Monday, November 12, 2012

Company B, Sixth Kansas Cavalry Reunion

The Seymour Democrat - 19 July 1906
  There has been a change of date for his year's reunion of the survivors of Company B, Sixth Kansas Cavalry which is to be held in Seymour.  The reunion will be held on Saturday, August 18, instead of August 11, as that date interferes with the Old Soldiers meeting at Corydon.  Instead of having the meeting at first announced at the home Mrs. Pendergast, it will be held in the park on the public square and the G. A. R. and Women's Relief Corps of Seymour are making great preparation for the even and all of the members of the company who have heard of the new arrangements are anticipating more that the usual interest at the reunion. The word has gone forth that "beans and coffee" will be free and there will be an addess by Purley Rinker, one of the Company B. comrades. The Milwaukee will run a special train from Mystic to Seymour on this date for the accommodation of the Old Soldiers and for all those wishing to attend.  They are making large preparations to acommondate a large crowd and everyone is cordially invited to attend. --Mystic Letter

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Donald Richard Purdy, 1925-2012

Daily Iowegian – 30 October 2012
   GAHANNA, Ohio — Donald Richard Purdy, 87, formerly of Centerville, passed away on Oct. 13, 2012, in Gahanna, Ohio, at the home of his son, Richard L. Purdy.
  Donald was born June 22, 1925, in Jerome, to Henry and Edith (Dooley) Purdy. On Sept. 23, 1944, Donald married Vera Beatrice Riggle.  Donald accepted Christ and was baptized at the Chelsea Christian Church in Kansas City, Kan.
  Donald was a worker. At an early age, he started working with his dad and brothers in their family-owned coal mine. He continued working at the mine until its closure in 1945 when the war ended. Don worked at Wrights Hardware in Seymour. He did factory work at plants in Moline, Ill., and in Kansas City, Mo. Don was employed by the Kansas Turnpike Authority. After graduating from Sales Training Institute, Don sold heavy equipment in Kansas. In 1970 Don quit sales to work for the city of Lawrence, KS, as their City Supervisor over sanitation. Then Don left city life. He and wife Vera bought and operated a marina on Leavenworth County State Lake in eastern Kansas. Donald sold the marina and retired in 1980. 
  Donald attended Jerome and Promise City public schools. Donald graduated from the Sales Training Institute in Kansas City, Kan. 
  Donald was preceded in death by his parents, his brothers Robert and Francis, his sisters Ellen Anderson and Ruth Matley, his daughter Donna Jeanette, and his son David Edward. 
  Donald is survived by wife Vera Beatrice (Riggle) Purdy; brother David Edward Purdy; son Richard Leslie Purdy and wife Wilma; grandchildren Donnie Edward Purdy and wife Tina, Linda Purdy, Christina Louise (Purdy) Cutshall and husband Ronald, and Cynthia Yvonne (Purdy) Hatch Hendricks and husband Shawn; 14 great  grandchildren; and special cousin Lois Scully. 
  Donald enjoyed camping with his family. He was an avid fisherman who spent much time on the water. A member of the Lawrence Gem and Mineral Club, Don was a rock hound who enjoyed doing lapidary work. Donald attended Christian church services. He was a member of Sertomas and participated in their community services. 
  Visitation will be a one-hour memorial service at the Lange Funeral Home & Crematory in Centerville starting at 10 a.m. on Friday, Oct. 19, followed by a graveside service at the Jerome Cemetery at 11 a.m. Memorials may be made to the Jerome Cemetery or to Circle of Friends in Chariton. Pall bearers: Cameron Hatch (great grandson), Linda Purdy (granddaughter), Shawn Hendricks (grand son-in-law), and Larry Anderson (nephew).  Condolences may be shared online at

Friday, August 10, 2012

William Franklin Hawkins, 1855-1945

  William Franklin Hawkins was born in Lincoln Township, Appanoose County, Iowa, 19 October 1855, son of David H. Hawkins and Hannah Ankrum Criswell, died at his home in Jerome, Lincoln Township, Appanoose County, Iowa, 24 August 1945, and was buried in the Jerome Cemetery following funeral services at the Jerome Methodist Church conducted by the Rev. James A. Wilson of Mt. Pleasant and former pastor of the Jerome church, assisted by the Rev. M. R. Gonzales, pastor of the Jerome church.
William Franklin Hawkins
  He was married in Kansas City, Jackson County, MO, 11 October 1885, Mary Belle Hagan who was born in Lincoln Township, Appanoose County, Iowa, 17 October 1856, daughter of James Hagan and Elizabeth Burch Chriswell, died in Jerome, Lincoln Township, Appanoose County, Iowa, 19 April 1917, and was buried in the Jerome Cemetery following funeral services at her home conducted by the Rev. Johnson of Des Moines, Iowa.
Mary Belle Hagan Hawkins
  To this union were born seven children:  Cadd Ruth Hawkins, Kathryn Elizabeth Hawkins, John William Hawkins, James Hagan Hawkins, Archibald Franklin Hawkins, William Earl Hawkins, and Edmund David Hawkins.
The Seymour Herald - 6 September 1945
  William Franklin Hawkins was born October 19, 1855, in Lincoln township, Appanoose county, near Jerome, Iowa, and passed away at his home in Jerome August 24, 1945, at the age of 89 years, ten months and five days.  
  He was the fourth child of a pioneer family of seven children, being the son of David and Hannah Ankrum Criswell Hawkins, and was the last surviving member of the family.
  At the age of 14, he journeyed with his parents in a covered wagon to Wyandotte county, Kansas, where he lived until 1898, when he returned to Jerome where he spent the remainder of his life.
  Soon after the family arrived in Kansas, the father of the family died as a result of his army life, having served as a Civil war soldier.  William Franklin then became the head of the family, supporting his mother and younger members of the family.
  He was united in marriage on October 11, 1885, to Mary Belle Hagan, establishing their home in Kansas City, Kansas.  His wife was also a member of an Appanoose county pioneer family, but was working as a dressmaker in Kansas City at the time of their marriage.  The entire family of seven children were born there.
  The surviving children are Cadd R., Kathryn E. and Archibald F. of Jerome; William E. of Seymour, Iowa, and James H. of Kalispell, Montana.  John and Edmond E. passed away in childhood.  His wife also preceded him in death on April 19, 1917.  Since then his daughter Kathryn has kept his home for him and been his constant companion in his last illness.
William Franklin Hawkins 
with Five Adult Children
James, Cadd, Archibald, Kathryn, and William
  All the children were with him at the time of his death with the exception of James H. who had spent some time with him during the month of May, but was unable to attend last rites because of transportation facilities.
  Four grandchildren, Phyllis, Betty Jane, Margaret and William R., all children of William E. mourn his passing together with other relatives and a host of friends which he had made during his long life spent in this community.
William Franklin Hawkins
With Grandson William Richard Hawkins
  Funeral services were conducted at the Jerome Methodist church, Sunday, August 26, by Rev. James A. Wilson of Mt. Pleasant, Iowa, assisted by the Rev. M. R. Gonzales, who also was soloist, with Mrs. Gonzales accompanying him at the piano, in his rendition of 'I Won't Have to Cross Jordan Alone,' 'Death is Only a Dream,' and 'In the Land Where We Never Grow Old.'
  Interment was in Jerome cemetery.
  Relatives attending from out of town were J. J. Crouch of Wheaton, Ill.; J. E. Simpson, of Kansas City, Kansas; Mr. and Mrs. Chas. Chappell and sons, of Keokuk, Iowa, and Ray Crist of Seymour, Iowa.
  We wish to thank all the kind, thoughful neighbors and friends for their assistance, sympathy, and the many beautiful floral offering in our recent ebreavement.
The Hawkins Family
Hawkins Family Headstone in Jerome Cemetery

