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Osman Dana, liveryman, was born in Franklin County, NY, in 1831, came west in 1850, and settled in Lake County, Illinois, and lived there until 1858, when he moved to Bremer County, Iowa and engaged in farming.

In 1878, he came to New Hampton, having purchased the Central House, which he conducted until April 1882, when he became a member of the firm of Dana and Bayne.

He married Mary Ann Sutherland, a native of New York, and they have one son and five daughters.

The picture of Osman Dana and his wife Mary Ann Sutherland with two married daughters Maude Dana Cotant and Carrie Dana Granger was taken about 1910.

Miss Maude Dana married Albert (Bert) Cotant in 1898 and they operated a bicycle shop in New Hampton for many years.  He was born in New Hampton, Chickasaw County, 13 Nov 1873 and died 9 March 1964, the son of Haviland Purdy Cotant, born 8 Aug 1836 in Ohio.  His parents Benoni and Lydia Cotant brought their family to Chickasaw County in 1856.

Miss Carrie Dana married Lester A. Granger on March 16, 1892.  He was born April 2, 1872, the son of Ebenezer A. and Olive (Marsh) Granger, as mentioned in the Granger entry, “Faces of Chickasaw Co.”

History of Chickasaw and Howard Co (1919), Vol II, pages 454 and 469.
History of Chickasaw and Howard Counties Iowa, by W.E. Alexander, Western Publishing Co, Decorah, Iowa (1883), p 510.


I was born on April 5th, 1911, the second child of Muns and Andrina (Sjobakken) Munson, on my father's old farm near Saude, Utica Township, Chickasaw County, Iowa. I was baptized at the Saude Luther­an Church, and named Ora Sophia.

The first nine years of my life were spent with my parents and older sister, Martha, on this farm. I have a clear and distinct memory of these years. I can see the lovely setting on the bank of the Little Turkey River, which occasionally ran over its banks and frightened us, and caused near panic with cattle and horses in the pasture. I can see the long lilac hedge along the driveway, mother's flowers and vegetable garden, the 50-foot windmill, the water tank, the dairy barn with a cream-separator room, the cattle, and especially Dads horses, of which I remember Dick, Doll, Queen, Nellie, Scott, Dot and Dash.

I was enrolled at the East Saude School when I was five. My first teacher was Audrey Hackett. My classmates included Mavis Tennis Biltz, Gertrude Vaala, and Harold (Hurley) Haugen. My sister and I walked the two and a half miles to school in good weather; in bad, Dad took us by horse and buggy.

Part of the farm was in thick woodland where we would go once a year with buckets to pick blackberries. Our closest association was with maternal grandmother, Synneva Sjobakken, who lived with her daughter, Anna Sjobakken, about a half mile down the road towards Saude, and with Dad's sister, Ingeborg Maria "Mary" Munson Vaala, who lived just north of Saude with her son-in-law and daughter, Hans Grimso and Mamie Vaala Grimso, and their adopted son, Halvor Munson. I also remember our Edison phonograph, and how Dad taught us to waltz to its music in the large front hall. And I remember when Mother began taking pictures with her new Kodak camera; and all the excitement when Dad drove the big Overland auto into our yard.

When I was nine, life changed. Dad sold the farm and bought a smaller piece of land a mile west of the old farm. He wanted to take life easier. A new house and complete set of farm buildings were erected. Dad was aging, and the four of us set to work helping complete and operate the new farm home.

Martha and I then attended the West Saude School. I received Confirmation instruction from Rev. H.M. Tjernagel, and was confirmed in 1924 in the Saude Lutheran Church. Martha and I attended Cresco High School and Bethany Lutheran College at Mankato, MN.

In Cresco, we spent weekdays at Mrs. Fessenden's house, and came home weekends. Driving to and from Cresco alternated among parents. On our route were Sina Borlaug, Juel Natvig, and Norman Borlaug, winner of the 1970 Nobel Peace Prize. One trip was historic. Dad was bringing us home one Friday evening when we were caught in the year's worst blizzard. The old Overland became stranded in the deep snow, and we trudged over a mile to Juel's home. Juel's father, George Natvig, hitched a team of frisky horses to a sled lined with hay and warm blankets, and we all got home safely. Later, I attended Gates Business College in Waterloo, Iowa. In 1933, I began work for the Federal Land Bank in Omaha, where I remained for six years. It was there I met Frank Emery Dow. Frank and I were married July 29, 1939, at the same church where I was baptized and confirmed, and where my grandparents rest in the old cemetery near the church.

During the next two years, Frank and I traveled among the various locations of the Federal Land Banks; then we came to the Washington D.C. area, eventually settling in the Alexandria, Virginia area, where we built a home in 1953. Our three children, Peter, Ellen, and Jane were born in this area. During this time I was mainly a mother and homemaker.

Both Frank and I had a deep interest in music, and for a time I returned to piano lessons with my children's teacher. I had mother's love of flowers and gardening, and was a member of the Yates Garden Club for thirty years, and a member of Ikebana International for five. Our children attended Immanuel Lutheran Church School where Frank and I were active. We were a busy family, but our lives were filled with many pleasant things. We enjoyed the abundance of concerts and programs available in this area. We often drove to the Blue Ridge Mountains with the children; we camped on the shores of a lake in Maine. And each summer we visited our "folks" in Missouri and Iowa. Whenever possible, I accompanied Frank on his business trips, in this country and abroad. When the children entered college, I returned to work as Administrative Assistant to the President of a research firm, where I remained for ten years. When the children married and moved away, Frank and I moved to the Watergate condominium in Alexandria. I have three grandchildren, Sonja and Andrea Kahler, and Michael Dow.

On February 28, 1981, Frank died from a heart attack. Life for me was much changed. I try to stay close to my children, grandchildren, my sister and her family, and my church. I remain a member of the old neighborhood Beverly Hills Club. Occasionally I take an Elderhostel trip. My last big trip was in 1982 when I followed the footsteps of St. Paul through Syria, Greece and Turkey.

Life must go on, and I thank God for his goodness and kindness to me through all my life.

Written by Sophia Munson Dow
Contributed by Jim Johnson, October 2009


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