Fremont County Iowa

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A View from the Attic

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A View From The Attic

Week of August 20, 2012

Fremont County Historical Society

By Malee Spencer


The stories told by stained glass windows in historic building are fascinating. You can read much of the history of an area through their narratives.

The Sidney Methodist Episcopal Church is an example. It was built in 1902-03. The designs for the stained glass windows were made at the factory in pieces of various sizes, colors and shapes. These were set in lead frames and each window was put in a wooden frame stayed by iron bars across on the inside, to which the lead frames were wired. The windows were installed at a total cost of $6,000. Today these community treasures would cost thousands of dollars to replace. Many of the windows were given in honor or memory of early pioneers of Sidney and give us insight into individuals who helped settle Fremont County.

The magnificent Good Shepherd window at the back of the sanctuary is the largest of the windows and was given in memory of Dr. Cyrus McCracken. He came to Sidney in the spring of 1862 and began practicing medicine. The county was sparsely settled at the time and he would ride fifty miles in all directions to attend the sick. His obituary describes him as possessing a powerful physique backed up by ample will power. He was able to stand exposure and perform an amount of work far in excess of the average man.

One of the small windows, about the size of an average house window, was given in honor of Elza Armstrong and Susannah Reeves. They settled in Fremont County in 1853 about four and one half miles north of Sidney. He served in the 4th Iowa Cavalry, August 10,1861, and was wounded at the battle of Columbus, Georgia, on April 16, 1865, where the 4th Iowa suffered the loss of two killed and nine wounded.

Another small window honors Jeptha D. and Sarah A. Lacy. They came to Fremont County in 1852 and received a tract of land from the government, signed by President Franklin Pierce. The farm was located about four miles northwest of Sidney. He was a successful farmer, large land owner and also ran a sawmill on the Missouri bottom for a number of years. After the war, he had a mercantile business in Sidney.

The window just south of the choir loft honors William T. Frazer, who for thirty-one years was superintendent of the church's Sunday School. He was held in high esteem for his business dealings and out of this respect, during his funeral, the business houses in Sidney were closed and the public schools dismissed.

The north room window, of Christ knocking at the door, honors Job Throckmorton. He and his wife, Sarah, came to Sidney in1850 and began business as a contractor. He was instrumental in building many of the first buildings erected in Sidney. On October 10,1861, Job enlisted in Company F, 15th Iowa Infantry and was at Shiloh at that bloody battle on the 6th and 7th of April 1862. He also took part in the Siege of Vicksburg. At the close of the war he was with the Union Troops that marched down Pennsylvania Avenue at the City of Washington D.C. for inspection by President Andrew Johnson.

Much of the information above is from obituaries in the Fremont County Herald courtesy of the Sidney Argus Herald Staff.