Sunday, November 28, 2021

Elder Rice's 80-mile Sunday morning sermon

Back in December of 1881, the Greenville neighborhood --- southeast of Russell in Washington Township --- had a Chariton Democrat correspondent who identified himself as "Peck." And a Christian (Disciples of Christ) preacher, Elder Samuel Henry Rice (1842-1908), who served a small congregation that alternated with the Methodists in using the Greenville School as a site for services.

Elder Rice, a circuit-rider who lived with his wife, Nancy, and children at LaGrange --- a few miles north --- was known widely for what some considered to be the thoroughness of his sermons. Others called in long-windedness.

On Sunday, Dec. 11th of that year, Elder Rice preached a sermon of extreme length and "Peck" was on hand to time it, resulting in the following report in his Greenville News column in The Democrat of Dec. 15:

"Elder Rice preached a sermon at Greenville on Sunday, 3 hours and 43 minutes long by the watch. Just think of it. A person could start from Des Moines in the morning as he was giving out his text, change cars twice on the way, hoof it over from Zero (three miles), get there in time to hear the benediction in the afternoon and still have a few moments to reflect on. Strange but true, and yet the world is not without sin."

Zero was a short-lived coal mining town located in 1881 three miles east of Russell along the C.B.&Q. railroad tracks and three miles north of Greenville --- the closest a body could get by rail to the Greenville School.

Greenville never had a church building of its own and I don't know how long Elder Rice continued to preach in the neighborhood. He eventually accepted a call to serve the Disciples in Wayne County's Seymour, then moved west to Osage City, Kansas, where he died during 1908.

Here's another sample of Peck's reportage from The Democrat of Dec. 15: "Our blacksmith was severely injured the other day by the premature discharge of a mule which he was attempting to shoe. Charley says he had no idea the cussed thing was loaded, but nevertheless thinks he will be around in a few days. Don't know when the mule will be around again though."


Saturday, November 27, 2021

Stephen Sondheim & the art of the obituary

The New York Times, in this era of newspaper decline, continues to do many things well --- including its practice of the art of the obituary.

As an example, here's a link to Bruce Weber's tribute to Stephen Sondheim, who died at 91 on Friday at his home in Roxbury, Conn.

The recipe includes an ability to write gracefully and while doing so, condense great detail with elegant economy.

Mr. Sondheim was of a rare breed in musical theater --- a composer who for the most part wrote the words to accompany his own scores (yes, he wrote just the lyrics for Leonard Bernstein's West Side Story score.)

And having celebrated Thanksgiving with family and friends after reaching old age with few apparent complications, he died unexpectedly --- survived by a husband some 50 years his junior. Not a bad way to go out, all in all.

Here's a link to what probably is his best known song --- "Send in the Clowns" from 1973's A Little Night Music, a reference not to the circus but to advice offered in the theater to divert audiences when scheduled performances are not going well. Frank Sinatra's performance probably has higher mileage, but I liked the Judy Collins version better.

Friday, November 26, 2021

The holidays now & as Dec. 7, 1941, approached

This is the schedule for Chariton's 2021 "Dazzlefest" celebration, intended to jump-start the season in a lively way tomorrow. But I've been looking back 80 years, to late November 1941 and thinking a little bit about what lay ahead as holiday plans were announced that year.

Ed Halden was chairman of the Chamber of Commerce Decorations Committee that year and he reported in The Herald-Patriot of Nov. 25 that the square would be brightened up with four hand-made, decorated and lighted arches at the entrances to sidewalks leading to the Courthouse. In addition, streetlights around the square would be covered by transparent plastic shades and decorated with evergreen boughs.

Christmas carols would be played from the courthouse public address system every day during the season. And the Chariton Mens Choir would present a public concert in the courtroom a few days before the big day itself.

Elsewhere in the United States as war clouds gathered and the nation ramped up its defenses, complications had developed for the local celebration. The Herald-Patriot reported, for example, that "Evergreen boughs for decorations were secured last week by a long-distance telephone call to Minnesota, but in many localities, a shortage of Christmas trees and spruce boughs is threatened.

"Defense is interfering with the holiday celebrations in many ways, threatening not only shortages in retail goods, but the annual customs of Christmas trees and wreaths.

"Not only have many northern communities been experiencing a shortage of men to cut the trees, but a few localities have found that fewer freight cars will be available for shipping the trees south."

Transportation and production issues also were affecting the supply of holiday goods in the stores around the square, too.

