To ALL who love the memory of that brave fighting host who marched out upon the battlefields of unknown and uncharted empires, and blazed a way for the oncoming army of the world's builders -those who formed the "skirmish line" of the army of civilization---the "Pioneers."
My obligation and gratitude to Mrs. Luella M. Ely for her help in this project is hereby acknowledged. It has been her kind loving spirit and interest that has made it possible. With the affection of a loving daughter, she has guided, inspired and ministered to an old man as he struggled to memorialize his old friends. Her stenographic ability and unselfish service were dominant factors in its production.
Often memory brings us fruits, flowers and golden grain, but
her banquets are enjoyed to the full, only by those whose souls have been
touched and moved by the influence of the things she offers.
How quickly the memory of man “runneth, not to the contrary, but, not at all.”
The men and women who are referred to herein contributed to the good of their times and their lives are worthy of emphasis.
I, who knew them, and have personal knowledge of what they did, and have had the benefit and good of their fellowship, as a token of my friendship and high personal regard, submit this history and biography.
The names of these men and women with a proper reference in bronze attached to native granite boulders are permanently located upon the campus of the county court house in Guthrie Center.
The financial part of this project has been generously taken are of by the relatives and friends of these enterprising citizens. May the public spirit and unselfishness thus manifested be appreciated.
Elbert Wright Weeks.
An Editorial In The Guthrian
By ROY A. STACEY
Exemplifying the best elements in the characters of the men and women of the generations through which he lived, and ennobled by the aspirations and achievements of those shining times of our pioneers, Elbert Wright Weeks, thinker, patriot, statesman, silently bowed his head over his writing desk last Saturday afternoon and passed into that last long sleep from which he will awaken on the Morning of Eternal Resurrection.
Mr.Weeks was a notable character, whose impress upon the peoples and events of the times was noble and inspiring. He was the friend of every worthy cause; an untiring opponent of every unclean and unholy thought. His vision broadened with the years and his patriotism strengthened the younger generations as they came along to bear their burdens and to perpetuate the liberties and the opportunities of the people of the United States of America. For he loved the Stars and Stripes of our glorious Red, White and Blue flag with a passion. second only to his service for God and righteousness.
A leader in a generation of strong men, Mr. Weeks has been for
half a century a towering figure among H the citizenry of Guthrie county,
and of Iowa
But the exalted life and influence of Elbert Wright Weeks lives on. It lives in the, hearts of the oldest citizens, in the thoughts of the men and women who are carrying the loads of responsibilities of the present day, and in the minds of young boys and girls just starting their school work. They all knew and honored Mr. Weeks.
During the past five years Mr. Weeks has devoted his energies
to the writing of history, biography and memory stories of the pioneers of
Guthrie county, and it so happened that the final corrected proofs of this
book were made to submit to him at just about the hour of his passing at the
Masonic sanitarium last Saturday. This book, however, will be published as
he planned and wrote it. In his preface to this book Mr. Weeks says of the
pioneers of his time:.
- "As I stand with uncovered head in the lengthening shadows and glow of the setting sun, I seek to perpetuate their memories yet a little while fully realizing that soon, very soon, the shades of time will hide them, and the coming generations will only know them from the pages of -a scanty, passionless history. They - bequeathed to their posterity a goodly inheritance.
"Let not ambition mock their useful toil,
Their homely joy, and destiny obscure;
Nor grandeur hear, with a disdainful smile,
The short and simple annals of the poor."
"In closing I give expression to my amazement, gratitude
and admiration for my time, place and parentage
in the world's life and great program. May worship and
praises be unto Jehovah forever more."
Elbert Wright Weeks
Elbert Wright Weeks, son of Henry and Sarah Weeks was born near Painesville, Ohio, October 7, 1850, and passed peacefully to his eternal rest at the Masonic Sanitarium at Bettendorff, IA on Dec 17, 1932 aged 82 years 2 month and 10 days
He was married June 2, 1878 to Lorena Bower of Guthrie Center To them were born two children Lena and Henry J. Mrs. Weeks died Mar 13, 1884.
In 1887 Mr. Weeks again married his second union being with Jennie Biggs. They also had two children Seth B and E Wright, Jr. In 1910 he was again called upon to give up his companion by death, but this time the children were all grown.
He leaves of his immediate family to mourn his going, his daughter Lena Till of Des Moines, and son, E. Wright, Jr. of Hollywood, Ca Seth and Henry both having preceded him in death some years ago; also six grand children Polly Marie Weeks of Washington,
DC, Elbert Wright Jr.. Henry John and Nancy Belle Weeks of Hollywood, Lorena Haggerty and Margaret Jane Weeks-Burson, one great grand daughter, Marguerite Haggerty, all of Des Moines; also his sisters, Mrs. Jessie Ferree of Des Moines and Mrs. Nettie Talbott of Pasadena, CA besides a host of other relatives and friends.
The funeral service was held at the Methodist Episcopal church in Guthrie Center of December 22, 1932, at 2 o’clock pm by the Rev John F Rex and Rev Alexander Wimberly and interment occurred in Union cemetery, the Masons conducting their beautiful ceremony at the grave.
Dear Reader: That you may understand and appreciate this brochure, read this foreword:
I was born near Painesville, Lake county, Ohio, October 7. 1850.
