Sunday, February 20, 2011
Biographical Records of Residents of Johns Township
and Surrounding Area - 2nd Edition
(Appanoose and Wayne Counties, Iowa)
Compiled by Willis and Richard Gorden
Cleo Cecil (Baughman) Barker, 97, of Centerville, died Sunday, March 3, 2002, at the Golden Age Care Center. She was born November 5, 1904, on a farm west of Promise City, the youngest child of William and Lydia (Baylor) Baughman. She graduated from Promise City High School in 1920 and Corydon High School in 1922. She attended Simpson College in Indianola and graduated from a normal course. She taught school for 22 years in Wayne, Appanoose and Henry counties.She married Jesse Oren Peck of Crawfordsville, March 1, 1946. They moved to a farm south of Centerville in March 1948. He preceded her in death April 9, 1964. She moved into Centerville and was a substitute teacher in Centerville Schools and became children's librarian at Drake Public Library for over 5 years. She married Charles Barker, August 9, 1982. He preceded her in death April 29, 2001. Surviving are a stepson, Ronald Barker and his wife, Marilyn; 3 step-grandchildren; a niece, Roberta Hupp Taylor; 2 nephews, Robert and Max Hupp; and other relatives. Also preceding her in death were her parents; 6 sisters, Malesse, Ola, Etta, Martha, Laura and Eliza; 3 brothers, Leonard, Leon and James; 3 nieces, Dorothy Richardson Killion, Betty Richardson Patterson and Eloise Baughman Langloss; and a nephew, William Richardson. She was a member of Centerville First United Methodist Church, the Wayne County Historical Society, Retired Teachers Organization and the18-80 Club of Centerville. Funeral was held at the Randolph Funeral Home in Seymour with Rev. Jim Gubser officiating. Burial was in the Promise City Cemetery. Memorials were given to the Promise City Cemetery or to a memorial of the donor's choice.
Cleo Baughman with her students in Jerome School
Charles Robert Barker, 1905-2001
Charles Robert “Bob” Barker, 95, of Centerville died Sunday, April 29, 2001, at the Golden Age Care Center. He was born August 31, 1905, in Promise City, the son of Harvey and Erma (Noble) Barker. He married Ruth Eaton in June 1924. She preceded him in death in March 1978. In August 1981 he married Cleo [Baughman] Peck. She survives. Also surviving are a son, Ronald Barker and his wife, Marilyn, of Moravia; 3 grandchildren; and 2 great granddaughters. Also preceding him in death were his parents; 3 sisters, Iva Smith, Dee Liddle and Thelma Keller; and 2 brothers, Everett and Dempse Barker. He farmed north of Seymour until he retired in 1964 and moved to northwest Arkansas. He worked for a contractor there for 16 years, moving back to Iowa in 1981. Graveside memorial services were held at the Promise City Cemetery with Pastor Jim Gubser officiating. Memorials were given to the Jones Church or Promise City Cemetery.
The History of Appanoose County, Iowa
Unidentified Seymour, Iowa, Newspaper Obituary, 1908
William H. [Henry] Bradley was born Jan. 30, 1826, and died in Mt. Pleasant, Iowa, at the home of his daughter, Mrs. B. M. Boydston, Oct. 28, 1908. He has made his home with his daughter in Mt. Pleasant for the past six years. Until that time since coming to Iowa from Indiana—the state of his birth—in 1856, me made his home in Appanoose County. Until the death of his wife [Martha] in 1882, he resided three miles east of Jerome but since then he has made his home with his children. He was the father of nine children, two having died in infancy and P. H. Bradley died about ten years ago. The remaining children were all present at the funeral and are as follows: J. R. and W. A. Bradley of Centerville, Mrs. B. M. [Melvina] Boydston and Mrs. James [Sarah] Johns of Mt. Pleasant and Mrs. J. A. [Elvira] Sidles of this place. He has been in feeble health for some time but his last sickness lasted only a few days. Charles, Mrs. Johns and Mrs. Boydston were with him at the time of his death and accompanied the remains to Jerome where the funeral was held at the M. E. church conducted by Rev. Perdew, pastor of the M. E. church of Centerville, assisted by Rev. Bishop of this place. The Masonic Lodge of Centerville had charge of the services at the cemetery, where the body was laid to rest by the side of his wife.