"Meanwhile, Chariton merchants report the heaviest preholiday buying in years," The Herald-Patriot reported. "Lay-aways are in many instances exceeding floor stocks, and, as merchants have found it practically impossible to reorder, they recommend shopping as early as possible."

Just two weeks later, of course, Japanese forces would attack Pearl Harbor, the United States would be fully engaged in a world-wide war and concerns about the supply of spruce boughs and Christmas trees would seem less significant.

Thursday, November 25, 2021

The rise and fall of Chariton's Phoenix Flouring Mill

I set out this week to discover the source of a name --- Phoenix Flouring Mill, a commercial mainstay of Chariton from its earliest days until 1913 when the whole thing went up in smoke for the second and final time.

The mill, Chariton's first, was located with its millpond on the west half of Block 37, Coolbaugh & Brooks Addition, just west of the corner lot where Sacred Heart Church was constructed during 1915. It is shown here on a Sanborn Fire Insurance map dated July 1913. Today, the site is occupied by a recycled car dealership building and a parking lot for trucks.

As it happened, Dan Baker answered my question about the source of the name in this paragraph lifted from his 1881 history of Lucas County:

"The first flour mill built in Chariton was located on what is now part of block thirty-seven of Coolbaugh & Brooks addition. It was built by D.N. Smith in 1857. It changed owners several times previous to 1867 when it was purchased by Lewis & Bro., who have operated it since. In November, 1880, it was burned to the ground, but was immediately rebuilt, and very appropriately called the Phoenix Mills."

So that's why it was called "Phoenix." Like the mythological immortal bird, it arose from the ashes of its predecessor --- the first time.

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David N. Smith, who built the mill originally, was an interesting character, prominent during Chariton's earliest years. He was a Methodist preacher who paired a passion for sharing the Gospel with equal enthusiasm for making money. The mill was among his many enterprises.

Health issues had forced the Rev. Mr. Smith from the active ministry at Fairfield in the mid-1850s and just before relocating to Chariton --- then on the frontier --- he had been appointed agent for the Methodist Episcopal Sunday School Union. As such, he was responsible for traveling newly settled parts of the state, establishing Sunday schools, preaching when health permitted and fulfilling other missions as assigned. He was carried on the rolls of the Iowa Conference as a "superannuated or worn-out preacher," a designation that didn't stop him from making money, however, or recognizing an astute investment when he saw one as he traveled the mission fields of southern Iowa.

After the Civil War, Smith went to work as a land agent for the Burlington & Missouri River Railroad and as such amassed a considerable fortune --- he owned much of Corning at one point, for example, where he was not remembered for Christian charity.

By the time he died at home in Burlington, age 63, during 1879 he owned thousands of acres in southwest Iowa, Nebraska and Colorado. As death neared, however, his thoughts returned to the church and after willing sufficient funds to his wife, Sophia, to ensure that she could live comfortably but not extravagantly, he divided the bulk of his fortune among Simpson College in Indianola and an obscure "Ladies Academy" in upstate New York. Simpson continues to flourish; the New York academy went belly up not long after, scattering the Rev. Mr. Smith's bequest to the wind.

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The "Lewis" who purchased the mill in 1867 was Elijah Lewis (1834-1913) and the brother was Evan Lewis (1844-1908). They were members of a tight-knit Quaker family from Chester County, Pennsylvania, headed by Thomas M. (1800-1877) and Susanna (1810-1898) Lewis who would join their sons in Chariton during 1873.

Elijah dated the brothers' arrival in Chariton via stage coach from Burlington to Feb. 18, 1867, after having moved west from Pennsylvania to southeast Iowa immediately after the Civil War. He was a distinguished veteran of that war, having served first as lieutenant and then captain of Company F, 8th Regiment of U.S. Colored Troops. 

The extended Lewis family in Chester County had been notably abolitionist and that conviction had created a conflict for Elijah between his birthright of Quaker pacifism and his desire to join the fight to ensure the end of slavery and preserve the Union.

Elijah was very well educated for his time and had worked as a teacher in Pennsylvania prior to the war, but as was the case in many Quaker families he also had received training in a useful trade --- milling. Evan, while bright and personable, also was a notable alcoholic, always dependent to one degree or another on Elijah who eventually ended up serving as surrogate father to his children. Elijah himself never married.

