, there used to be more class. And steel guitars and fiddles, too.

So yesterday, when my neighbor and her Kansas cousin started going back and forth about a newish country performer named Mo Pitney, I started listening (watching actually, YouTube clips). And frittered away even more of a day already spent mostly frittering.

Even went so far as looking this kind of goofy-looking guy up on Wikipedia, fount of all that's worth knowing, and found this line from a review of his debut single, "Country" --- "how good a simple country song sung by a man who believes in God and George Strait can feel."

Can't say nothing about God, but boy I sure do believe in George Strait. So I may be a fan of this guy, too.

There are lots of songs to listen to, but I figure you've really gotta love a guy who writes a country song about an old dog. So here it is, for Sunday morning:

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Who in the world was John Scott?

I got to wondering about John Scott last week while visiting the Richmond family lot in the northwest corner of the Chariton Cemetery. He's their neighbor, just to the west, but seems to have the east half of Lot No. 1 in Block 14, Original Division, to himself. His fine monument, the tallest in that area and right up against the tree line, looks a little lonely.

The inscription on the stone tells us that John died March 1, 1872, and that his age was 27 years, 10 months and 20 days. A Grand Army of the Republic flag holder next to the monument suggests that he was a veteran of the Civil War.

My first step was to check out the newspapers, figuring there must have been a story published about his demise. But as it turns out, The Democrat had ceased publication temporarily the previous year when publisher John V. Faith left town and issues of The Patriot for the first half of 1872 are missing.

I did, however, find several mentions of John in issues of The Democrat between 1867 and 1871. As it turns out he was in the tombstone and monument business with a guy named D.T. Henderson, operating as Scott & Henderson. So I'm guessing that business was the source of his monument. Their advertisement appears in the earliest issues of The Democrat, so John must have arrived in Chariton soon after the Civil War.

I went to the 1870 federal census of Chariton and was able to locate John twice, once in the regular census at age 26, single, living in a boarding house with his occupation given as "marble dealer." And again, in a special "industrial census" taken that year. According to that census, Scott & Henderson had operating capital of $1,300, employed two people, had paid out wages totaling $850 during the previous year, had on hand raw marble valued at $1,000; and had manufactured 100 tombstones and 5 monuments during the year.

I also learned from The Democrat that John had another job, as part-time constable for the city of Chariton, and from county marriage records, that he and Ella Dennis had wed on May 28, 1871.

Then I hit a dead-end. John did not fit into any of the Scott families established in Lucas County. And although the G.A.R. flag-holder suggested that he was a veteran (these holders sometimes go adrift and alight next to tombstones where they don't really belong, so the presence of a flag holder is not a sure-fire guarantee of service), it was possible to determine that he had not enlisted for service from Lucas County. But there are a lot of John Scotts in the world and it seemed that figuring out which unit he had served with might be challenging.

Then it occurred to me that in was a common practice in turn-of-the-20th-century Chariton newspapers to list as Memorial Day neared the names and units of all veterans whose Chariton Cemetery graves would be decorated that year. So from those lists I discovered that John was a veteran of the 3rd Iowa Volunteer Cavalry.

As it turned out, only one John Scott served in the 3rd Cav --- and he enlisted at Fairfield in Jefferson County at age 19 as a private in Company F on Feb. 18, 1864, and was mustered out in Atlanta on Aug. 9, 1865.

So I went to the 1860 census of Jefferson County and found our John listed in the household of his parents, Malachi "Melchi" and Elizabeth (Clouse) Scott.

As it turns out Melchi Scott was a legendary Fairfield blacksmith known for the high level of his craftsmanship and his honesty. He also was an abolitionist. And the father of a noted criminal.

According to Jefferson County lore, Melchi was so honest --- and so dismayed by the criminal deeds of another son, Charles Clouse Scott, aka Frank Rande --- that he turned him in. Charles Scott had been implicated in the murders of up to five men when he hanged himself (or was assisted in hanging himself) on March 6, 1884, while serving a life term at the Illinois State Penitentiary in Joliet. He was described in newspaper reports of the day as, "the most cowardly ruffian that ever disgraced the annals of the West."

But this had nothing to do with our John, who had been laid to rest in his quiet grave in the Chariton Cemetery a dozen years earlier.

