Cedar County, Iowa
Community News

West Branch Times, West Branch, Iowa, Thursday, October 6, 1932
Transcribed by Sharon Elijah, May 18, 2018

West Branch Charters Special Train to Des Moines
300 Folk Accompany West Branch Special Train to Des Moines
Delegation Receives Every Courtesy Enroute and In State’s Capital

    Iowa has this week had the very great honor of entertaining the President of the United States and the First Lady, the distinction being particularly great because both Mr. and Mrs. Hoover are native Iowans.

     To West Branch this was an occasion of very great importance, because it was the first time we have greeted this native son of West Branch, in the home state, since he became the President of the United States. President Hoover’s greatness is emphasized by the friendliness which he maintains toward his childhood environment, the many homely, wholesome recollections he keeps concerning country life at West Branch in the seventies and early eighties.

     The coming of Mr. Hoover to Iowa to present the opening speech in his campaign for re-election was not, to West Branch, so much a political campaign occasion, as it was a time for welcoming and demonstrating pride in the President of this great nation. Party lines were erased, and West Branch delighted to do honor to a great and distinguished gentleman who is proud to claim West Branch as his birthplace, and who has never given his home town cause for the least apology in his long and distinguished climb to the greatest office within the gift of America.

     Recognizing the honor which belongs to West Branch as the birthplace of the president, and of the first man to be so honored, from this side of the Father of Waters, a business half holiday was authorized by Mayor T. A. Moore, Tuesday, that all who so desired might go to West Liberty to greet Mr. and Mrs. Hoover, and all who wished might go to Des Moines to hear the president’s address.

     A special train was chartered and the town was brave with flying flags and pictures of the president as the train of nine coaches pulled out for West Liberty and Des Moines, leaving here at 11:45 Tuesday forenoon.

     The West Liberty railroad station and adjoining buildings were decorated with the American flag and bunting in the national colors. The crowd in the national colors. The West Branch Band carried a large blue banner which read “Iowa—Our President’s Birthplace—West Branch.”

     The West Branch Band played as the train was loaded and at West Liberty this organization alternated with the West Liberty Junior Band in playing while the large crowd waited on the platform for the arrival of the special train from Washington, D.C. As the presidential train slowly pulled in, the band played “America,” and then swung into the “Iowa Corn Song” to welcome the distinguished Iowans; while a sea of white streamers inscribed “Hoover—West Branch”, waved from the canes which the local delegation carried aloft.

     President and Mrs. Hoover with Governor and Mrs. Dan Turner and Sen. L. J. Dickinson stood upon the observation platform, bareheaded, to acknowledge the greetings.

     Mrs. Hoover joined in the singing of the state’s song and others followed her lead as she sang, she waved the cane which Mayor Moore had carried—one of the Iowa corn canes which the West Branch delegation had carried to the inaugural in 1929—and which one of the secret service men asked to be presented to the president.

     As the West Branch guests boarded the presidential train the mayor presented a box of fourteen ears of the very finest Iowa corn, selected and arranged by Glenn Speight, an expert in corn culture and judging. The mayor said: “Mr. President: I present you with fourteen ears of Iowa corn and I hope you will have a million votes for every grain.” The chief executive gave his rare, slow smile and answered “I hope so too.”

     The First Lady of the Land wore a suit of wine red, with lighter blouse, and her hair was wound in a snowy coronet on her head. She bowed graciously and smiled and waved as the crowd broke into the ovation welcome, and the president, after waving and bowing his greetings, turned to welcome his early school teacher, Mrs. Mollie Brown Carran, and her daughter Eleanor, and Mr. and Mrs. Fred Albin, who were invited to accompany the presidential party to Des Moines.

     President Hoover himself offered Mrs. Carran his arm and when she got on the car he smiled and shook hands with her. Mrs. Hoover stepped up, took Mrs. Carran’s arm and said, “How do you do, Mrs. Carran? Isn’t this nice? Come right over.”

     While Mrs. Carran was being made comfortable Governor Turner, who was standing next to the president, raised his arm, pointed in the direction of West Branch and said, “There is your old home, Mr. President. West Branch is right over there.”

     Mr. and Mrs. Fred Albin were also guests in the train and the president, shaking the hand of his boyhood classmate and pal, insisted that Mr. Albin introduce him to the throng on the platform. This was a surprise, but Fred is accustomed to public speaking and in his best auctioneer voice he expressed the honor, pleasure and pride he felt in introducing his boyhood pal and schoolmate, now the president of the United States. Incidentally, Mr. Hoover took occasion to mention privately his envy of that “auctioneer voice”

     Mr. Hoover greeted his friends with warmth and sincerity and received an enthusiastic ovation as he concluded speaking and the train pulled away.

