Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Banking furniture, modern in every respect

I've used these images of First National Bank and the Union Block, in which it was located, a few times previously. Both are from the Lucas County Historical Society collection. But this week, I happened upon an article in The Chariton Patriot of Sept. 21, 1899, that describes the over-the-top decor installed in the banking room during that long ago late summer.

Solid mahogany, you say? That's fairly impressive. These fixtures --- and the Union Block itself --- have long since vanished. And banks just don't look like this any more.

First National had moved into the Union Block during the first week of March 1882, immediately upon completion of the three-story building on the northwest corner of the square --- a project of the Masonic and I.O.O.F. lodges and a private investor or two. So perhaps it was time to refurnish and redecorate.

Keep in mind while reading this, however, that First National would go belly-up seven years later, as of Nov. 1, 1907, after cashier Frank Crocker killed himself and it became evident that he had been wildly improvident with bank resources. A new National Bank eventually rose from the ashes and took over the location. Midwest Heritage Bank, now located a block west, is its lineal descendant.

The men in the photograph are (from left) Frank R. Crocker, Willard P. Beem, W. Bert Beem and Clarence Blake. That's Smith H. Mallory looking down from a frame over the vault (this portrait, too, is at the historical society). Here's the article:


The First National Bank moved into temporary quarters on the east side of Main street, adjoining Braderick's cabinet shop, on Monday, while a force of skilled mechanics took possession of the banking room in the Union block, and are refitting it with a modern office equipment commensurate with the importance and increasing demands of the business, the bank having for some years put aside a part of their earnings looking forward to these improvements.

A Patriot reporter, while out on an observation tour, took a look at the new furniture and fixtures now being arranged. The double front doors have been removed and a massive single copper door with handsome frame and appropriate finish takes their place, very materially improving the front appearance as observed from the street. Inside a complete transformation in the arrangement and style of the fixtures attract attention. As you enter, the first change noted is the lobby on the north side of the room --- a complete reversal of the former location. An elegant set of solid mahogany banking furniture, modern in every respect, elicits admiration not only for its handsome design and finish, but for completeness in every detail as well as admirable adaption in the greater facilities afforded for handling the ever growing volume of business of the bank.

As you enter, the office of F. R. Crocker, cashier, is first reached. It is a neat, well arranged compartment, accessible to all having business with the cashier; no glass or other partitions rise above the surrounding counter, thus affording easy communication with that officer. A door on the east end leads to a passage way along the south side by which the different apartments are reached.

Adjoining the cashier's room is the apartment of the assistant cashier, W.P. Beem, where all the cash is received and paid. Next is the collection and draft issuing department, in charge of W.B. Beem; while across the west end and immediately in front of the vault, said to be the handsomest in Iowa, is the book-keeper's desk presided over by A.D. Gray. The president's and directors' rooms are the same as formerly. Altogether the improvements are substantial and in harmony with the solid character and prosperity of the bank. The public will find added facilities for handling their business in the improvements herein noted, but the uniform courtesy, accommodating spirit, and capable management on the part of the officers of the bank will be in no wise changed because of the new and better surroundings.

Having somewhat elaborately described the bank's new clothes, a word or two about the institution itself may not be inappropriate.

In another column of this issue will be found a report of the condition of the First National Bank at the close of business Sept. 7, 1899. The report shows a line of deposits greater than the combined bank deposits of such cities as Creston, Albia, Corydon, Fairfield, Red Oak, Indianola or Knoxville, aside from its special Woodman fund. The total deposits aggregate the great sum of over $900,000, the cash resources being about half a million, an evidence of the confidence of the people in the bank's stability and growth. The First National is an evolution from the private bank of Coolbaugh & Brooks, established in 1859, later owned by F.W. Brooks, and passing into the hands of Lyman, Cook & Co., with Edward A. Temple as cashier when it was organized as a National Bank in 1890. The first officers were  S.H. Mallory, president; Edward A. Temple, cashier; Lyman Cook, J.C. Bailey, C.E. Perkins of Burlington, and Joseph Braden of Chariton, directors.