My ancestry was of the common country folk, familiar with agricultural labor and rural life. In the early fifties, father made an excursion into the great undeveloped West, having in mind a new home, self-owned, more room, employment and keep for the increasing household. His first stop was at Iowa City, the capital city of a state four years old; its first governor-Hon. Ansell Briggs, completing his administration.
A new capitol, remarkable for its plain substantial architectural lines, stood majestic, attractive, and imposing on a high bluff overlooking the surrounding country, imparting to beholders the inspiration and thoughts of a metropolis.
State highways, mail and stage routes extended from this, the capital city, to the great unfilled West, over which passengers, freight and mail were transported to the scattered towns, settlements, and unoccupied regions of the interior.
Father ventured afoot from Iowa City over the Montezuma and Oskaloosa State Highway, as it extended west across the “Welch Hills” to the Sehoorn settlement where it entered the valley of Old Man’s Creek, which it followed into and across Green township, Iowa county.
On this journey of exploration, his second stop was at the first stage station, twenty miles west from Iowa City; it was the pioneer home of Edward Ricord, whose extensive holdings were part timber and part prairie.
Ricord talked the “Yank” from the “Western Reserve” (Northern Ohio) into preempting prairie, (mesa) land; the “Yank” thought he must have timber land, but was satisfied with a cheap forty of Ricord’s timber, and preempted a tract of three forties of brush and prairie land, the timber forty being detached from the other forties. These tracts were the pioneer farm holding of the Weeks’s in Green township, Iowa county, Iowa.
Some years later an adjoining forty was bought from the Rev. Geo. Litzenberg.
The Weeks migration in 1855 to Iowa was Henry and Sarah Weeks with their children Amelia, Elbert and Milford.
The family lived a while in a log cabin belonging to Ricord, and two winters in the Britton cabin, here Nettie was born; Jessie and Mary were born after the family moved upon the farm. In those primitive times, away from the timber it was difficult to get a cabin, finally an unoccupied one was found and its bass-wood logs and oak clapboards were brought and put together upon the prairie land, its walls were rechinked, and the hand made clap boards relaid for its roof. Mother caught the water from the leaks in pans and tubs and swept up the snow that sifted in through its open spaces.
It was not until March, 1857, the family took possession of their pioneer home.
The farm program was work, everybody busy, frugality, sober, earnest thought and conduct, district school, posts and rails, and stove wood during the winter followed by breaking the prairie, fencing, piling and burning roots, planting and harvesting.
It was the time of the hickory shirt, blue denim breeches, homemade straw hat. It was sixty years before we had reached the high, cultivated and civilized level of pajamas, B.V.D.’s and six-fingered gloves. The saucer and knife were the ranking tools of table service. Mother’s cooking was the only domestic method of food production. Three meals were served each day as per a fixed schedule, to which the family group, including hired help, were summoned and all partook at the same time around a common table.
In the late sixties having completed the district school curriculum of McGuffy’s reader, Pineo’s grammar, Ray’s arithmetic, and Noah Webster’s blue speller, I obtained two semesters of high school work and a period of review at the McClain’s Academy at Iowa City.. I taught a winter term of the McArtor District school, which brought me to the middle of June, 1872, moneyless and jobless.
I hired to Nels Mills on the Chauncey Price farm, south of South Amana eight miles, during the months of July and August that year at $26.00 per month. September 1st he paid me $51.50. I had drawn 50 cents to go to Yankee Robinson’s circus at Marengo during the two months. Gum, gas, laundry and barber bills were unknown expenditures to a farm hand who was earning $1.00 per day, harvesting, haying and threshing during those busy months.
I entered the law department of the Iowa State University in September 1872 and graduated therefrom the following June. The degree o f LLB was conferred upon me and I was sworn in as a member of the Iowa Bar.
I spent the winter of 1873-4 in a law office in Albia, Iowa, the winter of 1874-5 in David City, NE the winter of 1875-6 at home, and taught my second term of the McArtor school.
I located at Guthrie Center in May 1876. The place was an unincorporated settlement in the territory of Center township and was the county seat of Guthrie county, 14 miles from the nearest railroad, in the midst of a sparsely settled agricultural region, its highways “headed the sloughs” and followed the ridges. Its world contact was limited to one mail per day and the delivery of freight every other day from Guthrie switch (now Menlo).
My location in this primitive community was final and permanent, and as a young man I resolved to participate in its affair, development and growth, and during all the fifty-five years of my domicile therein I have been intensely interested and active in its welfare and social life. Opportunities for service and co-operation were ever present and ample, its churches, schools, fraternities, service groups and administrative needs were broad fields, beckoning for laborers.
The people and incoming settlers were the common plebian or proletariart of history. This class was so numerous, they were reckoned as God’s favorites, it was this class that heard the Master “gladly.”
The endeavor to acquire and live, local pride, the mutual purposes of all, brought the people close, very close together, and the tragedies and joys of one fell upon all; each knew and took interest in all the others.
As this community moved across the years with its multiplied problems and obligations its members became comrades, friends, yea, dearer, and closer, they were as members, of a family circle. Fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, their plain faces and forms, in the radiant golden glow of memory stimulated by an affection and high regard became attractive and beautiful to the writer, who is thereby prompted to delay yet a little longer their passing.
The foregoing will reveal my plea for this Brochure, it is a feeble offering of appreciation and love for my contemporaries and companions, who pulled, pushed and lifted along the dusty road of progress; who broke the wild sod, grubbed and burned the roots, in the uncultured fields of nature, and thus established the jurisdiction of that marvelous co-partnership-God and Man.