Having located our John in Fairfield, I then turned to the back files of The Fairfield Ledger to see if his 1872 death might have been mentioned there --- and hit paydirt. As it turned out the Ledger had picked up a story about John's death from The Chariton Patriot and republished it in his edition of March 21, 1872. Here's how it reads:

SUDDEN DEATH --- It becomes our painful duty this week to chronicle one of those sad events which always cast gloom over an entire community --- the sudden taking away from our midst, by the grim hand of death, of Mr. John Scott, one of our young and respected citizens. Mr. Scott died suddenly at his house about half past ten o'clock Saturday night last, from ossification of the heart. He had been in the enjoyment of good health up to the moment of his sudden demise. Saturday evening he was about to start out in the performance of his duties as night watch, in good health and spirits, but his wife persuaded him to lay down on a lounge for a short time, as it was not time to go on duty. After his laying down his wife noticed something strange in his breathing and tried to rouse him. She lifted him up, but his arms fell by his side, and with a gasp he died in her arms. Mr. Scott was 28 years of age and was universally esteemed in the community. He leaves a widow and one child only a few weeks old. The funeral took place Monday evening, having been postponed till the arrival of his parents from Fairfield. We extend our heartfelt sympathy to the widow and family of the deceased. --- Chariton Patriot, March 6th.

So now we know a little more about John Scott, at rest now for 144 years in a quiet corner of the Chariton Cemetery.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Lillie Richmond and her children at rest

I've written a little this week about Romulus R. Richmond and his wife, Lillie L. (Green) Richmond, both born into slavery, who arrived in Chariton with their older children during 1887. I'll come back to both later, but wanted to finish up this week by taking a brief look at their family of 10 children.

Somewhat remarkably for any family, eight of the 10 adult children are gathered in death around their mother on a lot in the northwest corner of the Chariton Cemetery. Also buried here, but in unmarked graves, are their paternal grandmother and a sister-in-law. Also, somewhat remarkably, none of the younger Richmonds had children of their own --- so far as I've been able to determine. So when Florence Richmond died during 1979 that marked the end of a family line.

Theopolis "Buster" Gibson, a distant cousin, is buried just down the hill southwest of the Richmonds with his mother and sister. His death during 1990 marked the end of Chariton's historic black community.


Romulus and Lillie Richmond's first three children were born in Wisconsin. They were Winfield Scott Richmond, born Nov. 21, 1881; Grace F. Richmond, born June 29, 1883: and John R. Richmond, born June 19, 1884.

The remaining children were born in Chariton: Lillian, born Oct. 7, 1888; Joseph C., born during March of 1892; Florence B., born March 15, 1894; Antonio Maceo, born March 14, 1895; Henry Glenn, born Nov. 21, 1899; Thomas Emil Richmond, born Jan. 9, 1902; and Booker T. Richmond, born Oct. 5, 1904. 

Of the 10, only Winfield Scott, known as Scott, and Joseph are not buried here. Scott spent much of working life at Aurora in Kane County, Illinois, and so was buried in Riverside Cemetery there when he died at age 65 on July 2, 1947. Joseph spent much of his working life in California and probably died there, perhaps at Oakland, between 1947 and 1954, but I've not been able to track him down.

The first of the siblings to pass was Grace, who died of rheumatic fever at age 20 on Feb. 20, 1904, in Ardmore, Missouri, where she was teaching in the "colored" school. She was a 1901 honors graduate of Chariton High School. The Richmonds purchased their Chariton Cemetery lot at the time of her death. The death year inscribed on her tombstone is in error.

Romulus Richmond's mother, Emily Root, spent the last years of her life with the family of her son and daughter-in-law and died there on April 24, 1906. Hers was the second burial on the family lot, although the grave is unmarked.

Four years later, Nevada (Washington) Wallace-Richmond, first wife of Scott Richmond, died at age 27 on Oct. 2, 1910, of tuberculosis in Centerville little more than a year after their marriage. Hers was the third burial on the lot, but this grave is unmarked, too.

John Richmond was the second of the siblings to die, on Sept. 24, 1932, of cancer at a Chicago-area hospital, age 47. He was a combat veteran of World War I who had suffered from the after-effects of both wounds and gas.

Lillian Richmond died at home in Chariton, age 53, on Jan. 9, 1942, of a "complication of troubles." She was a Christian Scientist and that, it was believed, was one of the "complications." The death year inscribed on her tombstone is in error.

Henry Richmond died on Jan. 18, 1946, in Aurora, Illinois, after being struck by a car. He was living and working there after his honorable discharge from the U.S. Army following three years of service as a truck driver in North Africa, France and Germany.

Lillie (Green) Richmond, mother of this large family, died at her home on South 11th Street in Chariton on May 30, 1952, just short of her 90th birthday.

Maceo, stellar athlete and one of the first U.S. Army officers to graduate from the pioneer training program for black candidates at Fort Des Moines in 1917, died in Chariton on Feb. 8, 1954, age 58.