The bank renewed its charter in 1890 for twenty years, half of which has now passed. The history of this bank is very closely connected with the advancement of the best interest of Lucas county and the city of Chariton. It has loyally sustained all the public interests as well as generously aiding private enterprise. Through all the ups and downs of financial changes, it has distressed no borrower by forcing him to sacrifice property to meet his obligation due the bank. During the panic of 1893 when it was almost impossible to obtain money at any rate, the First National, notwithstanding the stringency, took the court house bonds at a low rate and carried them, insuring the continuance of the work without cessation.

With possibly one exception, the county, city or school district has never issued a bond which the bank has not purchased or negotiated. Next to the C.B. & Q. railroad company and S.H. Mallory, this bank pays more taxes than any other institution, firm or individual in the county, and has never sought by evasion to escape payment of its just share of the public revenues.

The present officers and employees are: S.H. Mallory, president; Joseph Braden, vice-president; F.R. Crocker, cashier, W.P. Beem, assistant cashier; W.B. Beem, collector; A.D. Gray, book-keeper; and May B. Waynick, stenographer. It is unnecessary to enlarge upon these people personally. Always keeping absolute faith with the public, not a word could be said which can add to the respect and confidence entertained for them. Their character and standing are co-extensive with the splended record of the institution over which they preside, the success of which is a matter of pride to every citizen and an unfailing source of strength to all our business interests.

The Union Block. First National Bank still has its original doubled front doors so we know this image was taken before September 1899.

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

How about just dropping the "again"?

So I got up this morning and watched a brief video of a wounded sea turtle being captured and rehabilitated in New England. More and more of these cute-creature videos are showing up as "suggested for you" on social media feeds these days, most likely because I watch them --- and Facebook keeps score.

I'm not seeing many cute-people videos, however; many clips of kind-hearted cops rescuing ducklings from storm sewers; fewer videos of kind-hearted cops rescuing hungry, incarcerated or abused children.

So I found this meme and decided to share it, reading into it the implication that American was kinder then than now.

Then I got to thinking about it and realized that America's never been especially kind. 

Take Christians for example. Those I grew up with for the most part believed with all their kindly hearts that everyone who wasn't Christian (or hadn't been) either already was roasting or would roast in eternal torment. Gazillions of them.

Even among self-described Christians, there was consensus in one tribe that those who belonged to other tribes were roasting and would continue to be dispatched to roast right alongside the heathen. Bizarre --- and not very kind.

I'm sure there are other examples, maybe related only tangentially to religion. Race for example. Sexual orientation or other nonconformity perhaps.  

I still like the message here, but think we need to drop the "again." Then get busy.

Monday, September 16, 2019

Starring in the Chariton Cemetery Heritage Tour ....

Here's the stellar lineup for this year's Chariton Cemetery Heritage Tour, scheduled for next Sunday, Sept. 22, in alphabetical order:

Jayden Allen appearing as John Kay; Linda Braida, as Jeanette Cramer; Trae Hall, as Alexander Van Meter; Jaynane Hardie, as Ellen Berry Badger; Laura Liegois, as Virginia Branner; and Jamie Wilson, as Fred B. Sanders.

Although it's called a "tour" it's actually a sit-down event (seating provided, but bring along lawn chairs if you like), this year in the G.A.R. Section of the cemetery. This is the area surrounding the flagpole and overlooking Highway 14 on the cemetery's eastern edge. It was purchased by the Grand Army of the Republic --- nationwide fraternal organization of Civil War veterans --- as a burial place for any veteran who needed it. In case of rain, the program moves to the cemetery Shelter House.

Refreshments will be served after the program. There is a charge, since this is the only fund-raising event of the sponsor, the Chariton Historic Preservation Commission --- an agency of Chariton city government. $5 for adults and $2.50 for students K-12.