As I stand with uncovered head in the lengthening shadows and glow of the setting sun, I seek to perpetuate their memories yet a little while, fully realizing that soon, very soon, the shades of time will hide them and the coming generations will only know them from the pages of a scanty, passionless history.
They bequeathed to the posterity a “goodly inheritance.”
“Let not ambition mock their toil,
Their homely joy, and destiny obscure;
Nor gradeur hear, with a disdainful smile,
The short and simple annals of the poor.”
Nothwithstanding I may be charged with egotism, I cannot refrain from naming the high points in the record of my life. I do not include matters and events relating to my domestic and church activities. I do not plead merit, or deserving ability for being so richly favored.
Graduation in law State University of Iowa and admission to
the bar 1873 My location at Guthrie Center, Ia-1876
Delegate from the 7th District of Iowa to Republican National convention, the Blaine and Logan convention -1884
Grand Chancellor Knights of Pythias, Domain of Iowa, 1891-2
Secretary National Republican League 1900-06
A guest, with others, of President Roosevelt, at dinner at the White House -1903
Representative in the 30th, 31st, 32nd, and 32nd extra session of the General Assembly of Iowa -1904-08.
My bill, House file 40, introduced in Jan. 1904, being the first move to put the highways of the state under scientific and departmental supervision.
My minority report and its adoption in March 1904 against discontinuing and merging the Engineering Department of the State University with the one at the State College at Ames.
My chairmanship of the Judiciary Committee of the 32nd General Assembly of Iowa.
Fifty four years active practice of law at Guthrie Center, with one office change.
In closing I give expression to my amazement, gratitude and admiration for my time, place and parentage in the world’s life and great program. May worship and praises be unto Jehovah forever more.
THE following is written of the town of Guthrie Center, Iowa,
covering the last five decades of the nineteenth century. It will naturally
fall into four installments as follows:
The Fifties and Sixties, the First.
The Seventies, the Second.
The Eighties, the Third.
The Nineties, the Fourth.
It will be of persons deceased, of times important, memory and inspiration the motive.
Not all will be set forth herein that can or ought to be said of these men and their years.
Fifty years! Never before such years; never to be such years. Never before such men; we trust always to honor these men in our memory.
The first record movement toward municipal organization of Guthrie
Center, Iowa, began the first day of May A. D. 1854, the date William Tracy
entered the Southwest Quarter of Section Six, in Township Seventy-nine, North,
Range Thirty-one, West of the 5th P. M.
The east half of this quarter and the northwest quarter of the southeast quarter of said section was all the land involved in the original plat of Guthrie Center. The southwest quarter of the southwest quarter above was entered by Lambert Sternberg, and by him deeded to E.B. Newton.
Tracy deeded one-half of his eighty to Newton, and these two
were the record owners of the land when it was platted for town purposes,
April 28, 1856.
The deed whereby the land in said plat to be used for public purposes was dedicated, is dated the same date. and was executed by E. B. Newton and wife. Eveline, and W. M. Tracy and wife; and Thomas Seely took the acknowledgement as a notary public.
The land included in this plat was well located and adapted for town site purposes. It was in the center of the county, in the midst of prairie and timber lands without limits. South Coon river furnished drainage, power and pure artesian water in great abundance. A county seat was just hanging ripe on a slender branch at Panora, eight miles east of the center of the county,-"a great injustice to be sure."
Place, time, conditions were propitious. Man, help yourself! The following quintet of gentlemen were responsible and most active in developing this project in the sixth and seventh decades of the nineteenth century -' (1850-1860)-William M. Tracy, Eder B. Newton, Thomas Seely, Charles Huxley and William Warrington. .
William Tracy was the Abraham who came up out of the town of Caldwell, Noble county, Ohio, with the vision of projecting a town in the "Western Wilds" of Iowa and acquiring thereunto. or making it, a county seat. He found. E. B. Newton at, or near, Morrisburg, a stage station in the southeast part of Guthrie county.- Thomas Seely was teaching school in or about Bear Grove in the county and joined in the enterprise.
Tracy and Newton, one spring morning in 1853, while standing about where the old soldiers' monument is, with the sun at their backs, beheld the valley of the South Coon river as it extended into the northwest, in their front, and to the southeast, and the valley of Bear Grove to the south, bearing west. The timber along these streams and on the hills northwest was enough to satisfy their timber instincts.
The rich, level bottom lands were just suited for streets, alleys and commercial lots; the rolling hills for homes; the spring in the hollow above the Al Wilkins home could be used for city purposes; and the unlimited stretch of prairies in every direction gave plenty of room. Where they stood would be the court house square. Newton knew they were standing in the center of the county. They agreed upon the location.
Tracy was to locate certain land warrants covering about nine hundred acres, as contiguous and advantageous to the project as possible. Newton was to enter the timber lands to the northwest a mile away, which he did, naming it "Newton's Grove," and the project was on. It will appear that Guthrie Center, Iowa, was located not by commissioners, nor by the hand of law, but by nature acting by and through her special agents, men who dreamed dreams and saw visions.
In March, 1859, a petition asking that the question of removing the county seat from Panora to the new town of Guthrie Center was presented to the board of supervisors, who ordered. the question submitted to the voters of the county. It was voted on in April, 1859, and the .movement was defeated. On the second of April, 1860. it was again voted upon and the project carried by nineteen majority, and the county capital came over the hills to the new town.