Thomas, like his brother, Henry, a veteran of World War II, died at the Veterans Administration Medical Center in Des Moines at age 55 on Sept. 3, 1957.

Booker T., a Des Moines attorney and also a World War II veteran, was visiting his sister in Chariton in the days after the death of his brother, Thomas, when he suffered a stroke. Transported to the Veterans Administration Medical Center in Des Moines, he died there on Sept. 9, 1957, age 52.

Florence Richmond, the daughter who had remained at home to help raise her siblings and assist her mother, also was the last survivor of the family. She died at home on South 11th Street, age 85, on Sept. 17, 1979, survived by a devoted friend, Dorothy Ellis, and her distant cousin, Buster Gibson.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Meet Aunt Lillie Richmond ...

I wrote yesterday about Romulus R. Richmond, who arrived in Chariton from Grant County, Wisconsin, during 1887 with his wife, Lillie, and the oldest of their 10 children. 

The youngest of those 10 children, Booker T. Richmond, was born during 1904 in Chariton and not long thereafter Romulus moved on, leaving Lillie with the responsibility of supporting and raising their younger children.

She did that by working as a cook. According to her obituary, she had worked 22 years in the C.B.&Q. Depot restaurant, then 25 years more in the nearby Railroad Cafe before retiring during the early 1940s.

The family home was on South 11th Street, a block east of where I'm sitting now --- kind of on the "wrong" side of the tracks in a town where the grander neighborhoods --- where the swell folks live --- are north and south of the square, rather than east or west.

During the late summer of 1947, Lillie set out to visit her niece, who still lived on the farm their fugitive-slave ancestors had purchased in Grant County, Wisconsin --- not far northeast of Dubuque, Iowa --- during the late 1860s. While there, she was visited by Mrs. David Chrichton, a correspondent for several area newspapers --- including the Dubuque Telegraph-Herald. The resulting story --- and photograph --- was published in The Telegraph-Herald of September 28.

Here's the text of that story:

Meet Aunt Lillie Richmond, an ex-slave and proud of it. Aunt Lillie was 85 on July 4 and, as she says, "All I know about slavery is what my folks told me. It's kinda like something out of a story book." But the familiar story told and retold among her own people, makes her heritage of freedom seem very precious. She was doubly proud also to have two of her sons in World War I and one in World War II.

Aunt Lillie's home is in Chariton, Ia., where she owns a comfortable house earned by 25 years of cooking in Maggie Downard's railroad cafe. When summer comes she gets a longing for her old home near Lancaster and there's always a warm welcome waiting for her at the Beetown township farm where three generations have lived, now occupied by her niece, Mrs. Dick Lewis.

History for Centennial

Mrs. Lewis is writing for the Wisconsin Centennial a history of her people, some of whom have been in Wisconsin ever since it became a state in 1848. Aunt Lillie is helping her with the little details which come to mind about her arrival as she sits and quilts or mends. "She's a beautiful seamstress," says the niece. "When she comes I get caught up on my sewing like magic."

In Missouri, back in 1862, when she was born, Aunt Lillie relates, "freedom was sort of in the air. Black folks were sort of getting restless. Not that they weren't treated all right. They had no complaint. I've heard grandfather say so many and many a time. It was just that they were restless and wanted to be on their own."

So they saved and saved, pennies, two-cent pieces, three-cent pieces and nicklels and dimes, until one day, among them, they had $50. That was their stake, and a lot of money. That night, Grandfather John Green and Grandmother Lillie Green, and their five grown children, Hardy, Tom, Amy, Francis and Sarah, and grandmother's brother, Tom Smith, struck out for the north and freedom, walking all except baby Lillie, who was carried in her grandfather's arms.

Their immediate destination was St. Louis, where grandfather had gone numerous times with loads of apples. After walking all night one of the boys, by "hook or crook," Aunt Lillie says, came up with a team and wagon. Elated, they piled in, but their troubles were not over.

They were helped here and there by friends of the underground, but they also heard that the Bushwackers were on their trail. They made the best time they could but were beset with anxiety every mile of the way, for fugitive slaves were fair prey for a lawless element that roamed the countryside during the war years in Missouri.

Finally they reached St. Louis safely. Grandfather went to a man he had sold apples to for years and knew to be honest and friendly. "Grandfather said he wanted to ask a favor and the man said he would be glad to be of service. 'I want some one to see to it that this team and wagon is returned to the plantation,' Grandfather said."

"The man smiled and said, 'John, if you took a dozen teams and wagons it wouldn't pay you for what you justly have coming to you.' But grandfather would have none of that and made the man promise to get the team back to the plantation, which he did," Aunt Lillie said.

