Louisa M. Beary

I was born near Woodville, Monroe county, Ohio, January 12, 1832. I have just passed by 92nd birthday, which was enjoyed with remembrances from friends, nieces and nephews by cards, photos, cakes, etc. At present I am living with my two daughters (Mrs. Hattie Putnam and Mrs. Martha Arnold) and their families on the old farmstead here in Grundy county.

In June, 1864, I was married to Samuel Beary, of Monroe county, Ohio, and we then located in Rock Island, Ill., where we resided two years, Mr. Beary working at his carpenter trade.

Mr. Beary drove one horse, three head of cattle here from Rock Island and then walked back and packed our goods for shipment. We then came by steamboat from Rock Island to Clinton, Iowa, from Clinton to Marshalltown by train, from Marshalltown to Secor by back, and from Secor to Grundy county by wagon over the prairie; there were no roads then.

Mr. Beary having made arrangements for us at the John Way home, it was our first stopping place. The John Way home is at present known as the old Sayer farmstead near here.

In 1868 we bought 80 acres in Section 28, Melrose township; borrowed the money and paid a high rate of interest. On this eighty we built our little house, the material all having to be hauled from Marshalltown by wagon some twenty miles. We built this the first summer we were here on the bare prairie--no trees, shrubs, or anything but prairie grass here then. The following winter Mr. Beary went to Rock Island to work at his trade while my brother, Christian Luthy (also a pioneer), stayed here with me and baby daughter. We lived this way for two years and as yet had no plowed land. We hired sixty acres broken and Mr. Beary broke twenty more with three horses. This he planted to corn and cultivated with the same team. We bought corn to feed our team from C. F. Clarkson, who sold it by the barrel at a high price.

The blizzards by winter and prairie fires by summer were terrifying at times, but especially the anxiety endured when Mr. Beary was obliged to make those drives in winter storms to secure our necessaries from Marshalltown. In spite of all this we were courageous and hopeful, for we believed we would in some future time own a home of our own.

In 1874 we bought another 80 acres in Section 28, Melrose township, and continued to work and economize. We had only wagon traffic as yet and often got no mail for weeks in stormy weather and blizzards were the rule in wintertime.

In 1884 I bought 40 acres more. We then had a total of two hundred acres which is the present farm here today.

In 1907 we moved to Eldora. From there we moved with Mrs. Arnold and family to Davenport, Iowa, where they attended schools. We returned to Eldora and lived there until the demise of Mr. Beary, and then I came with the Arnolds back to this old home, where Mr. Beary and I had pioneered thru those trying times of the early days.

My brothers and I planted the oldest trees here, some of which are nine feet in circumference. It is now 58 years since we came to Grundy county and great changes have taken place since then, so that the younger people can hardly understand what we try to tell them of those early days.

--The Grundy Register (Grundy Center, Iowa), 31 January 1924, pg 6