Past and Present of Appanoose County, Iowa
Volume II, Pages 402-404
[Chicago: The S.J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1913]
Through well-directed activity and enterprise John R. Bradley has gained a high place in the business circles of Centerville, where since 1892 he has been engaged in general contracting and building. He was born in Morgan County, Indiana, August 9, 1850, and is a son of William H[enry] and Martha [Ann] (Elliott) Bradley, the former born in Clark County, Indiana, January 30, 1826, and the latter in Kentucky, February 20, of the same year. Mr. Bradley's paternal grandfather was Benjamin [Franklin] Bradley, a native of the South [Maryland]. His wife [Elizabeth Keynon] was born in Ireland [or Pennsylvania]. The mother of our subject removed from Indiana to Kentucky when she was still a child and there her marriage occurred. Immediately afterward Mr. and Mrs. William H. Bradley came to Iowa, locating in Appanoose County, where they purchased eighty acres of land in Vermillion Township, adding to it from time to time until the farm comprised six hundred and eighty acres. Upon this the father engaged in general farming but later gave much attention to buying and shipping stock, carrying on an extensive business along this line for a number of years. His wife passed away in 1881 and six years later the father sold the farm and went to Numa, where he engaged in the mercantile business. He remained there for eight years and then sold his business interests and moved to Centerville, where he made his home with the subject of this review. Later he moved to Mount Pleasant and there his death occurred at the home of his daughter, Melvina Boydston. For many years he was active in the Masonic order, holding membership in Centerville Lodge, No. 42, F. & A. M.
John R. Bradley acquired his education in the district schools of Appanoose County and in the Centerville High School. After he laid aside his school books he helped his father with the work of the farm until he was married, after which he moved upon a portion of the homestead, which he developed and improved for some time. In 1884 he learned the carpentering trade and worked at it for wages for eight years, after which he established himself independently as a contractor and builder, in which work he is still active. He has erected some of the finest and most attractive business houses and residences in Centerville and the surrounding district and has handled much valuable property, doing a very extensive and profitable business.
Mr. Bradley has been thrice married. His first wife was in her maidenhood Miss Mary [Ann] Crist, a daughter of John [G.] and Mary Ann [Coffman] Crist, the former a farmer in Appanoose County. The first Mrs. Bradley died one year later [was buried in the Jerome Cemetery] and in 1884 the subject of this review wedded Mrs. Martha C. Brown, a daughter of Addison and Rhoda (Bryant) Veach, the former born in West Virginia and the latter in Galesburg , Illinois. Both came to Appanoose County in the early '50s and there the father learned the blacksmith's trade, later opening a shop in Centerville. Afterward he removed to Numa and engaged in the same business until his death, which occurred in 1895. His widow returned to Centerville and died in that city at the home of the subject of this review. Mrs. Martha Bradley passed away on the 11th of February, 1902, and on the 29th of December, of the following year, Mr. Bradley was again married. His third union was with Miss Ann Spooner, a daughter of James B. and Catherine (Bryant) Spooner, the former a native of Indiana, born in 1828, and the latter of Galesburg, Illinois, where her birth occurred in 1833. The father came to Iowa in 1846 and entered eighty acres of government land in Center Township, Appanoose County. A few years later the mother came and in this section their marriage occurred, after which they settled upon the farm, where they passed the remainder of their lives, the mother dying in 1898 and the father on the 29th of April, 1905. Mr. Bradley had one daughter by his second marriage, Martha, who was born May 10, 1890, and who died October 9, 1911. During her life she was a member of the Order of the Eastern Star at Centerville. Mr. and Mrs. Bradley are devout members of the Methodist church.Mr. Bradley gives his allegiance to the Republican Party and has held various responsible township offices, for he never seeks to avoid the duties of citizenship. Fraternally, he is connected with Centerville Lodge, No. 42, F. & A. M. Throughout his business career he has always faithfully discharged any obligation devolving upon him and has thus established a reputation for integrity and reliability, his name being an honored one wherever it is known.