Advance tickets are available at Piper's, Cindy Lou's, the Chamber/Main Street office and at City Hall, but also may be purchased upon arrival Sunday. Parking will be along the driveway near the program site.

In addition, this year the folks at Carpenters Hall will be serving one of their famous buffet dinners from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday, preceding the tour.

Sunday, September 15, 2019

Down in the River to Pray ....

So who else remembers a version of this traditional American song from the film, "Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?" It's been around for 150 years or more, but its sources have proved to be elusive. The most educated guesses these days attribute it to a source rooted in slavery.

I like this version, performed by a Shenandoah Christian Music Camp choir. SCMC, a multi-state outfit, specializes in musical training for those rooted in conservative anabaptist traditions. Not a bad way to start a Sunday.

Saturday, September 14, 2019

Once I was lost, but now I am found ....

I've been spending so much time this week in the digital dust of back newspaper files, researching cemetery tour scripts, that the mind is going.

But before it goes, I wanted to share this meme that popped up on Twitter a couple of times this morning.

Heaven only knows how long it's been around --- some say as long as 10 years. But whatever, it's still funny.

The news item is attributed to QMI, a Canadian news agency. But where and when it was published I cannot say. Nor is there any guarantee that it's an accurate report.

Friday, September 13, 2019

Cemetery Tour 2019: A tombstone for Pvt. Van Meter

The 16th annual edition of the Chariton Cemetery Heritage Tour is scheduled for Sunday, Sept. 22, but one thing we're not going to be able to manage by then is a new tombstone for one of the subjects, Pvt. Alexander Van Meter, Company K, 34th Iowa Volunteer Infantry. Alexander died at the Whitebreast Township home of his mother and stepfather, probably of dysentery, on May 4, 1863 --- one of only a handful of Lucas County's 150 Civil War dead buried near his home. The remainder are buried in graves scattered from Missouri and Arkansas east to the Atlantic.

Alexander probably was buried first in the old cemetery on the Blue Grass Road just southeast of town, near his father, Miles, and brother, Lewis. But when Chariton's Iseminger Post, Grand Army of the Republic, developed the G.A.R. Section of the Chariton Cemetery in 1894 for veteran burials, his remains and his tombstone were relocated there --- the first burial in the section.

Although badly eroded (Alexander's name has nearly vanished although his dates remain clear), his little tombstone stood upright for more than 150 years --- until perhaps four years ago when it had an unfortunate encounter with an inexperienced groundskeeper and a very large lawnmower. I moaned a lot about that, gnashed my teeth and chewed on the city manager at the time --- and a good faith effort was made to repair the stone. But the bond didn't hold.

While it's possible the stone could be bedded in a new concrete backing and stood upright again, the Chariton Historic Preservation Commission (sponsor of the annual cemetery tour) and the city have decided the best course is to obtain a new tombstone for Alexander --- a replica of the vintage white marble stones that mark the graves of other Civil War veterans in the cemetery and in national cemeteries everywhere. 

So with the help of veterans affairs officer Dave Amos, we're working our way through that process (the government will provide a new stone providing a number of conditions are met) and hope to have it in place by Memorial Day, 2020. The remains of the original stone will go to the museum campus.


Alexander will be one of six subjects from Lucas County's past featured in this year's tour, which will be conducted in the Grand Army of the Republic section --- under the flagpole overlooking Highway 14 at the cemetery's eastern edge.

Another subject, also buried in the G.A.R. Section, will be Fred B. Sanders --- a California veteran of World War II who fell upon hard times during the 1960s and found himself traveling through Chariton, riding the rails on a freight train. During September of 1966, he fell from a freight as it was passing over the viaduct near Pin Oak Marsh south of town and died in the brush below, where his remains were discovered some weeks later. Because none of his family would claim his body, he was buried here with full military honors provided by members of Carl L. Caviness Post No. 102, American Legion.

