This is the centennial year for that giant boulder with bronze plaque attached, located at the southwest corner of Chariton's courthouse square park. Put into place during 1917, as World War I wracked Europe and not long after the United States declared war on Germany, it marks Chariton's place on the Mormon Trail.
Part of the inscription reads, "Here upon the trail September 11, 1849, was located the townsite of Chariton."
The surveyor stake where commissioners met on that date to officially put Chariton on the map was just to the southwest. And the Mormon Trail itself, which carried thousands of Mormon refugees west from the summer of 1846 until the end of the decade, reportedly crossed the current courthouse lawn in a northwesterly direction near the monument.
The courthouse monument and its sister monument, located along the old trail just southeast of town near the site of Buck Townsend's Chariton Point cabin, were projects of Iowa Daughters of the American Revolution who had worked for several years in conjunction with the Iowa State Historical Department to locate and mark the paths of that historic trail across the state.
And on Dec. 13, 1923, some six years after the monument had been put into place, members of Chariton's Old Thirteen Chapter, D.A.R., along with state D.A.R. officials and Edgar R. Harlan, curator of the State Historical Department, officially dedicated both.
So on Saturday morning, a century after those big rocks were moved into place, organizational descendants of those early 19th century Daughters gathered around the monument to rededicate it. In the intervening years, Chariton's Old Thirteen Chapter faded and then disappeared, but several Lucas County women now are members of the Creston-based Nancy McKay Harsh chapter --- and that chapter sponsored Saturday morning's program.
The Lucas County Historical Society Museum served as staging area for the event, so we were happy to welcome the Daughters Saturday morning as they arrived in town. After the program, followed by a flag retirement program at Veterans Memorial Park, the women returned to the museum for a business meeting, lunch and tours. It turned into a great morning.
I did not write down the names of everyone who attended Saturday morning's program, but I can tell you that Cindi Carter of Monroe, state D.A.R. regent, is standing at far left. Jane Briley, regent of the Nancy McKay Harsh Chapter, is seated to the immediate right of the monument and next to her is Jackie Beard, of Chariton. Other Chariton members of the Creston chapter are Char Asell, third from left among the standing adults; and Pam Marvin, third from the right. And fifth from the right among those standing is Russell native Dorothy (Wright) Hughes, of Mt. Ayr, also a member of the Nancy McKay Harsh Chapter.
The photo below was taken during the December, 1923, dedication ceremony. As you can see, winter coats were not needed on Saturday morning.