Thursday, November 17, 2011

The 18th Iowa Volunteer Infantry

Posted: 16 Nov 2011 08:00 AM PST
The Eighteenth Iowa Infantry
  This regiment was made up of companies raised largely in the counties of Lucas, Clarke, Monroe, Keokuk, Iowa, Mahaska, Muscatine, Louisa, Linn, Wapello, Appanoose, Marion, Warren, Polk, Fayette, Benton, Clinton and Washington. It was mustered into the service early in August, 1862, with John Edwards, colonel; Thos. F. Cook, lieutenant-colonel, and Hugh J. Campbell, major, and numbered 875 men. It was sent to southwest Missouri and joined General Schofield's army at Springfield. Here it did garrison duty for a long time, and in January, 1863, took part in the defense of that city against the Confederate army, under General Marmaduke. This general, with an army of over 4,000 men, well supplied with artillery, moved against Springfield which was then held by General Brown with Missouri militia, some invalid soldiers in hospital and the Eighteenth Iowa Volunteers, in all, about 1,500 men. There were some unfinished forts about the city, but not in condition to aid much in the defense. When the battle opened on the morning of January 8th, five companies of the Eighteenth regiment were absent on outpost duty. The Missouri militia did excellent service, charging on the right and center of the advancing army. Captain Landis' battery supported by three companies of the Eighteenth Iowa, advanced on the enemy, but a charge in overwhelming numbers captured his guns, and the rebel army continued to advance. General Brown was severely wounded and the command devolved on Colonel Crabb. When the militia were driven back by superior numbers at about 4 o'clock, the five companies of the Eighteenth came in from their outpost and, under command of Lieutenant-Colonel Cook, charged on the rebel center, compelling it to give way. When night came on we still held the city and in the morning of the 9th our troops were ready to renew the battle, but the enemy had retreated with a loss of more than 200 men. Our loss was about the same. The Eighteenth remained at Springfield a long time after this battle, holding southwest Missouri from General Shelby's rebel army and driving it out of the state. In October the Eighteenth was stationed at Fort Smith. In March, 1864, it joined General Thayer and marched to unite with General Steele's army moving towards Shreveport, La., to co-operate with General Banks. But when that general was defeated at Mansfield Steele marched towards Camden, and at Moscow was attacked by a rebel army. Colonel Edwards commanded a brigade and had quite a lively fight in which the Eighteenth lost a few men. In guarding a forage train near Poison Springs, the Eighteenth and First Kansas had a severe battle in which the Iowa regiment fought bravely and lost seventy-seven men. The regiment was mustered out late in the summer of 1865.
  SOURCE, Benjamin F. Gue, Biographies And Portraits Of The Progressive Men Of Iowa, Volume 1, p. 103

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The 17th Iowa Volunteer Infantry

Posted 15 November 2011 08:00 AM PST
The Seventeenth Iowa Volunteers
  The companies making up this regiment were raised chiefly in the counties of Lee, Van Buren, Des Moines, Wapello, Decatur, Polk, Jefferson, Washington, Appanoose, Marion, Dallas and Warren. It was mustered into the service on the 16th of April, 1862, with 935 men. Its first field officers were John W. Rankin, colonel: David B. Hillis, lieutenant-colonel and Samuel M. Wise, major. It was sent to join General Halleck's army at Corinth, in May, and joined in the pursuit of the confederate army. At the battle of Iuka the regiment was engaged and thrown into confusion, for which it was censured by General Rosecrans, as many believe, unjustly. Colonel Rankin resigned on the 3d of September.
  On the 3d and 4th of October was fought the battle of Corinth, in which the Seventeenth took an active part, and fought with great bravery. Smarting under the unjust censure cast upon them at Iuka, the men went into this battle with a determination to wipe out the stigma, which they did most effectually. At a crisis of the battle, when the rebels had forced their way into Corinth, the Seventeenth made a splendid charge upon the advancing column and after a sharp conflict drove it back in confusion.
  After the victory was won, General Sullivan, commanding the brigade in which the Seventeenth Iowa served, wrote to Governor Kirkwood as follows: "I have the honor to present to you the colors of the Fortieth Mississippi regiment, captured by the Seventeenth Iowa on the battlefield of Corinth, in a gallant charge on the advancing columns of the enemy, which the Seventeenth alone met, broke and pursued. I have never led braver men into action than the soldiers of the Seventeenth proved themselves in the desperate and bloody battle of Corinth." The colors were captured by Corporal John King, of Company G, from Marion county.
  General Rosecrans, in a general order, said: "The Seventeenth Iowa infantry by its gallantry on the battlefield of Corinth, charging the enemy and capturing the flag of the Fortieth Mississippi, has amply atoned for its misfortune at Iuka, and stands among the honored regiments of this army. Long may they wear with unceasing brightness the honors they have won."
  The loss of the regiment on the field of Corinth was twenty-five. Ingersoll says: "The Seventeenth inflicted as much damage upon the enemy as any regiment at Corinth, and received less damage in return." Lieutenant-Colonel Hillis was now promoted to colonel of the regiment, and Capt. Clark R. Wever to lieutenant-colonel. For several months the Seventeenth was employed in Tennessee and Mississippi, joining General McPherson's army in February, 1863. It shared in the hard marches, severe battles and glorious victories of Grant's Vicksburg campaign. At Jackson and Champion Hill it fought bravely and lost heavily. Colonel Hillis had resigned in. May and Lieutenant-Colonel Wever was now colonel, Major Archer, lieutenant-colonel, and Capt. John F. Walden, of Company F, was major of the regiment.
  The Seventeenth participated in the Chatanooga campaign and fought bravely at Lookout Mountain, where it lost fifty-seven men. In April, 1864, the regiment re-enlisted as veterans to the number of 479. In July, the regiment occupied Tilton. Two companies were captured near Dalton after exhausting their ammunition in a brave defense. On the 13th of October the garrison at Tilton was assailed by overwhelming numbers. Lieutenant-Colonel Archer made a heroic defense until his blockhouse was rendered untenable by artillery, when he was forced to surrender. Colonel Wever was in command of a brigade at Resaca when he was attacked by Hood’s army. He had but about seven hundred men and four pieces of light artillery. He defended the post with great energy all day, and at night was reinforced by 500 cavalry. Colonel Wever spent the night strengthening his position, and early in the morning the attack was renewed; but further reinforcements came, and General Hood finally retreated as General Sherman’s army came in sight. Colonel Wever received warm commendations from Sherman and Howard for his brave and successful defense. When the Seventeenth was captured at Tilton, Captain Horner and some forty men of the regiment only remained in the service, and were disbanded in August, 1865.
SOURCE, Benjamin F. Gue, Biographies And Portraits Of The Progressive Men Of Iowa, Volume 1, p. 102

Friday, November 4, 2011

Music, Supper At Jerome - 30 October 2011

The Seymour Herald - 27 October 2011
  Everyone is invited to a Bluegrass Halloween soup supper and music at the Jerome United Methodist Church Sunday.
  See ad in this issue for time.