The brothers set to work in Lucas County after purchasing what was known at the time as the Chariton Mills and by the autumn of 1880 had built a very successful business, then disaster struck. Here's the report as published The Chariton Leader of Nov. 20, 1880:

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Chariton has escaped from serious fires so long that it began to look as though she was blessed with good luck, but the fire demon came at last, leaving one of her oldest and most valuable business establishments in ashes. On last Sunday morning, when the greater number of her good citizens were in bed taking a quiet Sunday rest, the alarm of fire rang out in shrill tones, awakening the city.

Flames had been discovered issuing from the roof of Elijah Lewis' mill and the first alarm as given by the hideous screeching of the engines near the depot. A large crowd of anxious people were soon on the ground, also the fire companies, but too late to save the building, although the Engine Company managed to save some valuable machinery by throwing a heavy stream of water on it. A considerable quantity of flour was saved, but a lot of bran and grists were destroyed, the latter belonging to country customers. Eikenberry & Stewart lost about $500 worth of corn, which was there for the purpose of being shelled. 

Mr. Lewis had owned the mill for 14 years and worked hard to make it an establishment worthy of our city, and had expended money in repairing and refitting it with the best appliances and machinery, until he had expended ten thousand dollars on the mill alone, which is his estimated loss, and strange to say, there is not a dollar of insurance on it, the rates being very high and the property so near clear of debt the owner had taken out no policy for some time back. 

The cause of the fire is a mystery, as it evidently originated in the upper story farthest from the engine. Mr. Lewis certainly has the deepest sympathies of the public for his severe loss, and should he determine to rebuild, will doubtless meet with a hearty encouragement from all.

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Without insurance, Elijah looked to an investor in order to rebuild the mill and found one in George J. Stewart, then partnered with Daniel Eikenberry in the firm Eikenberry & Stewart, lumber merchants and dealers in grain and coal.

The business rose from the ashes and was rechristened as the Phoenix Mills, but early in the 1880s passed into sole ownership of Mr. Stewart as the Lewis family moved on to other pursuits.

Elijah was elected county treasurer, then during January of 1883 with his sister, Lucretia, purchased The Chariton Patriot from George H. Ragsdale and launched his career as a newspaper editor and publisher. Lucretia (1836-1899) seems to have been business manager of the operation; Elijah, the editor and principal writer; and Evan, very capable when sober, active in all aspects of the operation but not a financial partner in it.

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G.J. Stewart continued to operate the Phoenix Mills until January of 1901 when he sold the business to William A. Eikenberry (1876-1948), son of his former partner, Daniel Eikenberry, who continued to operate it until July of 1913 when disaster struck again, as reported in The Leader of July 3:

The Phoenix Mill and Elevator was burned in this city, late Thursday night. The origin of the fire is unknown, but the building was entirely consumed and the machinery ruined. there was a large amount of grain in the elevator at the time, which was either consumed or rendered worthless. About a car load of flour was in the ware room, which was also destroyed. The mill and equipment belonged to Will Eikenberry but the grain and flour was the property of McKlveen & Eikenberry. The insurance on contents was $1,500 and one the mill and equipment, $4,300. The mill will probably be rebuilt and a brick or cement structure will be erected.

A new mill did not arise this time from the ashes of the old, exactly. Instead, it's operations were incorporated into a new elevator built during late 1913 by the partnership of Samuel McKlveen and Will Eikenberry, doing business as McKlveen & Eikenberry, on the triangular-shaped lot immediately to the west where the McKlveen Brothers' lumber yard formerly had been located.

McKlveen & Eikenberry headquarters, and the firm's lumber yard, were located by this time on the current site of the Autumn Park apartments at the intersection of North Main and Auburn.

So that was the end of the Phoenix Mill --- a business that managed to rise from the ashes of its destruction once, but not twice. Here's how the mill site looks today, courtesy of Google Maps.





Wednesday, November 24, 2021

"Procession," Netflix and the topic of sexual abuse

Every time I start thinking of canceling my Netflix subscription, a film comes along that I'd regret having missed --- so it looks now as if that monster of a streaming service and I will remain hitched for another season.

The film this time is "Procession," which I watched last evening --- described in the headline for Ben Kenigsberg's New York Times review as "Art as Exorcism," an experimental documentary in which six survivors of abuse by Roman Catholic priests use filmmaking to confront traumatic memories.

Film maker Robert Greene, whose project it is, gives equal billing as collaborators to the six victims, now men in their middle years. Greene became interested in the story following a 2018 press conference in Kansas City by four men who came forward to tell their stories and shed light on the subject. Some of the participants are among his collaborators.

