Friday, April 23, 2010

Derby, Iowa's Beginning and History

Excerpts from the 1978 Lucas County History Book

Thirteen miles southwest of Chariton Point, as it was known in 1870, English settlers migrated and the town of Derby sprang into existence.  It is located on the southwest quarter of section twenty-four in township seventy-one, north of range twenty-three, west, Union Township.

In June 1875, Mr. J.W. Riggle, laid out Riggle's addition to Derby, containing fifty-nine lots.  While the population in 1880 (174) was not large, Derby was never the less a good point for business as it was situated in the midst of splendid farming country.  The town contained a general store, grain elevators and a post office.  Major Lewis and Mr. Throckmorton bought and shipped large amounts of grain and stock to Chicago.

Derby Postal Service originated from Henderson, Lucas County, Iowa in July of 1866.  The Post office was moved to Derby in February of 1872. 

Before there was a telephone office in Derby, different people had a switch in their homes or store.  They would call people for you.  The following places were switch stations.  The A.J. Fight Home, Dunn's Drug Store, Grimes and Winslow Store and Charley Young home in the country.

The worst fire in the history of Derby occurred on August 2, 1915, shortly after eleven o'clock.  The fire started in the rear end of James Morrison's meat market.  A few minutes after the fire began, the interior of the building was in flames and it spread rapidly to the buildings adjoining.  In a short time the fire had gained such headway that it was impossible to save the frame buildings between the opera house and R.E. Brant's dry goods store, which were of brick.  In less than three hours the seven frame buildings lay in ashes.  The losses amounted up in the thousands and would have been much greater had it not have been for the water-soaked conditions of other buildings from recent rains and the timely efforts of the citizens.

The tax books of 1880 showed 22,800 acres of land in addition to the town of Derby.  A number of the largest and finest farms of the county were in this township.  The first permanent settler was Mr. Hamilton, who located in 1850. 

The first marriage was in the winter of 1851, the people married were J.C. Wetler and a widow, Mrs. Salisbury.

The first death was that of a little daughter of Mrs. Salisbury.

The first school in the township was a log schoolhouse, located in Section 1, now Goshen.  The teacher was Jacob Holmes.  He had 16 pupils and received $1.75 for each pupil.  He paid $1.00 per week for his room and board.  The township was divided later into seven school districts with a schoolhouse in each district.  In the early nineteen hundreds the district in which Derby is situated was made independent.

The first schoolhouse (a two story building) was built shortly after March of 1877.  The main room had a blackboard across the entire front.  It was made of cloth, probably painted canvas.  Across the entire front of each room was a platform slightly higher than the floor where the desks were located.  A large coal-burning stove placed in the center of each room furnished the heat.  Wraps were hung in a hallway and a bench held a bucket of water and a dipper.

The lower grades were on the ground floor, while the others through the eighth grade were on the second floor.  The grades were a bit different from the ones of today.  The pupils advanced from grade to grade by reading.  This schoolhouse burned.  The last schoolhouse built in 1922 was torn down in 1978.  The Derby School District is now a part of the Mormon Trail School District.

Derby was thirty-nine years old when the Derby State Savings bank was robbed.  The safe was blown open and papers and books in the vault were almost a total loss and $5,000 was taken.

The second robbery took place at the Derby Clearance Association in October of 1930.  Two store employees were forced into the vault at gunpoint but heeded the captive's pleas not to lock the door, as no one knew the combination but Mrs. Storie.  The robber then cleared out the money and fled.

The first hospital to be built in Lucas County was built in 1916 by Dr. R. Fred Throckmorton.

Derby had two newspapers printed at different times.  The first one was the Derby Recorder.  It was printed in the late 1890's.  The second one was the Derby Watchman printed in 1917 in the first building east of the school bus garage.

William Wyatt's team (Fan and Fancy) was stolen on a rainy night in 1901, and was driven to Tindall, Missouri where the thief was apprehended by a Pinkerton detective agent.  First, the thief had driven to Goshen, (the opposite direction) in order to confuse the law.  Mack Sowder (the local constable) went to Missouri and returned the prisoner to Chariton for trial.  He was proven guilty and served a time in the penitentiary.  In all he had driven approximately 70 miles, quite a distance in such a short time.  The prisoner, when on trial, said he had no bad habits as he did not smoke, drink or chase women but he would steal horses.

Like many small towns in Iowa, Derby businesses have dwindled and disappeared.  With no school building in town, many families have moved away leaving very few homes and businesses in town.

Lottie Butts Finds Happiness at 72

From the Chariton Leader June 14, 1932
Life is More Worth Living If You Keep Busy, 
Blind Russell Choir Leader Finds As She Looks
At Life Through Fingertips

Miss Lottie Butts Finds Happiness at 72 in Aiding others
by Donald Norberg

Although for over twenty-three years Lottie Butts has looked at life through the tips of her sensitive fingers, it has not passed her by.  "Giving up in the face of difficulties," she says,  "does not lead to a happy existence.  Life is more worth living if you keep busy".  Lottie Butts keeps busy.

I will admit that I had some moments of hesitation as I walked the path to the door of her quaint, old-fashioned home on the edge of Russell.  I had read and seen much of people physically handicapped who "carried on" through life, but with a philosophy that was hypocritical or with a dogged resentfulness.

Rapid footsteps answered my knock, and a smiling, smartly-dressed, grey-haired little woman accepted my introduction and led me to the parlor.

"Wait here," she requested, "until I finish arranging the fresh bouquet of flowers that "Uncle" has picked me.  Quickly and attractively the flowers were placed in the center of the table.

"I hestitated somewhat about permitting you to come," she said as she took a chair near mine.  "You see, I have no desire for publicity, but your friends who arranged the interview said that you wanted writing experience, and I am very much interested in young people and their ambitions."

There is one word that comes immediately to mind in the description of Lottie Butts, she is "sweet".  Mentally I kicked myself for my previous thought.  Lottie Butts faces life squarely, and her philosophy rings true.

"I will answer your questions for the good that it may do others who face difficulties.  I do not think my accomplishments very wonderful.  Always in my mind is the realization that whatever I do there is a higher power somewhere, watching and helping.

Miss Butts was born in New York state.  Her father, like many easterners of that period, took "western fever", and the family moved to Russell in 1867.

"There was not much to Russell at that time," she said.  There was a shack for a depot, and a platform.  The station agent and the section foreman had small homes, and our house made three-and Russell.  One of the most popular amusements of the day was watching the train pull in, and people came daily from miles around.  Before our coming the station agent had taken the mail from the train in his hand.  After that he needed a sack.  The amount of mail that our family received was the talk of the country side."

It was her intense love of literature that led to Lottie's blindness.  Her eyes began to fail in early youth, and continuous reading under all sorts of light rapidly decreased their strength.  Although she did not become totally blind until 1909, her eyes were practically useless for many years before.