In 1861 Panora began taking steps for the return of the county
seat. It did not reach a vote until April, 1862, and the town of Panora won
by a. majority of seventy-seven. Back over the hills the county capital went,
a welcome pilgrim to Panora and the unoccupied court house.
The civil war paralyzed home affairs and forced an armistice of the county seat warfare, and the sixth and seventh decades closed with the capital of the county peacefully abiding at Panora, and further controversy over the same will come within the limits of the eight decades, hereinafter.
Tracy was versatile, aggressive, faithful and earnest. He was a blacksmith. lawyer, miller, farmer, soldier and editor. He was not a failure in any of these pursuits. He had an attractive personality; he was a natural leader; his mind dwelt upon and suggested large things. He was rather aristocratic, both in his conduct and thought. His mind was on a high scale, .but withal humane and agreeable. He carried with him an air of confidence and admiration. "Small wonder" that the conservative Newton and the shrewd and far-seeing Seely were drawn to him and entered into his scheme of a new central county seat for Guthrie county. He was a captain in the civil war.
William M. Tracy, born in Belrnont county, Ohio, February 2, 1820, died at Guthrie Center, Iowa, June 16, 1881.
EDER B. NEWTON.
Newton, slow, ponderous and conservative, would and did awaken and attract the confidence of the homeseeker. -It was he that added stability and faith in the new venture.
Eder B. Newton, born in Greene county, New York, February 18, 1821, died in Ontario, California, in 1897
Seely, the shrewd statesman, the diplomat, whose schemes and plans being approved by Newton and Tracy would be executed by all; Seely, the man who could change the name of his township from Center to Valley -that upon roll call it would be among the last of the call and its delegates could therefore vote with full knowledge of the standing of the candidates or matter voted upon, and perhaps hold a "balance of power," an advantage and power which to the politician was a valuable asset. He was a very useful man, wise, shrewd and far-seeing, acquainted with the leading men of the state, and very influential therewith. He, too, was a captain in the civil war.
Thomas Seely, born in Wayne county, New York, October 1, 1822, died in Guthrie, Oklahoma, November 11, 1896.
Charles Huxley, the Englishman, tenacious, faithful trustworthy; the first postmaster, the first justice of the peace, the first mayor. His official duties became his religion, and the regular and faithful transmission and distribution of the mall a religious sacrament to be observed and performed. rain or shine. wet or cold.
Charles Huxley, born in England, April 16, 1817, died in Guthrie Center, Iowa, June 28, 1881.
William (Billy) Warrington, the blacksmith, came into the county to shoe the stage line horses. "Billy," the useful man, the hard-working man, the necessary man, whose anvil rang early and late. His nails, horseshoes and bolts were all made by his own hands. He cheerfully served the poor and rich alike, was always at his post with the implement of his work in his hand. It could be said of him as one of David's mighty men whose "hand clave to his sword." his "hand clave to the handle of his hammer."
Because of his faithfulness in small things, he became influential and useful in the larger things, bigger than he knew. So "Billy," humble and modest, should be placed with the primary quintet that did so much in the beginning to start and give impetus to Guthrie Center.
William Warrington. born in England, April 15, 1819, died at Guthrie Center, Iowa, July 31, 1905.
POSTOFFICE ESTABLISHED 1856.
The postoffice was established April first, 1856. The following were the postmasters included in the period covered by the fifties and sixties, with the date of their commissions:
Charles Huxley, April 1, 1856.
John E. Motz, October 20, 1863.
Charles Huxley, October 8, 1866.
It can be said of the sixth and seventh decades, that it was a time of initiative, leadership, instinct, prophecy, faith, venture, courage.
The quintet that played their different parts in the scheme of projecting and developing the municipality of Guthrie Center, Iowa, during this period, possessed these virtues and each performed his respective part intensely, faithfully and with a commendable spirit of altruism. They were the pioneers, the skirmish line, the pathfinders for a -noble and great civilization that followed them. They are worthy of our memory. Their personalities, conduct the contribution to society should be given all the emphasis and value possible.
God Give Us Men!
God give us men! A time like this demands
Strong minds, great hearts, true faith and ready hands;
Men whom the lust of office does not kill;
Men whom the spoils of office cannot buy;
Men who possess opinions and a will;
Men who have honor; men who will not lie;
Men who can stand before a demagogue
And damn his treacherous flatteries without winking!
Tall men, sun-crowned, who live above the fog
In public duty, and in private thinking;
For while the rabble, with their thumb-worn creeds
Their large professions and their little deeds,
Mingle in selfish strife, lo! Freedom weeps,-
Wrong rules the land and waiting Justice sleeps.
--Josiah Gilbert Holland.
The eighth decade, (the seventies) was ushered in by a very
successful religious revival under the leadership of Rev. Charles Ashton,
a pastor of the M. E. church. The first M. E. church was built in 1871.
In 1870, the people voted for the third time on the removal of the county seat. Panora won by 29 votes. In October, 1873, at the time of the regular election. The removal was again submitted and at this time decided in favor of Guthrie Center by a majority of 182. This was the final contest and a triumphant victory for the town.
The skids were taken from under the county capital and it was safely anchored at Guthrie Center.