ACHS's Centerville Digitization Process Complete

Daily Iowegian - November 4, 2011
Iowegian digitization process complete;
database will be open soon at museum
  CENTERVILLE — The curator at the Appanoose County Historical and Coal Mining Museum reports the digitization of area newspapers is complete.
  Lisa Eddy writes in the Appanoose County Historical Society fall newsletter the newspaper database has been delivered by Advantage Company. As soon as an Advantage Company representative properly installs the database and trains museum employees, it will be available for public use on a computer at the museum.
  In early 2012, the newspaper database will be online. Look for a link to the database on the museum's website.
  "We want to extend our sincere appreciation to those people and businesses who donated to this worthwhile project," Eddy writes in the newsletter. "It was an expensive procedure, but now that it is done, it is much less expensive to maintain it, year to year."
  Becky Maxwell, Daily Iowegian publisher, has committed to pay the annual fee to keep the database up-to-date, according to the newsletter. A grant from the Community Fund helped pay for the newspaper digitization project and a new computer at the museum "to access the old Iowegians."

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Lela Ruth (Fenton) Ponsetto, 1928-2011

Daily Iowegian31 October 2011
  CENTERVILLE — Lela Ponsetto, 83, of Montrose, and a former Jerome and Centerville resident, died on Friday, Oct. 28, 2011 at Montrose Health Care Center in Montrose.
  She was born the daughter of Otha and Myrtle (Dochterman) Fenton Sr. on July 1, 1928 near Udell. She graduated from the Mystic Community School.
  On Sept. 22, 1946 Lela was united in marriage to John Ponsetto in Corydon. They lived and farmed in the Jerome area for many years. She was a homemaker and a member of the St. Mary's Catholic Church in Centerville.
Lela Ruth (Fenton) Ponsetto
  She was preceded in death by: her parents; husband, John Ponsetto on March 22, 2005; brothers, Otha Fenton Jr., Lyle Fenton and Paul Fenton; and a sister, Barbara Allen
  Lela is survived by: her sisters, Beverly McFall of Montrose, and Colleen Bryant of Niceville, Fla.; also several nieces, nephews and cousins.
  Funeral services will be held on Monday, Oct. 31, 2011 at 11 a.m. at the Schmidt Family Funeral Home in Centerville with Fr. Dennis Schaab officiating. Burial will follow in the Jerome Cemetery at Jerome. Visitation was held on Sunday, Oct. 30, 2011 from 4-8 p.m. at the funeral home.

Gravestone of Lela Ruth & John Ponsetto
in Jerome Cemetery
  Memorials can be made to either the Parkinson's Association or Jerome Cemetery and can be left at or mailed to the funeral home. The Schmidt Family Funeral Home of Centerville, Iowa is caring for the Ponsetto family at this time and condolences can be sent at:

Monday, October 17, 2011

Jerome Cemetery: New Section, Block 17, Lot 2 -- William Joseph Barton, 1875-1951, and Family

Jerome Cemetery - New Section
Block 17, Lot 2, Row 5
  William Joseph Barton ...
  Viola Butler ...
  Daughter ...
  Willard Barton ...
William Joseph Barton, 1875-1951
  William Joseph Barton, 76, died at 5 o'clock Monday morning [22 January 1951] at the St. Joseph hospital. He had been a patient there for the past two weeks. He lived at 1510 South Main street.
  Barton was born in Putnam county, Missouri, January 13, 1875. He was the son of Mr. and Mrs. James Barton. He married Viola Butler and to this union were born seven children, five surviving. They are B. C. Barton, Ventura, Calif.; H. N. Barton, Sterling, Colo.; Butler Barton, Broadview, Ill.; Mrs. James Mickey, Seymour; Mrs. Gale Felkner, Centerville R 3. Three sisters survive, Mrs. Home Hamilton, Centerville; Mrs. Emma McCulloch, Davenport; Mrs. Harl Brattain of Promise City.  Nine grandchildren, three great grandchildren survive.
  He was preceded in death by his wife, Viola, who died in 1928. A son, Willard, died in 1934, and a daughter died in infancy.  His parents, a brother, Ruban, a sister, Mrs. Elmer Butler, also preceded.
  For a number of years Mr. Barton served as a Centerville constable. Funeral services will be held Wednesday at 2 p.m. from the Johnson Funeral home with the Rev. Fred J. Ackman officiating.  Burial will be at the Jerome cemetery.

  The editor sincerely appreciates the contribution of this January 1951 obituary and Funeral Notice to The Jerome Journal by Leona Patten of Loveland, Colorado. 
Seymour Herald - 25 January 1951
W. J. Barton, 74, Died Early Monday
  Funeral services were held Wednesday in Centerville for William Joseph Barton, father of Mrs. James Mickey, who died early Monday. Barton, 74, had been a patent at the St. Joseph Hospital in Centerville for about two weeks. His home was at 1510 South Main St., Centerville.
  The Rev. Fred J. Ackman conducted the service at the Johnson Funeral home and burial was in the Jerome cemetery.
  Mr. Barton had been a Centerville constable for many years.
  Besides Mrs. Mickey he is survived by three sons and a daughter, B. C. Barton, Ventura, Calif., H. N. Barton, Sterling, Colo., Butler Barton, Broadview, Ill., and Mrs. Gale Felkner of Centerville. His wife, the former Viola Butler, died in 1928 and a son and daughter have preceded him in death.
  Also surviving are three sisters, Mrs. Homer Hamilton, of Centerville, Mrs. Emma McCulloch of Davenport and Mrs. Harl Brattain of Promise City, nine grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.
  Visiting the Mickeys and here for the rites Miss Joyce Mickey, Butler Barton and H. N. Barton.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Mildred Elaine King - Senior of the Week