While at a sanitarium in the east, recovering from the use of the strong medicines doctors had used in treating her eyes, she met a vocal teacher who trained her promising voice.  For more than a half of a century she has been in the choir of the Russell Baptist church, serving much of the time as leader.

She also took a course in physical culture, and maintained classes in the county until the illness and death of her parents kept her at home.

To demonstrate the results of keeping faithfully to her exercises through many years, she stood, and with knees stiff, touched the floor with her palms.  I was glad that she didn't ask me to try it.

"No", she said.  "I have no objection to revealing my age.  I am seventy-two".  She looks no more than fifty, and her agile movements would shame many much younger.

"My hobbies?  Music, cooking, letter-writing, and I must not forget my bread.  You see, "Uncle" and I are fond of homemade bread, and I like very much to bake it.

No story of Lottie Butts would be complete without mention of "Uncle".  She says of him:  "He has lived with me since the death of my parents many years ago.  I love him - everyone does - he is so kind and good and patient.  His name is really Uncle Albert Butts, but everyone calls him just "Uncle".

It is this seventy-two year old's uncle who helps her prepare the lessons that she teaches in the Baptist Sunday school each week.  He also helps her to memorize the words to many hymns.

"He is quite an expert at deciphering handwriting." she continued, "as he has to read all of my letters.  I do all of the housework, cooking, baking, canning, laundry and sewing, but "Uncle" has to do the frying.  Sometimes, you see, I might turn the eggs or buckwheat cakes to the top of the stove instead of in the pan."

She corresponds with many friends in various parts of the country, and demonstrated her novel method of handwriting.  Placing a ridged pad beneath paper, she followed and guided the point of the pencil with the first two fingers of her left hand, and wrote my name more legibly than I do myself.

She laughingly stated that she had not yet patented her method, and continued:  "I used to write considerably on the typewriter, but it was an old model and the letter "E" finally refused to work.

"The State Commission for the Blind recently made an offer of a radio to the blind of the state, but I couldn't quite muster enough nerve to ask if they would make mine a typewriter instead."

It is from the State Commission that Lottie receives the twenty-five towels that she so neatly hems each month.

"I owe much of my happiness to friends," she said, "and believe that I realize more fully than many the true value of friendship.  I have many of them, and they have always been kind and considerate."

No, life has not passed Lottie Butts by.  She voted in the recent primaries.

I like you, Miss Lottie Butts.  I would like to visit with you and "Uncle" again, and permit you to ask the questions, if you'll allow me some of that home-made bread spread with butter and a bit of sugar between the answers.

Small Appeal Cases and Divorce Suits

This article appeared in the Lucas County Notes and Shakin' the Family Tree - Volume 13 issue 3 - 3rd Quarter 2008

During the two terms of the court - May, 1851, and May, 1852 - there appears to have been very little business other than small appeal cases and divorce suites.  Samuel Payne appears, by the record, to have become weary, for some cause, of Julia Ann Payne, his spouse, who accompanied him to this new land of promise at an early day, and he applied to the court, at this term, to sever the marital bond and make them twain.  And the decree was entered and Samuel Payne was ordered to pay to his attorney, Wm. H. Brumfield, the sum of $12.50 for attorney's services in obtaining the divorce.  The court ordered the following in making the dissolution:  "The court makes no decree or disposition of the property of the parties; but, leaves that matter to be settled between themselves."
At the opening of the term of court on June 20, 1853, the grand jury indicted William McDermit, the first settler in Lucas County, for contempt of court and ordered him to come before the body.
McDermit being the first settler in the county, and for several years unaccustomed to the rules and restraints of court, probably considered his right and privilege superior to those of the court; and quite likely he maintained his view of the matter, as it no where occurs in the records that he was fined for any violation.
At this same term of court, an idictment was returned against Samuel Powers, Henry Powers and W. Mitchell for betting and against Nancy Byrd for selling spirituous liquors.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

"Who Do You Think You Are" - Series on TV

Friday April 30th, was the seventh journey in this series.  Ending with Spike Lee as the researcher.

This series began on March 5th, with Sarah Jessica Parker.  We all watched as she discovered a dark link in her genealogical chain.  Her journey can be seen on  Just click on the links and follow her adventure.  The first episode was very interesting, but watching it only reminded me of myself when I first started researching.  Brought back lots of memories of my own discoveries. For example the relative that went west to discover gold and never made it back to his family.

The second journey we followed Emmitt Smith researching his family roots through slave history all the way back to his motherland, Africa.  With the help of archivists and slave historians, he was able to trace his family back through the civil war era, finding out his great-great-great grandfather was a white slave owner.

The third week we watched as Lisa Kudrow learned of the atrocities of the Hitler regime; her great-grandmother among those shot and burned.  Her trip to Germany for her research,  brought together long lost cousins (her father and his cousin) who thought the other one was dead.  
The fourth, we followed Matthew Broderick as his journey revealed relatives who fought in two brutal wars, the Civil War and World War I.   He was able to stand on the battlefield where his grandfather and great-great grandfather fought.  He traveled to France and to Atlanta, GA where he discovered his grandfather had been awarded the Purple Heart and the Distinguished Service Cross.   His great-great grandfather fought at Gettysburg and his burial site had been a mystery for the last 160 years and now was finally revealed.  As Matthew said, "We're all related to the generations that happened before us and what they went through shaped our lives."  It was a joy for him to share it with his sister and his family.  What a wonderful gift this discovery is.

The search for Brooke Shields family tree took her from New York to New Jersey to the aristocrats of Italy and the Kings of France on the fifth journey of this series.  She discovered she is related to King Henry IV and Louis XVI was her first cousin many times removed.  There were many generations between New Jersey and Versailles,

Spike Lee is one of America's best-known film directors. He has done more than anyone in his generation to bring African-American history and experience to the screen. The name of his production company, 40 Acres and a Mule, refers to the broken promise made by the federal government to provide ex-slaves with land and a mule. However, Spike does not know much about his mother's slave ancestry and in this journey he hopes to discover more about his slave roots and the people who owned his ancestors. He traced the roots of his grandmother, who died at age 100, back to the Civil War era.  Finding that his ancestors were born into slavery and quite possibly he was a descendant of a former white slave owner.  He now has a living record of his mother's side of the family

This series continued for seven weeks.   These celebrities  embarked on the journeys of their lives.  The series looked inside the family histories of such stars as Sarah Jessica Parker, (aired on March 5th), Susan Sarandon (aired on April 23rd), Spike Lee (aired on April 30th), Matthew Broderick (aired on March 26), Brooke Shields (aired on April 2), Emmitt Smith, (aired on March 12) and Lisa Kudrow (aired on March 19).    Each week a different celebrity took a journey into their family's past traveling all over the world.  Viewers were given an in-depth look into their favorite stars' family trees, and each episode exposed surprising facts and emotional encounters that unlocked people's emotions -- showing just how connected everyone is not only to the past, but to one another.