The next question was a court house. Two-thirds of the swamp land fund was voted to build a court house at Guthrie Center. A court house was built in 1877, at a cost of $30,000.00. Railway connections were undertaken. Mercantile ventures were established and developed.
In 1879 D. L. Motz. rebuilt the flouring mill, put through a new race, and made the plant modern and up-to-date. The mill became a very popular and flourishing one, drawing trade from a large territory.
During the evening of February 17, 1878, a fire broke out in the back part of the Dr. Bower drug store which was supposed to have been the work of an incendiary. D. P. Williams was severely hurt. The I.O.O.F. lost their hall and all their paraphernalia and records. All the buildings on the northeast part of block thirty-four on State street were burned, except the Carpenter dwelling. This fire, with the criminal litigation connected with it, was a tragic event. There was no conviction for arson in connection therewith.
The county was settling up. New people were coming in. It was the age of adaptation, subduing, multiplying, "sit steady, don't rock the boat." Where the cabin was. The school house appeared; where the school house was, the church arose. The prairies gave way to golden fields; the ridge road, to the highways.
The soldiers of the sixties became warriors of culture and industry. The promise of a wider and broader world was in the air and the possibilities of great agricultural development put a tinge of golden promise
in the heavens. It was a period of holding onto the beginnings-and developing them, of foundations and building them. Every mental faculty focused on the arithmetic of addition. It was not a place of health and peace for the loafer and criminal. Churches and fraternities were well patronized. The ills and tragedies and sorrows of one became the anguish of all. Communal relations were closely drawn and always for the common good. Hearts throbbed with hospitality, human sympathy and love. It was cling, dig, push, pull and pray, close margins, capacity loads, carry your own burden, and help the weaker. It was a great decade of responsibility and great anxiety. Additions to the town were: Gingrich’s 1871; Ordway’s 1876; McIntire’s 1877.
The following were commissioned postmasters at Guthrie Center, Iowa, during this decade:
Wm. H Weatherbee, October 3, 1871.
George F. Whesler, March 18. 1872.
E. F. Huxley, December 7, 1872.
Wm. Tracy, January 13, 1873.
Charles Huxley, July 28, 1873.
Emerson H. Kimball, December 14, 1877.
Wm. Holsman, February 20. 1879.
The following quintet contributed in a large measure to the history and growth of the city during this decade and were prominent in its affairs:
DR. JOHN BOWER
Dr. John Bower. one of the most necessary and useful men connected with the growth of Guthrie Center, was born in Northumberland county, Pennsylvania, April 12, 1823. Actively engaged in the practice of medicine, he rode the hills and valleys of Guthrie county in daylight and darkness, in storm and sunshine, making a trail where there was none, following faint ones along the ridges and across the sloughs, unrestricted by section lines, floundering through the mud and swamps, over drifts wherever and whenever called, facing flood, suffering the sting of sleet, the chill of frost; never turning back but on to the bedside of those who moaned with pain and burned with fever. The ills of men, suffering of mothers, the piteous appeal of stricken children, were ever upon his mighty soul. Rich with the love and gratitude of the multitudes that had received his lavish services and of the hosts of friends that knew him, he died at Guthrie Center December 12. 1892. His son, Dr. Edward L. Bower (Ann Arbor, Mich., 1886) became associated with him following his graduation and has continued this practice successfully to the present day, 47 years in the same office building.
JAMES A. LYONS
James A Lyons, merchant impetuous, forceful, honest and trustworthy, made a success of the dry goods business and without neglecting his business became interested in politics and served in the General Assembly and as Auditor of the State. He was a captain in the Civil war. He went to Grand Junction, Colorado, in 1903. He was born in Morgan county. Ohio, April 12. 1832, and died at Grand Junction, Colorado, May 12, 1906.
John Motz, the merchant, shrewd, genial, good natured, could be depended upon in all that was for the welfare of the town. His cheering personality and public spirit made him a helpful character in this decade and drew trade to his store from all parts of the county. Born in Center county, Pennsylvania, October 13, 1822, died at Guthrie Center, Iowa, June 6, 1906.
GILES C. MILLER
Giles C. Miller, a lovable friend to everybody, was superintendent of public instruction and active in the development of the schools. He was loyal to Guthrie Center and interested in its growth. His genial personality attracted folks to the new town and to himself. He was born near South Bend, Indiana, December 14, 1848, and died at Guthrie Center, October 7, 1890.
DANIEL LUTHER MOTZ
Daniel Luther Motz, the miller, was probably the most versatile in his commercial enterprises of them all. He was a merchant, landlord, farmer, miller, contractor, builder and liveryman. Was a soldier in the Civil war. It was said of him that no matter how often he fell he always lit on his feet. He was born in Center county, Pennsylvania, December 5. 1839, and died at Cripple Creek, Colorado, a few years ago.
These distinguished citizens in passing this municipality on to their successors, could do so with honor .and a sense of pride and satisfaction. \
The Decade of the Seventies were years of promise and possibilities.
