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Crowley, James (Mr. and Mrs.)


Posted By: Lydia Lucas - Vounteer (email)
Date: 10/1/2017 at 15:34:09

From the Rock Valley Bee, November 20, 1925, pp. 1 and 10:


Few couples are permitted to spend fifty years of happy married life together such as Mr. and Mrs. James Crowley, who live five miles southeast of Inwood, have done. Forty-two years of these fifty were spent in toiling and rearing a family of nine children on the well-improved half section farm on which they still reside. Their sons, Will and Vincent have taken over the management of the farm.

Fifty relatives and close friends and neighbors gathered at the Crowley farm home last Saturday and joined in the celebration of this historical event, which was commenced at nine o’clock in the morning and continued the entire day.

Promptly at nine o’clock the guests gathered at the Catholic church in Rock Valley, of which Mr. and Mrs. Crowley are both devout members. Rev. Father Roder, of Alvord, Ia., opened the service by singing “I Love You Truly.” Rev. Father O’Rielly, of Rock Valley, then read mass. During the offeratory an Ave Marie was sung by Rev. Father Roder. A number of beautiful and appropriate selections were sung by the choir.

At the home covers were laid for fifty at a splendid turkey dinner which was served at one o’clock. Gold and white were the predominating colors used in the menu and table decorations. Bouquets of white and golden chrysanthemums gave the table an added touch of beauty, which was entirely in keeping with the event. As the final course of the dinner was served fifty miniature candles reflected fifty golden rays of light from the top of the large wedding cake.

At the conclusion of the dinner, a program of music and short talks was given which included the following numbers: talk by Rev. Father O’Rielly, of Rock Valley, several solos by both Rev. Father Roder, of Alvord, and Miss Aloysus Wasmer, of Le Mars, Ia., with Mrs. Ed Teninger, of Le Mars, at the piano, and Miss Florence Heffernan concluded the program with a somewhat humorous sketch of the lives of Mr. and Mrs. Crowley. Included among the dozens of gifts Mr. and Mrs. Crowley received, were gold pieces of various denominations, boxes of cut flowers, and telegrams of congratulations.

Out of town guests present were: Mr. and Mrs. Dan Crowley and family, of Canby, Minn., Clarence Crowley, of Canby, Minn., Mr. and Mrs. Bernard Sullivan and children, of Marshall, Minn., Miss Florence Crowley, of Pipestone, Minn., Mr. and Mrs. M. Kelly, Mrs. Celia Carney, Mrs. Jim Murphy, Mr. Charles Feehan, all of Chicago, Mrs. Fred Gable and daughter, of Morris, Ill., Pat Crowley, of Ottawa, Ill., Miss Aloysus Wasmer, Mr. and Mrs. Fred Teninger, all of Le Mars, Rev. Father Roder, of Alvord, Rev. Father O’Rielly, of Rock Valley.

Mrs. Ellen Kelly Crowley, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. John Kelly, was born March 1, 1866 at LaSalle. [Her Sioux County Cemetery Index entry gives her birth year as 1857, more in keeping with her marriage date.] Her early life was spent around LaSalle and Odell, where her father was engaged in the occupation of farming.

James Crowley is a native of Ireland, having been born at Limerick, Ireland, July 16, 1850. At the age of one year, he came with his parents to America. The family made their home in Saratoga county, New York for five years, at the end of which time they moved to Ottawa, Illinois.

Mr. and Mrs. Crowley were married at Odell on Nov. 14, 1875, by Rev. Father Hanley. After residing in the state of Illinois for about eight years, they came to Lyon county, Iowa, and settled on the farm which has since been their home.

The children are: Mrs. John Suhreptz, formerly of Doon, now deceased; Mrs. Bernard Sullivan, of Marshall, Minn.; Miss Florence Crowley, of Pipestone, Minn.; Miss Nellie Crowley at home; Dan and Clarence Crowley, of Canby, Minn; Vincent and Will Crowley at home; and John Crowley, deceased.