Note: The notations in [ ]s were made by the editor of The Jerome Journal.
SARAH J. BRADLEY TAKEN WHILE ON VISIT TO SISTER
Sarah J. Bradley, of Los Angeles, Calif., passed away in the St. Joseph hospital in Centerville, Iowa, Thursday, September 8.
Miss Bradley was the daughter of John and Sarah [Elliott] Bradley, Appanoose County pioneers, and had grown to young womanhood in that county and had entered the teaching profession. She taught first in rural schools, and later in Cincinnati, Jerome, Seymour and cities of this community. She went to Los Angeles twenty years ago where she became a teacher in the grade schools, where she taught until her retirement two years ago.
She came to Centerville August 1, for a visit with her sister, Mrs. B. C. [Mary Ann] Van Ness. She had been there only a week when she was stricken with intestinal flu and was taken to the hospital where she grew constantly weaker and death came in spite of all that medical aid could do.
Miss Bradley was well known over Wayne and Appanoose counties and her death brings sorrow to a host of friends here.
Unidentified Newspaper Article
The body of Miss Sarah Bradley, who died in St. Joseph's hospital, was brought to Seymour for burial Saturday afternoon. She was buried on the family lot. Miss Bradley taught school in Seymour for many years. She was a charter member of Seymour Chapter 124 O. E. S. Several of her pupils and friends were at the service.
Los Angeles Woman Succumbed at St. Joseph Hospital
Last Night—Had Been Here Month
Sarah J. Bradley, 74, of Los Angeles, California, who was here visiting with her sister, Mrs. B. C. [Mary Ann] Van Ness, of 805 North Eleventh Street, died in St. Joseph's hospital at 9 P. M. yesterday.
Miss Bradley, who was the daughter of John and Sarah [Elliott] Bradley, Appanoose County pioneers, had grown to young womanhood in this county and had entered the teaching profession. She taught first rural schools, and later in Cincinnati, Jerome, Seymour and cities of this community. Twenty years ago she went to the west coast and became a teacher in the grade schools of Los Angeles, where she taught until her retirement two years ago.
A sufferer from asthma, Miss Bradley had written her sister here saying that she planned to visit in Iowa just as soon as she recovered from an attack she was having. She came here August 1 and was weak from her recent illness. She was stricken with intestinal flu after her first week here and taken to the hospital 10 days ago, grew constantly weaker until her death in spite of every care.
Miss Bradley and Mrs. Van Ness were the last of a family of eleven, Mrs. Van Ness now being the sole survivor. Miss Bradley was well known over the county and her death brings sorrow to a host of friends here as well as in California.
Funeral services will from the Miller funeral home at 2:30 Saturday afternoon and burial will be in Seymour.
Saturday, February 19, 2011
Centerville Iowegian, October 1945
Charles Elliott Bradley, 81, retired resident of Champaign, Illinois, since 1821, passed away at 4:30 a. m., Monday [15 October 1945] at Burnham City hospital after a six weeks' confinement due to a fractured hip.
Born on November 6, 1864 near Centerville, Ia., the third son of William and Martha Ann [Elliott] Bradley, he was the last survivor of a family of seven children.
In early manhood, Mr. Bradley became associated with the Williams Hardware and Implement Company of Centerville, Iowa, later accompanying the firm to Chicago where it became known as the Williams Organ and Piano Company. After 20 years of service as the company's representative, he became branch manager for the Davenport Wagon Company, traveling throughout the United States. He later retired to his farm south of Mattoon [Illinois] where he lived for seven years, moving to Champaign in 1921 to take up permanent residence at 511 South Prairie Street.
Mr. Bradley was united in marriage to Stella Bradley, only daughter of Patrick Bradley of Mattoon on June 21, 1898. He was a member of the First Methodist Church of Centerville, Iowa. Surviving are his widow; three daughters, Mrs. H. F. [Gladys] Priebe of Cleveland Heights, Ohio; Mrs. Ray [Charlotte] Fisher, Ft. Worth, Texas, and Beth Bradley at home, who is on the U. I. Music faculty; and four grandsons, Bradley and Paul Priebe and Robert and Richard Fisher.