William Franklin Hawkins Footstone

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Phyllis Mayo Dooley, 1925-1991

Ad-Express Iowegian - 3 September 1991
  Phyllis Dooley, 66, of Davenport died Aug. 31, 1991, at Mercy Hospital in Davenport.
  She was born March 7, 1925 in Davenport to Claude and Lucille Keyes Mayo. She was united in marriage to Reuben Dooley in Centerville in 1947 He preceded her in death in 1980.
  Also preceding her in death are her parents, three brothers and three sisters.
  Survivors include a daughter, Mrs. Sharon Linz of Davenport; a son, William opf Forgie, Ga.; a step-daughter, Mrs. Patricia (Charles) Gillespie of Lincoln, Neb.; a stepson, Harold Dooley of Exline; three sisters, Mrs. Robert (Marilyn) Boldt of Davenport, Mrs. Robert (Mildred) Wabschal of New Lond, Wis., Mrs. Jean Tucher of New Liberty; a brother, Frederich Mayo of Livonia, Mich.; two sisters-in-law, Mrs, Arlene Mayo of Davenport and Mrs. Coza McKern of Centervillep 15 great-grandchildren one great-great-grandchild.
  She retired from Mercy Hospital in 1986 after 18 years as a cook.
  Funeral services will be held Wednesday at 11:30 a.m. at the Halligan-McCabe Funeral Home. Visitation will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. tonight. Graveside services will be held at 4 p.m. Wednesday at the Jerome Cemetery with the Rev. Paul Smith officiating. Lange Funeral Home in Centerville is in charge of local arrangements.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

In the Good Old Days When Coal was King

Centerville Daily Iowegian - 8 February 2003
By Ethel Lira, Correspondent
  The Purdy Mine that was located near Jerome sported a double drum hoist and while much of the equipment was mechanized, there was still a lot of "pony power" used to hoist the coal from the bottom to the top and deliver it to customers.
  The miners had a definite pride in their ability to load "a little more" coal, lift "a little more: bottom, etc., than their fellow miners working alongside. Each miner was, in his own way, an environmental expert. They all wore carbide lamps down in the mine for safety reasons. If the flame fluttered or went out, it was a sign to get out NOW, as the air was bad.
  They were engineers because they had learned how to undercut the coal so it would fall for loading and to listen to the cracking of the coal walls because it would often mean that it was preparing to "fall" and, in the local mining history, many miners were seriously injured in not recognizing these sights and sounds. Some even lost their lives and limbs in these accidents.
  Miners became accountants be could they could, over time, know almost to the pound exactly how much coal had been loaded on the mine cars taken to the top. These were hoisted, weighed and dumped into waiting wagons and trucks for shipment.
  The Purdy Mine was another family operation Henry Purdy came to the area as a baby when his father, Frank, migrated from England. Henry's sons, Francis, Bob, David and the youngest, Don, all worked down in the mine from an early age. 
  The original mine was sunk circa 1930 on Walnut Creek, west of Jerome. An old hoist cleaned up the mine, let down to reverse and to ... upon the bottom. Ponies were used underground to pull the coal cars from the miner's places to the hoist to be pulled to the top. The mine closed in 1946 as the three oldest boys had been called into military service by the draft, leaving Don at home at that time.
  He suffered a serious accident when the gas and oil he was carrying down the slope was accidentally spilled and caught fire from the flame of his carbide lamp.
  When his draft number was called soon after, he reported and was sent to the induction center, only to be refused due to the fact his burns had not healed properly. He recalled the doctor examining him, stating, "My, what are they sending me now? This man is carrying serious injuries." Don was told to go back home and report again in 36 months.  By that time, the war was over.
  During his mining career, he found himself being a jack of all trades. He operated mining machines, shoveled behind the machines, loaded coal, operated hoists and, on down days when the mine wasn't working, he would clean up the mining ... grease mine cars and do other maintenance.
  No one thought much about youngsters working in the mining industry at an early age.  "It was a way of life. Just the way it was." He worked around the mines from the age of six. The family of eight consisted of his parents, four boys and two girls. Everyone had a part to do and they did it.
  With the start of World War II and the drafting of able-bodied men, there were not enough experienced miners to keep the mine profitable and it closed in 1946 with the young men seeing more rewarding employment elsewhere. Don moved to Kansas City where he obtained work at the GM motor plant on the assembly line. Later working as the head of sanitation for the City of Lawrence, Kan., then operated a boat marina with his wife, Vera. He underwent open heart surgery in later years and returned from Texas to Centerville May 2002.
  (During this interview, Don and Vera Purdy, graciously opened their photo albums and boxes of coal mining artifacts to share. The photos tell a tale of the coal mining industry in Appanoose County. While it was back-breaking work, those miners who worked underground had a great deal of understandable pride of their efforts. Because of this, many meals were prepared on coal fired cookstoves and home were heated in the cold winter months, keeping the family comfortable.