Seymour Herald - 11 January 1951
The Pepper - Official Publication 
of the Seymour Public School
By Eleanor Barkley
  This senior girl is the youngest child of Mr. and Mrs. Lester King. Mildred Elaine King, well-known member of the class of '51, was born Oct. 16, 1932, south of Jerome, Iowa. She has three older brothers and one older sister.
  Mildred has dark brown hair and eyes, is 5 feet, 6 inches tall and weighs 135 pounds. She began her schooling at Jerome and received her eighth grade diploma from Numa.
  Mildred likes fried chicken as her favorite food. The movie "Annie Get Your Gun" rated first, and Esther Williams is her leading movie star. She like the book "Jane Eyre" best and lists shorthand as her preferred subject. Royal blue is her specific color and summer her favorite season of the year.
  When the radio is on the "Judy Canova Show" leads as her favorite program. Singer "Hank Snow" and the music of Skitch Henderson's orchestra are her musical preferences. For a pastime she likes to visit.
  This senior girl is a staunch Warriorette and basketball has played an important role in her high school career. Her activities are: basketball 4 years, honorable mention on Jack North's all state team and I.D.P.A all state team, band 1 year, waitress Junior-Senior banquet two years, Carnival Queen of 1950, Attendant of Homecoming Queen, "S" Club.
  Mildred's pet peeve is having to wait for someone or something. Her most exciting moment hasn't happened yet.
  The different activities offered are what she likes best about S.H.S. To improve it she would like a more even distribution of heat in the school building.
  Mildred is taking a commercial course but says her plans are indefinite.

JEROME News - By Miss Susie Sidles

Seymour Herald - 27 December 1951
  Mr. and Mrs. Billy Mincks of Cedar Falls spent the week end at the Charley McGavran home. They were joined there Sunday for turkey dinner by the Richard Mincks family and by Mr. and Mrs. Frank D. Jones and son, Frank, of Des Moines.
  Pete and Jim Sidles are spending the Christmas holidays at the parental Peter Sidles home from their school work at Iowa State College at Ames.
  Mr. and Mrs. Donald Owen of Iowa City are spending the holidays at the Bert F. Murphy home and with Mrs. S. J. Owen in Centerville. Tommy Owen of Louisville, Ky., is also at home for Christmas. Mrs. S. J. Owen is not so well and bedfast a part of the time.
  Janice Workman missed school several days with cold and flu.
  School closed Friday for a week vacation. The teachers will spend their vacation at home. Mrs. Murphy, with her family, spent Christmas day with Mrs. Ada Long and daughter, Helen, in Promise City.
  The school program was given Thursday evening, Dec. 20, and a good attendance in spite of severe weather was reported.
  The M.Y.F. accompanied by their sponsor, Mrs. Paul Felkner, and husband, were out singing carols Wednesday evening. Then after their regular meeting had refreshments at the church.
  Born to Mr. and Mrs. Howard Sidles at Ames a son Dec. 19. On the same morning the father, Howard, received his Masters Degree from Iowa State College.
  James Morris accompanied Mr. and Mrs. Merrill Condra and son, Jimmy, to Liberal and Santana, Kans., where they were to spend Christmas with the Raymond Leaming and John Kline families.
  Jane Ann McElvain fell at her home a few days ago and bruised her leg so badly she had been unable to walk since. Her sister said no bones were broken but a very bad bruise.
  Miss Phyllis Hamm of Davenport is spending several days at home.
  The W.S.C.S. will meet Thursday. The hostesses will be Mrs. J. W. Workman and Mrs. Earl Fry, Mrs. J. G. Morris will have charge of the program.
  James Felkner is at home and improved after several days in the Davis county hospital for a back injury.
  Mrs. Lydia Bollman and Mrs. W. R. Hefner are both at home and recovering after hospital experiences.
  Mrs. Raymond Leaming of Liberal, Kans., returned hoe last Monday after spending days at the parental J. G. Morris home.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

JEROME News - By Miss Susie Sidles

Seymour Herald - 11 January 1951
  James Morris returned to Satana, Kans., Saturday where he is attending school after spending the holidays at his home here.
  Mrs. Dominck Massa spent several days during the holidays in Moline, Ill., with her son, Barney, and her daughter, Mrs. Francis Jacobs, and Mr. Jacobs.
  Jerome school opened Tuesday after the vacation but the Semour bus did not run until Thursday because of ice on the roads.
  Mrs. J. E. Condra spent New Year's day with her sister, Mrs. Guy Streepy, at Udell.
  The youth fellowship held a sub-district meeting in West Grove Monday night. Several from here attended.
  Mr. and Mrs. Forest Workman and Janice spent Sunday at the Dick Lowe home near Seymour.
  The Rev. J. A. Walls of Centerville preached at the morning service Sunday, supplying for the Rev. M. R. Gonzales, who is still improving at his home in Mystic. The Rev. Mr. Wall will preach again Jan. 21.
  Mrs. S. J. Owen of Centerville spent Saturday at the K. E. Owen home. Mrs. K. E. Owen and daughter, Dianna Lynn, returned to their home New Years day after several days in the hospital and with Mrs. S. J. Owen in Centerville.
  The W.S.C.S. will have an afternoon meeting Thursday, Jan. 11. Mrs. Peter Sidles, Mrs. C. E. Ervin and Mrs. I. E. Fry will be hostesses. Mrs. Paul Felkner will give a book review and Mrs. Richard Mincks will have charge of the music.
  Pete and Jim Sidles and Phyllis Hawkins returned to their school work at Iowa State college in Ames New Year's day.
  Kenneth Inman spent a few days at the parental Edward Inman home and returned to Mason City New Year's day where he is employed.
  Miss Rosalie Stickler will be employed in the statehouse during the present session of the state legislature.

Rev. Powelson's Last Temperance Rally in Mystic!