Funeral services were conducted from the Mittendorf Chapel, at 2:30 p. m. Wednesday. Interment was in the Mt. Hope Cemetery.
A number of relatives live in this county: Mrs. J. E. [Ettie Melvina Sidles] Condra of Numa, Susie Sidles of Seymour route and Mrs. Guy [Jennie Maurine Sidles] Streepy of Udell are nieces. William John[s] of Centerville, a nephew, and several other distant relatives.
Wednesday, February 16, 2011
The Seymour Herald - 23 May 1957
By Richard Gilbert and Tom Morrow
The “Big Jim” coal mine had its beginning about 1900 when A. G. Widmer sank a 200 foot shaft on land presently owned by John Argenta Sr. located on the northeast edge of Seymour.
The mine was called the “Big Jim” because Jim Morrison, who owned the property at that time, wore a size 13 shoe. The mine was originally called “Big Jim No. 13,” but this was soon shortened to “Big Jim.” The “Big Jim” was one of the largest coal mines in southern Iowa.
Widmer owned the “Big Jim” and the “Sunshine (Seymour Coal Company) mine.” He later owned the “Streepy mine” located near Numa. Widmer incidentally, was the first person in Seymour to own an automobile, a model F Buick. The car was such a novelty that on several July Fourth celebrations Widmer would give rides around the square for 10 cents a ride. He then donated the proceeds to a worthy cause. Widmer was the son-in-law of the late Dr. Ernest.
The business office for both the “Big Jim” and the “Sunshine” mines was located in the building now occupied by Grismore's jewelry store.
The “Big Jim” consisted of a 200-foot vertical shaft from which four main horizontal shafts branched out over a large area. One main shaft stretched a half-mile east below the Milwaukee railroad track; another led off toward the H. N. Mahaffrey farm; a third went in the direction of the Harve Lord farm; while the fourth shaft tunneled under the town of Seymour. From the four main shafts there were many smaller shafts that branched out to cover a wide area.
The mine was operated, even by today's standards, in a very efficient manner. The four main shafts were lighted by electricity, and an electric-powered car which ran on steel rails transported coal along the four main shafts. Mine ponies hauled the coal from smaller shafts to one of the main shafts and from there it was transported on the electric railroad to the vertical shaft. There were seven mechanical coal cutting machines used in the mining operation.
The ponies that were used in the mine were kept in stalls built at the base of the vertical main shaft. The ponies never saw the light of daylight from early September until mid-spring, but in the summer they were taken to the surface every evening. The ponies could not be exposed to cold weather since the temperature change from the mine would cause pneumonia.
The “dump,” consisting of slag and dirt brought up from beneath the ground, made the “Big Jim” mine a landmark for many years. This “dump” covered an area of six acres and was easily visible for many miles.
The “Big Jim” mine provided employment for from 200 to 250 men and had an output of about 600 tons of coal a day. Nearly all the coal mined was shipped on the railroad, one of the coal mine's best customers, but some was sold to the townspeople. About six or seven freight cars were loaded every day. The wages the workers earned depended upon the amount of coal they could mine. The average wage was about three to four dollars a day. Coal sold for about a dollar a ton.
With so many men working at the mine, a village soon grew up around the mine. The “town” consisted of 18 to 20 small houses, two boarding houses, and a saloon. There also was a grocery store located on Youngs Avenue, “The Italian Store,” operated by Jack and Pete Cambruzzi.
Many persons are familiar with some of the men who worked at the “Big Jim” early in the 1900's. George Elmore was the head engineer, blacksmith and general foreman for the mine; John Reay was check weighman for many years. Another person who worked at the “Big Jim” was a person who was known by nearly everyone as “Big Dominick” Maddalozzo. Several of the men who were employed at the “Big Jim” are still living today in or near Seymour. Among these are John Argenta Sr., Fred Sebben, Beno Sebben, John Sebben, Simon Mores, Frank Saccaro, Tony Sebben, Johnny DeGard, Tony DeRocco and John Reay.