     Within the private car Mrs. Carran, Miss Carran and Mr. and Mrs. Albin were accorded every gracious courtesy, and were invited to luncheon. Their conversation naturally included happy reminiscences, and one of the high lights of the occasion was Mrs. Hoover’s expressed wish that she and her husband may be able before long to spend two whole days at West Branch.

     Upon arrival at Des Moines Mr. and Mrs. Albin, Mrs. Carran and Miss Carran were entertained at dinner at the Savery Hotel and were given seats on the speaker’s platform at the Coliseum for the president’s address. Mr. and Mrs. Hoover were dinner guests in the home of the governor and Mrs. Turner.

     The West Branch special train arrived in Des Moines at 4:30 pm., as a second section of the presidential train. Soon after their arrival the parade was formed. President and Mrs. Hoover rode in an open car despite the inclement weather so the thousands gathered to see him might not be disappointed.

     Marching on each side of the presidential car and extending far back into the line of March were 1, 500 American Legion volunteers, forming an honor escort. Among these ex-service men were four from West Branch E. A. Gray, R. L. Gray, S. L. Jeffries and L. W. Heald who were chosen among the ten from Cedar County.

The President of the United States Addresses Home Friends

     While hundreds of their friends from West Branch and community joined other hundreds at West Liberty in welcoming President and Mrs. Hoover Tuesday, they were privileged to listen to this message which Mr. Hoover gave in a voice betraying somewhat the emotion he felt:

     “I am deeply affected by the cordiality and generous welcome given me by the people of this community and my home town of West Branch. I am glad to make even this short visit to the town where I was carried as occasional baggage during my boyhood. It has been an especial pleasure to meet old friends of my boyhood, and especially Mrs. Carran, the devoted and self-sacrificing teacher of my first schooling. It all brings back recollections of all those adventures and joys of living that come to childhood.

     “These adventures on an American farm in an American village are the stimulus in life I could wish for every boy and girl. Working with one’s hands in the growing crops, the harvest, the preparation for winter, new discoveries and adventures in the streams and hills with every changing season—all build for health and the understanding of life which is denied many of our city children.

     “No food will ever taste so good as the family supper of those days; no sport will ever equal the mud-lined swimming hole; no speed will ever seem so great as sliding down hills on one’s own tummy.

     “No prowess in ascendency over wild animals will ever equal the rabbit tracked through the snow to his lair; no deed of valor so great as to bring him back alive.”

     “I deeply appreciate your reception and thank you for the warmth of your greeting.”

West Branch, Community and Other Friends Included.
First Lady Leads Large Assemblage In The Singing of The Iowa Corn Song

     When West Branch learned that President Hoover would visit Iowa during his campaign, it was hoped that he would be able to stop at his hometown for a short time, and that he might possibly repeat the program of four years ago and deliver his important address from this place. That plan was not considered best by political advisors, and Des Moines was selected for the president’s appearance. Since he could not stop at West Branch at all, arrangements were made for the greetings at West Liberty, and the home folks began arranging to go to hear the president.

     A committee was appointed at a called meeting in the town hall, and B. A. Gill, Fred Albin and E. A. Gray were placed in charge of arrangements. Through their efforts a special train over the Rock Island was secured and it carried three hundred enthusiasts to the capital city Tuesday, leaving there for the return trip at 11:15 in the evening.

     Of this large delegation 113 were from West Branch, groups came from Iowa City, West Liberty, and Tipton, and a number drove from here instead of going on the special.

     Mrs. H. L. (Marian) MacGregor of Evanston, Ill., came out Monday and accompanied the home folks to Des Moines. Mrs. MacGregor is an ardent and tireless worker for Hoover. She organized the West Branch Hoover Home Folks Club four years ago and resurrected it again this fall, doing some very effective work and giving other West Branch folks an opportunity to help this cause. Her presence in Des Moines Tuesday helped the local delegation in getting the attentions which made the stay pleasant, considering the large crowd, and the group appreciated her joining this tour.

     Following is a list of the West Branch folk who boarded the special train, and does not include all the passengers from among our neighbors.