Because 2019 is the centennial of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, approved June 4, 1919, and ratified Aug. 18, 1920, ensuring universal suffrage for women, we'll also visit with Virginia Branner, buried near the G.A.R. Section. She was Lucas County's leading suffragist and influential statewide, a campaigner for equal rights for more than 30 years. A native of East Tennessee, she was a member of Chariton's privileged Branner family who used her wealth and influence to work for the common good rather than her own comfort.

Another subject will be John Kay, born into slavery in Mississippi who escaped at the outbreak of the Civil War and enlisted for Union service in a U.S. Colored Troops regiment. After the war, he came to Iowa, married into the Jeffers family --- free people of color who had farmed in Lucas and Marion counties since 1848 --- and settled in Chariton where he became an acclaimed horseman, managing the breeding operations of such luminaries as rail entrepreneur Smith H. Mallory.

Ellen Berry was 12 when she pulled into Chariton aboard a prairie schooner on an October afternoon during 1853 with her sister and brother-in-law and older brother, Aleck. After the Civil War, she married a veteran --- Samuel Badger --- and lived a long life, well into her 90s. She also loved to share her memories of the trek west and life during Lucas County's earliest days. On Sept. 22, she will share memories of the trip from Indiana to Chariton.

Finally, we'll visit with Jeanette Cramer, a Chariton businesswoman who with her husband, Harry, built the Ritz Theater, then rebuilt it during 1930 after it had been heavily damaged in a huge fire that destroyed other buildings on the south side of the square.

The tour will begin at 2 p.m. on Sept. 22. Seating will be provided in the G.A.R. Section, although those who wish to bring their own lawn chairs may do so. Refreshments will be served after the program. 

This is the only fund-raising effort of the Chariton Historic Preservation Commission, an unfunded entity of Chariton's city government. So there will be an admission charge: $5 for adults, $2.50 for K-12. Past proceeds have been used to fund the cemetery's nomination for inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places as a National Historic District and to mark Potter's Field. Those who attend this year will help to pay incidental expenses involved in the new tombstone for Pvt. Van Meter.

Thursday, September 12, 2019

What's inside that Methodist cornerstone?

Those interested in obscure anniversaries may wish to note that Wednesday (Sept. 11, 2019) was the 120th anniversary of the laying of the cornerstone of Chariton's First United Methodist Church, intersection of North Main and Roland.

And if you've ever wondered what was inside that big stone inscribed "1899" at the southwest corner of the church tower, an intrepid reporter for The Chariton Patriot was present to record the list as read during the program for his edition of Sept. 14. Here's his report:


On last Monday evening the corner stone of the new Methodist Episcopal church was laid, attended by appropriate ceremonies held in the courthouse park. Bishop C.C. McCabe, who was to have been present and laid the corner stone, was sick and could not come, which was a great disappointment. Rev. W.H.W. Rees, of Cincinnati, Ohio, recording secretary of the Freedmen's Aid Society, was sent as a substitute, but as he could not get here until a later train the services were postponed from 2:30 to 4 o'clock p.m., at which time the procession was carried out and Rev. Reese delivered the address.

He is a fluent talker, a deep thinker, and his address was full of brilliant thoughts and helpful ideas. The best of order was maintained throughout, even through many had to stand. The ministers of the different churches of the city assisted in the ceremonies. A liberal subscription and collection was taken. The crowd then repaired to the site of the new church, where the stone was laid while the choir sang "Rock of Ages" and Presiding Elder W.B. Thompson offered a prayer. Rev. Reese read a list of the contents of the corner stone, which are as follows:

