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1914 County History
Societies, Fraternities,
Charitable Institutions, Etc.

Probably the first voluntary association of any kind in Lee County was an agricultural society. On July 17, 1841, a meeting was held at West Point for the purpose of organizing such a society. William Patterson presided and James H. Cowles acted as secretary. About one hundred and fifty people were present, among whom were Hugh T. Reid and D. F. Miller of Fort Madison, who addressed the meeting. A number of fine Durham cattle were exhibited at West Point on that occasion. A committee of five was appointed to draft a constitution and by-laws and report at a meeting to be held in Fort Madison on the first Monday of the following October. No record of the Fort Madison meeting can be found, but it is likely some sort of a society was organized, as in September, 1842, a three days' fair was held near Keokuk, under the auspices of the "Lee County Association," which was evidently short-lived. On November 1, 1851, the Lee County Agricultural Society was organized at Keokuk. T. B. Cumming, G. W. Edmondson and T. J. Chenowith were appointed to draft a constitution and by-laws, which were presented and adopted at the same meeting. William Lamb was elected the first president of the society and G. W. Edmondson the first secretarv. Ralph P. Lowe, afterward governor of Iowa, was the first treasurer. 

The first fair given by this society was held on October 13-14, 1852, on the grounds of the medical college at Keokuk. The premium list advertised amounted to $588, but the total amount awarded in prizes was $219. At the close of the fair the directors met in the lecture room of the medical college and elected Thomas W. Clagett, president; Absalom Anderson, vice president; William Leighton, secretary, and Arthur Bridgman, treasurer. The second and third fairs of this society were held at 'Keokuk, after which the place of exhibition was changed to West Point, where it remained until 1870. 

On December 28, 1853, the State Agricultural Society was organized at Fairfield. Only five counties were represented, viz. : Henry, Jefferson, Lee, Van Buren and Wapello. Josiah Hinkle of Lee was one of the committee to draft by-laws, and the board of directors, consisting of three from each of the thirteen counties, was elected. The Lee County representatives on that board were Arthur Bridgman, Josiah Hinkle and Reuben Brackett. The board met at Fairfield on June 6, 1854, elected Thomas W. Clagett of Lee County president, and proceeded to select a date and arrange a premium list for the first state fair. There was some criticism because no prize was offered for lady horseback riders, and Judge Clagett offered a gold watch, which was won by Miss Belle Turner of Lee County. 

In the fall of 1870 the citizens of Fort Madison prepared fair grounds and offered inducements which decided the directors to remove the fair from West Point to that place, where it was held for three or four years. The old society then became involved and terminated its existence in 1877. It was then reorganized and twenty acres of ground were leased at Donnellson and fitted up for fair grounds, and a successful fair was held there in the fall of that year. The officers of the society for 1914 were : Joseph Krebill, president; Joseph Carver, vice president; G. W. Mattern, treasurer; Chris Haffner, secretary; D. McCulloch, superintendent of grounds; H. C. Knapp, marshal. 

Some of the citizens in the vicinity of West Point, after the fair was removed to Fort Madison, organized an association known as the West Point District Agricultural Society, which secured the grounds formerly occupied by the Lee County Agricultural Society, and has held fairs annually since 1872. The officers for 1914 were: George E. Rogers, president; Theodore Brinck, vice president; John Walljasper, secretary; T. J. Lampe, treasurer; Theodore Vonderhaar, superintendent of privileges, stalls and chief of police ; and John Lachman, marshal. 

Women's Societies

One of the oldest organizations of women in the State of Iowa is the P. E. O. Just what these initials stand for is unknown to the uninitiated. As early as 1869, seven young girls, students in the Iowa Wesleyan University at Mount Pleasant, conceived the idea of a society. One of these girls, speaking of it afterwards, says: "We had no very definite idea as to what we wanted to do, and when one said, 'What shall we call the society?' another suggested the name which that day bound together seven girls, and in 1914 held together in one great sisterhood 20,000 women." Miss Alice Bird, later Mrs. W. I. Babb, wrote the constitution. For many years P. E. O. was a college sorority, having chapters somewhat after the nature of the Greek letter fraternities. Its principal philanthropy is the maintenance of a fund which is loaned to young women to assist them in acquiring a higher education. Hundreds of girls have been educated by these means, and it is said that not one dollar has ever been lost by failure to repay a loan. There are two chapters of the P. E. O. in Lee County, located at Fort Madison and Keokuk. 