First Train Ride

The Greens boarded a train, the first they ever had been on. They landed at Dunleith, now East Dubuque. They spent their first winter on a farm near Bloomington. Some of the boys fought in the Civil War. In 1870, they bought the homestead now occupied by Mrs. Lewis and her husband.

Aunt Lillie's husband, dead for many years, was Romulus Richmond. He studied for the ministry and preached for some years. They had 10 children, whose raising fell largely upon Aunt Lillie's broad shoulders. She is wise in the use of common medicinal herbs and homemade remedies. "I had to be," she laughs.

When the children were old enough she went to work in the railroad cafe, where it was nothing at all to turn out 30 or 40 pies in the forenoon in addition to regular cooking. Her smile was known up and down the line and there was genuine regret when she retired three years ago.


Lillie (Green) Richmond died at home on South 11th Street five years after this Wisconsin visit on May 30, 1952, just shy of her 90th birthday. She is buried in the Chariton Cemetery along with eight of her 10 children.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Romulus R. Richmond's photograph

I've been intending for some time to write about Chariton's extraordinary Richmond family, but that's another of those projects that gets postponed again and again, partly because of its complexity. 

But I was inspired a few weeks ago after locating online this photograph of Romulus R. Richmond, who brought his family from Wisconsin to Chariton in 1887, now in the collection of the Grant County (Wisconsin) Historical Society. So maybe I'm back on track.

As you can see, the photo was taken at the Needham studio in Chariton, probably during the 1890s. A copy was sent to relatives in the historic Pleasant Ridge settlement in Grant County, then eventually passed into custody of the historical society as it worked to preserve the history of this pioneer community founded by former slaves.

Romulus was born in slavery, perhaps during December of 1856 in Randolph County, Missouri, but at some point between 1870 and 1880 accompanied John and Queen Richmond --- most likely his uncle and aunt --- from Missouri to the Pleasant Ridge settlement in Wisconsin.

During 1880, he married there Lillie Green --- who had been carried in the arms of her fugitive-slave grandparents from Missouri to Wisconsin during 1863. They went on to have 10 children, four born at Pleasant Ridge, the remainder in Chariton.

Romulus came to Lucas County as a preacher, apparently called to serve a Baptist congregation (or congregations). This may have been Chariton's historic Ebenezer Baptist Church, but there was another congregation of black Baptists in the mining town of Cleveland, too.

By the mid-1890s, however, he was working for the Stanton family as sexton of the Chariton Cemetery.

I'll wait until later to add detail, but Romulus was a very talented man --- inventor, entrepreneur, iron molder (the profession he followed later in life), pioneer in introducing the movies to black audiences in the Midwest.

Unfortunately, he abandoned his family in Chariton prior to 1910 --- and that makes Lillie Richmond the hero here. She worked as a cook and at other occupations to support the children who remained at home after Romulus's departure. These younger children included Maceo, a stellar athlete who was among the first black U.S. Army officer candidates to train at Fort Des Moines during 1917; and Booker T., an outstanding attorney.

Romulus, according to some reports, died during 1924, perhaps in Lincoln, Nebraska, where he was working as a machinist when both 1910 and 1920 federal census-takers called.

I'm out of time this morning, so that's all I have to share about the Richmonds at present. But stay tuned.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

The Good Luck comeback continues ....

Of all the facade-improvement projects under way on the square this spring, I'm having the most fun watching restoration of the giant horseshoe window on the second floor of Betty Hansen's "Good Luck" Building.

The restoration crew had the plastic down yesterday while more masonry repairs were being made, so it was possible to take a closer look at just how architects and masons back in 1883 designed and built this innovative feature --- and how 2016 craftsmen are putting it back together.

When complete, new glazing will match the original --- a triple-hung center window flanked by arched sidelights.

In case you've forgotten how the building has changed over the last few months, here's a look at architect drawings for the facade project.

Look at the building as you walk or drive by and you'll also see that the Luxfer prism glass transom (pinwheel design, I think) of the cast-metal street facade now is back in place after restoration.

The final step down here will be new paint.

I'm told that the facade project in the Courthouse Square Historic District, which began late last summer, now is about 60 percent complete --- so more and more of these projects are coming together.

Monday, April 25, 2016

July 8, 1861: Farewell to the Boys of Company B

I've posted this 1860s photo of the 1858 Lucas County Courthouse a few times during the last couple of weeks, but wanted to give it one more airing this spring in company with the following article, published in The Chariton Patriot of July 11, 1861, and republished in the Herald-Patriot of May 4, 1922.