To know who you are, you need to know where you came from.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Genealogy Society Discovers and Preserves Family History (continued from Part 1 below)

Part 2
By Sandra Knebel

    Editor's Note:  This story is a continuation  that tells the story of the Lucas County Genealogy Society, its members, and the people they assist in finding lost or unknown members of their family trees. ( Chariton Leader, Tuesday, January 29, 2008.)

    All families are participants in an American story.  One of the ongoing goals of the members of the Lucas County Genealogy Society is to help recover missing pieces from these stories.  Like this one.

    A 23-year resident of Chariton, Dottie said she didn't think she had any relatives in Lucas County when she joined the local genealogy group.  "My father died when I was about 2 years old, so I didn't know that side of my family," she said.  "I have since found out that I had an uncle who lived here in town and cousins.  My family was bigger than I knew about."
    Dottie says the society has taught her there are two parts to her family; ancestors are one; the members of the genie society are the other.  "We have taken trips together and have grown close.  They are the people I share things with."  Dottie spends afternoons in the society's workroom, indexing information, filing, proofreading, and stuffing the newsletter that goes out quarterly to over 200 members across the country.

    The members have different stories to tell about the people they have helped.  Most are shared through the newsletter.  The most fun, however, comes from sharing your excitement when you find another piece to the puzzle.  They have been there.  They share it and feel it, too!"
    Evalene began her search with clearly defined lists of relatives.  The lists quickly turned into convoluted trails that started in Wayne County and ended up in Oregon.  Evalene's story is one that many genies hope will be their story.  She actually made contact with newly discovered family members.

    "I found out that one of my great aunts on my dad's side had moved to Oregon.  I didn't know anything about her so I put a query in the Oregon Genealogy newsletter.  About two months later a lady called me.  She told me she was not related to me but was relation to my great aunt's husband.  She got me in contact with several of my fourth cousins.  They, in turn, started sending me information on all their families and my great aunt's family.  One of them sent me a CD with pictures that were her grandmothers that had come from her great grandmother."

    Connecting names to several people of mystery in the CD took two years, a resolute nature, several serendipitous findings, and some just plain "it's a small world" connections. It became quite clear that to be a dedicated genealogist, you must enjoy reasoning and thinking things out.

    The ladies laugh heartily when asked if they ever find an ancestor who may have wanted their skeleton to stay in the closet.  They each had a story, but we'll share the one told by Ev, Society President.  It's about her grandpa's run-in with the Klan.

    Lucas County was not exempt from Ku Klux Klan activities.  According to Ev's father, his father went one night to what he thought was a neighborhood family gathering.  And it was.  Except his neighbors were covered in white sheets.  Not wanting to be part of the action, Ev's grandpa (according to her father) turned to leave, saying "I'll be damned if I was so ashamed of anything that I had to hide under a bed cover!"

    But, oops, there was a skeleton in the closet.  One night at a genealogy meeting when everyone was sharing their family's most outrageous story, Ev told all.  Many years after the event, Ev's aunt found amongst the items in her grandfather's estate a Klan membership card.

    Darlene remembered a skeleton found deep within the birth records of Lucas County.  She was asked to help find information on a man's grandfather.  Unfortunately, it turned out that birth and census records proved that grandfather was not really grandfather.  The records showed that grandfather's mother got married four years after he was born.  Her new husband "adopted" the boy, without benefit of legal paperwork, rocking the family foundation the man had believed in all his life.

    Most are thrilled with the information they get.  "One day a man came in and handed us a hundred dollar bill, " Darlene remembered.  "He told us that the family had hunted for years to find what had happened to the family members we found for him.  He said we had done something that nobody else had been able to do."

    Annually, six members of the group get in a van and travel the country seeking ancestral information for their family trees.  (They coined the term "vancesters" to describe these jaunts.)  They have traveled to Washington, D.C., West Virginia, Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, Pennsylvania, New York, and Points beyond and between.

    On one trip, Kay met a man who agreed to take her to an out-of-the-way gravesite in West Virginia.  "So we met this guy in the parking lot of a drug store chain," Betty recalled.  "He was in a pickup truck with a 4-wheeler in the back.  We followed him out into the country as far as the van could go.  Then Kay and Mary Louise got in the 4-wheeler with him and they took off.  The roads turned into cow paths that turned into no paths at all.  Up the side of a mountain they went, finally arriving at the burial ground where Kay found not only the relative she was looking for, but his wife and children's stones were there, too.  They were all in good condition considering they dated from way back before the Civil War.  Kay found out she was related to a revolutionary war soldier and was so proud and so thrilled.  After that, he took her to see the old farm where her ancestors had lived."

    On that same vancestor trip, the group traveled to Nelsonville, Ohio.  After several visits to the library and with help from local genealogists and the cemetery books, Betty visited the graves of her great-great-grandparents.  Next to the stones were two small stones marking the gravesites of her grandfather's two sisters who died when they were about 2 and 4.  Other stones helped to piece together family history.  She found that the husband of her great grandfather's sister was buried next to his first wife who had died in childbirth.  "I know my grandfather's twin brother who died at about three months is buried there, too, since his two sisters are there, but we couldn't find a stone for him."

    The next day Betty was able to connect a church across from the cemetery with the First Christian Church that her great-grandfather helped build.  Both he and his sister were founders.  The information and photos of both have now been added to the family's history, which is found in a beautifully bound book Betty compiled for future generations of her family to enjoy.

    Some are happy to just remember the people at the top of a family tree.  Some want to know it all, which members were adopted in secrecy and which cousins are really half sisters and how much great uncle George drank the night he rolled his car in the ditch and died.  Some are even looking at DNA testing to answer age-old questions.  If you are interested in creating or adding information to your own family tree, the members of Lucas County Genealogy Society have a wealth of experience and information to share with you.  Phone 774-5514 or e-mail or visit them at the Chariton Public Library.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Red Haw State Park

This is the time of the year when the beautiful Redbud Trees in our area come to life.  It seems to me that all the trees are especially beautiful this year and the drive through Red Haw State Park proves this to be true.  My little dog, Candi, and I took a ride through the park this evening and took some really pretty pictures.  I hope you enjoy a couple of them.  Double click on the picture to get the full effect.

Letter to the Editor

From the Chariton Leader - February 13, 1948

Dated January 28th 1948
Chula Vista, California
Dear Editor,
To this writer it had occurred that some of your readers might be interested in knowing what has become of Pearl and Belle James, the youngest and last living children of Caleb and Dorcas James who resided on their farm two miles west of Chariton.  Miss Belle, the younger of the two, is living a healthful retired life in Hollywood, Calif.  For a number of years she was head bookkeeper and cashier of her brother's New Mexico business.