The main vertical shaft, the opening where all men, coal, slag, ponies, and machinery were brought up out of the mine, contained two separate steel elevators called “cages.” These two “cages” made up a “catch” which was powered by a steam engine. The “catch” stopped at two levels above ground—one at surface level and the other at the top of a tipple where the coal was unloaded into railroad cars.
Below, on the floor, there was a long pull-rope which was fastened to a steel triangle at the surface. If the men in the mine wished to send a load of coal or other materials to the mine tipple they pulled the cord twice, which was ta signal to the “catch” operator to take the elevator to the top. When the men were going to ride the “catch” they signaled with three rings to tell the operator to bring the “catch” up slowly and stop it at the ground level.
One day, George Jones Jr., who worked in the mine with his father, boarded the cage for a ride to the ground level. However, for some reason or other, he failed to signal to the “catch” operator that the elevator was to be stopped at the first level.
The operator presumed that he was to take the “catch” all the way to the tipple and so started the elevator up the shaft at the speed used to haul the coal. Young Jones, unaware that the “catch” would not stop for him, started to step out at the ground level but was quickly dashed against a heavy wooden beam supporting the tipple as the “catch” whizzed upward. The blow knocked Jones off balance and he fell 200 feet to the floor of the mine and was killed.
Although this was only one of several accidents that occurred at the “Big Jim” it is remembered because of the irony connected with it. Several weeks before his death George has visited a fortune teller who had come to Seymour with a carnival. She predicted that George Jones Jr. would not live to be 21. Naturally, George told his fellow workers at the the mine, much to everyone's amusement, of the Gypsy's prediction but after his death there was a great deal of speculation about the fortune teller's statement.
In the spring of 1918, operations at the “Big Jim” mine came to an abrupt halt. During the night there was a cave-in at the bottom of the main vertical shaft, caused by the pressures that had been placed on the braces over the years.
Widmer estimated that it would cost several thousand dollars to clear the mine before operation could be resumed and felt that because the merchants of the town received the business of the miners on his payroll, they should contribute towards the cost of clearing the shaft. They refused, however, and Widmer got a few men to enter the mine through the air shaft and salvage the equipment. He then sold the mine and took the equipment to Missouri where he opened a new mine.
Several years later parts of the huge “dump” were hauled away for use as ballast and in road construction.(Note: Bill Augustine, John Argenta Sr., and Lawrence Ruby assisted us in gaining information for this article.)
This article from The Seymour Herald is included in the coal mining exhibit at the Prairie Trails Museum of Wayne County in Corydon, Iowa. The editor sincerely appreciates that Brenda DeVore of the Prairie Trails Museum sent a copy of it to post in The Jerome Journal at my request.
Monday, February 14, 2011
Daily Iowegian – April 1996
Ida R. McGavran, daughter of B. A. and Lutitia (Stoner) Morrison, was born January 28, 1903 in Appanoose County, Iowa. She passed away April 7, 1996 at the Seymour Care Center at the age of 93 years, 2 months, 9 days.
She lived in the Jerome area all of her life, where she farmed and was a life-time member of the Jerome Methodist Church.
She married George Mincks in 1922 and they later divorced. She married Charles McGavran in 1947 and he preceded her in death. Also preceding here were her parents and a sister, Mary C. Jones.
She is survived by two sons, Richard Mincks and wife, Genevieve of Seymour and William Mincks and wife, Donna of Cedar Falls; a newphew, Frank D. Jones of Naples, Florida; four grandchildren, Mary Catherine Couchman of Bella Vista, Arkansas; Steven Mincks of Chillicothe, Missouri; Jane Turner of Clive, Iowa, and Susan Pitcher of Las Vegas, Nevada; plus four great-grandchildren, Duane Couchman of Milo; Troy Couchman of Bella Vista, Ark.; and Andrew and Laura Turner of Clive, Iowa.
Ida was active in her family life, the church and White Shrine of Jerusalem, in which she served as Worthy High Priestess.