The first troops recruited for Civil War service in Lucas and Clarke counties left Chariton on the morning of Monday, July 8, 1861, heading for Burlington to be mustered into federal service as Company B, 6th Iowa Volunteer Infantry. They were under command of Capt. Daniel Iseminger, Chariton's first mayor, a veteran of service during the Mexican War --- and an "old man" of 49 who had to lie about his age in order to be mustered in at Burlington. The men of Company B had elected him captain because of his military experience --- and because they liked and admired him.

The farewell ceremony for the "Boys of 61" was held in front of the St. John House, to left of the courthouse in this photo. The men assembled on what now is Court Avenue; the flag presentation ceremony was held on the front porch of the hotel. Hundreds were gathered round to say "goodbye" and to witness an historic moment. Hammer Medical Supply stands now on the site of the St. John House.

This first-hand account of the farewell barely survived. Early editions of The Patriot were destroyed in a fire, so we have nothing other than issues of the competing Democrat, launched in 1867, to tell us about Lucas County's earliest days. By that time, the war was over.

But someone in the family of Russell's Alfred Riley Werts had saved the Patriot of July 11, 1861, as well as two other editions from the 1860s, and he brought those to the Herald-Patriot offices during April of 1922 where they became the topic of two articles, including this one. What became of those editions, I do not know.

The Boys of 1861 would sustain many losses during the war that followed --- Fifteen of their number died in combat or soon after of wounds sustained during; perhaps double that of disease.

The Battle of Shiloh, April 6-7, 1862, was especially deadly. Capt. Iseminger was fatally wounded by a shell fragment that struck him in the abdomen on the morning of the 6th. Monroe Hardin, Oliver B. Miller, William Sheets, Charles J. Cheeny (or Cheney), James H. Spurling, John M. Sayre and John W. Weaver also were killed outright. John W. Armstrong and Zara M. Lanning died of wounds soon after.

After the battle was over, surviving members of Company B returned to where their comrades fell, gathered the bodies of those killed and buried them together on the battlefield. By the time Shiloh National Cemetery was established, however, identities had been lost and so these Men of 1861 rest there in Tennessee among the "unknowns."

First Company Members Who Left Chariton to Serve in the Civil War
Company B, Under Command of Capt. Iseminger, Left on July 8, 1861; Were Presented With Flag by Ladies.

Last week we mentioned the fact that we have been loaned some old copies of The Patriot. One of them, of the issue of July 11, 1861, contained the message of President Abraham Lincoln, also a roster of company B, the first company to leave Chariton for the seat of war, which was in command of Captain Iseminger, after whom the G.A.R. Post at this place was named. Many of our present readers will remember these men. One of the Lucas county men, Asa N. Callahan, of Chariton, and one of the Clarke county men, Valentine Harlan, are living at the present time.

Mr. Callahan tells us that on July 4 the celebration was in progress at Baker's Grove, a short distance east of this city, when the word came to rendezvous, and the celebration was broken up. He also tells us that the flag carried by the company is now on exhibition at the state capitol building in Des Moines. Below we publish a short editorial from the paper of July 11th, 1861, regarding the president's message, also an account of the flag presentation and a list of the boys of Company B.


We give the President's message in this week's paper. It points out the only solution of our national difficulties, and that is by calling into exercise, and keeping in exercise, so long as it may be necessary, the war power of the government.

It is no war of conquest, or coercion, or of subjugation, but a war of self defense. It is the sworn duty of the President to employ force to repel force organized for the purpose of destroying the Government, and the nation will rejoice in the fact that our present executive will not shrink from his duty in this emergency. But while force is thus employed to punish traitors, loyal citizens and loyal states have every assurance the all of their constitutional rights will be strictly guarded.


Captain Iseminger's company left our town on Monday last for Burlington, The day will long be remembered; scarcely a dry eye was to be seen in the vast audience that collected to bid them adieu. While we may lament the absence of so many brave hearts from our midst, still we are happy in the thought that they go to right a wrong --- and that their banner will ever wave wherever their country demands their services.

No better set of men ever offered their services to their country. Captain (Daniel) Iseminger has not only had the experience to fit him for the position which he occupies, but as a man he is almost worshipped by the brave boys under his command. Lieutenant Edwards, although of limited experience in military tactics, bids fair to become an efficient officer. And as will be seen from the roll which we publish in this week's paper, our friend and fellow townsman, E.B. Woodward, is among the number. "Wood" was the first man who proposed the organization of the company at this place, and since that time he has zealously labored for the position which he now occupies. As will be remembered this proposition met with a good deal of opposition, but he labored against all opposition till success crowned his efforts Since the organization of the company, he has zealously labored to get into the service. We shall expect to hear of E.B. Woodward before this contest is ended. His kind heart will win him many friends wherever he wanders, while his bravery and manly bearing will as certainly achieve military honors.