     Dr. and Mrs. W. N. Moore, Martinus Jensen, Frank Hinkelman, Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Cozine, Mr. and Mrs. George Hunter, Mr. and Mrs. John Jensen, and three sons, Russell, Lawrence and Earl, Mr. and Mrs. John Thompson, Mr. and Mrs. N. P. Olsen, John Hayslett, Mr. and Mrs. Gordon Krouth, A. L. Pennock, Ernest Pennock, Art Hansen, Mr. and Mrs. I. S. Larson and daughter Myrtle, Mr. and Mrs. S. E. Smith, Mr. and Mrs. L. C. Larson, Mrs. Jennie Scellars, Mrs. L. R. Hoffman, Miss Mabel Leech, Mrs. Frank Albin, Mr. and Mrs. F. E. Corbin and daughter Emily, Mrs. Chas. Stratton, Mrs. H. L. Phelps, Mrs. Bertha Pearson, Mrs. Glenn Speight, Mrs. H. E. Doty, Mrs. Ada Bumgardner and daughter Callie Mae, Mrs. Malissa Fawcett, Miss Hazel Erb, Miss Anna Kniese, Miss Ann Albin, Mrs. Ruth Hoover, Mrs. Cornelia Fisher, Frank Hess, Mr. and Mrs. C. A. Pilkington, Mr. and Mrs. B. A. Gill and daughter Alice, Miss Effie Gruwell, Mrs. E. L. Hollingsworth, Edwin Negus, H. B. Parson, J. Z. Howard, Mrs. H. C. Brown, H. M. Grant, Mr. and Mrs. F. L. Pearson and daughter Phyllis, Mr. and Mrs. L. C. Rummells, Mr. and Mrs. R. W. Millen, Mr. and Mrs. F. J. Snider, Mr. and Mrs. W. B. Anderson, Mr. and Mrs. T. A. Moore, Mr. and Mrs. A. F. Anderson, John Wertzbaugher and son William, Mr. and Mrs. F. E. Corbin Jr., Miss Florence Secrest, Mrs. E. A. Gray, Mrs. R. L. Gray, H. E. Worrall, Chas. Worrall, Wm. H. Phelps, Misses Lila and Myrtle Cookson, Dick Kinsey, Murray Gibson, Oliver Albin, Stephen Ware, O. G. Yoder, Glenn Brown, Wm. Edgerton, Carroll Hobson, H. Schlueter, Harold Kinsey, Alva Thomas, Mrs. Roy Smith, Mrs. Glenn Harbit, H. Wroe, Mrs. H. L. MacGregor, Mrs. Fred Hinkhouse and daughter Dorothy, Miss Mary Koch, Miss Lucile Bowie, Mrs. Mary K. Mather.

     The West Branch friends of President Hoover were accorded every courtesy in Des Moines. The canes with white streamers—“Hoover—West Branch,”—were an open sesame to privileges otherwise denied. A special section of reserved seats was for West Branch. These were on the main floor of the coliseum and afforded an excellent view of the platform and an excellent place from which to hear Mr. Hoover’s address. When the West Branch delegation arrived they were given an ovation, and were the target for many camera eyes in the vast auditorium. President Hoover received a tremendous ovation when he appeared in the coliseum and during his speech.

     Mrs. Hoover, sitting between Governor Turner and Mr. Anderson, constantly watched the audience, apparently to judge the reaction. Each demonstration caused her face to light up with a friendly smile.

     The president’s friends notice the changes which the past four strenuous year have made in Mr. Hoover’s appearance. Harlan Miller, well-known journalist, summed up this change thus:

     “Deep in his eyes, clear and bright on the surface, lurked the somber shadows of night vigils and heavy responsibilities. At their corners smouldered a certain wariness, the alert suspiciousness of a man who has now and again found his words and deed astoundingly distorted.

     Totally absent was any trace of the campaigner’s window-dressing, of the jovial l front with which a consummate politician tells his tale to the populace.

     But troublous days appear to have brought him the increased serenity of one who knows the uncertain future can hold nothing worse. This is the fourth or fifth time I have seen and spoken with Herbert Hoover in recent years, and I found him Tuesday less nervous, better poised, less inclined to hide behind a barricade of shy reserve, more serene on the whole than ever before.”

     The president spoke an hour and forty minutes, yet his address was not tiring. The interest in the vast auditorium was sustained and no unrest was evidenced. At the conclusion, the women were invited to a reception for Mrs. Hoover in the Savery Hotel, and the West Branch group had a special invitation. The crowds, however, were immense, and it was with greatest difficulty that one could get through and join the line of those who shook hands with Mrs. Hoover. When she saw a West Branch pennant, her expression lighted up and she voiced regret that she could not visit a bit, or she expressed appreciation of the home town’s effort to make their visit in Iowa pleasant.

     The editor of the Times was a guest at the editors’ meeting at which Mr. Hoover spoke. Both F. E. Corbin and Frank E. Corbin Jr. were privileged to hear this informal talk by Mr. Hoover, in which he spoke mainly of his early life in Iowa; of the influences and told a few reminiscent stories of these days. His talk to the news-paper men was informal and included several anecdotes.

     The presidential train left Des Moines just before the West Branch special pulled out. Both Mr. and Mrs. Hoover appeared on the rear platform for a few words and a fare well gesture. Mrs. Hoover wore the brown suit which she had worn during the parade and the evening. In her arms she carried a huge bouquet of yellow roses, and with the remark that she had more flowers than she needed she tossed some of the blossoms into the crowd of friends about the car. Three yellow roses came to West Branch, Murray Gibson, William Edgerton and Harold Kinsey catching the fragrant trophies from the White House Lady’s bouquet.

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