The Rev. Charles W. Powelson
His Last Temperance Rally in Mystic
  The Rev. Charles W. Powelson served the Jerome Methodist Church from 1886 to 1892 as its pastor.  Jerome was one of the churches on a circuit that included Plano, Cincinnati and other Methodist churches in western Appanoose county.  Much detail of his life and family is included in an earlier post on The Jerome Journal.  His daughter Ethel was born during the time they lived in Appanoose County.  She later became a well-known, best-selling author, writing under her married name of Ethel Hueston.  The following excerpt is from Chapter One of Ethel Hueston's Preacher's Wife [Indianapolis & New York: The Bobbs-Merrill Company Publishers, 1941] which details the happenings on the day after Rev. Powelson learned at the Southeastern Iowa Annual Conference of the Methodist Church that he would be assigned to the Mt. Pleasant circuit for the coming year and had returned home to the parsonage in Cincinnati to tell his family about his new appointment.
Rev. Charles Wesley Powelson
  On that morning all she (Rev. Powelson's wife) said was, "It'll be better for all the children, getting them away from this mining crowd and all these saloons."
  "I'll miss the temperance rallies, " Father said. "There won't be any need for temperance rallies in Henry County, since they have prohibition."
  "There's plenty of the Lord's work to do, wherever you go," Mother said tartly. "And I guess you'll find plenty of drunkards to work on, even if they have got prohibition."
  "I shouldn't wonder," he assented. "I would certainly miss my temperance rallies."
  Minnie and Mary, our two oldest sisters, would miss them, too. Father's temperance rallies were the nearest approach to "theater" that we were permitted to witness. We found them far more emotionally dramatic than Epworth League entertainments or Sunday-school cantatas at Christmas and Easter. We younger ones were seldom allowed to go, as Mother considered us too young for such things, but we enjoyed hearing about them. Minnie, who was sixteen, went to play the portable organ and lead in the singing of rousing hymns and temperance songs. Mary, who even at twelve, was an outstanding elocutionist, was allowed to go to speak her temperance pieces, both thus playing their part in the good cause.
  Usually the temperance rallies were held in meeting houses, schools or public halls but frequently on street corners or in public parks. Nearly always they were scheduled for Saturday night, when the miners received their weekly pay and could look forward to a quiet Sabbath to recuperate from a debauch. Father himself, not satisfied with street corners, often followed his prospective converts into the saloons to fling his spirited harangue right across the bar at them. And many a Bible he sold there, and many a temperance pledge he got signed, though sometimes the Bible was left on the bar and the signature dishonored before the ink was dry.
  So effectively did Charley Powelson wage war against the liquor interests and win signers to his temperance pledges (many quite hardened drunkards said they had so good a time at his temperance rallies as they had at the saloon) that the "whiskey element" from being tolerantly amused became surly and presently threatening. They figured that it was all right for people to get religion if they wanted to and sign as many pledges as they liked so long as it did not cut into their revenue. But increasingly it did cut into their revenue.
  Before long, they were making open threats against Charley Powelson. They said they would "get him." They would run him out of the county. They would tar and feather him.
  Charley Powelson used their own threats against them as fresh fodder for his fiery campaign. There was nothing he liked better than a red-hot, knock-down, drag-out tussle with the Devil and his agents. And people liked him. Most of the drunkards in the county were personally devoted to him and it infuriated them to have him threatened on their account. In a way, it was an aspersion on their strength of character. It insinuated that they were not able to run their own affairs to suit themselves, that they could not take it or leave it alone, as they felt inclined. Almost daily he won more signers to his pledge and his pledges were better kept.
  For one Saturday night he had announced a mammoth rally to he held in Mystic. He was warned to stay away from that meeting. His friends, the Christians, were advised to keep him away unless they wanted him to get hurt. His other friends, the drunkards, warned him on their own account uneasily. The "liquor crowd" had spread the word that there was not going to be any rally at Mystic. But Charley would not be scared off.
  Mother refused to let Minnie and Mary attend that meeting. She said they were too young to get mixed up in a public brawl even in a good cause. Throwing a few stones and epithets was one thing, but when it came to breaking up a meeting it was no place for young girls. The girls were distressed about it, for Minnie loved to play the organ and lead the singing and Mary had a brand new temperance piece she had been practicing on. But Mother was firm. They could not go.
  Charley piled his temperance magazines and pamphlets into the buggy along with an extra supply of pledge cards. He sharpened his stubby pencils, for he was foresighted enough to have pencils ready to take advantage of a momentary moving of the Spirit. He whistled as he hitched his team to his top buggy and was in high spirits as he drove off.
  When he reached the schoolhouse in Mystic there were many men lounging around the steps and the gate and along the hitching rail. They surrounded him as he secured his team. These were his friends. They said they had arranged to patrol the grounds during the meeting to protect the teams and buggies. They said there were a lot of rowdies on hand.
  "My Missis says you to come and spend the night with us, Brother Powelson," said one hospitably. "Those rapscallions have got guns. They say they are laying for you on the road home."
  Charley laughed. "They can't bluff me.!"
  "I do not think they are bluffing. They are in a mean mood."
  "When a man means business, Brother, he does not go around blowing about what he's up to. He goes ahead about his mischief and does it and keeps his mouth shut."
  "Have you got a gun, Brother Powelson?"
  "No, I haven't and I do not need one. I've got all the ammunition I need, though." He patted his well-worn Bible with confident assurance.
  His friends did not like it. They grouped about him to escort him into the crowded meeting house. Every seat was filled. Boys were perched in the open windows and girls clustered along the edge of the platform. The space around the doors at the back of the hall was packed. He spied several of his own "church crowd" doggedly holding their places among the rowdies near the door. A tenseness of excitement, of grim foreboding, hung in the air.
  Charley made his way down the aisle toward the platform, shaking hands as he went, speaking cheerily and not forgetting to pass out temperance pamphlets. Several detained him long enough to whisper, "Be careful! They are laying for you!" or "Better go easy on them tonight." "You come to our house tonight," was the frequent invitation. "Don't you drive back that long dark road alone."
  "It takes more than the Devil and a few of his hired men to scare me out," he said gaily. He was rather pleased than otherwise. Nothing put such rousing spirit into a temperance rally as the prospect of a good row before it was over.
  He went triumphantly through the meeting, reading Scripture appropriate to the theme in his most resonant voice, lustily leading the singing. His prayers were as challenging as they were intercessional. He did not go far as to pray for the Devil in person, but he offered ringing petition on behalf of all rowdies, drunkards and the keepers of saloons and brothels.
  In the singing,that priceless adjunct to the movement of the Spirit, even with a less experienced aid at the organ in place of the banished Minnie, he outdid himself. Constantly he exhorted his hearers to sing louder, sing as though they meant it. "Let the Devil know we mean business!" he shouted! Tear the rafters down if you have to!"