The film is set largely in the greater Kansas City area, but segments were filmed in Cheyenne, Wyoming, as well at recreational lakes in Missouri's popular tourist areas as the abuse victims revisit the scenes of their abuse, working toward catharsis.

The therapeutic mechanism in the film is called drama therapy and five of the six men wrote scenes, built sets and then acted out (with assistance from volunteers) the scripted memories. The film is as much about the process as it is the scenes, however, so there's no sense here of a staged production within another production.

In less skilled hands, this could have been an extraordinarily clumsy process; as it is, it works amazingly well and has received consistently positive reviews --- even though it's hard to watch sometimes.

Although the setting here is specific --- clergy abuse within the Catholic Church --- the lessons apply generally to all forms of child abuse and the unforgettable long-term trauma abusers inflict on innocent victims. It's a film well worth watching.




Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Henry Newhouse: Not the last man standing

Henry Andreas Newhouse was most noted when he died at age 94 on July 25, 1940, as the youngest of three veterans of the Civil War still alive and kicking in Lucas County. When funeral services were held the following Sunday at the Methodist church in Oakley, his seniors --- Robert Killen and William Humphreys, both 96 --- attended.

A few months later, rather than making a last-man-standing contest out of it, both Mr. Killen and Mr. Humphreys died at their respective homes on Jan. 25, 1941, thus closing in tandem a significant chapter of Lucas County history.

Many years later, representatives of the Iowa Division, Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War, came to Graceland and Mount Zion cemeteries, where Killen and Humphreys are buried, to recognize their longevity. You may read more about that if you like in two earlier Lucas Countyan posts, "Lucas County's Last Men Standing to be Honored" and "Going to Graceland: Honoring Civil War Veterans."

Henry, however, didn't receive so much as an honorable mention. But as it turns out, we have a portrait of this good-humored looking gentleman in the military collection at the Lucas County Historical Society, so I thought the least I could do was given him a belated nod. The Find A Grave image below the portrait is of his tombstone at Niswender Pioneer Cemetery.

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Henry was German-born, native to Harbke, Bordekreis, Saxony-Anhalt. His parents were Johann Friedrich Jacob and Dorothea Elisabeth (Rohloff) Neuhaus and he reportedly was born on Dec. 29, 1845.

Henry was a member of Chariton's Iseminger Post No. 18, Grand Army of the Republic, and his membership card includes a wealth of information, including the statement that his father, who died in 1848, perished after a fatal encounter with a windmill fan in Germany.



According to an article about Civil War veterans published in The Herald-Patriot on May 28, 1936, Henry came to the United States when 10 years old, ca. 1855, and started work as a butcher's apprentice when he was 12. This seems to have been a family group that included Henry's mother, a brother, Andreas Frederich, and a sister, Sophia Louisa, both of whom were older.

The family settled first in or near Hartford, Connecticut, and at the outbreak of the Civil War both Henry and Andreas enlisted during August of 1862 in Company D, 22nd Connecticut Volunteer Infantry. This was a 9-month unit assigned to guard and patrol duties within and adjacent to Washington, D.C. Although there were skirmishes, unit losses were to disease rather than combat and Henry returned safely to Hartford and was discharged at the expiration of his term of service during July of 1863.

Henry arrived in Chariton during 1869 and it is possible that his mother, brother and sister lived here, too, briefly --- but they moved on to Red Cloud, Nebraska, while Henry remained.

According to that 1936 Herald-Patriot article, at first he "worked in a (meat) market operated by Jacob Yengel, father of Bert and Fred Yengel, who now own the business." But Henry turned to farming, purchased land in he Oakley neighborhood northwest of Chariton and lived there for more than 50 years.

He married Regina Kull on Sept. 8, 1872, and they had three sons --- William F., Harry and Charles J. Charles died as a young man, age 21, on Jan. 11, 1898, and he was the first family member buried in Niswender Cemetery, near the family home.

Regina died at the age of 83 on Nov. 26, 1925, and was buried beside Charles. Two years later, Henry married Clara (McCaffrey) Curtis and they established a new home together in Lucas. Henry also outlived Clara, who died during June of 1938.

Henry died at home in Lucas during July of 1940 and, as noted earlier, funeral services were held the Sunday afternoon following at the Methodist Church in Oakley. Burial followed beside Regina and Charles in the Niswender Cemetery.


Monday, November 22, 2021

A footnote to Chariton's Methodist history

I'm a big fan of footnotes, so was happy a few weeks ago to add this one to my collection --- in the form of a brief "obituary" for Chariton's first church building, published in The Democrat of Nov. 3, 1887, under the headline, "An Old Landmark Gone."