Funeral services were held Thursday, April 11, 1996 at 1:30 p.m. from the Randolph Funeral Home, Seymour with Rev. Leroy Perkins officiating. The hymns “In The Garden” and “Take My Hand, Precious Lord” were sung by Milton Albertson, accompanied by Mary Parker, pianist.
Pallbearers were Troy Couchman, Gary Couchman, Duane Couchman, Brian Turner, Steven Mincks and Paul McElvain. Honorary bearers were Kenneth Owen and John Ponsetto. Interment was in the Jerome Cemetery.
A memorial was established to the Jerome Methodist Church.
Ida R. McGavran's Gravestone in Jerome Cemetery
The editor sincerely appreciates that the above obituary was found and sent to The Jerome Journal by Brenda DeVore of the Prairie Trails Museum of Wayne County, Corydon, Iowa.
Daily Iowegian - 6 December 1996
Leishman Connor Dove, 86, of Centerville, died Tuesday, Dec. 3, 1996, at St. Joseph's Mercy Hospital. He was born June 25, 1910, in Plano, the son of Hedley and Ida (Connor) Dove.
He married Lera Cowles May 14, 1938, in Lancaster, Mo. She survives.
Also surviving are a son, Larry Dove and his wife, Sonya, of Centerville; a daughter, Sandra Banks and her husband, Gary, of Seymour; a brother, Junior Dove of Centerville; five grandchildren; and 10 great-grandchildren.
Preceding him in death were his parents and a brother, Sammy Dove.
He received his education in Centerville schools. He worked as an iron construction worker for many years and was a member of International Local 67 Ironworkers Union. He was a 50-year member of the Masonic Lodge, Jackson Lodge 42, in Centerville.
Funeral services will be held at 1:30 p.m. Friday at the Schmidt-Duley Funeral Home in Centerville with the Rev. Susen LeBlanc officiating. Burial will be in the Jerome Cemetery in Jerome. Visitation will be from 1 to 8 p.m. today, Thursday, with the family present from 6 to 8 p.m. A Masonic service will begin at 7 p.m.Memorials may be given to the Shriners Crippled Children's Hospital and contributions may be left at the funeral home.
Dove Gravestone in Jerome Cemetery
The editor sincerely appreciates that the above obituary was found and sent to The Jerome Journal by Brenda DeVore of the Prairie Trails Museum of Wayne County, Corydon, Iowa.
Wednesday, February 9, 2011
Sunday, February 6, 2011
By Bill Burch
Rural communities are drowning. Children are leaving never to return. Their historical town squares are falling in and burning only to be replaced with gravel parking lots. A majority of those with great ability and opportunity chase opportunity, opportunity they don't see in their rural hometown community.
Centerville, Iowa was no different. What happened? Due to the marketing efforts made on behalf of our multiple businesses I've received more attention in regard to our community's turn around than I deserve. Let me share the real reason Centerville, Iowa and Appanoose County are turning around.
First there was a lot of groundwork by multiple small groups of people at different times. The foundation was set by a truly entrepreneurial group a half century ago. They did what it took to capture a federal project now known as Rathbun Lake. When the lake went in the torch was handed off and for 30 years a small group worked on the establishment of a resort on Rathbun Lake. Honey Creek Resort on Rathbun opened in 2009.
There was also a group who pioneered the town square restoration project on what is Iowa's and possibly the country's largest county seat town square. There are many other groups who played their part. It is interesting to me to notice how most things of true value were organized by small gorilla like ad hoc groups who, with an entrepreneurial spirit, saw a need and went after it.
All these things happened in Centerville and Appanoose County to create a foundation for something unprecedented and unheard of. This is where the attention needs to be directed.
In 1996 a local boy who was born in Appanoose County 64 years earlier took an interest in his home community. Those great leaders who truly impact the world for decades, if not centuries, all do things the same way. But the way they do things is often exactly opposite of how the rest of the world, including rural communities like ours, do things. What is it that they do? They inspire. They first know the heart of why, then they work on the how of their dream and then the what of the details.
Most the rest of us start with what then how and finally why. That is another story altogether.