              "Throw out the Life-line!
              Throw out the Life-line!
              Some one is sinking--today."

  He enlivened his lecture with anecdotes, some so humorous that they made his listeners laugh in spite of themselves; others so pitiful that they wrung tears from their eyes and set them blowing their noses; but every one with a well-barbed shaft straight to the heart of the liquor traffic.
  Then he got them all singing again while he walked, singing, up and down the aisles, distributing pledges and pencils, urging all to sign.
  There was no disturbance. He rocks were thrown, no benches broken. Not one indecent epithet was hurled. They rowdies muttered a little. They took pledge cards, tore them to shreds and tossed them derisively at Charley's feet. However, the meeting came to a peaceful but enthusiastic close.
  Again his friends urged him to go with one of them for the night, and again he laughed at their fears. "When they mean business, they keep their mouths shut," he said.
  "They say they are lying in wait for you along the road. Why don't you fool them and take the long way home?"
  "Not me! When anyone takes a shot at me I want to be on hand to see the fun."
  Someone untied his horses and fastened the tie straps. Another handed him his reins and whip.
  "God bless you, Brother Powelson," said one.
  "God bless you, brothers!" he responded heartily. "Good night!"
  They stood in silence as he flicked his reins and the horses cantered off. But he was not silent. He called good-by in a ringing voice, and as the buggy rolled away into the darkness, he broke into one of his favorite temperance songs:

       "Oh, no, boys! Oh, no!
       The turnpike's free wherever I go!
       I'm a temperance engine, don't you see,
       And the brewer's big horses can't run over me!"

  Crossing a low bridge he saw a couple of men loitering half out of sight behind the rails. "Hello, friends!" he saluted them cheerily, "Nice night! Looking for frogs' legs?"  And then, "'The turnpike's free wherever I go!'"
  At a shadowy place beside the road, a buggy was drawn off close to the fence. In it sat two men, motionless, not talking.
  "Anything wrong, neighbors? Need any help?"
  "No, we don't need any help," was the snarling answer.
  "Nice night! 'I'm a temperance engine, don't you see--'"
  In the corner by the cemetery, under a thick cluster of brush, stood a small group of men. As he approached, suddenly a shot was fired into the air. "Pretty dark night for target practice!" he hailed them. "'Oh, no, boys! Oh, no!'"
  As his team cantered briskly by, another shot was fired into the air, another and another.
  "'And the brewer's big horses can't run over me!'"
  There were no more shots that nigh and there were no more threats in the days that followed.
  A few nights later, after the family had retired, sleeping all over the place as was necessary, Jo in her cradle, the twins and I in trundle beds, and the rest distributed about in beds, on cots and couches, suddenly we were awakened by a dull yet resonant explosion in the cellar beneath us. We children crouched low in our beds and pulled the covers over our heads until Mother could come and take care of us. She came at once, she and Father having landed on their feet almost simultaneously with the explosion. Mother lighted a lamp and began a swift tour of the beds, counting noses, relieved to discover all intact. Father lighted a lantern, took his shotgun and went to the cellar.
  A nondescript, home-made bomb had been tossed through the open cellar window and had exploded there. The was was shattered on one side. A wooden partition had collapsed. Pieces of the crude bomb were strewn about on the floor and Father brought some of them upstairs, to show the family.
  "The liquor interests," he explained briefly. "Still trying to scare me out."
  "Did you close the window?" Mother asked briskly, for she felt that some decisive action should be taken in every emergency.
  He went down again and closed it, a futile precaution, since half the wall was blown out. He fastened the rusted padlock on the cellar door. Then he went outside with his lantern and shotgun and walked around the house and out to the stable for a look at his horses. He found no sign of prowlers.
  For the first time, I believe for the only time, Mother locked the doors. She left a couple of lamps burning the rest of the night as a sort of hint to further intruders that we were all up and wide awake. She moved my trundle bed into her him, too, along with the twins' and with the baby's cradle.
  "A nice way to bring up a family," she remarked exasperatedly as she got back into bed.
  With all this burning fresh in her memory, it is a small wonder that she regarded with quiet equanimity the prospect of our removal from iniquitous saloons and various fast sets to the quiet culture and prohibition of Mount Pleasant. Even if we had to buy new furniture to equip the big parsonage, she counted it an expenditure well worth while. We were not so sure. We were willing to subject ourselves to culture in a mild way, but temperance rallies were by far the most exciting phase of the Lord's work.
  "We'll still have camp meetings and revivals, won't we?" we asked wistfully, for if they, too, were to be taken from us, we would willingly have forgone the onward push of civilization.
  "We'll have revivals," said Mother. "I'm not sure whether camp meetings will be dignified enough for Henry County."