Dr. Pearl Robert James was born in 1866 on a farm near Chartion, Iowa.
He received his primary education in the public schools, supplemented by study in three Iowa colleges, and received his D.D.S. degree from the Iowa State University.

He practiced his profession in Ottawa, Illinois, more than twenty years or until his health gave way.  Then he sold his home and practice and moved to Las Cruces, New Mexico, where he basked in the ozone of that high and semitropic climate until he recovered sufficient health to formulate and organize the Smith-James Mercantile and Cattle Corporation, of which he was president for six years.

Then along came the first World War when he disposed of his half-interest in their ten thousand acre cattle ranch and their cattle, also sold his half-interest in the corporation's commercial holdings while the selling was good.  Just then, and without solicitation came an offer, which he accepted of a professorship in operative dentistry, supervisor of the dental clinic, and vice-dean of the dental department of the Nebraska State University.  His chief work there was to prepare  young men in oral surgery for the Army and Navy.  This position he retained until long after the war ended, then resigned to go to San Diego, California and retire.

But complete retirement for this active mind was not as easy as planned, so he bought an attractive apartment house, then constructed an auto court, operated these nine years when old age with its discrepancies suggested another attempt at retirement, which he accomplished by selling out and purchasing retirement membership for himself and his wife in the "Fredericka Home for Gentlefolk" in Chula Vista, California, which they found to be an ideal system of retirement for old people.
                                    Doctor P.R. James
                                    Chula Vista, California

Genealogy Society Discovers and Preserves Family History

This article was written by Sandra Knebel who lives in Russell, and works for the Chariton newspapers.  She interviewed the ladies at the Lucas County Genealogy group in Chariton and wrote the following article for the paper.  It appeared in the  paper in two parts

Part I

by Sandra Knebel

According to a popular genealogy website, 9,550,012 people added information to their family trees in just the last seven days.  The number of family stories submitted to the website the same week was 24,243.  Just under 200,000 photos were uploaded.  Within that vast population of genealogy addicts are the members of the Lucas County Genealogy Society.

    The shelves in the Laura Curtis Family History Room in the public library are filled with notebooks full of an extraordinary amount of facts that have garnered nationwide recognition.  People calling the local group tell them, "I've been all over the country researching and Chariton's records are the best except for maybe in the really big cities."  The facts that have created their widespread, respected reputation are rich with family history, interesting characters, and fascinating tales.  Here is one favorite.

    Paul was looking for his long, lost love.  As the story goes, in the late 1930's and early 1940's Paul and Katherine were in school together in Northern Iowa.  They planned to marry after graduation.  Katherine then moved to Chariton.  She graduated in 1943.  Paul went into the service and they eventually lost touch.

    Years later Paul was sorting through his late mother's things and found all the letters Katherine had sent him.  In his quest to find her again, Paul called Chariton's "Genie" room.  Reminiscent of the classic detective game, "Clue", where players move from room to room in a mansion to solve the mystery, Darlene and another volunteer, Lucille Chandler, searched the class of 1943, reviewed reunion data from classmates, checked out old addresses and phone numbers and scanned the newspaper indexes.  A 1945 article revealed Katherine's engagement to a soldier, which led to a clue that she might be in Georgia where she was going to be married.

    Sure enough, the trail to Georgia led to a university where Katherine had become a very successful professor.  Her first husband had died.  Paul was now a widower in Wisconsin.  Katherine's phone number was no longer in service, so Paul sent a registered letter.  Their first telephone call lasted for two hours.  The work of the Chariton sleuths was complete once they put the two together.  They don't know the story's ending, just the chapter they helped write.

    The dedicated volunteers of the Lucas County Genealogy Society have many such stories to tell.  Betty, whose family tree is now a forest filling fourteen books, says, "You can't stop.  It's like serendipity.  While you are looking for one thing you accidentally discover something else entirely that leads to a search for more information on that discovery which heralds new discoveries and it just keeps going on and on."  As someone once said, serendipity is when you put a coin in the gumball machine and three pieces come rattling out instead of one.

    Darlene's story is an example.  "It was the early 80's," she said.  "I didn't know much about my family.  I knew three of my four grandparents came from Germany.  I didn't even know one great grandmother's name because she died when my grandmother was young.  So mine is kind of a typical scenario when you first start.

    "By chance I found her in Washington County.  I found a George Schmitt over there that had a daughter.  It told in his will that his daughter, Mariah Smith, had married a Critz, which is my grandmother's maiden name.  So I started hunting for what was her mother's name.  I knew she was born in Ohio, so I asked myself if that meant that her parents were married there.  Ohio is a big place and Schmitt was a common name, but through census data I found that he had a brother, Mitchell, living with him.  So I started hunting for a Mitchell Schmitt in Ohio.  I followed the loops and turns and eventually traveled to Ft. Wayne, Indiana, where I found marriage records that gave me my great grandmother's last name.  It was Deyo.  The Deyo family were descendants of the small but brave group of French Huguenot refugees who came to America in 1678.

    "This led to my visit to New Paltz, New York.  The historic Huguenot district still features seven original stone houses dating to the early 1700's, a burial ground, and a reconstructed 1717 stone church.  Some of the local ladies that went with me went to the cemetery, but I went to the stone house where my grandmother lived with her family.  I can only describe it as elation.  It was like, okay, my great-great-grandparents walked here.  It's the same sort of feeling you get when you walk the paths of a cemetery where your ancestors once walked and are now buried.  You get this strong sense of their presence."

    Mary Louise had no idea where she would find the cemetery stone that she was looking for.  So when she reached the cemetery Mary Louise just followed the eerie feeling that came over her and walked directly to the grave she was looking for as if someone had taken her hand and led the way.

    "Genies" are not put off by the suggestion that their beliefs border the paranormal.  They just say they share strong feelings that their ancestors want to be found.  (At this point the lights in the genealogy room went dim, then came back on.  Apparently, in this room where the past comes alive, that happens on a regular basis - but then, that's another story!)

    The records compiled by the local genealogists are phenomenal.  Hundreds of notebooks line the walls.  They are continually adding information to the books of family histories.  They have war records and history books and lists of who is buried in which cemetery, births, deaths, weddings, birthdays, anniversaries, divorces and unique stories from newspapers dating back to 1867 are indexed.  There are over 330,000 entries comprising 5,000 pages.

    Contrary to today's obituaries that give little to no information about cause of death, the old newspapers told all.  A quick peek tells us that Sam Goldwater was shot and died of a gunshot wound.  Merle Gookin died from a rusty needle in the foot.  The little son of Mr. and Mrs. Schaterick Nelson passed away after suffering for several hours from a snake bit, "a menace in southern Iowa that is becoming serious."  The boy and his father were picking blackberries when the little fellow, who was barefooted, stepped on the snake.