Daughters of the American Revolusion 

The Keokuk Chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution, was organized on October 26, 1896, with twelve charter members and the number 431. It is one of the oldest chapters of this order in Iowa, and its organization is due largely to the efforts of Miss Cora H. K. Pittmann, who was its first regent. Since its organization more than forty women have been elected to membership. The chapter has every year conducted a course of study on some topic of history, and has done patriotic educational work in the schools through the offering of prizes for the best standing in history grades and essays on historical subjects. The greatest work of the chapter was the erection of the statue of Chief Keokuk in Rand Park. This monument was unveiled on October 22, 191 3, by Miss Agnes Evans Reeves and Miss Graffen Blood, two little girls, daughters of members of the chapter. Following is the list of the regents of this chapter since its organization: Cora H. K. Pittmann, Lucy Singleton Howell, Mary Higbee Brownell, Eliza Janette Carter, Mary O. Hoyt, Marcia Jenkins Sawyer, Lida Hiller Lapsley, Elizabeth W. Dunlap, Ora Belle Cole, Grace Bisbee Hornoday, Winona Evans Reeves, Minnie A. B. Newcomb. 

Jean Espy Chapter of Fort Madison was organized on November 14, 1 901, with twenty charter members, and in 19 14 the membership had been increased to forty-six, one of whom was a life member. This chapter was organized through the efforts of Miss Florence Espy and was named for her ancestor, who had thirteen descendants in the Continental army during the Revolution. The line of work laid down by the national organization is followed, such as marking historic sites, the observation of patriotic days, and the encouragement of the study of history in the schools by offering prizes, etc. The greatest work of this chapter was the erection of the monument at the foot of Broadway, in the form of a chimney, which marks the site of old Fort Madison. A full account of this monument, its inscription, etc., will be found in Chapter VIII. Following is a list of the regents of the chapter, in the order in which they served: Adele Kretsinger Stewart, Elizabeth Hesser Mason, Maggie L. Hanchett, Dell Phillips Glazier, Belle Hamilton, James Preston Roberts, Susanne Hesser Brown, and Sarah Johnson Casey. Mrs. Brown is a granddaughter of Frederick Hesser, who served in the Revolution, and Mrs. M. Katherine Robison, a member of the chapter, is a great-granddaughter of Betsy Ross, who made the first American flag. 

The Keokuk Woman's Club was organized in January, 1898, with Mrs. William Ballinger as the first president; Mrs. Joseph Root, vice president; Mrs. Anette M. Sawyer, secretary; and Mrs. William A. Brownell, treasurer. The same year the club joined the Iowa Federation, and continued in the study of literature, art, dome tic science, etc., until 191 2, when it was merged into the Civic League. During its career it planted two rows of trees on Belknap Boulevard, erected four public drinking fountains on Main Street, and placed rubbish cans on the principal streets.

In May, 19 12, the Keokuk Civic League was organized with a membership of 194 women. The constitution sets forth that "The object of the league shall be to bring together women interested in improving the city; to extend a knowledge of public affairs; to aid in improving civic conditions and to arouse an increased sense of responsibility for the safeguarding of the home and for the maintenance and ennobling of that larger home of all — the city." The first officers of the league were as follows: Mrs. Winona Evans Reeves, president; Miss Lida Gordon Howell, first vice president; Mrs. James Huiskamp, second vice president; Mrs. H. T. Herrick, recording secretary; Miss Rachel Roberts, corresponding secretary; and Miss S. Elizabeth Matheney, treasurer. 

Among the things accomplished by the league was its aid in the annual "clean up" day, conducting a garden contest among school children in which 300 took part and ten prizes were given, and the establishment of a systematic, sanitary collection of garbage. The membership is distributed all over the city. 