Under the protection of such brave hearts the beautiful flag presented to them on the eve of their departure will ever remain safe --- they take it as the Magna Charta of their rights --- as the emblem of their national liberties. They take it with all the holy associations that cluster around it; with the history of their country written all over it --- with the glorious achievements of American valor burning upon every star and fold, and when the victory is won they will redeem the promise to return it to the fair hands who gave it, specked and spotted and mingled with glory.


Early on Monday morning our streets were crowded with men, women and children, who had come for the purpose of witnessing the presentation of a flag to the volunteers, and bidding adieu to their friends.

At 10 o'clock the company was formed in line on the street opposite the St. John House. Every available place within hearing of the speakers, who appeared on the porch of the St. John House, was soon occupied. A beautiful flag, prepared by the ladies of Chariton, was presented to the company by Miss McEldowney, with the following appropraite address:

"Officers and Soldiers of the Lucas County Guards --- In behalf of the ladies of Chariton I this day present to you the fruit of love's first offering. Assuring you that wherever you may bear it amid hunger and thirst, and fire and sword --- 'mid the pestilence that walketh at noonday, and the strife of battle, and the circumstances of war --- to glory and the grave, our prayers, our earnest hopes and our warmest sympathies shall go with you. And while at home with hushed and holy hearts, we wait for you to plant its starry folds on every hill and battlement of our common country, may our same woman's heart incline you to mercy rather than justice, and send not an erring rebel to his last home whose word or look shall plead for freedom --- rather,

When the fight shall thicken round thee,
Let each traitor brother feel,
Not in anger but in justice,
Come the cruel blows we deal."

On the reception of which, Lieut. E.E. Edwards replied as follows:

"Ladies --- I have been chosen by our captain in behalf of this company, to receive from your hands this beautiful flag --- the emblem of that glorious union which our fathers gave us. I think I can assure you that no traitor shall ever dim its glory, or blot from its bright constellation one single star, so long as strength enables us to bear it aloft. I have repeatedly had assurance from the brave soldiers to whom this presentation is made, that they are willing at the hazard of life, to bear it, and defend to the last with a steady arm and brave heart, the laurels which crown its past history as the emblem of a great nation, and in the exericise of this duty we will go forth in the strength of Him who controls the destiny of nations, to uphold the authority of law, to perpetuate the noble heritage of the fathers of the revolution, and to wrest and restore from lawless rebels a land long since dedicated as "a home for the brave and the free," whilst as soldiers upon the field of battle our efforts may be to sustain the honor and glory of our flag. You may rest assured that mercy and justice will be extended to the erring; that the blows struck, however severe or deadly, shall be in sorrow --- not in anger; and wherever duty may lead us in this conflict, we will keep in grateful remembrance your parting adieu as a stimulus to bravery as well as honorable deportment, knowing that as patriotic women, loving sisters and mothers, you will await with anxious and throbbing hearts that happy day when we shall return crowned with victory. This beautiful flag, if tattered and torn by bullets and covered with the stains of blood from many a hard fought battle, shall again be handed to your keeping as evidence of the valor with which it has been sustaned."

D.N. Smith then addressed the soldiers. His speech was brief as leaving time had arrived, but it was full of patriotism and words of encouragement. The greatest feeling prevailed as the soldiers bade adieu to their many friends and many tears were seen coursing the cheeks of fair women and brave men.


Capt. Daniel Iseminger, Chariton
1st Lieut E.B. Woodward, Chariton
2nd Lieut E.E. Edwards, Chariton
1st Serg. E.F. Alden, Hopeville
2nd Serg. D.J. McCoy, Lagrange
3rd Serg. W. Cowden, Freedom
4th Serg. V. Mendel, Chariton
5th Serg. J.W. Armstrong, Chariton
1st Corp. D. Frankhouser, Corydon
2nd Corp. J.H. Keplinger, Hopeville
3rd Corp. M.C. Fitch, Hopeville
4th Corp. Jos. Best, Chariton
Fifer A.J. Skelly, Hopeville
Drummer Dennis Myers, Warren county