    The Lucas County Genealogy Society is the only one that has this amazing index.  The information leads to a place on microfilm where the whole story can be found.  The indexes are continuously being updated.  The pictures on the notices of memorial services that you see at businesses around town are added to the historical records for future generations to access.  In addition to being cataloged, photos of cemetery tombstones go on the Internet website called Iowa Gravestones. org.  Whenever someone calls in, their information is added to some book on some shelf or some computerized record.  The calls come in from every state across America from people hoping to add information to their family trees.

    Related to genealogy is a group called "Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness."  Volunteers in this group will actually go out to a cemetery and take a photo of a tombstone and send it to a caller or in response to an e-mail query.  Or they will look up obituaries or other records for folks far away who cannot travel to the information site.  As you would expect, members of the local group often perform these random acts.

    The Society's quarterly publication, "Lucas County Notes and Shakin' the Family Tree!" chronicles many stories.  Each report begins with a simple query and tidbits that are intriguing, amusing, curious, and often fascinating - exactly what lures so many millions of people to this hobby called genealogy. ( to be continued)

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

A Sight I Had Never Seen Before

I am not an early riser and usually miss all the exciting and beautiful things that happen around sunrise, but this morning around 9 am I was driving into Russell and saw the most spectacular thing I had seen in many years.  Even some of my zoo trips in the past had nothing as beautiful as this.  At least 50 (could have been more) Pelicans were nesting and swimming around near the twin bridges just east of Chariton.  I never realized these birds were so big.  If you want to see a better description and more pictures of these marvelous birds, visit Frank's site  .  His article is very interesting. 

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Genealogy and What It Means to Me

Genealogy and What it Means to Me
by Lynne Wilson
    When my mother passed away in 1974, I found a large box of pictures that I had never seen before.  After looking through all of them, I realized they not only had belonged to my mother, but also my grandmother.  There were old pictures and documents dating way back in my grandmother's past; pictures of her when she was a child and up through her life, including pictures of her husband and their four children (one being my mother).  Among those documents I found a Wolcott family tree.  I was 39 at this time and genealogy had never entered my mind.  It was just a word to me.  After reading this hand typed record of my family from 1578 until 1935, I became very interested. 
    It is always a question of where to begin when a person gets ready to put together their family history.  I am no different.  Where do I begin?  With this document, written on several pieces of stationary from The Boot Shop in Billings, Montana, with a handwritten note that says, "Owned by Uncle Linus Shelton Wolcott", I proceeded to add as much family history as I knew and have been adding to it ever since. This Linus Wolcott was my grandmother's brother.
    Among my Grandmother's papers was a letter from a group called the Descendants of Henry Wolcott dated March 17, 1938 written to my grandmother.  The purpose for the letter was to inform her she was eligible to belong to the D.A.R.  There was an empty envelope addressed to Mrs. Mildred Chapman from L. S. Wolcott (I believe this was Linus, Evelyn's brother, who lived in Billings, Montana.)   
    We have all learned the immensity of the Internet and the information that can be found on this vast Information Highway.  I started searching for the Wolcott name and it was not long before I had made contact with distant relatives that directed me to the Society of the Descendants of Henry Wolcott.  I filled out my membership form on 12/9/1999 and joined with a lifetime membership.  The Wolcott family has had an enduring interest in their ancestry.  The first genealogical compilation was completed in 1881.  There have been several updates since that time.  They have published huge books on the history of this family.  Many projects have been completed through the years to keep this heritage alive.  The first gathering of the descendants was in 1907 and they made plans to complete the genealogy; restore the Old State House in Hartford, Connecticut; repair windows bearing the Wolcott coat of arms in the Old Church in England; restore two early cemeteries in Connecticut; and repair the tomb of Henry and Elizabeth Wolcott in Windsor, Connecticut.  The Society has been meeting every year since then (except the war years of 1918 and 1942-1945). 
   When Henry Wolcott left England in 1630 he carried with him a small wooden chest measuring twelve inches in length, seven inches in width, and six and three-quarters inches in height.  Its slightly curved lid exhibited the initials H. W. formed with brass nails.  Covered with leather and lined with paper, this deed chest contained Henry's valued papers.  The box and much of its contents exist to this day.  The box and the documents remain in the care of the Connecticut Historical Society.
    A favorite pastime of genealogists is to visit ancestral homes; walking the same ground as one's forebears adds a sense of reality to the persons known only through records.
    I knew there was a lot of my family history in the Midwest, so I planned to retire in Iowa in 2000.  My daughter lived in Russell, so I followed my dream and came to the state where I could continue my research while being close to my daughter and her family.
    After I was here a short time, I discovered the Lucas County Genealogical Society and joined the group.  Although I had no family history from Lucas County, they helped me immensely with ideas of how to do my research.  The Genealogy room at the Chariton Library is a very interesting place with all its histories, obituary files, school and church records.  There is always a volunteer who is willing and happy to help.  They certainly have helped me through the years.
   I remember occasional visits with relatives and some of the stories that were told.  One summer when I was around six, my brother and I spent several weeks at my Aunt's house in Cedar Falls, Iowa.  That was the summer when I was riding my bicycle and ran into a fence, which resulted in my falling off the bike and scraping my knees.  My Aunt and Uncle worked for John Deere in Waterloo.  The family was very close and gathered together for Sunday meals and lots of conversation. 
   These memories told me there was lots of information in Iowa to help me begin my research on the Stockdale/Salisbury side of my family. 
   On 9/23/2002 I visited my cousin in Reinbeck, IA.  We have the same great-grandfather, Stephen F. Salisbury.  Sisters, Florence and Bertha were his daughters.
   My cousin is full of stories about the family moving to Iowa.  He has lots of letters from our great-grandfather, Stephen F., written to his wife, Margaret, during the Civil War.  Here is where I learned the story of the Salisbury family and how they traveled to Door Creek, WI and later to  Reinbeck, Iowa.  Bill still has great-grandfather Stephen's Civil War musket, which he brought to Iowa to help protect his family from the Indians, which he later learned were not hostile.
   Stephen and his brother George Warren and their families all came out to Iowa together.   Stephen did not like farming and soon ended up in Waterloo and ventured into the woodworking business.  Almost all of the George Warren family lived with, near and around each other in the Reinbeck, IA area.  Bill took me to the property and I saw all the farmland they farmed and the house they lived in, which is still standing and being lived in today.  The house sits right on the county line road.  One side of the road is Black Hawk County and the other side of the road is Grundy County.  They lived on the Black Hawk County side. 
   Another story Bill talked about was regarding Carleton Salisbury, George Warren's son.    He went by horse back out to Idaho and obtained a piece of land in Bonneville County, Idaho.  Carl's canoe is now on display in the Grundy County Museum in Morrison, IA.  Carl wrote down everything he did in little journals.  These journals are also on display at the museum.  The homemade snowshoes that Carl made and used are also on display along with some other articles of Carl's, including his saddle.
   Many members of these two families are buried in the Lincoln Township Cemetery right next to the farm where the family lived.  It is a very small cemetery, but is very well taken care of by different family members still living in the area.
   Bill told of our great-grandparents living by the railroad depot.  Our great-grandmother Margaret rented out rooms while great-grandfather Stephen was away from home for long periods of time.  She rented to railroad dignitaries and let Carl have a room when he had ridden his horse in from Boise.  One time when Carl rode up to Margaret's boarding house, after riding for days without cleaning up, he rode across a neighbors yard.  This man was noted for yelling at the kids for walking on his yard.  The neighbor came out of his house ready to fight Carl for what he had done, but when Carl got down off the horse and turned to the neighbor and asked him what he wanted, the neighbor decided not to push the issue and turned and walked away.  The kids thought this was wonderful.
    On July 26, 2002, I visited Waterloo, IA to try and obtain more information.  I went to the Waterloo Library and looked at microfilm, which contained information about my paternal grandparents and great grandparents.  The information was on the Waterloo City Directories microfilm, dated 1888-1898 and 1899-1900.    There was no information regarding my grandfather on the next microfilm roll dated 1899-1900.
   I also spent some time at the Northeast Iowa Genealogy Association at the Grout Museum in Waterloo and obtained more information about the family. 
    On September 11, 2002, I went to Madison, Lake County, South Dakota.  At the Madison Library and the Karl Mundt Library, on the University Campus, I found many articles and obituaries about the Salisbury/Janssen families.  I was able to obtain burial records at the Elsworth Funeral Home and the Weiland Funeral Home.  At the Lake County Courthouse I was able to obtain many birth and death records.
   I then drove out to the property owned by the Salisbury families.  Located just below the Lake and McCook county line road.  I took pictures of as much of the land as I could see.  There were two farmhouses near the road.  According to a Janssen cousin, the Janssens still live on the same property purchased years ago by Henry and Nicholas.  She and her husband live on that land.  I then drove on down to Salem, SD to the County Courthouse.  I got copies of all the land records I knew about for the Janssen's and the Salisbury's.
    I later visited Montrose, SD.  It is a very small town.  I would guess the population is around 400 people.  I did not find anyone to ask questions of.    That was the end of my trip.
    From all these articles, obituaries, funeral records and birth records, I was able to get my genealogy started.  At home, I used the Internet and letters and emails from other relatives to fill in much of the other information I now have in my Salisbury Family tree.
    To me Genealogy is as important to a family as the historical data that is gathered for a country.  Researchers have worked very hard to gather the data for their families and to let it just end because future generations are not interested in continuing the history, is a shame.  Several members of my family have opened up an interest in this family's history and are trying to carry it on.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Story of the Curtis Family