Henry Purdy, 1887-1968

Centerville Daily Iowegian- 19 January 1968
  Henry Purdy, 80, passed away Wednesday, Jan. 17, at Kansas City, Kans., following an illness of several months.
  He was the son of Frank and Margaret Purdy and was born in New Castle, England, coming to America with his parents when 14 months of age. He was the last of a family of 11 children.
  A former Seymour resident, Mr. Purdy mined coal and was operator of the Purdy Coal Co. west of Jerome. They moved to Kansas in 1954.
  Survivors include his wife, the former Edith Dooley; four sons, Dave and Don of Kansas, and Bob of California, and Francis at Newton; one daughter, Mrs. Paul (Ellen) Anderson of Moline; 21 grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren. One son died in infancy and one daughter, Mrs. Ruth Mattly, passed away in 1962.
  Funeral services will be held Saturday at 2 p.m. from the Christian Church in Seymour. Interment will be in Jerome Cemetery.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Mrs. Larimer's Remains Here For Interment

Centerville Daily Citizen - 27 August 1913
 It is probable that many of the older residents of Centerville will remember Mrs. Sarah Luce Larimer, a sister of Mrs. Jacob Shouts, former residents, although the Larimers were not residents of this city, but had made many visits here in the past.  Mrs. Larimer died last Saturday in Ft. Worth, Texas, where she had made her home for the last twenty years, her death being sudden from heart trouble, she being 77 years of age. The remains arrived here last night, and will be interred at Oakland cemetery according to her wishes. The late W. J. Larimer, her husband, and their only son, Mr. F. E. Larimer, are buried here. Accompanying the remains were Mrs. Larimer's sister, Mrs. G. F. Albright of Albuquerque, New Mexico, her brother, Mr. R. G. Luce of Ft. Worth, and her neice, Mrs. H. M. Price also of Ft. Worth.
  The party was met at the Rock Island Depot last night by Undertaker B. F. Gordon and taken to the Shaw undertaking parlors where they may be viewed by friends. The relatives accompanying the casket are at the Continental hotel and will be in the city for a few days while looking after the construction of cement and granite vault, so the time of the funeral cannot be announced as yet.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Paul Leonard Ervin, 1917-2001

Moravia Union - 18 July 2001
  Paul Ervin, age 83, of Centerville died Saturday, July 14, 2001 at Golden Age Care Center, Centerville.
  Paul was born December 16, 1917 at Cincinnati, Iowa to Clarence and Grace Euwer Ervin. He was raised in Cincinnati and graduated from Cincinnati High School. He was married to Dorothy Stagner on December 24, 1938 at Bloomfield, Iowa and she survives him. Paul farmed in
  Appanoose County. He owned and operated the Appanoose County Ambulance Service for many years and later was a custodian at St. Joseph Mercy Hospital (Mercy Medical Center). He was a member of the Drake Ave. Christian Church.
  He is survived by: his wife, Dorothy of Centerville; four sons, Donald and his wife Karen Ervin of Otho, Iowa, Max and his wife Mary Ervin of Centerville, Jim and his wife Cheryl Ervin of Huxley, Iowa and Bob Ervin of Indianola, Iowa; 11 grandchildren and 6 great-grandchildren.
  He was preceded in death by: his parents and two brothers Rodney and Tommy.
  Services were held on Tuesday, July 17, 2001 at Drake Ave. Christian Church with Pastor Carl Heien and Fr. Joe Bathke C.PP.S. officiating. Burial was in the Jerome Cemetery in Jerome, Iowa. A memorial has been established and may be left at the Thomas Lange Funeral Home.
Gravestone for Paul & Dorothy Ervin
in the Jerome Cemetery
  The editor appreciates the contribution of the above updated gravestone picture by Jimmy Ervin of Centerville, Iowa.
Ad-Express/Iowegian - 18 July 2001
  Paul Ervin, 83, of Centerville died Saturday, July 14, 2001, at Golden Age Care Center.
  He was born Dec. 16, 1917, in Cincinnati, the son of Clarence and Grace (Euwer) Ervin.
  He married Dorothy Stagner Dec. 24, 1938, in Bloomfield. She survives.
  Also surviving are four sons, Donald Ervin and his wife, Karen, of Otho, Max Ervin and his wife, Mary, of Centerville, Jim Ervin and his wife, Cheryl, of Huxley and Bob Ervin of Indianola; 11 grandchildren; and six great-grandchildren.
  He was preceded in death by his parents and two brothers, Rodney and Tommy.
  He was raised in Cincinnati, graduating from Cincinnati High School. He farmed in Appanoose County and owned and operated the Appanoose County Ambulance Service for many years. He later was custodian at St. Joseph's Mercy Hospital (Mercy Medical Center). He was a member of the Drake Avenue Christian Church.
  Funeral services will be held at 10 a.m. Tuesday at the Drake Avenue Christian Church with Pastor Carl Heien and Fr. Joe Bathke, C.PP.S., officiating.
  Friends may call all day today, Monday, at the Thomas Lange Funeral Home, Centerville, with the family present from 6 to 8 p.m.  Burial will be in Jerome Cemetery in Jerome.
  A memorial has been established to the Seymour First Responders and contributions may be left at the funeral home.