THE dominant feature of the life of this municipality during
this decade was construction,-political and commercial extension. A railway
connection was established; a big celebration of that event occurred August
19, 1880. The Center Bank passed into the hands of Rogers & Dewey. The
Calderwood block was built in 1882. The Citizens Bank was established with
E. R. Sayles as cashier. The Hess and Longacre buildings were built in 1887.
D. L. Motz built the second court house in 1883, to replace the one that burned
March 3, 1882. The Motz opera house was built, a fire department was organized,
and went in a body to Des Moines and took part in the State Tournament. The
permanent organization of the Presbyterian church occurred in May, 1880. In
1887 the Guthrie State Bank was organized, which afterwards changed to the
In 1887 Capt. Charles Stuart, the founder of Stuart, started his dry goods business in Guthrie Center, and afterwards built a large building where the Farmers Creamery now stands, and for a number of years conducted the largest general mercantile business in the county. He followed the railroad in, with his grain and lumber business; H. M. Sampson, manager. Because of his wholesale slashing methods of doing business, his lavish use of money, and pull with the railroad, he was believed to be a very dangerous rival by a number of our business men, and opposition developed so strong that he centralized his interests at Audubon, instead of Guthrie Center.
Some notoriety was given the town through political channels. The county was part of the old seventh Congressional District, the capital district of the state. E.W. Weeks was elected a delegate therefrom to the Republican national convention, (1884, the Blaine and Logan convention). Hon. James A, Lyons was elected Auditor of the State.
The Blaine and Logan campaign was a "rip-snorter.” Speakers, parades, fire-works, everybody including the men, women and children, became excited and enthused. Guthrie Center people went to Stuart, by special train and paraded the streets one night. Stuart folks went by special train to Guthrie Center, and in greater numbers; Guthrie Center, to Panora, then Panora to Guthrie Center. Charlie Hill brought over a mounted company. Paraded down State street in a blaze of glory, and with a din of noise, the envy of the Center folks and the delight of the boys.
Alack ! "Rum, Romanism, and Rebellion", uttered by an unwise friend was the "Shibboleth" that brought death to the political life of James G. Blaine and defeat of the national ticket. He lacked some 1500 votes of carrying New York.
The schools were strengthened. Highways into the town were improved, new ones established and opened up. The press strengthened and built up along permanent and influential lines.
In May, 1880, the Ashtons took control of "The Guthrian." Charles Ashton, the father, editor, the two boys, Will and Hib, handling the mechanical part. This paper under this management became a very useful organ, moulding public opinion and building up true American social life, not only in Guthrie Center, but throughout the western part of the state.
H. W. Stoy bought the "Iowa Star" from Motz & Mingus, in March, 1887 and gave it a new name, "The Times." H. W. Stoy was reporter, editor and publisher. He made it a very influential paper, a success. And from that time to the present (45 years), the paper under the management of the Stoys (father and son) has been an influential factor in all that was good for Guthrie Center and her people, and in the growth and development of the town.
Thus, there came into this decade two important factors for good, and to our people, since the dates given, a dependable and progressive press.
Additions to the town:
Tracy's September 24, 1880.
Wetmore's September 25, 1880.
Clippinger's December 31, 1880.
The following gentlemen served as postmaster at Guthrie Center, Iowa, during the eighties of the nineteenth century:
Wm. Holsman, date of commission, April 12, 1882.
John A. McLaughlin, date of commission, July 12, 1886.
The following gentlemen were conspicious for their influence and contributions to the growth and development of Guthrie Center during the Eighties of the nineteenth century :
Charles Ashton hated shame and sin, and loved God and righteousness. He had great ability to express himself vigorously, either orally or with his pen. His courage, energy and militant spirit prompted him to combat every cause or project which he conceived to be wrong or unwise, and he usually did so with such vehemence and facts as to discomfit those who opposed him, and to bring approval of his own views and a large following. He had a tinge of the Puritan, and the intolerance that he sometimes manifested was bred in him from his long and successful pastorate in the M. E. church. He sought to hold everybody to a high standard of good and pure living. His was a very useful character in developing and establishing a new center of social life.
He was a member of the "Iowa Columbian Commission," representing the ninth congressional district, and was chairman of the "Archaeological, Historical and Statistical committee." He was largely responsible for Iowa's building and showing at the Exposition, and he formulated and prepared the report of the commission which is a very useful and valuable record, containing four hundred twenty-five pages, a 25.000 edition of which has long since been exhausted. The prominence and success of the showing of the state at this fair placed the state in the front rank of the states and countries participating in the exposition, and brought to the state of Iowa the attention of the world, and it was largely due to Mr. Ashton's labors and genius in bringing together the facts and material showing the resources and civilization of his beloved Iowa.
As illustrative of his characteristics I quote two sentences from one of his editorials.
"We have no patience with the foolishness of populist (socialistic) political ideas that are framed on the idea that the government should furnish the meal and bake the cake and see that it is baked in a first-class cookery style while the chap that is to eat it stands with folded hands looking on. We have ever found that when we waited for Providence to turn things up they often didn't turn; but when we went at it to turn things up we turned something up at least."
It may be well said that, so far as the influence and impress of any one mind upon the people of Guthrie Center during the decades included in the article are concerned, his was the greatest and most useful of them all.
To be able, as this man did, to mould the thoughts of men and drive them to a better life and to push society onto higher levels of progress and righteousness by the very power of his character, arguments and assemblage of facts, shows the mark of genius.
He was born in England. June 2, 1823, and died at Guthrie Center, August 26, 1903.
H. K. DEWEY
H. K. Dewey-"Kirk." as he was familiarly called-was a keen, shrewd business man, ever ready to take a chance on, or with, his friends.