The Keokuk branch of the Ladies of Charity was formed on January 13, 1914, and is affiliated with the international society, the headquarters of which are in Paris, France. The aim of the society is to work with other organizations in promoting the general welfare of the community. A number of families have been aided, and at Christmas time in 19 1 3 a large number of toys, Christmas dinners, etc., were distributed among the poor of the city. The officers in 1914 were: Mrs. Alois Weber, president; Mrs. C. A. McNamara, vice president; Mrs. I. S. Sawyer, recording secretary; Mrs. Mary Seibert, corresponding secretary; Mrs. Joseph O'Brien, treasurer. 

The first suggestion for a Visiting Nurse Association in Keokuk was made by Mrs. C. D. Streeter, president of the Young Women's Christian Association. Mrs. Hugh L. Cooper made the first large contribution and the association was organized on January 1, 1913, with the following officers: Mrs. Corydon M. Rich, president; Miss Nettie Younker, first vice president; Mrs. Eugene S. Baker, second vice president; Miss Laura Alton, recording secretary; Miss Agnes Trimble, financial and corresponding secretary; and Miss Elsie Buck, treasurer. Miss Emma Habenicht was elected visiting nurse and began her work on February 1, 1913. 

The oldest woman's club in Fort Madison is the Monday Afternoon Club, which was organized by Mrs. Caroline Cattermole in September, 1899. The constitution states : "The object of this association shall be the intellectual and social culture of its members." As its name indicates, meetings are held on Monday afternoons at the homes of the members. Half of the time at each meeting is devoted to study, and the other half to the discussion of current topics. It is a member of the Iowa Federation and contributes to all the great forward movements in which the federation is interested. During its career the club has had three presidents, Mrs. Foss, Mrs. Cattermole and Mrs. C. F. Wahrer. 

In 1901 Mrs. Natalie Schafer conceived the idea of organizing a club of German women for the practice of the German language and the study of German literature. The works of Heinrich Heine were the first to be taken up for study and from this fact the organization adopted the name of the "Heine Club." This has been followed by a study of the classics, the modern poets, novelists and dramatists, varied by special programs to commemorate some literary anniversary — such as the one hundredth anniversary of Schiller's birth. After the program at each meeting, a social hour of genuine German "Gemuthlichkeit" follows. 

Another active and energetic woman's club of Fort Madison is the King's Daughters, the first circle of which, called the Ida Mansfield, was organized on January 25, 191 1, at the home of Mrs. W. S. Hamilton. Since that time four other circles have been formed in the city, and the total membership in September, 1914, was about one nundred and fifty. One circle has charge of the rest rooms on Pine Street, and the others are interested mainly along charitable and civic lines. The officers of the union in 19 14 were: Mrs. J. H. Samuels, president; Mrs. H. E. Hershey, first vice president; Miss Hazel Amborn, second vice president; Mrs. Lora Schneider, recording sec- retary; Miss Laura Lofgreen, corresponding secretary; and Miss Florence Johnson, treasurer. 

Keokuk Country Club 

One of the most prominent social organizations in Lee County is the Keokuk Country Club, which, in the summer of 1 9 1 3, dedicated a handsome new clubhouse a few miles north of the city on the bluffs overlooking the Mississippi River. The building stands on the highest level of the thirty-six acres which comprise the grounds of the club. Facing the river is a wide veranda, which opens into a large reception room. On the first floor there are also a dining room, kitchen and custodian's room, while upstairs are the men's quarters, baths, etc. A nine-hole golf course has been laid out on the grounds by Thomas Bendelow, the Chicago golf expert, and is one of the finest links along the Mississippi. The new clubhouse has been the scene of many parties and entertainments, and is one of the popular social centers of Keokuk.

Masonic Fraternity

Of all the secret orders Masonry stands first in point of seniority. A tradition says the order was introduced in England by Prince Edwin about 926 A. D., and there are documents dated back to 1390. Mother Kilwinning Lodge of Scotland was organized in 1599 and has been in continuous existence from that time, being the oldest known lodge in the world. In June, 1717, the Grand Lodge of England was organized and is the mother of all Masonic bodies in the English-speaking world. 

In 1730 Daniel Coxe of New Jersey was appointed by the English Grand Lodge "Provincial Grand Master of the Provinces of New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania in America." About the same time a provincial grand master was appointed for the New England colonies. Before the close of the year a lodge was established at Philadelphia and one in New Hampshire, each of which claims to be the first lodge in America. 