Velta Lorene Barrell, 1914-2003

Iowegian - 3 April 2003
  Velta Lorene Barrell, 89, of Centerville died Tuesday, April 1, 2003 at her home.
  She was born March 21, 1914 near Albia, the daughter of Robert Thomas and Margaret Elsie (Wells) Agan. She received her education in rural Appanoose County schools.
  Velta was united in marriage to Robert W. Barrell on Sept. 5, 1937 in Centerville. She was a homemaker.
  Velta was preceded in death by her parents; her husband, Robert W. Barrell, on Oct. 28, 1998; a brother, Homer Agan; sisters, Edna Smith, Bertha Ross and Audrey Varney; daughter-in-law, Carol McVeigh Burrell; son-in-law, Jack Miller; grandson, Walter Gene Engle; and great-grandson, Craig Engle.
  Surviving family members are four sons, Roger Barrell and his wife, Janie, of Centerville, Gary Barrell and his wife, Dorothy, of Mystic; Donnie Barrell and his wife, Marilyn, of Milo and Perry Barrell and his wife, Louisa, of Royal Beach, Md.; four daughters, Darlene Miller of Centerville, Sharon Phelps and her husband, Don, of Centerville, Carma Morrow and her husband, Bill, of Centerville and Shirley Tomlinson and her husbad, Robert, of Castle Rock, Colo.; 22 grandchildren, 29 great-grandchilren; and eight great-great grandchildren.
  Funeral services will be heldon Saturday, April 5, 2003, at 10 a.m. at the Schmidt Family Funeral Home in Centerville with Rev. Mark Waits officiaating. Burial will follow inthe Jerome Cemetery in Jerome.
  Visitation will be from 1 to 8 p.m. Friday, April 4, at the Schmidt Family Funeral Home in Centerville with the family present from 6 to 8 p.m. at the funeral home.
  A memorial has been established to the family and may be left at or mailed to the Schmidt Family Funeral Home, 501 North 18th Street, Centerville.

Friday, June 29, 2012

William H Thompson, 1825-1906

The Seymour Press - 15 February 1906
  The funeral of W. H. Thompson was conducted from the church in Jerome on last Wednesday, the 7th.  Mr. Thompson died at his home west of Plano, on the 5th.  He was 80 years, 9 months and 5 days old. He has been a resident of Appanoose county sine 1854 and was highly respected. His wife died 10 years ago, and three children, two sons and one daughter, are left to mourn the father.  Burial at the Jerome cemetery.

JEROME News - 10 November 1953 - Iowegian

Centerville Iowegian - 10 November 1953
Report Mr. Fry Much Improved
  JEROME - Mrs. I. E. Fry reports that her husband, who has been in the Bloomfield hospital for seven weeks, is very much improved in health and is eating better.
  Mrs. Johnny Vruble attended a pink and blue shower this past week in honor of her sister-in-law, Mrs. Carl Micetich in Centerville.
  The high school students of Jerome enjoyed two days' vacation due to the State Teachers convention in Des Moines.
  Walter Warnick drove his dad to Kirksville, Mo., to the hospital there for a medical checkup. Both returned the same day.
  Vera Scott has gone to Davenport where she has employment for the winter.
  Mr. and Mrs. Gene Wray have named their new baby son, Carl  Eugene.
  The Jerome Methodist church is having a room built on to serve as a kitchen. Carl Barbaglia of Mystic, with the assistance of some of the farmers, plans to begin building soon in time to have it finished for Thanksgiving.
  Mrs. Stella Dooley reports that her daughter, Bertha, has gone to Pensacola, 
Fla. to live for the winter. Bertha will stay with her niece, the former Patty Dooley, whose husband is stationed there with the Army.
  A new family by th name of Williams have moved into the Stanley Matelski property. They have two small children.
  Mr. and Mrs. Johnny Vruble and family and Mr. and Mrs. Bill Johnson, all drove to Rock Island, Ill., Friday to attend the wedding of Jackie Vruble to Joe Verihoores that took place Saturday. The Vruble returned home Sunday evening. They report that the bridegroom and best man were in a car action the night before the wedding and were hospitalized. The groom was released an hour before the wedding ceremony, but the best man was unable to be present due to a broken rib and bruises. The groom's 17 year old brother was made best man instead.
  A birthday dinner was held at the Carl Hamm home honoring Carl Hamm and his granddaughter, Barbara Jones.  Carl's mother, Mrs. Mae Hamm; his sister, Mrs. Artie Barrell and family of Centerville; his daughter, Mrs. Geo. Jones and family of Davenport; another daughter, Mrs. K. E. Owen and family of Jerome; and his wife, Belle, and their son, Carl Jr.; were all present to help the honorees celebrate their birthdays on Sunday.

*Blozovich, Messa recall days in county's mines

Ad-Express/Iowegian, 20 February 1998
Annual Progress Edition - Heritage Section
By Julie McClure, Staff Writer
 "I finished school after the eighth grade and began working with my father in 1929 in a coal mine. Back then most 14 year olds were finishing school and would then go to work with their fathers in the mine," said Rudy Blozovich, who worked in coal mines during 1929-1956. He graduated from eight grade at Rathbun school. There wasn't a high school when he was going to school.
  Blozovich worked in several mines including Empire mine, Sunshine Coal Co.'s No. 3 and 4, and out west in New Mexico.
  He performed several jobs while working in the mines. He loaded coal adn ran a mining machine.  It took three peope to run the machine so they worked as a team. The machine that they used is on display at the old post office museum in Centerville.
  The miners worked eight hour days when he first started mining, but later they switched to seven-hour days. "We did just as much work in seven hours as we did in eight," said Blozovich.
  During the winter months when a large amount of coal was needed they sometimes worked six days per week. The sixth day was on Saturday. During the regular season they cut back to five days per week.
  It was not always a day job; sometimes Blozovich worked from 4 p.m. to midnight or the swing shift. During the swing shift the miners would have to cut coal so the next day the miners would have coal to load.
  Safety equipment was not invented for the mines so there were minor injuries.
Pit lamps and hard hats were about the only pieces of equipment that miners wore in the mines. When Blozovich worked in the mine out west, he wore hard hats and used a battery light.
  Around 130-150 men at one time worked at Sunshine No. 3 mine.
  "Most of the old timers are all gone now, most of by buddies anyway," said Blozovich. "I didn't make much money as a coal miner, but we made a living out of it."
  Blozovich enjoys to hunt and fish and cultivates a property in Rathbun to raise a pretty good sized garden each year.
Frank Messa
  In 1921 Frank Messa began his career in the coal mines. He worked in the mines from the time that he turned 16 years old until 1971 when the mines shut down due to the railroads switching to diesel engines.
  "The coal mines went to the dogs when the railways began using diesel. We were about finished when they shut down," said Messa.
  "I've just about done everything there is to do in a mine," said Messa. Messa began working in the Walnut Creek mine and trucked for the mine. The miners at this particular mine shipped coal up to 100 mines to the west.
  Messa also dug goal by hand, ran a mining machine, drove ponies and mules, trucked and loaded the coal while working in the mines.
  The machine that he ran is now at the museum in Centerville. "The machine ran real good at the time and it was still working when we shut the mine down," said Messa.
  When Messa started working in the mines he father, Dominick Messa, was on strike. He along with many other miners were out of work for two years due to the strike.  After the strike the miners were represented by a union. Messa also had three brothers that all mined.
  When he graduated from school after the eighth grade, he began working in the mine.  He attended school in Jerome. At that time there was a two-year high school, but he didn't attend.
  Messa worked five days per week during the winter months from about August through April and then when ever there was work to be done. The work days covered eight hours. "When I was younger the eight-hour days seemed to drag on, but as I got older they were hardly long enough," said Messa.
  One time when he ws trying to pump some water to get a drink the water wouldn't come on so he turned the air shaft[s fan on and the stairs fell out. This was an escape route which had been rotted by the ice from the winter. They had to repair the stairs before returning to work so that if the mine fell in they would have a way to escape.
  Messa recalled a close call once when he had his head between the roof on a coal car.  Another near accident was when a 10-foot rock of coal fell and covered the hole the he was in. The tunnels that the miners worked in were 28 inches deep. Eighteen inches were known as the top coal and the other 10 inches were called the bottom coal. "We worked on our hands and knees all the time, so we had really rough hands after working in the mine," commented Messa.
  In 1971 when Mess was forced to end his job in the mine, he went to work at the lake for Earl Simmons and Bill Webb at the hatchery. In his free time now he enjoys playing cards, especially pitch.
  "I was just a hard working coal miner in those days," laughed Messa.
  Editor's Note:  *Blozevich and Massa are the correct spelling of the names of these miners.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Maurice Stamps Publishes New Book