Barnard Bros. commenced on Monday to tear down the old Woolen Mills, near the Foundry, preparatory to building a fine brick barn on the lot. The old mill was built as the first Methodist Church of this city. Rev. E.L. Briggs, of Knoxville, being the pastor in 1852. It was used to hold court in when Judge Townsend, of Albia, was on the bench. Much of interest in the early history of Chariton centers around the old building. Twenty years ago, it was the maid public school building of the town, and later on was used as a machine shop and woolen mill, and now having served its usefulness, will give place to a fine brick structure to be used in the extensive horse business of Barnard Brothers.

Here's another reference to the building, included by Dan Baker six years earlier in his local history section of Lucas County's 1881 history book:

The Methodist Episcopal Church, the first in Chariton, was organized by Reverend E.L. Briggs about the year 1851. It was partly under the direction of the Home Missionary Society of that church.

There were but three or four members to begin with, and the meetings were held, as all public meetings at that time were, in the new log courthouse on the east side of the public square. The society prospered from the start, so that in 1854 they felt themselves able to erect a house of worship. The building erected was a substantial frame, twenty-four by thirty-six feet, on the west side of block 3 and cost about a thousand dollars. The building was afterward used by the school district for a school house and, in 1869, it was converted by Henry Whiting into a machine shop. Shortly afterward it had a second story put on it, and was made into a woolen mill. It still stands on its original site and is used for a warehouse.

The image here is a portion of the 1893 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map of Chariton. The old church building reportedly stood on the current site of Johnson Machine Works headquarters, as noted. The Methodists constructed their second building, a substantial brick structure, a block slightly southeast of the first at the intersection of North Main Street and Roland Avenue, where the current 1903 building stands today.

There was nothing remarkable, apparently, about that early church building --- other than the fact it was the first. But I was struck by how thoroughly it had been used, recycled and used again, during it's fairly brief 30-year history. And I'm guessing that when it was torn down, the lumber was salvaged and used elsewhere.

Today, the whole thing would be bulldozed and hauled away to a landfill.

There's no sign, by the way, that the Barnard Brothers ever built the planned "fine brick structure." During 1893, at least, the prime building spot on the lot appears to be vacant and other structures on it are shaded yellow, indicating that they were of frame rather than brick construction.



Sunday, November 21, 2021

Peace on earth and all of that ....

Frittered away too much time this morning by reading analysis pieces about the Kyle Rittenhouse verdict --- and didn't find much that (a) told me something I didn't already know or (b) seemed especially helpful.

So here's some music expressing what we all need to be about these days in the words of a familiar 1955 song by Jill Jackson-Miller and Sy Miller. The choir director is Ricky Dillard and the remarkable soloist, Keith Wonderboy Johnson. The performance was recorded at Haven of Rest Missionary Baptist Church in Chicago.

Saturday, November 20, 2021

New York (Iowa), the Messenger men & the G.A.R.

I started this excursion among northern Wayne County's Grand Army of the Republic posts with a visit earlier this week to Confidence's J. W. May Post No. 105, named in honor of a young lieutenant killed in combat during 1864 in Arkansas who is commemorated on a cenotaph at Lucas County's Greenville Cemetery.

Follow the middle branch of the Mormon Trail about nine and a half miles slightly southwest from Confidence through Bethlehem and across the Jordan (Creek) and you'll find yourself at the site of New York, once a flourishing crossroads village.

There's nothing there now other than a modern house. The last historic building, the New York Christian Church, was moved some years ago to the Round Barn Site east of Allerton after years of disuse. 

The New York Cemetery is located on a hillside west of the creek a mile east of town. That's where Samuel J. and Virgil Messenger, after whom New York's Messenger Post No. 288, G.A.R., was named, are buried alongside their father, Frederick Dent Messenger (1806-1871) and two infant siblings, Hyrum (1858-1859) and Martha (1861-1862). 

The senior Messengers, Frederick D. and Jane M., arrived in Wayne County about 1852. The family home reportedly was located just across the road from the cemetery. The couple had 12 children, three of whom died young. Of the remainder, eight were sons.

New York village was platted three years after the Messengers' arrival by Micajah Cross on April 20, 1855. It flourished in a modest sort of way with several business buildings, a few houses, Masonic and Odd Fellows lodges in addition to the G.A.R. Post, and two churches.

