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Iowa History

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Iowa Families:

The Myths and Legends

He Took It to The Grave

By Elaine Rathmann

      My grandfather, Cornelius M. Bell, was born in 1863 and raised in Shelby county, Missouri, where he married and raised his first family. In the early 1900s, several years after his first wife died, he moved with his children to Muscatine, Iowa. There he started a concrete monument and headstone business and eventually met and married my grandmother. After many successful years in this business, he retired and moved to Davenport Iowa in 1932. His wife, my grandma, Mary Edith (Raff) , always said that it was he who had invented the concrete grave liner, but he never saw the need to get it patented. Unfortunately, years after he had been selling them, someone else patented the idea. Alas, the family fortune was lost before it was made.


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