In Appanoose County our world changed in 1996. We just didn't know it was changing yet. It was that year when that local boy took an interest and slowly started to unleash his attention on an unsuspecting and tired rural town. Now it is 15 years later. Our world has certainly changed. This is a short story about how entrepreneurship, volunteerism and philanthropy combined to start a fire of success in the deepest of rural areas in our United States.
It was the last graduating class in a dying coal mining town in Exline, Iowa. The 16 year old valedictorian of the class came from a famously poor family. Picture a child in nothing but shorts, bareback on a pony, carrying a cane pole headed to the pond to fish and you have an accurate picture of this young man. This same boy, in the bitter cold of a pre-dawn winter morning, while milking the family cow thought to himself, "I've got to do something to get out of this. I don't want this life." Did he ever.
Now it is 1996 and this barefoot, pole fishing, cow milking kid had become one of America's elite. Most don't know his name but people around the world know his work. Zig Ziglar is famous for saying you will get what you want if you help enough other people get what they want. So it was in this story. Think about the people that know about and want such things as Ben Gay, Unisom, Lipitor and most famously, Viagra and you know his work. This rough shod country boy went on to found what is now arguably the world's largest pharmaceutical advertising agency. Now he was sharing not only his wealth but his knowledge with his rural community. That is where I came in.
The character we're discussing is Morgan Cline and now it is 1997 and he is ready to open his first business venture in Centerville. Originally built in 1866 and rebuilt after a fire in 1892 The Continental had been restored to its original grandeur. The opening was approaching and the business was in need of a manager. I was that manager and by accepting that position I unwittingly climbed into the most thrilling roller coaster of a ride. And much like a roller coaster a great deal of attention gets paid to the person riding it but people lose track of those that invented, invested, and operated the ride in the first place.
Morgan E. Cline
Ultimately the mission was to save two towns - Centerville and Exline - and in turn, help the entire county wide community. We'll talk more about this in other places but for now it is important that everyone recognize the true horsepower behind Centerville's, Exline's, and Appanoose County's turn around…Morgan Cline.
As you would expect there are those who don't understand and could even be described as resenting the effort. They are a common statistic. There is also the large group who fit somewhere in an area that we might call "bewildered but appreciative". Finally there is another small group likely the same size as the resentful backward group. This last group would be made up of those with the vision and wisdom to recognize and partner in Mr. Cline's dream and with the willingness to help it happen.
Almost every one of the nearly 30 projects Mr. Cline is responsible for had a local leader or leadership group attached to it. Cline provided vision and the money. The locals provided the additional ingredients that made it happen. Cline was the Chef with the base ingredients, the rest of us happily play the role of seasoning. He has been the flour and chocolate chips we've been the baking soda and vanilla.
While there are many stories to be had from this, the mission here is to revisit the real reason for a community's rebirth. Yes committees, organizations and individuals over decades of time have had immeasurable impact on the community but no single person has had the impact of Morgan Cline. I may get a great deal of attention but it is his work, his interest and his giving that is at the heart of it all. I'm lucky. Morgan Cline is generous, interested and committed.
How does this relate to you? It could be you. To most, what has happened to my home community seems like luck, magic or a combination of the two. The secrets that make what you see seem like magic are only camouflaged. They are there. I can guarantee that every community has what it takes. What I can't guarantee is if your community has the heart or the level of "want to".
Appanoose County is seeing the tide turn. More college graduates are returning home. More alumni are returning home to spend retirement with friends. More people who have never been here before are retiring here from other parts of the country. This is just the beginning for us.
About the Author: Bill Burch is the President of Morgan E. Cline Companies and the founder of Commercial Resources, Inc. More information can be found at www.morgancline.com; www.gocenterville.com; www.growcenterville.com; and www.commercialresources.info or doing a Google search for Morgan Cline, Bill Burch or Centerville, Iowa. E-mail can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The editor sincerely appreciates Bill Burch's permission to republish the above article in The Jerome Journal. The photograph of Morgan Cline is linked from Morgan E. Cline from Exline Iowa to the Big Apple.