Bible, hymn book, discipline, minutes of last Des Moines conference, five copies city papers, copy Northwestern Christian Advocate, copy Century Christian Advocate, copy New York Christian Advocate, copy Creston District Methodist, copy Christian Witness, copy Epworth Herald, copy Gospel in All Lands, copy Woman's Missionary Friend, copy Sunday School Journal, copy Dew Drops --- a Sunday School paper, copy World Wide Missions, photograph of the old M.E. Church, list of church membership with officers, list of Epworth League membership with officers, list of Men's League membership with officers, list of Junior League membership with officers, list of Sunday School membership with officers and teachers. Ladies Aid Society's officers and membership, officers Chariton Auxiliary W.F.M.S., Youth Ladies Sewing Society with officers, two packages by Mrs. W.P. Davis, one addressed to the pastor when the stone is opened and the other to her descendants; handful of corn; names of donors to date; "Newton on the Prophesies," a book donated by Robert Gray and wife that was printed in London, England, in 1758; names of the members of the choir; The Pocahontas Times, The Chicago Record.

The following names are chiseled on the west side of the stone: P.J. Vollmar, pastor; S.A. Bullard, architect; G.J. Stewart, D.A. Enslow, Johnson & Best, contractors; G.W. Ensley, A.E. Dent,  B.F. Bates, M.M. Perry, B.R. Van Dyke, T.P. Stanton, C.L. Andrews, N. Weiford and Mr. Anderson, trustees.

On the south face of the stone in bold relief are the figures, "1899."


Hopefully, it will be at least another 120 years before the cornerstone is opened (opening a cornerstone generally represents bad news for the building it helps to support), but should it ever be done it looks as if there will be no shortage of reading material.

And I have a couple of questions. Do you supposed "handful of corn" was intended to be "handful of coins" and the writer misread his notes? I've never heard of a handful of corn being tossed into a cornerstone. On the other hand, many contain modest collections of coins dated the year the stone was put into place.

And what do you suppose Mrs. W. P. Davis included in her little packages, one for the pastor and the other for her descendants? I'm sure it would be uplifting as Mrs. Davis, more familiarly known as "Aunt Ellen," was in 1899 the last survivor among eight charter members who had signed the covenant back in 1851.

Ellen was a daughter of Peter and Susannah Waynick who with her sister, Orela, formed half the charter membership. Her husband was Chariton attorney William Penn Davis.

Ellen also generally was recognized as church historian and her lively 1899 history of the congregation had been read from the pulpit on the congregation's final Sunday, earlier in 1899, in the old church building. You can read that history by following this link.

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Where Were You (When the World Stopped Turning)?

I was watching the "Today" show in Chariton, getting ready for the drive back to Mason City.

Then about two months later, sought out and listened for the first time to Alan Jackson's "Where Were You (When the World Stopped Turning)," performed live on the CMA awards of Nov. 7.

It remains, to my ears at least, the most effective among the various musical efforts to capture some of the emotions generated on Sept. 11, 2001.

Here's the original performance:

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Farewell old Bucknell and goodbye to Haydock

The coal industry continued to boom in northeast Lucas County as the 1920s moved toward their end and new mines, controlled by subsidiaries of the Rock Island Railroad Co., opened near Williamson.

But just across the Lucas-Monroe county line to the east, the Consolidation Coal Co., subsidiary of the Chicago and Northwestern Railroad Co. that had produced legendary Buxton, was dying.

Its last gasps --- and mighty ones they were --- had been the Buxton No. 18 and No. 19 mines, located in what was called the Consol coal field, southwest of Buxton and just a few miles east of Lucas County's eastern boundary. Here, the unincorporated side-by-side mining camps of Bucknell and Haydock with a combined population of several thousand had replaced Buxton as the focal point for Monroe County's mining industry.

But by 1929, when a reporter for The Des Moines Register visited the site, the whole operation --- mines and mining camps --- was in the process of vanishing. Today, if you turn north off U.S. 34  onto the blacktop just west of Melrose and drive north, then east a ways, you'll be at their location --- due north of Melrose.