Wakefields' "Good Run Almost Done"

Daily Iowegian – 14 October 2011
Mystic native’s memoir recounts town, family histories
By Brooke Sherrard, Daily Iowegian
  CENTERVILLE — Last Christmas time, Richard and Marianne Wakefield presented their family and friends with a special gift: a book of Richard’s memories about his life and the history of his hometown, Mystic.
  Richard said it took him about six months to write the book, which he titled “Good Run Almost Done.” Marianne typed it up and helped rework the prose.
  The Wakefields had the book printed at ArrowQuick Solutions on the Centerville Square. They said they checked the price at a publishing company but would have had to order 250 copies, with a much higher per-copy price.
  The Wakefields submitted the text and photos to ArrowQuick Store Manager Sharon Mattly, who placed the photos for them. Unlike at a publishing company, they can have two or three more copies printed at any time. They said they have had about 80 copies printed so far.
  Richard said one of the most important things for him about writing the book was writing about Mystic.
  “Growing up in Mystic was quite an experience, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything,” Richard said.
Richard Wakefield holds a copy of his book 
“Good Run Almost Done.” 
Wakefield said he wanted to record his memories
of his life and the history of Mystic, 
mainly for his children and grandchildren.
Photo by Brooke Sherrard/Daily Iowegian

  In the book, Richard intersperses the story of his life with the history of Mystic. In 1954, the Wakefields left Mystic when Richard took a job at a grocery store in Newton. For the next quarter century, they moved around the state for Richard’s career managing grocery stores. His last remaining relative in Mystic moved away in 1970.
  But even though they had left Mystic, in the book Richard always comes back to what was going on in Mystic during each period of their lives, including what businesses were opening or closing and what the population was.  In the 1940 census, when Richard was 9, Mystic’s population was 1,884. By 1990, it had fallen to 545. However, in 2000, the population had risen to 588, the first increase Richard could remember.
  During the same time period, the Wakefields have witnessed Centerville’s population shrink from about 8,000 to about 5,000. “It’s hard for small towns now,” Marianne remarked. “There’s no industry going anywhere.” 
  In 1976, the Wakefields had the opportunity to return to the area because of the newly opened Easter’s grocery store at the Lake Center Mall. Richard said he had several options but chose the new store in Centerville. So, on their 25th wedding anniversary in 1976, Richard and Marianne moved into the house in Centerville where they still live today.
  “I had several places I could go, but I wanted to come home,” he said.
  Richard said he enjoyed returning to Centerville because most of the people he had known growing up in Mystic were still around.
  “About all of my classmates’ parents were alive and around,” he said. “They were old, but they came to the store and traded.”
  Richard said he had little difficulty writing the book, especially because he had strong memories from his childhood.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Clarence Elmer Ervin, 1887-1977, married 1908, Grace Melissa Euwer, 1891-1973

  Clarence Elmer Ervin was born in Cincinnati, Appanoose County, IA, on 17 May 1887, son of Francis Lewis Ervin and Julia Rosella Leonard, died in Centerville, Appanoose County, IA, 15 June 1977, and was buried in Pleasant Hill Cemetery, Cincinnati, Appanoose County, IA.  Clarence married in Cincinnati, Appanoose County, IA, 28 October 1908, Grace Melissa Euwer who was born in Washington, Washington County, IA, 26 March 1891, daughter of Archibald N. Euwer and Nancy Jane Rowan, died in Centerville, Appanoose County, IA, 4 September 1973, and was buried in Pleasant Hill Cemetery, Cincinnati, Appanoose County, IA.
Clarence Elmer Ervin & Grace Melissa Euwer
50th Wedding Anniversary Picture
  Three sons were born in this marriage:
  (1) Rodney Leonard Ervin was born in Cincinnati, Appanoose County, IA, 7 July 1909, and died in Iowa City, Wright County, IA, 20 November 1948.  Rodney married in Cincinnati, Appanoose County, IA, 3 August 1931, Mary Katherine Smith who was born in Cincinnati, Appanoose County, IA, 1 August 1910, daughter of George Milton Smith and Luella Sarah James, and died in Boone County, IA, 26 July 2000.
  (2) Paul Leonard Ervin was born in Cincinnati, Appanoose County, IA, 16 December 1917, died in Centerville, Appanoose County, IA, 14 July 2001, and was buried in the Jerome Cemetery, Lincoln Township, Appanoose County, IA. Paul married in Centerville, Appanoose County, IA, 24 December 1938, Dorothy Nadine Stagner who was born in Centerville, Appanoose County, IA, 12 July 1921, daughter of Clarence E. Stagner and Ila Ersel Patterson, died in Centerville, Appanoose County, IA, 9 August 2011, and was buried in the Jerome Cemetery.  Four sons were born in this union.
  (3) Thomas Elmer Ervin was born in Cincinnati, Appanoose County, IA, 11 July 1922, and died in Glenwood, Mills County, IA, in 1932. 
Clarence Elmer Ervin & Grace Melissa Euwer
Gravestone in Pleasant Hill Cemetery,
Appanoose County, Iowa
  The editor appreciates the contribution of the two photographs above to The Jerome Journal by Jimmy Ervin of Centerville, Iowa. 
  The information in this article is from two family trees on which contain more extensive information and pictures on the Ervin family:
  (1) Ervin-Euwer-Smith-Oviatt-Gill-Watkins-Rowan posted and owned by pamoviatt. 
  (2) MacConnell Family Tree posted and owned by Marcia Evberse.
  There are several family trees on which contain information, documents and pictures related to the Ervin family.  The editor is not sure which family tree was the original source for the various documents and pictures.  

Monday, October 10, 2011

Irish Folk Duo Keeps Traditional Music Alive

Daily Iowegian - 10 October 2011
Irish Folk Duo Keeps Traditional Music Alive
By Brooke Sherrard
  CENTERVILLE — A pair of area musicians is creating interest in a centuries-old musical tradition.
  Jacob Book, 20, and his wife, Autumn Book, 21, make up the folk duo The Tenants, which specializes in traditional Celtic folk and seafaring music. Jacob plays guitar and Autumn plays the flute and the pennywhistle, a tin instrument that resembles a recorder.
  Jacob is the son of David and Beverly Book, who in 1994 moved from the Ames area to a farm in Numa. He was homeschooled and spent much of his time as a youth traveling with his parents to French and Indian War reenactments. At the reenactments, David sells historical reproductions related to that time period. Jacob just returned from a month of traveling to four reenactments to help with his father’s store.  
  Interest in re-creating the French and Indian War extended to music. After his grandparents gave him a guitar about 10 years ago, Jacob began learning traditional folk music by playing with musicians at the reenactments, including the folk band Father Son and Friends. In the name of the band, Jacob explained, “Friends” meant anyone who joined in at a performance. 
  Reenacting also brought Jacob and Autumn together. He met Autumn, who grew up in a suburb of Cleveland, Ohio, at a 2007 reenactment in Youngstown, N.Y. After graduating from high school in 2008, she relocated to Appanoose County to join him. 
  Though The Tenants play music related to what one might have heard during the French and Indian War, much of it is from a later period. They said the music they play actually spans a 300-year period.
  The songs “don’t sound exactly like they would have sounded because they didn’t have guitars like this,” Jacob said. “We just play basically our modern renditions of these songs. The idea is to keep the spirit of tradition and traditional music alive.”
  In 2007, Jacob started toying with the idea of recording traditional music he had learned. He recorded some songs on his own. Then he met Autumn and they talked about starting a band. Along with a third member, Jake Moyle of Moravia, they started practicing in fall 2008.
  On St. Patrick’s Day 2009, they played their first show, at Vaudeville Mews in downtown Des Moines.
  “We started playing and everybody walked out,” Jacob said. “I was really discouraged.”
  So the band members made some changes. They had been using a full drum set and going for a rock sound. They decided to strip everything down and attempt a more traditional sound, and it has been working.
  “I don’t know if we’ve ever had anybody walk out on us anymore—unless they were going out to have a smoke,” Jacob joked.
  Autumn and Jacob said they were particularly happy with the response they got from Pancake Day spectators despite their early morning time slot. Many people who had come early for pancakes ended up being drawn to The Tenants’ performance.
  This past June, Moyle decided to leave the band.
  “Right now it’s just her and I,” Jacob said, “but in the future I would like to have a bigger band because it helps when you’re playing live to round out the atmosphere.”