From The Memorial and Biographical Record of Iowa, pg. 327
Curtis Mill
Lot Curtis
    It is now the privilege of the biographer to touch upon the life history of Lot Curtis, another one of the representative farmers of Lucas County, Iowa, his farm being located in Warren Township, and Chariton his post-office address.  He came here in 1860 and is therefore classed with the pioneers of this vicinity.
    Mr. Curtis was born in Belmont County, Ohio, August 23, 1822.  At an early period in the history of this country three brothers, by the name of Curtis and natives of Ireland, crossed the Atlantic and settled in the Old Dominion.  From one of these brothers has descended the subject of our sketch.  Barnabas Curtis, a native of Virginia, was the father of Thomas Curtis, also a native of the State and born in Loudoun County, and this Thomas Curtis was the father of Lot.  He was by trade a carpenter and miller, but after settling in Ohio gave his attention to farming.  His wife, nee Frances St. Clair, like himself was a native of Virginia.  They became the parents of seven children, namely; Anne, Jane, Emily, Malinda, Harriet, Lot and Thomas.  The daughters are all deceased and the sons are both residents of Lucas County.  The father died in 1827.  The mother survived him a number of years and her death occurred at the age of sixty.  They were members of the Baptist Church and were earnest and devoted Christians. 
    Lot Curtis was reared on his father’s farm in the Buckeye State and had the benefit of a public school education only.  In early life he learned the trade of miller and carpenter, which he followed for some time in Belmont County.  From there, in 1860, he came West to Lucas county, Iowa, accompanied hither by his wife and six children.  Three other children were added to their family after they came to this state.  His first settlement here was on a farm four miles southwest of Chariton.  While in Ohio he was in the milling business with Dr. Wright.  The Doctor had preceded him to Iowa, had become the owner of mill property here and had sent for Mr. Curtis to come and take charge of it, which he did.  Subsequently, Mr. Curtis built a mill on his own farm and ran it three years, after which he moved it to Chariton, where, in company with his two sons, William and Joseph, he ran it several years longer.  After this he settled down to farming on his old farm and continued to reside on it until 1890 when he sold out to his sons, Joseph and Asbury Cottins.  That same year he bought the farm upon which he has since resided and which is located on section 7, of Warren Township, it being well improved with good buildings, orchard, etc.  In addition to this farm he also owns a good property in town.
    Mr. Curtis was first married August 20, 1844 in Monroe County, Ohio, to Miss Mary Chynowith, a native of Maryland and a daughter of William and Bridget (Turner) Chynowith, natives of England.  Her parents came to Iowa in their old age and passed the closing years of their lives and died here.   She was the second born in their family of six children, the others being Joseph, Martha, Jane, Elizabeth and Jacob.  Mrs. Mary Curtis departed this life in 1883, leaving the following named children: William of Russell, Iowa, who was a soldier in the late war; Amanda, wife of M.A. Scoville, of Warren Township, this county; Joseph and Cyrus, both of this township; Frank of Iowa Falls; Asbury C. and Ira, both of Chariton.  For his second wife Mr. Curtis married Mrs. Martha Segler, nee Tracy, a native of Belmont County, Ohio.  Her parents, Benjamin and Nancy (Nicholds) Tracy, were natives of Virginia, and both died in Lucas county, Iowa, each at the advanced age of eighty-one years.  Their family was composed of eleven children,-five sons and six daughters.  Of Mrs. Curtis we further record that her first husband was Isaac Segler, a native of Ashland County, Ohio and that their marriage occurred December 25, 1851.  He died in Lucas County, Iowa in 1880, at the age of fifty-one years.  Following are the names of their children: Henry H., M.J., Nancy Jane Hedges, Elma McCullough, Minnie Yont and William.  Mrs. McCullough is deceased.
    Mr. Curtis is a No. 1 citizen in every sense of the word.  He has filled a number of offices of local importance, among which we note those of County Supervisor, Justice of the Peace and Trustee.  Politically he is a Republican; religiously a Baptist.

