Tuesday, August 24, 2021

Recent additions to the historical society collection

It was too hot to think creatively yesterday, so I plucked the lowest hanging fruit and took some photos of a few new arrivals that we've processed and moved into display areas at the Lucas County Historical Society Museum recently.

Marge Didier, of Des Moines, contacted us early in the year and offered to return to Lucas County the Newell family Bible, an item she had rescued several years ago from an antiques shop in Manning (I wrote about that here). The Bible, which includes family record pages, commemorates a Russell family devastated by murder-suicide during 1898.

We picked the Bible up recently and now it's displayed for the time being near the registration desk in the Lewis Building. The explainer reads, "William M. Newell, 51, a Russell businessman, shot and killed his wife, Josie, 9-year-old daughter, Madge, and then himself during the predawn hours of August 23, 1898. Son Floyd, who was older and visiting in Omaha with friends, was spared, but died at age 37 on March 8, 1913, in South Dakota, when he fell from a train while working as a brakeman. The family possessions were scattered and this Bible ended up in an antiques shop in Manning, Iowa, where it was purchased by Marge Didier, who donated it to the Lucas County Historical Society."


Corliss and Jeanne Klaassen, long-time friends of the historical society, downsized this summer after selling their beautiful lake home in west Chariton and brought an extensive collection of pharmaceutical memorabilia to the museum for safe-keeping. Corliss operated Klaassen Health Mart on the northeast corner of the square until 2001.

This is just a small fraction of the items now on display with the earlier Loren Edwards pharmaceutical collection in the Vredenburg Gallery --- including dozens and dozens of mortars and pestles.


The late Don Kingsbury's Honor Flight jacket, commemorating Lucas County World War II veterans who participated in the Honor Flight program, giving them opportunities to visit the World War II memorial in Washington, D.C., also is displayed in the Vredenburg Gallery.

The explainer reads as follows: "Don B. Kingsbury (4 August 1924-27 March 2015) was one of 16  young men, most from Lucas County, sworn into the U.S. Navy at the Lucas County Courthouse on July 4, 1942. He went on to serve on four ships in the Pacific Theater during three years at sea and was honorably discharged as a Signalman Second Class on Dec. 22, 1945, at the end of World War II.

"Don returned to a successful business career in Chariton, but always remembered his military experiences. A long-time member of Carl L. Caviness American Legion Post No. 102, he also performed with Iowa's Military Veterans Band. He placed a monument in the Chariton Cemetery commemorating those 16 men who enlisted during 1942 and his likeness is included in a mural commemorating that event in Lucas County's Veterans Memorial Park.

"During the fall of 2009, Don was an early participant in Iowa's 'Honor Flight' program, affording veterans an opportunity to visit the World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C. Don's jacket and commemorative baseball cap were given to him on that trip."


The museum is open from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday-Friday and at any other time by appointment. Admission is free. Sadly, two of our largest display areas, the Crist Gallery and the Mine Gallery, both on the lower level of the Lewis Building, will remain closed for the balanced of the season. 

As many know, the exterior entrances to these galleries were badly damaged when a vehicle slammed into them earlier this summer and it now looks as if the rebuilding project will not begin until fall. Until that project is completed, there's only one way into and out of the two galleries --- a long flight of stairs. We cannot allow public access to the galleries until secondary exits are operable again.

1 comment:

Joy Adams said...

What great donations you have received! I have Newell’s in my ancestry but do not know if there is a relationship. Mine was an Ebenezer Newell who was in the American Revolution at Fort Ticonderoga. He was from Vermont. His daughter married LeRoy Eugene Woodruff who was in the Civil War with Grant at the Battle of Shiloh. It was wonderful that the Bible was rescued and made available for all to see.
Joy Adams, Monticello, Iowa