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Iowa on the Civil War Battle Field

Iowa on the Battle Field
Posted: 08 Oct 2011 03:55 PM PDT
  A correspondent of an Eastern journal thus speaks of our State, in connection with the bravery of her sons on the field of battle at Pea Ridge, and of the German Patriotism:–
  Opposed to them were the gallant sons of Iowa, descended mainly from the Puritan fathers.  Immortal Iowa! what a page in the volume of American history is reserved for thee!  Long, long will a nation remember how her champions of freedom, like their sires of the Revolution, ragged and barefooted, remained after the expiration of their term of service, to lay their lives  a sacrifice upon the altar of their country at Wilson’s Creek; how they left their mark upon the foe at Belmont; how they scaled the heights of Donelson; and last but not least, how they crushed, with the might of Spartans, the advancing hordes at Sugar Creek, in the wilds of Arkansas. – There, too, stood the patient, courageous sons of Germany, face to face with an insolent and unprincipled foe, contending for those principles of liberty and justice for which they have until now striven in vain.  Honor to these men and their great leader for the part they sustained in this momentous day.
  –-Published in The Davenport Daily Gazette, Davenport, Iowa, Saturday Morning, March 29, 1862, p. 2
  The above post is transcribed from the Civil War Notebook - a blog devoted to the history of the Civil War by Jim Miller.

Friday, October 7, 2011


  The Jerome Journal is undertaking the digitization of the available historic newspapers of Seymour, including The Seymour Press (1890-1905), The Seymour Leader (1904-1906 & 1918), The Seymour Democrat (1906-1919), and The Seymour Herald (1918-Present). 
  The digitization project will use already microfilmed newspapers published prior to 2006, plus new microfilm of recent copies of The Seymour Herald published in 2006 through 2011. The 50 reels of microfilm will be scanned into an electronic database and made searchable with key words, phrases, or dates. The database will be available on the Internet in January 2012, without charge, to all researchers with Internet access.
  Persons who will benefit include family and local historians and students looking for specific information about Seymour and the surrounding area in Wayne and Appanoose counties.  This searchable newspaper archive will include  all the articles, photos, birth announcements, engagement and wedding announcements  obituaries, and advertisements, including The Pepper [the Seymour School newspaper], published in these historic Seymour newspapers.
A digitized copy of The Seymour Leader
published 18 May 1916
  Advantages over the current use of the microfilm at the Seymour Community Library and other libraries and museums will be: (1) ability to search all editions of the newspapers over 130 years with key words, names, places, organizations, churches, and businesses, (2) ability to print articles of interest when found, (3) availability from any computer with Internet access for those unable to visit a library or museum with copies of the existing microfilms.
  The digitization of the newspapers will be done by The Advantage Companies of Cedar Rapids which does similar work for the Iowa State Historical Society, including the safe storage of the ISHS collection of Iowa newspapers. Advantage will also develop, host and maintain the website on which the Seymour newspapers will be available. Advantage is also currently working with the Appanoose County Historical Society on the digitization of the available Centerville historic newspapers.
  The Jerome Journal is seeking $3,000.00 in gifts toward the project. Bill Hawkins, editor/publisher of The Jerome Journal, will match every gift of $100.00 or more from individuals, businesses or organizations up to a total of $3,000 for gifts made before November 30, 2011. These combined gifts will provide the $5,300.00 needed to complete the newspaper project. If more funds are contributed, the additional gifts will be used to digitize additional records, documents and publications related to family and local history of the Jerome-Seymour area.
  Donations, payable to "The Jerome Journal," can be sent to:
        Attn: Bill Hawkins
        The Jerome Journal
        2909 Hemlock Farms
        Lords Valley, PA 18428-9034
A digitized copy of The Seymour Herald
published 1 January 1953
  The above Seymour Herald includes one of the weekly Jerome columns written by Miss Susie Sidles for over 25 years (over 1000 articles) which provide extensive information on families and organizations of the Jerome area.  Several other weekly neighborhood columns appeared in the Seymour newspapers over the years. A wonderful resource for family and local historians.
  If you have any questions about the project, please contact Bill Hawkins by phone at 570-775-7660 or by email at 
  Download The Seymour Herald article and the two samples shown above from: The Seymour Herald - 6 October 2011.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