When Mr. and Mrs. Crowley came here forty-two years ago there was only a shack on their farm in which to live. Inwood had no lumber yard and the building material for their present home was hauled from Rock Valley, which then showed promise of becoming quite a city. Lumber for the later buildings was purchased at Inwood. It was about this time that the Foppe Pioneer Store Co. begun its long and successful career.

Fortunately the Crowleys came here a few years after the grasshopper pestilence which destroyed entire crops and the blizzard of 1880; however, they experienced a local blizzard of almost as great severity a few years later as the much quoted blizzard of 1880. As was his custom in the winter, Mr. Crowley did his chores in the afternoon, and hitched up a team to drive to the school house a mile distant for the children. With his own children and those of his neighbor, Jake Reimers, he started for home in the face of a snow storm whose violence was rapidly increasing. By the time he put his horses away a stiff wind had come up which whipped the snow wildly about obliterating the house from view and making progress towards it both slow and uncertain. The storm took a heavy toll of stock among many of the farmers, but Mr. Crowley lost nothing.

Among some of the earliest friends of the Crowley family are Mr. and Mrs. Fred Heisig, who came west at the same time and lived neighbors to them. Each year at the threshing season the two families exchanged works. The Jake Reimers family who lived just across the road were their nearest neighbors. Other families who lived neighbors to them were John Albertson, Halvor Severson, Kunte Jacobson, H. T. Moen, Marcus Schemmel, Chris Schmidt, and Henry Adhers. Mr. Crowley pays a fine tribute to his neighbors when he says, “They were all a fine lot of neighbors and I always thought a lot of them all.”

Farming in those days was more extensive then intensive and Mr. Crowley had as many as three quarter sections of land under cultivation at one time. Not much outside help was employed. Many a farmer and his wife labored side by side during the harvest and corn husking seasons of the year. Long hours of hard work and simple living rewarded the farmers of that period with a good living and an accumulation of a small but growing bank account. Mr. Crowley followed the rule of never buying anything until he had the money to pay for it and he has always held to that principle which is a commendable one.

The Richland township school district included in the early period of the community what is known as the Inwood Independent School District. Mr. Crowley took a deep interest in the affairs of the township schools and their growth and development in the life of the community. At three different times before the district was divided he held the position of president of the township school board, and was several times chosen a director. The township was then paying teachers the enormous salary of $27.00 a month, when Mr. Crowley first came into office. Finally after much argument he succeeded in convincing the other members of the board that it was too small a wage. Salaries were then increased to a scale of between $30 and $35 a month.

But he was not alone concerned with the school. He took a lively interest in the construction of good roads and used his influence to boost for better roads. Several times he was “road boss” of the township.

When the Farmers Institute Association was first formed they had no building in which to meet and the various churches were used. Mr. Crowley did not think that such things should be held in a church and so he joined the boosters in agitation for the construction of a suitable building. The Farmers Institute Hall, of which Mr. Crowley is a share holder is the result of that agitation.

He believes in farmers co-operative organizations of all kinds and holds ten shares in the Rock Valley Farmers Elevator Co.—not because he believes the dividends from the stock will add materially to his wealth—but because he feels that such organizations are a benefit to the community.

Conspicuously enough among the popular magazines of the day, farm journals, and religious publications which are found in the magazine rack of the Crowley house are several weekly and daily papers, including the Inwood Herald, the Rock Valley Bee, the Rock Rapids Review, and the Sioux City Tribune. The presence of these papers indicates very concretely that Mr. Crowley also believes in giving his financial and moral support to these recognized community builders.

--Harold J. Stearns, Junior Editor of the Inwood Herald.

[The Crowleys are buried in Valley View Cemetery, Rock Valley: James H. Crowley, 1850-1933, and Ellen F. Crowley, 1857-1942. Their obituaries are posted on the Sioux County Obituaries Page]


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