Masonry was introduced into the Territory of Iowa under the authority of the Grand Lodge of Missouri, the first lodge being established under dispensation at Burlington November 20, 1840. Rising Sun Lodge, at Montrose, and Eagle Lodge, at Keokuk, held charters from the Grand Lodge of Illinois, but were known as Mormon lodges. They continued in existence until some time after the assassination of Joseph and Hyrum Smith in June, 1844, though their charters had been revoked by the Illinois Grand Lodge and they could not participate in the organization of the Iowa Grand Lodge in January, 1844. 

The oldest organized lodge in Lee County is Eagle Lodge, No. 12, located at Keokuk. It was organized under dispensation from the Iowa Grand Lodge, May 2, 1846, with Peter Kinleyside, worshipful master; Lyman E. Johnson, senior warden; Joseph C. Ainsworth, junior warden; and Joseph Welch, secretary. 

Claypoole Lodge, No. 13, at Fort Madison, although bearing a larger number than the Keokuk lodge, received its dispensation about two weeks before that lodge, the date being April 17, 1846. The charter members of this lodge were: J. F. Kinney, John Claypoole, Chapin Allen, Darius Wellington, Jacob Huner, Thomas Hale, Samuel B. Ayres and Josiah Kent. 

On December 25, 1851, a dispensation was issued to Hardin Lodge, No. 29, of Keokuk, with Dr. J. F. Sanford as the first worshipful master, and eight charter members. 

Joppa Lodge, No. 136, located at Montrose, was organized on April 5, 1858, by Dr. J. F. Sanford, when he was grand master of the state. The first master of Joppa Lodge was H. B. Munson, and J. M. Anderson was the first secretary. 

The youngest Masonic lodge in Lee County is Stella Lodge, No. 440, at Fort Madison. 

These are the only five Masonic lodges in the county. The higher degrees of Masonry are represented by Gate City Chapter, No. 7, Royal Arch Masons, at Keokuk, which was organized on Christmas day, 1854; Potowonok Chapter, No. 28, organized at Fort Madison, April 20, 1863; Damascus Commandery, No. 5, Knights Templar, organized at Keokuk, December 15, 1863 ; and Delta Commandery, No. 51, at Fort Madison. 

In connection with Masonry there is a "side degree" to which the wives and daughters of master Masons are eligible. This degree is known as the Order of the Eastern Star and the local bodies as chapters. The oldest organization in the county is Martha Chapter, No. 5, at Montrose. Diamond Chapter, No. 37, is located at Fort Madison, and Elmira Chapter, No. 40, of Keokuk, has over two-hundred members. 

All the Masonic bodies of Fort Madison meet in the hall at the northwest corner of Market and Second streets, but the Keokuk Masons have erected a fine Masonic Temple at the corner of Seventh and Blondeau streets, opposite the postoffice. Work was begun on this building in August, 19 1 3, and it was dedicated, with appropriate ceremonies, in July, 1914. It is three stories high, with a frontage of 112 feet on Blondeau Street and 66 feet on Seventh Street. It is provided with elevators, electric lights, steam heat, modern ventilation, and was erected at a cost of $75,000, giving Keokuk Masons one of the best homes in the state. The first floor is divided into offices and store rooms. There are some offices on the second floor, but the third floor contains lodge rooms, ladies' parlor and a Masonic library. In the basement, which is fourteen feet high, are the ball room and banquet hall. 

Independent Order of Odd Fellows 

The society upon which modern Odd Fellowship is based was started in England in the latter part of the eighteenth century under the name of the "Antient and Most Noble Order of Bucks." About 1773 this order declined and some four or five years later the words Odd Fellow first occur in the ritual. In 1813 several lodges organized the Manchester Unity, and Shakspere Lodge, No. 1, was soon afterward organized in New York. The first permanent lodge in the United States, however, was organized in 18 19 by Thomas H. Wildey of Baltimore. 

The first lodge of this order to be organized in Lee County is Keokuk Lodge, No. 13, instituted on July 31, 1848, with seven members. Empire Lodge, No. 31, was instituted on March 18, 1851, at Fort Madison, with five charter members. The order is now represented in Keokuk by the original Keokuk Lodge, No. 13, which meets every Monday evening; Puckechetuck Lodge, No. 43, which meets on Friday evenings; Hermann Lodge, No. 116, which meets on Wednesdays; Puckechetuck Encampment, No. 7, which holds meetings on the first and third Thursdays of each month; and Canton Leech, No. 4, Patriarchs Militant, which meets on the second Thursday.