American Legion Post #180's Veterans' Records

  The Seymour Community Library has a copy of the notebook compiled by the American Legion Post #180 in Seymour which contains Veteran's Records, Iowa Veteran Grave Registration Forms and, in some cases, obituaries and/or other newspaper clippings related to veterans.  The notebook also contains an Every Name Index to Veteran Records & Veterans' Grave Registration Records. The index contains the names of the primary veterans for whom there are records in the notebook AND all other names that appear on the forms and/or newspaper clippings.  Thus, for the persons identified in the Index there may be extensive information; but also the person in the Index may only be to a minor reference such as those mentioned in obituaries (i.e. pallbearers, flower girls, soloists, etc.). 
  The Seymour Community Library permitted me to have a copy made of the notebook for research purposes related to the Seymour-Jerome area.  Persons may check the Every Name Index to Veteran Records & Veterans' Grave Registration Records for names they are researching.  Anyone finding a person of interest may contact me for a copy of the related pages of the Notebook. 
  If you want a copy of any pages, please email me [] and give me the name of the person and the pages identified in the Index for that person and I will attempt to provide you with a copy of those pages either directly or through a posting on The Jerome Journal.
  Please take a look at the three pages related to Loren Webster Van Dorn Veteran's Notebook [Pages 192-194] which contain a Veteran's Record, an Iowa Grave Registration Form and obituary to get an idea of the information which might be available for a veteran.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Condra Family Holds 79th Reunion

Seymour Herald - 22 September 2011
  The 79th annual Condra family reunion was held August 14 at the Motel 60 conference room in Centerville with a co-op dinner. Edith Brown was recognized in honor of her 90th birthday. A moment of silence was held in memory of Dan Condra who had passed away this year. The afternoon was spent visiting and researching family history. The 80th reunion will be held the second Sunday of August 2012.
  Present were Marvin and Marilyn Condra of Unionville, Mo.; Harold Condra of Gladstone, Mo.; Carl Condra of Grain Valley, Mo.; Chris, Maribeth and Carly Condra of Blue Springs, Mo.; Duane and Judy Condra of Oak Grove, Mo.; John Condra of Kansas City, Mo.; Chuck and Ivy TGeater of Lenexa, Ks.; Tom and Terri Love of Olathe, Ks.; Marge Sutter of Ames; Gerald and Minnie Argo of Carlisle; Bryan and Katie McDanel and Ellen and Jeffrey of Monroe; Charles and Cassie Henderson and Abigayle and Austin of Seymour; Dwight Brown of Seymour; Elizabeth Conn, Edith Brown and Mary Louise Mathews of Centerville.

Loren Webster Van Dorn, 1894-1939

Unidentified Obituary in Veteran's Record
of American Legion Post No. 180 - Seymour IA
of which he was a Charter Member
Services at Wellman for Loren Van Dorn
  Loren Webster Van Dorn was born in Appanoose county near Seymour, Iowa, September 27, 1894, and passed away at Knoxville, Iowa, Nov. 15, 1939 at the age of 45 years one month and 18 days. He was the eldest member of a family of seven children of George B. and Ellen Stoner Van Dorn. He was born and reared on the farm owned by his great grandfather, grandfather and father. He attended the rural school and later his parents moved nearer to Seymour to enable Loren and his brothers and sisters to attend the Seymour high school. From youth Loren applied himself very industriously to the tasks of the farm and studied most diligently in school.
  After graduation from high school in 1913, he and his father and brother Noah operated the two stock farms in partnership.
  On May 14, 1918, he entered the United States army at Centerville, Iowa. He served as private first class in the 313th Cavalry at Del Rio, Texas, and later in the 69th Field Artillery at Louisville, Kentucky. He was honorably discharged December 21, 1918. He resumed farming for several years and then entered the State University of Iowa where he received his Bachelor of Arts degree in 1925. He was affiliated with the Phi Delta Gamma, a forensic fraternity and Rhoterian club, a debating society of which he served as president.
  On June 10, 1925, he was united in marriage to Mary E. Shetler of Wellman, Iowa, at Greeley, Colorado. They established their home in Boulder, Colorado, where their only child, Rosalind Marie, was born Aug. 14, 1926. During the 12 years of residence in Colorado Loren attended the University of Colorado several terms where he took post graduate work, and he taught for eight years in various Colorado schools serving as athletic coach or principal.
  For several years he operated a tire store and gasoline station in Boulder where Rosalind could receive proper medical treatment ... serious illness.
  On May 26, 1937, he was called back to Seymour by the sickness and death of his father. He then decided to move back to the farm to operate it and take care of his mother.
  In November, 1938, he was stricken down with a very serious illness known as Tularemia or "Rabbit Fever." For many months a high fever ravished his body, necessitating many surgical operations and hospitalization at various times. Gradually the fever subsided and he seemed to be on the road to recovery. He was always patient and hopeful that he would regain his health. Several weeks before his death he suffered a sudden relapse from which there seemed to be no apparent relief. It was decided best to move him to the Veterans Hospital at Knoxville for further care. He rapidly grew worse and passed away at 12 o'clock, Nov. 15, 1939. It was revealed that he suffered from acute Pericarditis of the heart.
  His passing away is a severe shock to his many friends and relatives and an almost unbearable grief to his wife, mother and daughter, who have almost constantly ministered to his needs during his long illness. He will also be greatly missed by his many relatives, friends and neighbors for he possessed an unusually pleasant, kindly disposition. He was truly a learned man, a generous friend and a most devoted father, husband and son.
  At Boulder, Colo., and in any school community he chanced to reside he took a most active part in Christian youth organizations. Always adhering to the principles of the Christ life, he rededicated his life to the furtherance of Christianity during his last illness.
  He leaves to mourn his wife, daughter, mother, two brothers, Noah of Rock Island, Ill., Earl of Seymour, three sisters, namely Opal Fox of Davenport, Orpha Weist and Alpha Brown of Seymour and a host of relatives and friends.
  The body was taken to Wellman, Iowa, for burial. Funeral services were held at the Baptist church Saturday, Nov. 18 at one o'clock. The Reverend Mr. and Mrs. Willis and Daniel Fisher conducted the services and a Mennonite ladies quartet rendered three beautiful selections. Six members of the American Legion served as pall bearers and the services at the grave were very impressive conducted by the Chas. Polton Post of the American Legion at the Wellman cemetery.
  We wish to thank those who so kindly sent flowers and otherwise aided so generously during the long illness and the death of our loved one.
  Mrs. Mary E. Van Dorn and daughter Rosalind and Mrs. Ellen Van Dorn.
Sources of Information
  The information above is included on the Veteran's Record, Iowa Graves Registration Form, and obituary included in the Veteran's Notebook [Pages 192-194] compiled by the American Legion Post #180 of Seymour, Iowa.