The Seymour Herald - 14 June 2012
  Maurice Stamps has published a new book, Shoal Creek Legends 4 which is on sale at The Seymour Herald and from Nancy and LaNanc Salon,
  This is the fifth book he has written.  Legends 1 and 2 are sold out.  SNAFUS (World War II) and Legends 3 are also available.
  The new book sells for $12.  If you wish to have one mailed, send $15 and your address to P.O, Box 6, Seymour, IA 52590.  Checks should be made out to the Seymour Community Club,  Proceeds are used for the Enid and Maurice Stamps Scholarships,
  Maurice will have a book signing inthe park during Old Settlers.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

William Addison Hagan

The Seymour Herald - 28 January 1937
William Addison Hagan
  William Addison Hagan, son of Elizabeth and James Hagan, was born Jan. 6, 1858, in Bellair twp., Appanoose county, Iowa, and departed this life at his home in Jerome, Iowa, on Jan. 20, 1937, at the age of 79 years, and 14 days.
  He was the second child of a family of six children, two boys and four girls.  His father, mother and two sisters, Callie and Mary Belle Hawkins, and one brother, John F., have preceded him in death.

William Addison Hagan with his horse and buggy
in front of his parents' home in the center of Jerome --
a second floor was later added to this house

  In 1871 he moved with his parents to Jerome where he spent the greater part of his life with the exception of brief periods of time when he was employed in the states of Nebraska and Washington.  

William Addison Hagan as a young man in Nebraska

  He went to Kalispell, Montana, in 1927 to stay with his sister, Mrs. Emma Ogle, after the death of her husband.  In 1929 he established a home for his sister in Jerome, where they have lived together for the remaining years of his life.
  In the earlier years of his life he and his father managed a grocery store and postoffice in Jerome.  He was later employed by the Hawkeye Lumber Co. for a period of several years, which was his last active work.
  He united with the M. E. church in early youth and was an active Sunday school worker during his stay in Nebraska, where he also served as Sunday school secretary.
  He was an upright and honest citizen, being highly respected and esteemed wherever he made his home.

William Addison Hagan with his horse

  He leaves to mourn their loss, two sisters, Mrs. Ada Crouch, of Kalispell, Montana, and Mrs. Emma Ogle of Jerome, several nieces and nephews, and a host of friends.  Due to failing health Mrs. Crouch was unable to be present at this time.

Emma Elizabeth Hagan Ogle, William Addison Hagan
and Ada Rebecca Hagan Crouch

William Addison Hagan with three nieces -
Phyllis, Mary and Betty Hawkins

William Addison Hagan

  Funeral services were held at the Jerome M. E. church Saturday afternoon at two o'clock conducted by the Rev. Francis B. Harris.  Burial was in the Jerome cemetery.

William Addison Hagan's Gravestone in the Jerome Cemetery
Card of Thanks
  We desire to thank our neighbors and friends for every act of kindness and sympathy following the death of our brother and uncle, W. A. Hagan.
  -- Mrs. Emma Ogle, Mrs. Ada Crouch, Nieces and Nephews 

Monday, April 9, 2012

James Wesley (Dave) Workman, 1891-1968

The Seymour Herald - 4 July 1968
  James Wesley Workman, known to many as Dave, the son of Edison and Emma Diltz Workman, was born in Appanoose county Jan. 18, 1891, and passed away Monday, June 17, 1968, at the Davis county hospital in Bloomfield at the age of 77 years.
  On Sept. 23, 1915, he married Zelda Loofbourrow at the David Loofbourrow home near Jerome. She survives his passing, along with two sons, Forrest of Rock Island and Burdette of Moline, Ill., four grandchildren, one great-grandchild, three sisters, Mrs. Beula Luzadder of DeKalb, Ill., Mrs. Inez Fry of Centerville and Mrs. Gussie Baker of Lenora, Kans.
  Dave had been in poor health for several year because of a heart condition which  resulted in his passing. He lived his entire life in the Jerome community and spent most of his time farming. He was saved in 1953 and became a member of the Jerome Methodist church, attending as long as his health permitted.
  Funeral was Tuesday, June 18 at the Jerome Methodist church with burial in the Jerome cemetery.
  A memorial for the heart fund has been established. He will be missed by his many loved ones and friends.
  Our recent sad loss leaves us with grateful hearts toward neighbors and friends. Their conforting expressions of sympathy and thoughtfulness will always be remembered.
Mrs. J. W. (Dave) Workman
and family