On September 9, 1861, Concordia Lodge was instituted at Fort Madison with ten charter members, and on January 7, 1868, Fort Madison Lodge, No. 157, was instituted. These two lodges have been merged into Empire Lodge, No. 31, which is now the only lodge in the city. It owns the building at the northeast corner of Front and Market streets, where regular meetings are held weekly. The Odd Fellows also have lodges at Charleston, Montrose, Mount Hamill, Vincennes and Wever. 

In connection with the Odd Fellows there is a ladies' degree, called the Daughters of Rebekah — generally spoken of as the Rebekahs. Lodges of this degree are maintained with practically all the Odd Fellows lodges throughout the country.

Knights of Pythias 

This order was organized in Washington, D. C, February 15, 1864, by Justus H. Rathbone, Robert A. Champion, William H. and David L. Burnett, and Dr. Sullivan Kimball, members of the Arion Glee Club. The ritual, written by Mr. Rathbone, is founded on the story of Damon and Pythias. On February 19, 1864, Washington Lodge, No. 1, was organized, but, the Civil war being then in progress, the order grew slowly until about 1869, when it spread rapidly to all parts of the Union. The first lodge in Lee County was Morning Star, No. 5, of Keokuk. At one time there were several lodges; in the county, but the only ones in existence in 1914 were Morning; Star and the lodge at Donnellson. 

The Elks 

In 1868 a number of "good fellows" in the City of New York were in the habit of meeting together of evenings to spend a few hours in social communion, singing songs, "swapping yarns," etc. A permanent club was finally organized under the name of the "Jolly Corks." Some months later, when it was proposed to found a secret order, the name was objected to as not sufficiently dignified. A committee was therefore appointed to select a new name. This com- mittee chanced to visit Barnum's Museum, where they saw an elk and learned something of the habits of that animal. They then suggested the name of "Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks," w T hich was adopted. The initials B. P. O. E. are sometimes interpreted as meaning u Best People On Earth." In 1914 there were about twelve hundred lodges in the United States. The motto of the Elks is: "The faults of our brothers we write upon the sands; their virtues upon the tablets of love and memory." Under an established rule, lodges cannot be organized in cities of less than 5,000 population, hence the only two lodges in Lee County are Keokuk, No. 106, and Fort Madison, No. 374. The Keokuk Lodge erected a fine club- house on Blondeau Street in 191 1, modern in all its appointments, and the Fort Madison Lodge owns the commodious clubhouse on Front Street, between Market and Pine, overlooking the Mississippi River. Both lodges have strong memberships and are in prosperous condition. 


There are a number of fraternal societies which have organizations in Fort Madison and Keokuk, among which are the Ancient Order of United Workmen, the Fraternal Order of Eagles, the Knights of the Maccabees, the Modern Woodmen, the Loyal Order of Moose, the Woodmen of the World, the Royal Arcanum, the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers, the Brotherhood of Loco- motive Firemen, with their ladies' auxiliaries, the Yeomen, and a few others. 

The Knights of Columbus, a Catholic society, was first organized at New Haven, Connecticut, in February, 1882, by Rev. M. J. McGivney. The order issues insurance policies in sums of $1,000, $2,000, and $3,000, and does a general charitable work among its members. In 1904 it gave $50,000 to endow a chair of American history in the Catholic University of Washington. In 19 14 the assets of the society amounted to $2,500,000. Local organizations are called councils. The councils at Fort Madison and Keokuk are both large in membership and active in carrying out the work outlined by the national organization. 

Shortly after the close of the Civil war the survivors of the Union army organized the Grand Army of the Republic, membership in which was limited to those who had served in the army and navy during the war. Local organizations are called posts. James B. Sample Post, No. 170, Department of Iowa, is located at Fort Madison ; Torrence, No. 2, and W. W. Belknap, No. 515, are located at Keokuk. The aims and objects of the Grand Army have been to collect historic relics and documents of the war, and to mark the location of troops on the historic battlefields of the nation. Usually with the post is an auxiliary known as the Woman's Relief Corps, which has aided in the charitable work of the order, such as caring for disabled veterans and the widows and orphans of Union soldiers. Each year this order grows smaller, many of its members answering annually to the last roll call. 