I've borrowed this map from the web site "Buxton" Follow the link if you'd like to read much more about these historic sites and the people who lived and worked in them. The map is intended to direct a driving tour of these sites --- so consider that, too, this fall.

Here's how The Des Moines Sunday Register reported the situation there in its edition of Sept. 8, 1929:


BUCKNELL --- "All God's children got wings and they've took off for greener pastures."

Those words of an old Negro here Saturday ably described the end of one of the greatest episodes in the Iowa coal industry --- the obliteration of Bucknell and Haydock from the Monroe county map.

And with this community, once known as "New Buxton," ends another of the feudalistic dynasties which have distinguished coal fields for more than a century.

Property worth $2,000,000

Old Buxton, in the north of Monroe county, has already gone --- now New Buxton, here in the western edge of the county, is fast going. Systematically, the Consolidation Coal Company is disposing of its property hereabouts, estimated in value at $2,000,000.

Company owned miners' homes are being sold at $50 each, while junk men are awaiting the results of their bids on the remains of Buxton No. 18 --- once the largest mine in Iowa.

A "Jungle" Grows Up

Like some ancient village in the jungle, the weeds and undergrowth are creeping in on Bucknell and Haydock. Today they are standing in the lobby of the movie theater; six months from now, nature will reclaim its own, and only a few foundations, a ramshackle store or two, will mark the glory which was once only Buxton's.

The decision of the Consolidation company to abandon its Monroe county properties sounds the death knell for the most colorful coal colony ever in Iowa. Two years ago, there were 3,500 persons in Bucknell and Haydock; today there are few more than 100.

Twenty-five years ago, Old Buxton was the largest unincorporated town in the United States, with a population predominantly Negro. More than 4,000 carefree men laughed, sang and fought their way through 18 years of coal history which Iowa will probably never see duplicated.

Muchakinock Becomes Buxton

The real history of Buxton starts with Muchakinock, Mahaska county, back in the 90's, and ends with Haydock. Shortly after the twentieth century opened, the Consolidation Coal Company, a subsidiary of the North Western Railroad, entered the Monroe field, then the richest in Iowa. Preparing to pull coal at an unprecedented rate, they extended their railroad south from What Cheer.

Until that time, Muchakinock was white. Later, with the establishment of Buxton, labor troubles cropped out, and to counteract a group which call themselves "Molly MaGuires" Negroes were imported from Virginia and Alabama. Paradoxically, these Negroes became the backbone of the United Mine Workers of Iowa instead of strikebreakers.

"Hobe" Armstrong Grew Rich

Labor agents who combed the plantations of the south and brought them north by the carload, promised them $20 a month and keep until they learned the mining trade. One of the men who aided the importation was "Hobe" Armstrong, one of the richest Negroes in Iowa. Armstrong, now 79, resides on the site of Old Buxton and tends his 2,000 acres of land.

Buxton was divided by "Swedetown," or the white section, where about 2,000 miners and their families lived. Adjacent to Buxton was Coopertown, said by old residents to have been the toughest town east of Dodge City, Kansas. Saloons, dives and every known vice and racket were tolerated here. Rarely a week passed without a shooting or cutting affray which ended fatally.

Law breakers often played hide-and-seek with officers. When Monroe county officers were seeking an offender, he took refuge across the Mahaska county line, and vice versa. Yet, it was said that "Billy" Griffen, then sheriff of Monroe county, always got his man without even carrying a gun.

But the work and the pay was good. Every two weeks, $125,000 in gold was dispensed to the miners, bringing unparalleled prosperity to all. A company store, the only one in town, employed 135 clerks, sold everything from caskets to pins --- and checked it off the pay roll. Thirteen wagons were necessary to handle deliveries.

And so the miners made whoopee in the mad, merry, reign of joy and terror. Over all these, as a benevolent despot, presided Ben Buxton, superintendent of the Consolidation Company. Buxton tried to keep trouble down by forbidding saloons on company property, but they merely moved to the edge and continued business.