 From the Chariton Herald-Patriot, March 25, 1909
    Lot Curtis, one of Lucas County’s most respected citizens, died at his home on Linden Avenue, March 18th, 1909, after a brief illness with pneumonia, aged 86 years, 6 months, 26 days.  Funeral services were held Friday, at l o’clock from the Baptist church, conducted by the pastor, Rev. Hugh Moore; interment in the Waynick cemetery.
    Lot Curtis was born August 23, 1823 in Belmont County, Ohio.  July 1844, he was united to Mary A. Chynoweth.  They were the parents of nine children, seven of whom are living: W. T. Curtis, of Russell, Iowa, Mrs. M. A. Scovell of Humeston, J. H., C. B., F. B., A. O., and I. N. of Chariton.  In September, 1860, he moved with his family to Lucas County, where he has since resided.  Mrs. Curtis died September 10th, 1883.  April 16, 1903, Mr. Curtis was again married to Mrs. Mary Scovel, who is left alone in her declining years.  Mr. Curtis united with the Baptist Church in early manhood, and his life was a worthy example.  Words of sympathy are extended to the wife and children.

 From A Memorial and Biographical Record of Iowa, pg. 398, published 1896
William T. Curtis
    William T. Curtis was born in Belmont County, Ohio, May 17, 1845, and came with his parents this county, where, in addition to his common-school education, he received a three months’ course of schooling from Professor Perry.  His first work was on his father’s farm and after attaining his majority he was employed in the Chariton flour mill, where he remained one year.  He then returned home and he and his father erected a mill, but three years later the mill was moved to Chariton, and eleven years afterward Mr. Curtis moved to Nebraska and built a mill there.  After spending two years in that State he returned to his farm in Lucas County.  About seven years ago Mr. Curtis was employed by Eikenberry and Stewart to manage their large interests at Russell, Iowa.  After the death of Mr. Eikenberry the farm was known as Stewart and Company, Mr. Curtis still continuing as manager of their business.  The mill has a capacity of fifty barrels, and does custom work exclusively, in connection with the stock and elevator business. 
    February 20, 1871, Mr. Curtis was united in marriage with Miss Mary E. Farber, who was born in Licking county, Ohio, February 20, 1852, a daughter of John Farber, and was brought by her parents to Iowa in 1858, locating about six miles south of Chariton, where her father still resides.  Mr. and Mrs. Curtis have had five children, viz.: Hattie M., born November 28, 1873, is a musician of some ability, and is a stenographer and bookkeeper; Willie A., born December 4, 1876, is in the employ of his father,; Geanor F., born April 12, 1879; John D., May 24, 1883; Eva May, March 19, 1888; and Ernest E., born February 18, 1892, died July 3, of the same year.  Mr. Curtis supports the Republican Party, having cast his first presidential vote for General U. S. Grant, and served in the late war.  He has served as a member of the city board in Chariton, Russell, and also in Nebraska.  Mr. and Mrs. Curtis and children are members of the Baptist Church, in which they are active workers.

 From The Chariton Democrat, Feb. 5, 1920, front page.
W. T. Curtis
    Many friends throughout the county will be grieved to learn of the death of William T. Curtis, which occurred at his home in Russell, Iowa, Thursday, January 22, 1920 at the age of 74 years, 8 months, and 5 days, after an extended illness.  On account of several other members of the family being ill with influenza, the funeral services were private, and were conducted by Rev. E. J. Carlson, of the Russell Baptist Church.  Interment in the Chariton cemetery under the direction of the I.O.O.F., of which order he had been a member for many years.
    William Thomas Curtis was born in Belmont County, Ohio, on May 17, 1845.  He came to Iowa in 1857 with his parents, locating in Lucas County.  He was married to Mary Eliza Farber.  To this union five children were born.  At seventeen he became a member of the Baptist church and was a deacon of the Russell Baptist church at the time of his death.  Mr. Curtis was loved and highly esteemed by all who knew him and the county has lost one of its best citizens.  The sympathy of a host of friends goes out to the loved ones he left behind.

 From A Memorial and Biographical Record of Iowa, page 349, published 1896.
Henley G. Curtis
    Henley G. Curtis, an honored veteran of the late war, County Treasurer of Lucas County, and a member of the City Council of Chariton, is a native of the Buckeye State.  He was born in Belmont County, Ohio, on the 10th of August, 1847, and is a son of Thomas and Martha (Chynoweth) Curtis.  The family numbered three sons, of whom Henley G. is the eldest.  Cassius, the second, is a farmer who makes his home in Omaha, Nebraska.  He married Miss Sarah Chance, and has four children; Emory E.; the youngest resides near Pueblo, Colorado, where he is engaged in railroading.  He wedded Miss Susan Edmons, and they have two children. 
    The gentleman whose name heads this record, was educated in the public schools of Lucas county, Iowa, and in his youth became familiar with all the duties that fall to the lot of the agriculturalist.  He followed farming for a time in his younger years through the summer months, while in the winter months he engaged in teaching school, being thus employed for fourteen years, when he determined to give his entire attention to agricultural pursuits.  He now owns a rich tract of land of 220 acres, which is situated in Warren Township, Lucas County, and very successfully did he engage in its cultivation, the fields yielding to him a golden tribute in return for the care and cultivation he bestowed upon them.  Thus his time was passed until he was called to public office.
    His fellow townsmen, appreciating his worth and ability, placed Mr. Curtis in nomination for the office of County Treasurer on the Republican ticket, and when the election returns were received it was found that he was the successful candidate.  He entered upon his duties shortly afterward, and so well were they discharged that in 1891 he was again elected, and in 1893 was chosen for a third term, and is now serving his sixth year.  He is a most capable and faithful officer, devoted to the best interests of the community that can be promoted by the efficient performance of the tasks which fall to him.  He is also serving his second term as a member of the city council.  Wherever he is found, whether in private or official life, he is the same loyal man, working for the welfare of the community and all that tends to its upbuilding.
    Mr. Curtis was married in Lucas County, August 31, 1872 to Miss Minora Burr, a native of Belmont County, Ohio.  They had three children, but all died in infancy, and the mother passed away May 28, 1885, leaving a large circle of friends to mourn her loss.  On the ninth of February, 1888, Mr. Curtis was again married, his second union being with Miss Amanda Harris, also a native of Belmont County, Ohio.  Her parents, Edward and Martha Harris, were prominent people of that locality, where the father died, in the prime of life, while the mother still resides there.  Mr. and Mrs. Curtis have an interesting little daughter, Laura, now six years old. The parents hold an enviable position in social circles and have a large circle of friends and acquaintances who hold them in high regard for their many excellencies of character.
    During the late war, Mr. Curtis manifested his loyalty to the Government and the Union cause by entering the Forty-sixth Iowa infantry, Company K.  He had some time previously desired to enter the Army but his years precluded him, and as soon as he had attained a sufficient age he joined the “boys in blue” and did service in the State of Tennessee until the close of the hostilities.  He is now a member of the Iseminger Post, No. 18, G.A.R. and for the past five years has acceptably served in the position of adjutant, taking great pride in keeping the records with neatness and exactness.  He is also a member of Chariton Lodge, No. 63, A.F. & A.M.  He and his wife are consistent members of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and their earnest Christian lives are well worthy of emulation.  Everything that tends to promote the education, material or moral welfare of the community receives their approval and cooperation and the best interests of the county are promoted by them.