The little town's viable life span was only about 50 years, however. A major fire during June of 1904 burned five business buildings, the post office was discontinued soon thereafter and the founding of Millerton just to the west when the Rock Island Railroad went through in 1913 sealed its fate.

But that was far in the future when the Civil War broke out and four of the Messenger boys answered the call.

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 Three of the boys, Samuel J., age 20, Dennis B., age 22, and Royal H., age 18, enlisted as privates in Company I, 4th Iowa Volunteer Infantry, during the late summer and fall of 1861. Samuel, the first to enlist, was mustered in at Benton Barracks near St. Louis on Aug. 31, 1861. Dennis and Royal were mustered on Nov. 9.

Royal, probably because of sickness, was discharged two months later on the 22nd of January at Rolla, Missouri, and returned home.

Dennis was the only one of the Messenger brothers who served until the end of the war. He advanced in rank to corporal and was mustered out at Louisville on July 24, 1865.

Samuel was captured during the Battle of Pea Ridge, Arkansas, on March 7, 1862, then exchanged on May 14. He continued to serve until Jan. 8, 1864, when he was discharged because of disability at Woodville, Alabama, and returned home with his health broken. He married Margaret O. Sherman on March 10, 1864, in Wayne County and they had two children, but he never was able to recover fully and died at age 26 on the 22nd of October 1867 and was buried in the New York Cemetery.

The last of the brothers to enlist was Virgil, 18 when he was mustered into a 100-day unit, Co. H., 46th Iowa Volunteer Infantry, on June 10, 1864. He served until the expiration of his term and was mustered out at Davenport on Sept. 23, 1864, but apparently was in ill health at the time. He made it home to New York, but died there a few days later on Oct. 7 and was buried in the New York Cemetery.

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Twenty years later, when Civil War veterans in the neighborhood decided to form a G.A.R. chapter, they remembered the Messenger men and their extraordinary record of family service --- even though all living family members had by this time moved west, most to Washington state.

The post named in their honor was chartered on Feb. 9, 1884, with 18 members. It always was a small post and there's no clear record to show when it was disbanded and surviving members transferred their memberships to other posts. There had been 48 in total, according to state records, but the names of only 44 are found in the master card file of Iowa's G.A.R. membership. Here they are:

Thomas M. Akers, James Allison, John William Brewer, Charles O. Brown, Elijah Barton, William Byxbe, Amos A. Clark, Thomas Church, Friend Davis, James Davison, John H. Dotts, William Dotts, Amos Dunn, William J. Faras, Levi Fry, Lucien H. Goodell, Thomas L. Green, Samuel K. Hardy, Danforth L. Hare, George W. Harn, George J. Havner, John D. Havner, Benjamin F. Jarad, Charles Leach, Matthew Mackey, James W. Morris, John Oldfield, Henry Clay Olmstead, John S. Patterson, Andrew J. Peek, Robert T. Pray, Milton D. Rew, John C. Robertson, John Roberts, Charles L. Sayer, Elias E. Scales, Samuel Scott, William H. Smart, Silas A. Snyder, Philip L. Stech, Berry Street, Greenlead N. Sutton, Madison Thorp and David J. Wood.

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Although the Messengers were very good about marking family graves, tombstones fell as the years passed and in some cases were obscured by encroaching grass. According to notes associated with family entries at Find A Grave, family members eventually returned to Wayne County and arranged for the fallen stones to be repaired and, when possible, righted during 2015-2016. The image here of Virgil ("Vergil") Messenger's stone is used courtesy of Gayle Van Dyke, a Messenger descendant.


Friday, November 19, 2021

Seven children and a pet lamb ...

... plus the Iowa Capitol building as it looked in 1903.

I got up this morning determined to write, then was led astray by Lance Foster's fascinating presentation on the Ioway Tribe posted a day or two ago by Living History Farms. More about that another time.

So I've fallen back on this --- a stereoscoptic image I downloaded the other day from the Library of Congress web site. The view is from the southwest.

One minor curiosity of the image is the fact the animal in the image was identified by a Library of Congress cataloger as a goat. When obviously it's a lamb.

It's a sad day in American when a Library of Congress cataloger no longer recognizes the difference between a sheep and a goat.

That's an exaggeration, by the way. But we do live  in an era of exaggeration --- and lazy nostalgia. Ah, for the good old days when everyone knew his or her place.

I'm not a fan of nostalgia, even though I write a lot about local history. The best defense against nostalgia, I've found, is a careful reading of history.