John Relph, Lucas county
Raymond Ross, Chariton
Marcus Edwards, Chariton
Jas. R. Baldwin, Lucas county
Harvey Ford, Lucas county
Jas. B. Musselman, Lucas county
Oliver B. Miller, Lucas county
George Albertson, Corydon
N.M. Larimer, Chariton
J.L. Adkins, Hopeville
B.J. Hilling, Lucas county
G.H. Roney, Lucas county
John A. Miller, Chariton
John P. Williby, Lucas county
John W. Dodge, Freedom
Isaac R. Plymate, Lucas county
Monroe Hardin, Lucas county
John Bell, Lucas county 
Abraham W. Norris, Lucas county
Chas H. Griggs, Hopeville
Alonzo Ketchum, Hopeville
J.C. McPheters, Lucas county
W.H. Brandon, Osceola
Wm. D. Tull, Lucas county
Greene C. Adkins, Hopeville
Andrew Miller, Hopeville
John M. Roberts, Lucas county
Wm. Sheets, Lucas county
John Boyd, Lucas county
Wm. Monnahan, Lucas county
E.R. Godfrey, Lucas county
J.H. Hess, Osceola
Z.M. Lanning, Clarke county
M.L. Atwater, Hopeville
Lewis Ridgeway, Osceola
Kellogg Potsel, Osceola
Henry T. Wilson, Wayne county
J.H. Weaver, Wayne county
Jas B. Cameron, Chariton
J.N. Sayre, Osceola
Jas. M. Laughlin, Hopeville
Jas. S. Cain, Hopeville
Elijah J. Kent, Hopeville
C.J. Cheney, Hopeville
Joseph Hillier, Hopeville
Asa N. Callahan, Lucas county
L.G. Knotts, Osceola
N.J. Gordon, Osceola
W.J. Hamilton, Osceola
J.E. Thomas, Osceola
Daniel Musselman, Osceola
W.L. Brown, Osceola
G.B. Brown, Osceola
J.L. Miller, Osceola
Valentine Harlan, Osceola
David Sigler, Osceola
Lewis Brockway, Hopeville
J.R. Smith, Hopeville
Geo. W. Scott, Lucas county
J.H. Spurling, Lucas county
M.S. Campbell, Corydon
David Mann, Corydon
J.W. Boyce, Chariton
O.S. Rarick, Hopeville
Wm. J. Wilson, Promise City
J.M. Bond, Lucas county
C.H. Harvey, Pike's Peak
Jas. Myers, Newbern
H.I. Cameron, Chariton
A.C. Cameron, Chariton
Aaron Van Scoy, New Virginia
Otis Burbank, Hopeville
Nelson Maydole, Lucas county
James Rariden, Indiana
Jas. M. Harswell, Pike's Peak
L. Gardner, Lucas County

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Tangled up in blue (rather than purple) ....

Every Iowan believes that there's a little bit of Iowa in every good thing --- so I was relieved to see this snippet yesterday on the Facebook page, Historic Valley Junction:
A very small world indeed - census records show that Prince's maternal grandparents, Frank and Lucille Shaw, lived in Historic Valley Junction, West Des Moines, IA, in the 1920s. Their home was at 107 11th Street, near 11th and Railroad. Frank was a Pullman porter and their daughter was Mattie Della, Prince's mother. The family relocated to Minneapolis by the 1940 census.
You just knew there had to be a connection --- even those of us who were not necessarily fans of Prince and his work. That's a generational thing. Some of us are just too old.

I do think Minnesota State Sen. Karin Housely is carrying this whole thing a bit too far, however. She wants to have purple designated the official Minnesota state color.

That's all very well and good, but what are they going to do up there when that other Minnesota boy, Bob Dylan, kicks the bucket? As for me, I'm still tangled up in blue.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Margaret Frances Massee-Granger --- and Frank

This fine tombstone upstream from the Copeland Mausoleum caught my eye the other day and I got to wondering just who Mrs. M.F. Massee-Granger was --- she who has the distinction of being one of the few Chariton Cemetery residents buried under a hyphenated surname.

The inscription suggests that she was born a Massee and married a Granger, but neglects to mention that her given name was Margaret Frances. Nor does the big stone inform us that her somewhat improvident, but lovable, husband, Frank Granger, is buried by her side and as a result of the omission, now is proceeding through eternity anonymously.

A little research turns up the facts that Margaret Frances, who seems to have preferred her middle name to her first, was born about 1830 in Oneida County, New York, to William and Mary Catherine (Gypson) Massee, and came with her family to Dunn County, Wisconsin, as a young woman. She married Frank Granger, some five years her junior, in Wisconsin on Nov. 15, 1863, and they moved southwest to Chariton during 1867.

It may be unfair to suggest that M. Frances was the adult in this family, but she certainly seems to have been the better manager, although Frank actually excelled at much of what he did during life and everyone seems to have liked him.

In Chariton, the Grangers acquired a small farm on the edge of town that allowed Frank an outlet for his passions for agriculture and gardening (he was a consistent member and often secretary of the Lucas County Agricultural Society). But he earned a living initially as a clerk in various stores.