Charles Lovell McGavran, 1883-1957

The Seymour Herald - 5 December 1957
  Charles Lovell McGavran, son of J. L. McGavran and Hattie Branch, was born Dec. 6, 1883, at Minneapolis, Kans.; and passed away at St. Joseph's Mercy Hospital in Centerville, Iowa, Nov. 21, 1957, at the age of 73 years, 11 months and 15 days.
  With the exception of his early childhood he lived his entire life in or near Seymour, Iowa.
  On Oct. 2, 1904, he was united in marriage to Bertha Etta Close who proceded him in death. To this union were born two sons, Kenneth of Des Moines and Keith of Ames, Iowa. 
  When a young man he was united with the Christian church of Seymour. During the past few years he had attended the Jerome Methodist church at Jerome, Iowa.
  On June 25, 1947 he was united in marriage to Ida Mincks, who with his sons, Kenneth and Keith; stepsons, Richard Mincks of Seymour and William Mincks of Cedar Falls, Iowa; six grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren survive his passing.
  He also leaves two brothers, Elvin and Earl of Seymour; six sisters, Mrs. Maude Lister of Plano, Iowa; Mrs. Nina Whitworth of Excelsior Springs, Mo.; Mrs. Chloe Vaverka of Cedar Rapids, Iowa; Mrs. Alice Agnew of Wichita, Kans.; Mrs. Ruth Edwards and Mrs. June Drefke of Alamo, Texas; and numerous nieces and nephews and friends. A sister and a brother preceded him in death.
  The funeral services were held at the Jerome Methodist church Sunday, Nov. 24, 1957, at 2 p.m.  Burial was in the Southlawn Cemetery, Seymour.
  We wish to express our heart-felt appreciation for the many acts of kindness, cards and floral offerings received during the illness and passing of our loved one. Many, many thanks to all.
The Charles McGavran family

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Harriett Marie Hefner, 1912-1984 Fu

The Seymour Herald - 9 February 1984
  Harriett Marie Hart Hefner, the daughter of Howard and Cleo Green Hart, was born April 28, 1912 in Wayne County, Iowa. She departed this life February 4, 1984 at St. Joseph Hospital in Centerville, Iowa at the age of 71 years, 9 months and 6 days.
  Harriet was united in marriage to W. R. Hefner September 6, 1930 at Centerville, Iowa. To this union two children were born.  They celebrated their Golden Anniversary September 6, 1980.
  She was a member of the Jerome Methodist Church and had been a resident of Jerome for 53 years. She was also a member of the Rebekah Lodge and a Past Noble Grand. She took a active part in Farm Bureau, 4-H and a member of Helping Hand Club.
  She was preceded in death by her parents.
  Harriett is survived by her husband, W. R. Hefner; daughter Colleen and husband William Henderson of Des Moines; son Norman and wife Bonadene Hefner of Seymour; two brothers Loran and wife Emma Hart of Portage, Indiana and Harold and wife Mary Jane Hart of Whittier, California. Also, grandchildren Mark and wife Marjorie Hefner, Henry Hefner of Seymour, Roma and husband Mark Snook of Chariton, Jill Person of Des Moines, also six great grandchildren, several nieces and nephews and a host of other relatives and friends.
  Harriett was a loving wife, mother and grandmother and will be sadly missed by all.
  Services were held Monday, February 6, 1984, at 1:30 P.M. from the Randolph Funeral Home in Seymour with the Rev. James Schweizer, officiating. Hymns, "Going Down The Valley: and "In The Garden" were sung by Dick stropewith Mrs. Iris Merrill, pianist. Pallbearers were Paul McElvain, James McElvain, L.H. Mallett, Richard Bumgarner, Wilbur Rupalo and Kenneth Owen.
  Interment was in the Jerome Cemetery.
  There was a memorial to the Jerome Methodist Church.
Card of Thanks
  The family of Harriett Hefner wishes to thank neighbors, friends, and relatives for the many kindnesses expressed during our bereavement.The beautiful flowers, many cards, food brought to our home andthe memorials were all deeply appreciated. We extend our special thanks to dr. Owca and the staff at the St. Joseph Hospital. Also to the members of the rebekah Lodge for serving the family dinner the day of the services.
 Bill Hefner
 Colleen and William Henderson and Family
 Norman and Bonadene Hefner and Family

Gravestone of William R. and Harriett M. (Hart) Hefner
in the Jerome Cemetery
Row 7, Block 23, Lot 9

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Burma Shave Signs

  Editor’s Note:  In 2000-2001 I served as a District Governor of Rotary International [RI] under RI President Frank Devlyn of Mexico City.  He recently sent this email to friends about Burma Shave Signs in the USA.  If interested in learning more also see: (1) the Wikipedia article on Burma Shave,  (2) complete list of the Burma Shave Jingles, and (3) Grant’s Tribute to the Burma Shave Sign.
Hola Amigos:
  I remember these Burma Shave Signs as a kid driving with my father along the USA highways….Those of you who did not have a chance to drive on highways in the USA will not have a clue.  Do think of sharing with your family and friends who did get a chance to drive themselves, with their parents, etc. as many will remember these Burma Shave Signs.
  Burma Shave Signs...To My Old-As-Dirt Friends & Relatives. To qualify as "old as dirt" you need to recognize these. For those who never saw any of the Burma Shave signs, here is a quick lesson in our history of the 1930's, '40's and '50's.
  Before there were interstates, when everyone drove the old 2 lane roads, Burma Shave signs would be posted all over the countryside in farmers' fields.  They were small red signs with white letters. Five signs, about 100 feet apart, each containing 1 line of a 4 line couplet.... and the obligatory 5th sign advertising Burma Shave, a popular shaving cream.
  Here are more of the signs:


Burma Shave

Burma Shave

Burma Shave

Burma Shave

Burma Shave

Burma Shave

Burma Shave

Burma Shave

Burma Shave

Burma Shave

Burma Shave

Burma Shave

Burma Shave

Burma Shave

Burma Shave

Burma Shave

Do these bring back any old memories?
If not, you're merely a child.
If they do - then you're old as dirt.
Regards from your Rotary Amigo in Mexico City,
Viva Rotary!                                       
Frank Devlyn