Then Came "New Buxton"

The huge industry was a marvel of efficiency, even machine shops and railroad repair shops employing hundreds of men being located at Buxton. But after fifteen years, work began to wane.

In 1913, Buxton No. 18 was started here and a work train run across the county to the new mine.

At Buxton No. 18, Billy Llewellyn hung up his hoisting record of 3,774 tons of coal in eight hours.

No. 18 was built to last twenty years. Eight boilers were necessary to furnish steam, and an engine room filled with dynamos, steam turbines, and hoisting engines occupied almost half a block. During the war, however, the demand for coal was so great that the Consolidation company was forced to sacrifice everything for production --- and the mine fell short by six years of lasting the anticipated time.

100 Cars of Coal Still Waiting

March 15, 1927, Buxton No. 18 stopped. April 1, 1927, Buxton No. 19, a 1,950-ton mine, shut down with the declaration of the $7.50 per day strike. Today more than 100 cars of coal are waiting on the bottom to be hoisted.

The four winds called to the population, and last year it literally melted away. the banking and business houses began closing, School opened in the fine high school this year with only a few pupils and one school building entirely unused.

The houses owned by the company and which miners have occupied are being sold and moved away at a rapid rate. The finish is in sight.

Rumors are prevalent that the company will return again to Iowa fields in a few years --- but that never again will it undertake to furnish homes for its workmen and follow the feudalistic system which has long prevailed in the coal fields.

But whenever the name of Buxton is mentioned, thousands of Iowans will chuckle over that incident in an Albia court years ago when two Negroes were brought in after a cutting scrape.

"I cut him, judge, because he called me a bad name," said one in defense.

"But judge," said the other, "that's just a term of endearment in Buxton!"

Monday, September 09, 2019

Join us for the Cemetery Heritage Tour Sept. 22

The output here will be a little light this week as I scramble to finish scripts for the 16th annual Chariton Cemetery Heritage Tour, scheduled for Sunday, Sept. 22, and sponsored by the Chariton Historic Preservation Commission.

Our location this year will be the Grand Army  of the Republic section of the cemetery --- under the flag pole overlooking Highway 14 --- set aside during 1894 as a burial site for military veterans. Presentations will begin at 2 p.m. and seating will be provided.

We'll be introducing you to six women and men --- Lucas Countyans by choice or accident --- who are buried in the section or nearby.

In part because 2019 is the centennial year of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, assuring equal suffrage for women, Lucas County's leading suffragist --- Virginia Branner --- will be among those featured. Virginia's ashes are buried near the table tomb (top) just across the road from the G.A.R. section along with the remains of other family members. Virginia lived to see the amendment ratified in 1920, then died a year later.

In the G.A.R. section, we'll visit two men: Alexander Van Meter, one of a handful of Lucas County's Civil War fatalities actually buried in Lucas County soil (he died at 19 on May 4, 1863), and Fred B. Sanders, a World War II veteran and a stranger to Lucas County who had fallen upon hard times when he fell from a freight train in 1966 and died. Lucas County Legionnaires claimed his remains when his family wouldn't --- and buried him here.

John Kay, born into slavery in Mississippi and a U.S. Colored Troops Union veteran of the Civil War, is buried nearby with his son, Charles. John married into the fascinating Jeffers family, free people of color who settled on farms near the Lucas-Marion county line during 1848. He'll have much to share about his personal and the family's collective experiences.

We'll also visit with Ellen Berry Badger, who arrived in Chariton in a covered wagon with her extended family during the fall of 1853; and with Jeanette Cramer, a businesswoman in her own right who with her husband, Harry, built the Ritz Theater on the south side of the square.

This is the Preservation Commission's only fund-raising effort each year (we're a city commission, but receive no funding) so admission will be charged: $5 for adults; $2.50 for students K-12.