The Center Bank and abstract business projected by Ira P. Wetmore in the early seventies was taken over by the firm of Rogers & Dewey, and for many years successfully operated thereby. Kirk was honest, faithful and full of energy. His word he remembered and kept. He was full of fraternal love and fellowship; a loyal, true character and unselfish, benevolent and useful in his service to his fellowmen, auditor of the county, member of the general assembly, representing his church in the general conference and always performing his official duties with great ability and efficiency. His life was a tower of strength on the battle line of development and progress. He was born in Vermont in 1846, and died at Guthrie Center in 1921.
At the marshalling of the world's assets, there will be found a balance to the credit H. K. Dewey.
JAMES H. ROGERS
James H. Rogers was different but useful. He was literary and aesthetic in his tastes. Books, nature and his family were his horizon. his food. his life. He was clean and accurate in his business. He had the confidence of all. He accumulated a fine library in which he took great delight and loved to share it with his friends. He became a strong Bible teacher and very useful in Sunday school work. He suggested a literary lecture for Guthrie Center, and with the writer procured Robert J. Burdette, who came and delivered, in the old Baptist church the first lecture in the new town. His subject was, ''The Rise and Fall of the Mustache." The attendance did not equal the guaranty. "Bob" declared that he would not allow an Iowa audience to lose on him. and he accepted the receipts as his pay. Oliver Buck, the liveryman, took him to Casey the next morning, and "Bob" told so many funny stories on the way that Buck would not accept any pay for taking him to the railway station. "Jim,” as we called him, was gentle and kind in his manner and tender and sympathetic toward his fellows. His was a character that smoothed the rough surface of social life and was an influence for culture and refinement,-always placid, good natured, peaceful. He was interested in the schools and churches of the town. He was born in the state of New York, February 22, 1844, and died at Guthrie Center, June 17, 1904.
H. J. HESS
H. J. Hess, hardware merchant, was a very useful character in building up the town of Guthrie Center. He was honest, careful and prosperous. His was a rugged, vigorous character, full of energy and hard work. He had the confidence of his friends and customers and occupied many positions whereby he could and did serve the people faithfully and well. He was conservative and careful in all his ways, giving good service in many responsible places. He was connected with various projects that were vital to the progress of the town. His judgment was always safe and correct. He was born in Pennsylvania in 1849, and died at Guthrie Center, in 1921.
DAVID P. WILLIAMS.
David P. Williams, operating a stock and meat business, had to do with a wide circle of patrons. The townspeople were his principal customers, and the farmers and country people had dealings with him. He had the confidence of those who dealt with him, he was genial, courteous, prompt. He brought into the county and developed the Hereford, white faced cattle, adding much to the improvement of and value of the cattle industry. In buying and selling stock and handling the meat market business he developed into a very influential and responsible business man. He attracted and held trade at Guthrie Center; aided the farmers at public sales, and did much to help and develop the town and the county. He was born in the state of New York in 1845, and died at Guthrie Center in 1916.
The activities of the men of this decade covered a wide range. Their loyalty to the interests and good of Guthrie Center was the "polar star" of their course. It can be said of them, they added to the legacy that came to them, to the great good and benefit of their own beneficiaries.
THESE were years of new activities, the development of old ones. New towns in the county Competitive markets and trading points sprang up nearby. Extensive and broader lines of commercial activities were undertaken; highways into towns improved, new ones established.
Our social life began making an impress upon the outside world. Our fraternities were developed, and members began taking prominent parts in the grand fraternal bodies of the state.
The annual conference of the M. E. church was held here in 1897, and its entertainment was so cordial, hospitable and friendly by all our people that it became the out-standing session of the Des Moines conference in that regard.
Hon. J. H. Applegate, one of our practicing lawyers, was elected District Judge in 1890, and began a long period of continuous service on the bench in the Fifth Judicial District, in January, 1891. He was serving his eleventh term when called by death March 13, 1932. This record brings honor and prestige to our people, and much credit to the Judge.
The musical talent of the town was above the average, and we became known as a musical people. A man, by the name of J. W. Segrist, organized a male quartet, that acquired a state reputation and was in great demand, singing at state conventions, commencements and many other functions throughout the state. It was composed of J. W. Segrist, H. W. Stoy, L. B. Young and H. H. Mercer. These gentlemen contributed more to the notoriety and popularity of Guthrie Center in the nineties than any other elements or influence. They mere talented gentlemen, always willing to contribute their voices to the entertainment of the people, many a program having been made attractive and interesting by the appearance thereon of the Guthrie Center Male Quartet.
New brick M. E. church was built in 1891.
In 1892 the "Wallace Shows" came to town and with it came the greatest aggregation of "con" men .and gamblers ever in town at any one time, before or since. Here they found customers so numerous, gullible and anxious to get their money in circulation, that it was difficult to take it upon any pretext, so they just snatched it. That night a battle was fought at the depot; some 100 or 200 shots were fired, several wounded, one showman reported killed, and it may go down in history as the battle of “The Wallace Suckers." The show has never played a return date. It was some "circus day" and so full of thrills that vibrations from it can be felt even now.
Hon. Jno, W. Foster established the Citizens investment Bank in 1895. This project, under his skillful and prudent management, grew and developed until, Mr. Foster merged it and acquired the First National Bank of Guthrie Center (a million dollar concern), the First National Bank at Stuart, and the Monteith Savings Bank, as well as other financial corporations, thus contributing to our people financial advantages of great importance and value.
