This article appeared in the Chariton Herald-Patriot newspaper on Thursday, March 31, 2011, written by Bill Howes.
This past Friday, Northridge Assisted Living resident, Helen Miskimin, donated a rare item to the Lucas County Historical Society Museum in Chariton. Miskimin, who turned 97 on Tuesday this week, donated a baby buggy and doll that came over from Germany with her mother in the late 19th Century.
Helen's mother was Teresa Biesemeyer and she came to the United States from Germany in Jan. 1891 when she was five years old. The buggy and doll came over with her and the doll's name is Teresa Rose.
The doll's name comes from both Helen's mother and grandmother as her mother was named Teresa and her grandmother was named Rose. The buggy and doll will be put in the Lucas County Historical Museum along with a small story about it.
Along with the donation that was made last Friday, two men, Martin Biesemeyer, who's Helen's nephew and lives in Indianola, and Fred Steinbach, who lives in Chariton and is on the Lucas County Historical Society Board, interviewed Helen about her family and their journey to Lucas County and their life here in the early 1900's.
"The Lucas County Historical Society has started an effort to interview seniors about their families to find out about their journeys to Chariton and to talk to the seniors themselves about their own lives in Lucas County to get a feel about life in the county in the early 20th century," Steinbach said.
A year ago the Lucas County Historical Society Board received a grant large enough to purchase a laptop and a camcorder that allowed them to do this interviewing project.
Steinbach explained how the interviews done with people like Helen help keep the histories of families alive who once lived here in Lucas County. "I asked Helen about her family. They're all gone now, but she still has their story to tell. She told stories of the 1920's and 30's and the hardships people went through in Chariton during the Great Depression," he said.
The interview with Miskimin took a half hour to 45 minutes and will be put on a DVD and archived in the museum. The interview will be available for future use including many years down the road for any one who's interested in seeing it.
"If someone in the future wants to look at the interview, we'll have the historical record that tells about the people who lived during that period in the early 1900's," Steinbach said.
"Hopefully we can do this year after year so that 200 to 300 years later, there will be this first person record of what these people's experiences were in the early 1900's and beyond, which would be like a continuous history of the county," he added.