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Sheller Centennial 1966


Posted By: Tammy (email)
Date: 5/6/2012 at 21:06:47

Sheller Centennial Observed June 19

Descendants of Daniel and Catherine Strickler Sheller met Sunday, June 19, at the Ivester Church, for a centennial reunion. This year, 1966, marks the 100th anniversary of the Shellers coming to Grundy County from Carroll County, Illinois and originally from Pennsylvania.

The day's festivities began with a basket dinner in the church parlors following the church service, which had been attended by a large share of the families. Following a picnic dinner, the group assembled for a program befitting the occasion. Charles Sheller chaired the program. Opening devotions were led by Merlin Frantz.

A historical sketch was given by Charles Sheller with opportunity for additional comments, reminiscing, and other contributions. Group singing of some of the old hymns was led by Mrs. Lee Hogle. The Dean Button family sang a special number.

Mrs. Marvin Heikens and Lois Moats played a piano-organ duet, "This Is My Task." Greetings from absent members of the family were presented by Mrs. Glendon Button. A special feature of the program was the surprise appearance of Mrs. Henry Claassen dressed in homespon bonnet and shawl that had been worn by Grandmother Catherine Sheller. Mrs. Glen Moats read an original poem. The program was brought to a close by Rev. Albin with remarks and the benediction.

A very interesting collection of family relics, photographs, and family trees was displayed in the church library for all to see and enjoy. Mrs. Tom Reeder arranged the display.

Lunch was served in the church parlors at the conclusion of the program.

Mrs. Tom Reeder, Mrs. Henry Claassen, Mrs. Frances Button, and Charles Sheller, with the help of others, served as a committee to plan for the centennial. Mr. and Mrs. Linus Doughty were in charge of the guest book. They report 139 family descendants with wives and husbands having registered, besides several interested visitors. Attending from a distance were persons from Marshalltown, Humboldt, Ft. Dodge, Ankeny, Panora, Pocahontas, Indianola, Lohrville, Des Moines, Grinnell, Hansell, Hampton, Iowa Falls - all in Iowa. From out of state were family members and guests from Polo, Illinois, Dixon, Illinois, North Manchester, Indiana, Pipestone, Minnesota, Harmony, Minnesota, Fresno, California, Lakewood, Calif., Lake Hughes, Calif., Canoga Park, California and McPherson, Kansas. Mrs. Frank Hughes, formerly Lois Sheller, who is the youngest grandchild of Daniel Sheller, was awarded recognition for having come the greatest distance.

Special recognition of the oldest and youngest was also made. Mrs. Byrd Meyers, age 92, was the oldest member present. She is a granddaughter of Daniel Sheller. Her sister, Mrs. Frances Button, was the next oldest. Six other grandchildren were in attendance. 25 of the third generation, 39 of the fourth generation, 30 of the fifth generation, and one of the sixth generation, small Kimberly Sellers. Kimberly is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Victor Sellers of Des Moines, and a great-granddaughter of Mr. and Mrs. Henry Claassen. There is one other child of the sixth generation who wasn't present.

In the spring of 1866, Daniel and Catherine Sheller came from Carroll County, Illinois to Grundy County, Iowa with their three children, crossing the country with a covered wagon. Their two caughters were already married, Mary, Mrs. William Miller and Elizabeth, Mrs. George Moore. The third, a son Henry, was only 16. These three families settled on three farms which Daniel had purchased, one partly improved for $20 an acre, the other two for $4.50 an acre.

There were many hardships in those days, poor roads, hard work for the whole family, scarcity of doctors and medical facilities. Because of the latter, many infants and small children did not survive.

The three families, along with others of the community, were instrumental in organizing the German Baptist Brethren Church in 1867. This church is now the Ivester Church of the Brethren. The church is making plans for its centennial observance next year.

Catherine Sheller died in 1884. Daniel lived to the age of 86 when he died in 1904. He continued to reside on the Sheller homestead until his death.

William and Mary Miller were the parents of five children who grew to adulthood. Their daughter, Ida, who died at the age of 12, was the first white child born in Melrose Township. The land for Miller Park, now on Highway 57, was donated by Orrie Miller, in her memory. Two of the five children are still living and were the two oldest present at the reunion.

George and Elizabeth Moore, like the Millers, lost several children. Three girls grew to adults. Their small son, Henry, died as a child and since there was no cemetery in the community, a plot was selected for burial which later became the Sheller Cemetery. None of the Moore children are still living, but there were two grandchildren, both of whom were present, Mrs. Henry Claassen and Linus Doughty.

Henry Sheller married Emma Gallagher and to this union were born ten children, seven of whom are still living. Six of these were on hand for the reunion. The family continued to live on the home place until after Emma's death in 1917 after which Henry moved to California. Six of the children also made the move to California.

The three farms which Daniel Sheller purchased are still in the hands of members of the family. The farm where Daniel and Catherine lived is now owned by Glen Sheller. His son, Charles lives on the farm also and is the present operator. The Miller farm is now the home of the Tom Reeder family, with Mrs. Byrd Meyers the owner. The Moore farm is owned by Linus Doughty; his son, Leon and family live on the farm.


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