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Sarah Dunahoo Brodie


Posted By: Deborah Gilbert (email)
Date: 9/13/2016 at 10:02:37

Maxwell Book: 1883-1983

Sarah Dunahoo was born in a log cabin one and half miles northeast of Iowa Center on February 18, 1861. She was one of ten children born to Andrew and Rachel Ann Smith Dunahoo. Both of her grandfathers came to Indiana from Virginia, migrating in covered wagons. Grandparents Dunahoo loaded their belongings in a buckboard wagon without springs for the trip from Indiana to Iowa. Mrs. Dunahoo found it less tiresome to walk and carry her baby son than to ride in the wagon. Her husband also walked, driving the one horse which was pulling the loaded wagon.

The Dunahoos came to Story County before 1850 and settled in Indian Creek Township. Sarah attended the White Haven rural school to the Fifth Reader, which was as high as they went. She walked two miles to school, sometimes walking over snow drifts as high as a house.

Sarah was married December 4, 1884, to John Brodie, a native Scotsman, 12 years her senior. They had 56 happy years together. They had one son, Frank.

With the exception of a we months when they lived in Muscatine, they spent all their married life in Maxwell. For many years, they kept a boarding house and restaurant. Retiring in the Fall of 1912 they built a house one ile north of the depot, but within the city limits. The house is now occupied by the Keith Scoville family.

A reporter interviewed Sarah when she was 92 years old and she recalled square dances in their log cabin home when she was young. The furniture was moved and the rag carpet taken up. Always there was someone in the crowd who could fiddle and someone who could call. Before the advent of candles, light was provided for the dances by handmade wicks in saucers of melted tallow. Sarah could remember when Abraham Lincoln was shot.

Sarah also told of seeing her parents and others breaking the prairie sod of Story County - some with oxen. At planting time, her father marked the field lengthwise and then crosswise. The children followed and dropped three grains of corn where the markings crossed. Another child with a hoe covered the hills. Her father plowed with a single shovel which made a small furrow and she remembered seeing him take a wagon of seed to the field and from that filling a bag which he hung around his neck as he scattered the seed by hand.

Sarah described the hopper that held wood ashes. Water was poured over the ashes to make lye which was mixed with grease to make soap. Another memory was of driving with her parents to Iowa Center to trade, going the long way around to skirt the sloughs. There was no Maxwell then.

Mrs. Sarah Vasey Brodie remained in excellent health for most of her 102 years and even though her eyesight and hearing were somewhat impaired in her later years, she kept abreast of the times. She died at the age of 102 in 1963.


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