 From The Chariton Democrat, Mar 3, 1904, front page.
H.G. Curtis
    The many friends in Chariton and Lucas County were painfully shocked by the announcement of the death of H.G. Curtis, which occurred at his home in this city on Monday morning, February 29, 1904, at 1:30 o’clock.  He had been failing in health for ten years but was able to attend to his duties until about two months ago and was only confined to his bed nine days.  Although it was known that death was inevitable, yet everything that loving hearts could suggest and willing hands could do was done.  Funeral services conducted by Rev. B. F. Miller and under the auspices of the G.A.R. were held at the M.E. church on Wednesday afternoon at two o’clock.  The minister paid a tender tribute to the departed, the singers sang the beautiful hymns of consolation, wet eyes looked upon the quiet sleeper and then the beloved body was borne tenderly the grave.  Interment took place in the Waynick cemetery southwest of this city.  The floral offerings were varied and beautiful, coming from sympathetic hearts, who not only during the life of the departed showed their deep affection for the sufferer and the relatives, but in death paid a parting tribute by the contribution of God’s choicest flowers.
    Henley Gregg Curtis was united in marriage to Minora Burr in 1872.  She preceded him in death in 1885.  In 1888, he married Miss Amanda Harris, who with one daughter, Laura, survives him.  He also leaves a father, Thos. Curtis, two brothers, Cash of Omaha, and Emory of Olney, Colorado, and five sisters, Mrs. Clarinda Chance of Douglas, Kansas, Mrs. Ada Chynoweth of Leoti, Kansas, Mrs. Rilla Wright of Warren township; Mrs. Kalista Keller of Benton township and Mrs. Sadie Lewis of Russell.

Four Articles Regarding First Time Occurances

The following four articles are from the Chariton Leader - June 14, 1932

The First Mortgage in Lucas County
The first mortgage executed and recorded in Lucas County was made by Thomas Wilson a pioneer and member of the Board of County Commissioners in 1850, to Seth Richards, to secure the payment of money due the latter of which the following is a copy.

"Know All Men by These Presents:  That I, Thomas Wilson, of the County of Clarke and State of Iowa, for and in consideration of seven hundred and twenty dollars to me paid by Seth Richards, the receipt whereof is hereby acknowledged, do grant bargain and sell unto the said Seth Richards, his heirs and assigns, the following described land in the county of Clarke and Lucas, Clarke County, being attached to Lucas, and State of Iowa, to wit:  The northwest quarter of section thirteen, in Township seventy-one north of range, twenty-four west, being in Clarke county and the northeast fractional quarter of section five in township seventy one, north of range twenty-one west containing one hundred and eighty-three acres, being in Lucas county, State of Iowa, aforesaid: and convenants that he shall quietly enjoy the same free from encumbrance; and that I do warrant and will forever defend the same to him against all lawful claims; provided, however, and the above conveyance in upon the express condition; whereas, I am justly indebted to the said Seth Richards in the full sum of seven hundred and twenty dollars, which is to be paid in two years; but if paid in one year to be satisfied with six hundred dollars.  Now if the said Thomas Wilson shall well and promptly pay, or cause to be paid, to the said Seth Richards, his heirs and assigns, when the same shall become due, the said amount of money with the interest thereon, then the above conveyance to be null and void, otherwise to be and remain in full force and effect."

Thee mortgage was subsequently satisfied by Thomas Wilson when he paid six hundred dollars at Ottumwa one year later.

One of the first money lenders in Lucas County was Anna Arnold, who obtained the first divorce in Lucas County.  It is not known whether Anna received alimony or a settlement from her husband, Scott, who was quite prominent in the early history of Lucas County, but at any rate she became quite well known for her money lending activities.  Among the first mortgages she executed was one by John Williams and his wife, Matilda, given as security on sixty dollars and listing lots three and four, block eleven in Chariton.
The First Quit Claim Deed
First Quit Claim Deed in Lucas County was made by George Temple in 1851.  This class of conveyance is generally given where the grantor's title is not perfect in him, is of such character that he cannot safely warrant and defend it against the claims of all other persons-where he has a claim, or some interest in the land which he thus releases, as shown by the following:

"For the consideration of one hundred and seventy dollars, I hereby quit claim to Luther Holbrook, of Lucas county, and State of Iowa, all my interest in the following described land, viz:  the west half of the northwest quarter and the west half of the southwest quarter of section twenty-four, in township 72, north of range twenty-two west, lying in the county of Lucas aforesaid, and containing one hundred and sixty acres."

First Public Highway
The first public highway laid out and established in Lucas County was in September, 1849.  The board of county commissioners at its session of that month, made a resolution appointing several Lucas County men to act as "viewers" on that road, to meet at the house of Joel Lowder.

Joel Lowder's farm was located in what was then called "Ireland precinct."  It is now Cedar Township, and the Joel Lowder farm is now known as the John Duckworth farm, which lies in the northeast part of that township.

This road is not only the oldest in the county, but is the one which pioneer settlers traversed when they went eastward to Warwaw, Ill., to get their wheat flour or elsewhere for their general supplies.

The next public highway established in the county by the board of commissioners was that running from Chariton to the south line of the county near X.E. West's farm in Washington township, intersecting the state road from Ottumwa to Council Bluffs at forty ninth mile post.  James Jenkins was the commissioner appointed to view the route and report.

About the same time, late in 1851, another public road was constructed from Chariton to Newton in Jasper county and to the south line of Lucas county in the direction of Garden Grove, in Decatur County.
Trip To Albia
Takes Clerk Three and One-Half Days to Make Trip to Albia
 At the August election in 1856, delegates were elected to a constitutional convention which convened at Iowa City January 19, 1857, to revise the first constitution of Iowa.  The work of this convention was adopted by the people at the elction of August 3, 1857, by a popular vote of 40,311 "for" to 38,681 "against" and which went into effect September 3, following.  John Edwards, of Lucas county, was chosen delegate to that convention and the vote of the district east for him was canvassed at Albia, Monroe County, and William M. Berkey, clerk of the district court of this county, had to do with the canvassers, as shown by the following bill against Lucas county.

"To horse and buggy three and a half days, for the use of William M. Berkey going to Albia to canvass votes for delegates to constitution convention, eight dollars".  B.R. St. John.