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DESEELHORST, L. B. 1849-1943

DESEELHORST, FENTON

Posted By: Tammy (email)
Date: 11/7/2016 at 08:35:42

L. B. DeSeelhorst Died Sunday At Advanced Age

Would Have Been 94 In December; Came To Grundy County 74 Years Ago

L. B. DeSeelhorst, who helped convert Grundy county from an open prairie to one of the best developed agricultural counties in the country, died at his home in Grundy Center shortly after midnight Saturday. His health and strength failed gradually during the past winter during which time he was confined to his home. He was not sick nor did he suffer any during the latter days of his life. Advanced age brought on the end which came early Sunday morning when he appeared to be sleeping. Had he lived until next December he would have been 94 years old. There is not another residing in this community who has lived so long.

Resided in County 74 Years
Mr. DeSeelhorst resided in Grundy county 74 years. He was born on a farm near Elk Grove, Wisconsin, December 8, 1849. His parents were natives of Pennsylvania who came to Wisconsin after their marriage. Mr. DeSeelhorst grew up on a farm in Platteville. He attended rural school there and later he went to the state Normal school at Platteville during the wintertime after farm work had been done. In 1868 his father came to Grundy county and bought a half section of land in northwest Palermo township. It was all prairie land and it was bought for $10 an acre. The next year, the son L. B. came to Grundy county and broke up a portion of the farm his father had purchased the year before. He brought a team and plow with him from the farm in Wisconsin and drove the team all of the way, crossing the Mississippi on a ferry boat at Dubuque. With him, and driving another team, was W. E. Herron from Platteville who broke up a farm in Grundy county. Herron later moved to Plymouth county where he became sheriff. After he had harvested his crop Mr. DeSeelhorst returned to Platteville where he continued his studies at the State Normal school during the winter. He followed this course a number of years, after which he began teaching a country school near his farm during the winter. It was while he attended the first county teachers' institute that he met Miss Nellie Fenton, a teacher, whom he married on October 31, 1878. The couple began housekeeping on the DeSeelhorst farm but they continued teaching a number of years after their marriage. Their schools were close to their home. They would have been married 65 years next October.

Mr. and Mrs. DeSeelhorst remained on their farm until 1909 when they moved to Grundy Center where they have resided ever since. They had three children, one son and two daughters. The daughters were Edna, now Mrs. Walter Lynn, and Florence, who was Mrs. Charles Reed and who died during the flu epidemic in 1918. The only son, Harry, resides in Modesto, California. They have seven grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren, who with the wife and children survive.

Other surviving relatives are one brother, George, and one sister, Carrie, of Grundy Center.

Active in Public Affairs
Mr. DeSeelhorst took an active interest in public affairs during his long lifetime. He held many places of public trust and gave his best service in all of them. He served as secretary of the school board in Palermo township for 28 years. He helped to organize the Grundy County Fair Association and served this organization as an officer and as a director for more than 60 years. For a number of years he was president of the association.

Helped Organize Mutual Insurance Company
Mr. DeSeelhorst was one of the organizers and a charter member of the Grundy County Mutual Insurance Company. This company was organized 55 years ago and it has been in continuous operation. He was an officer or director in this company since its organization. For 16 years he was the Company's secretary and the past 15 years he was its president.

Helped Organize Bank
L. B. DeSeelhorst helped to organize the Peoples Savings Bank in Grundy Center in 1911. E. A. Crary was made president of this bank and Mr. DeSeelhorst was vice president and became one of the bank's full time employees. Later he was chosen president of this bank and occupied that position when the Peoples Savings Bank and the First National in Grundy Center consolidated in 1929.

Served 3 Terms as Supervisor
Mr. DeSeelhorst served three terms as county supervisor from the Palermo-Washington district. His first two terms on the board were while he still resided on the farm. During that period he was the board's chairman for two years. He was elected to the county board again from the same district in 1930 and served until January 1st, 1934.

Was Oldest Iowa Odd Fellow
Mr. DeSeelhorst is believed to have been in recent years both the oldest in years and in length of membership in the Odd Fellows Lodge in Iowa. He joined this organization in Grundy Center in August 1874 and retained his membership continually for 69 years and up to the past few months he was a regular attendant at all lodge meetings. He helped to organize the Odd Fellows lodge in Grundy Center and had much to do over the many past years to build up its growth and influence in the community.

Was An Active Organizer
There probably hasn't been another man in Grundy county who assisted so much as he in organizing civic and business institutions which served so long and so well and which were of great help in making Grundy an outstanding county. Any history of Grundy county to be written at any time will give a foremost place to L. B. DeSeelhorst.

While Mr. DeSeelhorst never joined a church during his long residence in Grundy county, he was a regular attendant at the Grundy First Presbyterian Church.

Funeral Services Thursday Afternoon
Funeral services will be held at the Presbyterian church in Grundy Center Thursday afternoon at 2:30. The services will be conducted by the resident pastor, Rev. Virgil Smith. Burial will be in the Grundy Center cemetery.

--The Grundy Register (Grundy Center, Iowa), 27 May 1942, pg 1, 12


 

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