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Jerome in 1896

The Seymour Press – 13 February 1896
  The enterprising and rapidly developing little city of Jerome is on the Milwaukee rail road, in Appanoose county and is rapidly springing into public notice and now has a population of 300.  It has several large and well stocked general stores and other branches of industry. There has been a great many buildings erected during the past year and several more are under course of construction. It is rapidly becoming one of the most prominent trading points in this section and with its excellent railway facilities it is destined to become one of the leading towns of this section of the Hawkeye state.  Surrounded by a country that will surely become a great agricultural and stock country, Jerome will certainly become a great business point.
  Jerome wants 1000 settlers to locate within her limits or immediate vicinity, to enjoy the ozone and health-giving atmosphere of this salubrious climate and to engage in the various business enterprises.  She also wants an attorney, bank, harness shop and a grist mill and parties who have capital to invest should correspond with the postmaster of Jerome.
  Jerome has a fine school building erected at a cost of $5000, 80 x 60. The school the present year is in charge of Miss May White as principal and Miss Susa Heffner assistant, and their services are giving perfect satisfaction. There are 100 pupils attending now and the official staff is J. H. Martin, president; B. Sedevie, secretary and James Brick, treasurer; all respected citizens.
  We find well represented the I.O.O.F. with M. Allen, N.G.; Jas. Rou, G.G.; W.S. Fox, secretary; Don Forsythe, treasurer.
  We find here the M. E. church and it is the only one.  It is in good condition financially and has a very large membership. The leading and most popular hotel is the
And is the only eating house in the town.  It is a two-story frame building cost $2500 and is a metropolital hotel in every particular. It is owned and conducted by H. L. Hazelwood who is assisted by his accomplished wife. This hotel has about fifteen good rooms, a good dining room and sample room and a good place for traveling men to stop and their table is unsurpassed. Mr. Hazelwood has been in this city three years and was a native of Missouri and was raised on a farm in this county. Jerome can feel proud of her hotel and we enjoyed our stay very much here and should we ever visit this little city again we will surely take our meals at the Jerome.
  Among the business men of the town who are enjoying a lucrative patronage we find
Who is proprietor of the Farmers and Miners store and was born and raised in Centerville, the home of Gov. Drake and is personally acquainted with the governor and all his family.  He came to this city two years ago and begun the merchantile business to-day owns the largest store in the city. He owns a two-story building which is 20 x 80 with Odd Fellows’ hall above.  The clothing room is on the upper floor and on the right side of the store is dry goods and dress goods of all the different styles and prices and on the left had side is boots and shoes and gents’ furnishing goods. In the rear is queensware, groceries of every description and the butcher shop and kills none but the best meats and has all kinds of game in season.  Mr. Howry is practically a new man but is well liked by all in acquaintance. They also have a store at Gladstone mine No. 1 and it contains a complete stock of groceries and furnishing goods. They deliver goods to any part of the city and country. Mr. Allen is one of the old and esteemed citizens, and has all those necessary qualifications that go to make a successful business man and we are pleased to note that he is enjoying a constantly increasing patronage.
  The leading and only exclusive drug company in the city of which D. W. Forsyth is the manager. It was established two years and a half ago and is well equipped with all the necessary fixtures for running a metropolitan drug store including prescription case and prescriptions are compounded with the best of care both day and night. They carry a complete line of all the most reliable patent medicines, school supplies, stationery, all kinds of drug sundries, wall paper, paints, oils and varnishes and everything usually kept in a first-class drug store. This firm has a store at What Cheer and at Mystic.
Graduate at Iowa City and is enjoying a very extensive practice. He was raised in Unionville, Mo., and came to this place a few years ago. His office is over the drug store and is well equipped, having all the necessary fixtures, a good library and he takes some of the leading medical journals and has a good set of surgical instruments. He is a careful student and when not out on professional duties he is studying medicine.
Was born and raised in this county on a farm. He came to this city two years ago and started a store and is the youngest business man in the city, being only 24. His store room is large and filled with a complete line of merchandise and groceries and he has the largest line of boots and shoes in the city. Country produce is taken in exchange for goods at highest prices, employs a clerk and runs a free delivery.
Is the popular and accommodating postmaster of Jerome and makes a splendid official. He has been in the county since ’54, and is a carpenter by occupation and was one of the first men to go into business here, was appointed postmaster in April, 1888 and has held the position all the time since, excepting six weeks. The office contains about 200 boxes and other necessary fixtures. He carries a stock of groceries, stationery and confectioneries and takes in country produce. Mr. Hagan was township assessor four or five years and justice of the peace eight or nine years and is a notary public.
  A feature that Jerome fully enjoys is her coal mines and we find located here the Gladstone Coal Co. which was established in ’89 and is one of the oldest and most extensive coal companies in the county and has a capital stock of $40,000. The present officials are James Goss, President; Robert Marsden, superintendent; Peter Marsden, secretary and treasurer, and they are all old and highly respected citizens. Their shaft No. 1 is located one and three quarters of a mile east of Jerome and shaft No. 2 is at Jerome. It is well equipped with the best of machinery and has a hoisting capacity of 40 Cars of coal per day or 800 tons, and they work from one to three hundred men all the time, owing to its great demand, and it always finds a ready market and they get the highest price for it. The quality is superior to any other and is known as the Walnut Block and all is thoroughly screened and weighed on the Fairbank railroad scales after screening before leaving the city. They ship coal as far north as Edgerly, N.D. and as far west as the western portion of Kansas and all over Iowa, Missouri and Minnesota and find a ready market all along the line of the Milwaukee and wherever it is handled it has given the best satisfaction and they ship from 75000 to 100000 tons of coal per annum.  All their men are paid semi-monthly and everything runs smoothly to both miners and patrons by reason of its careful and conservative management. Peter Marsden, the secretary and treasurer, is a fine young business man and lives with his father, Robert Marsden, who resides at mine No. 1, and he is a great favorite among the miners and citizens of this city.
Is the local agent on the C.M. & St. P. and has been in the city six months and with the company six years. He is also agent for the Western Union telegraph company and U.S. express company. He is a very fine young man and is very popular and prominent.
  Is the oldest coal company of the city and was established here a number of years ago. They work about forty men, they have a hoisting capacity of twenty cars per day. It has a capital stock of $20,000 and is one of the most prosperous mines along the line. Wm. Oughton the superintendent, while he is yet a young man in years he is old in business and has many years of experience in the coal business.  W. L. Myers is the president and is a very prominent man. The company ships coal to South Dakota, Missouri and other states and it is giving perfet satisfaction.  Mr. Oughton owns a grocery store in this city which is 20x60 and also a fine residence, he informed the writer that the company was enjoying a very hearty patronage all over the state.
  Is the proprietor of the only barber shop in the city and has been in this city one year. His shop is located first door west of the Jerome hotel and is well equipped with all modern fixtures. He also takes orders for fine tailor made suits. He is an experienced barber and when in need of a nice clean shave call on him and receive satisfaction. He is one of our most industrious and enterprising citizens and we were very much pleased to make his acquaintance.
Is the leading blacksmith and has been here two years and was a blacksmith before the war. He was in the late war, enlisting in Co. B, Sixth Kansas Cav. and worked at his trade while serving.  His shop has all the necessary fixtures for doing all kinds of blacksmithing and makes a specialty of horse shoeing and repairing. He owns a good residence and is a very worthy citizen.
  Copy of original published article in the 13 February 1896 of The Seymour Press.