City water works installed in 1896.
New brick school building was built in 1897.
- W. S. Jacoby, a bad sporting character, developed by a life of dissipation in the navy and army, drifted into Guthrie Center in the late seventies; was attending prize fights, and was spending a legacy in the eighties; during the nineties he was coaxed into a revival meeting, at the M. E. church, conducted by Rev. Crozer; was converted, and became prominent in the religious activities of the Moody Institute in Chicago. He served as assistant pastor of the great Moody church, was superintendent of the Clark street mission for a number of years, was associated with Dr. Torry in evangelistic work, went overseas a number of times, and around the world with him, the record of his service and the good he accomplished bringing honor to the town and glory to the power of God.
The following gentlemen were commissioned postmasters of Guthrie Center during this decade:
William W. Hyzer, July 12, 1890.
Edward L. Nesselroad, August 2, 1894.
Charles Ashton, December 21, 1898.
The following gentlemen should receive great credit for the life and growth of the town for the decade of the nineties; they gave impetus to its progress and had the burdens and responsibilities thereof upon -their souls :
DR. O. FORDYCE.
Dr. O. Fordyce was versatile and skilled in his profession. He was a genius as a surgeon. The wonder of his friends was that he remained in a small town. His great ability as a physician and surgeon was known throughout the state, and larger fields were open to him; but he loved the place, his friends and patients, and he stayed by them.
At a state meeting of some medical association, some learned expert from the east gave a lecture on a very peculiar and rare surgical operation having had extensive experience and he supposed opportunity. As Doc followed with some suggestions of improvement in the method of the described operation, the expert was skeptical and surprised, declaring that he had successfully handled three of the operations. Doc said that was why he did not recognize the improvement suggested his- limited experience. The expert with considerable heat and sarcasm asked how many of said operations Doc had successfully handled. The answer was, "six or seven." This was too much for the expert, and he left the hall in disgust.
Doc was progressive, interested in every good project, willing to serve, answering calls day and night. His practice developed into such proportions that he established a hospital that attracted patients from all portions of the state. His tragic death in 1910, in an automobile accident,
while in the line of duty, was a calamity to our people. Born in Iowa, in 1860, and died in 1910.
EDWARD E. DOSH.
Edward E. Dosh, druggist, came to Guthrie Center from Stuart. He came of Pennsylvania Dutch stock –the plodding kind, that never lets go and never slips backward. He was in close touch with the life of the town. He was a wise counsellor, a leader, willing to venture if there was a prospect of benefiting the town. The church and young people were ever upon his heart; his business grew into large proportions, and his influence became strong and always useful. His ambition was a righteous and clean citizenship, and a spiritualized, evangelical church. He was benevolent and liberal. He was a hard working, public spirited gentleman. Born in Pennsylvania, July, 1854, died at Guthrie Center, December 12, 1910.
J. D. BROWN.
J. D. Brown came here in 1880 as principal of our schools; formed a partnership with his brother, Jim, in the real estate investment and law business; prospered; served the town in various ways-on boards, committees; and boosted every project that was for the good of the town; was a home-builder, lived in the sunshine parlor of life, was not a basement boarder. His good nature lightened the loads of his fellows and made him a friend, remembered, and an attractive force in social welfare. Was born in 1852, and died at Guthrie Center, 1917.
FRANK M. HOPKINS.
Frank M. Hopkins, the banker, had a grasp upon municipal affairs paramount to all others. He- was councilman, mayor, president of the school board, clerk of the district court, state senator, "The Quiet Wiseacre." His knowledge and memory of events and persons was proverbial. He was useful because easy of approach, and willing to serve. In private life he was clean, good natured, prompt and true. In his official service, efficient and able. Born in Mahaska county, Iowa, March 8, 1954, and died at Guthrie Center, May 2, 1924.
EDGAR C. LANE.
Edgar C. Lane, banker, a man of wide acquaintance in the state, came from Waterloo, Iowa, and organized the Guthrie State Bank in 1887. He was strictly a banker, keen, accurate, and honest; reliable as to values, and able to anticipate results by reason of his ability and close touch with current events; an extensive reader; a student. His financial connections were of great benefit to the growth of the town in this decade, and his strong, active personality made him a useful citizen. Was born December 12, 1950, died March 18, 1916.
Up to this time Guthrie Center had made contributions to many states and places, even unto foreign lands. The interests of our people became widely scattered; their investments and- aid to the foreign projects and social life were large, thereby developing relations metropolitan. The town, however, made a steady and substantial growth.
The municipality passed into the new century, a vigorous matron, with the bloom of health upon her cheeks, and a maternal, homelike expression about her stalwart form.
|William M. Tracy||Dr. John Bower.|
|Eder B. Newton.||James A. Lyons.|
|Thomas Seely||John E. Motz.|
|Charles Huxley.||Giles C. Miller.|
|William Warrington||Daniel L. Motz.|
|Charles Ashton.||Dr. Oscar Fordyce.|
|Henry K. Dewey.||Edward E. Dosh.|
|James H. Rogers.||Frank M. Hopkins.|
|Henry J. Hess.||Joseph D. Brown.|
|David P. Williams.||Edgar C. Lane.|
Twenty Men-All Hail!
Your souls, your times, your places, your opportunities God gave or assigned to you; your services, your personalities, your acts and your characters, are yours and ours. To God be thanks and praise forevermore.
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