He also engaged in some moderately disastrous business ventures. During the 1870s, he launched himself as a dealer in grain and livestock, but ended deep in debt --- including a mortgage on the farm. M. Frances's sister, Hannah (Massee) Reynolds, bailed her brother-in-law out, buying his notes and the mortgage. 

When Hannah died while living with the Grangers in Chariton during 1881, she left the farm to M. Frances, who thereafter was mistress of her own financial destiny.

Frank also operated market gardens at various times and, during the 1880s, launched a corn- and tomato-canning enterprise. That didn't work out either.

He was, however, a highly efficient Chariton city clerk and bill collector and when the city went into the electrical generating business took on the additional titles of city electrician, line builder and line repairer, jobs he seems to have performed to everyone's satisfaction.

M. Frances became a pillar of First Methodist Church and Frank, a very active member of Chariton's I.O.O.F. lodge. A well-educated man, he also served on the Chariton School Board.

M. Frances died unexpectedly of a massive stroke on May 17, 1893, age about 62, leaving Frank somewhat at loose ends. He apparently erected this fine stone to mark her grave and had enough money to live on, but the fact he was not mentioned in his wife's will complicated life a little, although he was able to claim a "dower" right in her estate. Her principal heir was her sister, Jane French.

Fortunately for Frank, he had a younger cousin, Ida Morey Riley, with whom he was on good terms. During 1890, Ida and her partner, Mary Ann Blood, who met while teaching at what now is Iowa State University, founded in Chicago the Columbia School of Oratory (now Columbia College), an institution that had turned out to be a considerable success.

After the death of M. Frances, Frank took to spending more and more time in Chicago with Ida and Mary, where employment as a general handyman always was available at the college. Eventually, he moved permanently to Chicago, selling out his home in Chariton.

Ida died too young during 1901 in Chicago, but Miss Blood seems to have been fond of Frank, too, and so he remained a resident of her home and employed by the college, which she now headed, under her protective wing.

During October of 1922, when he was 86, Frank was struck by a car while walking on Michigan Avenue in Chicago, sustaining a broken hip. That resulted in hospitalization for five weeks and then death on November 24.

Mary Blood arranged for his remains to be brought to Chariton and for funeral services to be conducted at the Methodist Church under the auspices of the I.O.O.F. Miss Newman, the Columbia College secretary, accompaned the body to Chariton and represented Miss Blood and the college during last rites.

Frank then was buried by the side of M. Frances in the Chariton Cemetery, but no stone was erected nor was an inscription placed on her monument to indicate that his grave is there, too.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Lucas County's "Big Day(s) of Birding" during late May

Just in case you've missed it, here's the big spread about Lucas County's first Big Day(s) of Birding --- scheduled for Friday evening and Saturday, May 20 and 21 --- as published in the May-June edition of "Iowa Outdoors," magazine of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (right-click and open in new windows to read the text).

Lots of folks, but most especially birding enthusiasts, are atwitter (sorry, but that had to be written) about the event, a joint project of the Tourism Division of Chariton Area Chamber/Main Street, Iowa Audubon, the DNR, Lucas County Conservation Commission, the Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation, the U.S. Forest Service and others.

All events are free --- and open to all birders experienced and otherwise, or with no experience at all.

There will be a public program at 7 p.m. Friday, May 20, in the Lodge at Pin Oak Marsh, staging area for the event. 

On Saturday, five volunteer teams will leave the Lodge early to spend the day visiting 24 designated areas on public and private land across the county in hopes of lengthening the county's bird species list, which currently stands at 238. Van transportation and other amenities will be provided to these teams.

The Lodge also will be launching point on Saturday for a series of shorter free field trips  for those without the time, stamina or interest for day-long commitments. Wrap-up events will be held at the Lodge on Saturday evening and Sunday morning.

Because the size of the five volunteer teams will be limited, those interested in joining one of them must register by May 7 by contacting Doug Harr, of Iowa Audubon, at More information about the event in general may be obtained by contacting Chariton Area Chamber/Main Street at (641) 774-4059.

Lucas, which has some of the best bird habitat in the state, is the only Iowa county that contains two Iowa DNR-designated "Bird Conservation Areas." These areas also are listed as "Important Bird Sites" under a worldwide program administered by the Great Britain-based Birdlife International. Most of the two designated areas falls within various units of Stephens State Forest in southwest and northeast Lucas County.

The birding events are financed in part by a REAP community education mini-grant. Organizers hope that an annual Big Day of Birding will become an established attraction in Lucas County.