Friday, February 17, 2012

William Jennings Bryan VanDorn, 1899-1974, and Lora D. Mitchell VanDorn, 1900-1930

The Seymour Herald - 5 Sepember 1974
  William Bryan Van Dorn, son of Douglas and Jennie Stewart Van Dorn, was born Dec. 8, 1899, in Appanoose county, Iowa, and died Aug. 29, 1974, at University hospital in Iowa City, Iowa, at the age of 74 years, eight months and 21 days.
  He was united in marriage to Lora Mitchell in 1918. To this union were born five sons and three daughters, Marshall Neil Van Dorn and Mrs. Pauline Wells of Des Moines, Mrs. Virginia Hyle (deceased), Robert Van Dorn of Longview, Texas, William Van Dorn of Cedar Rapids, Lloyd Van Dorn of Monouth, and twin boy and girl who died at birth.
  On Feb. 13, 1947, he was united in marriage to Goldie Sharp of Seymour. He became the father of Marvin Sharp whom he loved as his own.
  He spent all of his life farming in and around Wayne county. In 1947 he moved to Seymour and was employed at Godfrey's Pool Hall for many years and enjoyed working with the public and especially the young people.
  On April 6, 1974, he joined the Methodist church in Seymour and attended church as long as he health permitted. He was a good neighbor and always willing to help others. He was preceded in death by his father, mother, wife Lora, daughter Virginia, the twin babies, two brothers, one sister and three grandchildren.
  He is survived by his loving wife, Goldie, his six children, two sisters, Rachel Bone of Seymour and Ethel McClintick of Long Beach, Calif., five daughters-in-law, one son-in-law, 27 grandchildren and 23 great-grandchildren who he loved and enjoyed dearly and a host of friends and relatives.
  He will be sadly missed by all.
  We would like to thank all of the friends, neighbors and relatives for the kindness and sympathy shown in our time of sorrow. We would like to thank everyone for the food, flowers and cards. A special thanks to the women of the church for the lovely lunch served the day of the funeral. We would also like to say a special thanks to Rev. Ricks and his wife for their trips to the hospital for the wonderful service. Also thank you to Rev. Hickman for his visit to the hospital. Thanks to Mr. Randolph for the kind services shown to us.
    Mrs. W. B. VanDorn
    Mr. and Mrs. Neil VanDorn and family
    Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Wells and family
    Mr. and Mrs. Bill VanDorn and family
    Mr. and Mrs. Lloyd VanDorn and family
    Mr. and Mrs. Marvin Sharp and family
    Mrs. Rachel Bone
William Bryan & Lora D. (Mitchell) VanDorn Gravestone 
in Block 5, Lot 8 of New Section of the Jerome Cemetery, 
Lincoln Township, Appanoose County, Iowa
Children of William Bryan VanDorn & Lora D. Mitchell
Gravestone of Twin Boy and Girl Who Died At Birth

in Block 5, Lot 8 of New Section of the Jerome Cemetery, 
Lincoln Township, Appanoose County, Iowa
The Seymour Herald - 16 January 1930
  Mrs. W. J. B. VanDorn passed away Sunday, January 5 at the St. Joseph Hospital in Centerville following an illness of several days. She underwent an operation several days ago.
  Mrs. VanDorn resided on a farm south of this city with her husband and family, and her death is a severe loss to her family. She was the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. L. P. Mitchell of this city adn had resided in this community practically all of her life, being at the time of her death 29 years, 8 months and 18 days of age.
  She is survived by her husband, six children, her parents and several brothers and sisters. The family has the sympathy of the entire community in their loss.
  Lora Mitchell VanDorn, daughter of L. P. and Retta Mitchell was born at Cincinnati, Appanoose County, Iowa, May 17, 1900, and passed away in St. Josephs Hospital, Centerville, January 5, 1930, at the age of 29 years, 7 months and 19 days. The major part of her life was spent in Seymour.
  February 10, 1919 she became the bride of Bryan VanDorn of Jerome. To them 6 children were born, Neal, Pauline, Virginia, Robert, William and Lloyd.
  When Mrs. VanDorn was 16 years of age, she united with the Baptist Church, and took an active part in the Sunday School and Church work until the care of a young family prevented her from doing so.
  Besides her husband and 6 children, who will miss her sorely she is survived by her parents, Mr. and Mrs. L. P. Mitchell, five brothers adn two sisters, also many friends whom she made during her short life.
  Funeral service was held at the home of her parents, at 2 o'clock Wednesday afternoon, January 8. The remains were laid to rest in Jerome cemetery. Service at the home and grave were conducted by Elder G. A. Jeffrey.
  We wish to thank all those who in any way helped us at this time of the sad loss of our wife, daughter and sister. We thank all those who furnished cars.
      A precious one from us is gone
      A voice we loved is stilled
      A place is vacant in our home
      Which never can be filled.
      Mr. and Mrs. L. P. Mitchell and family.
      Mr. Bryan VanDorn and family.