Marquette Building, Fort Madison
Marquette Building, Fort Madison

Charitable Institutions, Etc.

During the period of settlement in Lee County the majority of the pioneers were blessed with good health, and a number of years passed before the question of caring for the unfortunate poor became one for the consideration of the county authorities. Those who needed assistance were usually aided by the neighbors, and it was not until 1857 that any official action was taken toward providing a home for the poor. In that year County Judge Samuel Boyles directed the building of a poorhouse, or county home. The original building was 100 feet long and 36 feet wide, with a wing 36 by 50 feet at each end. The original cost was $35,000. The institution as thus established served the county for thirty-five years. 

At the election in November, 1891, the Board of Supervisors submitted to the people the proposition to build an addition to cost not more than $7,500, which was carried by a vote of 3,151 to 1,124, and the repairs were made the following year. A new foundation was placed under the old building and a wing 68 feet long, in the same style of architecture, was added. An eight-inch sewer was run to the creek 640 feet distant, a cement floor was laid in the basement, in which the kitchen and main dining room were established, and the sanitary conditions of the home were generally improved. Water is furnished from five wells and four cisterns, and a steam heating plant was installed at the time the addition was built. The improvements were paid for out of savings from the county insane fund, and not a cent of tax was levied and collected for the purpose. No county in the state provides better accommodations for the unfortunate poor and insane than Lee. The county has three farms — the one of 108 acres where the home is located, the Leighton farm of eighty acres in Jackson Township, and the Taylor farm of sixty acres in Montrose Township. 


There is not a public hospital in Lee County, in the sense that the institution belongs to the public and receives its support from the public revenues. But there are two hospitals at Fort Madison and one at Keokuk that receive patients under certain conditions. 

The Santa Fe Railway Employees' Hospital was built in 1889, at a cost of $75,000. It is located in the West End, on Santa Fe Avenue, just east of Ivanhoe Park, has three large wards, each floored with hardwood and furnished with iron cots, and is complete in all its appointments. Fifty patients or more can be accommodated at one time. In the basement there is a modern laundry, a fine dining room on the first floor, and the broad portico affords a resting place for convalescents. It is maintained by the employees of the railway company, each of whom pays a small assessment every month for its support, in return for which they receive medical attention for themselves and families. Emergency cases are sometimes admitted when occasion requires. This is an institution in which the people of Fort Madison feel a just pride. 

Some years ago the Sisters of St. Francis established a hospital at the southwest corner of Third and Broadway. It was known as St. Elizabeth's Hospital and was supported by donations and fees from patients who were able to pay for hospital services. The building used by the hospital was formerly a residence. During its existence it provided accommodations for fifteen patients at a time. 

On October 12, 191 2, the Sacred Heart Hospital, a Catholic institution located near the church of that name, was dedicated. This hospital took the place of St. Elizabeth's and is conducted by the Sisters of the Third Order of St. Francis, whose mother house is located at Peoria, Illinois. During the first two years of its existence nearly five hundred patients were treated at the institution. The building is a substantial brick structure, three stories high, with basement, provided with fire escapes and all modern conveniences found in the modern hospital. 

In Keokuk the Catholics of St. Mary's parish, some years ago, established St. Joseph's Hospital, one of the largest institutions of its kind in this section of the country. Since the first building was erected large additions have been made to accommodate the constantly increasing number of patients who come here every month for treatment. This hospital is modern in its equipment, and in the corps of physicians and surgeons are some of the best professional men of Keokuk. 

Charitable Societies 

In the late '90s the Keokuk Benevolent Union was organized at the home of the late Charles K. Birge, on the corner of Seventh and Bank streets, and the first home established consisted of a few rooms in a downtown building. It soon became apparent that more room was needed, and Mr. and Mrs. Birge donated their home to the union on June 1, 1900. Since then an addition of thirteen rooms has been made to the building, making a total of twenty-five rooms. This is a home for old people, supported by donations from the business men of the city and nearly two hundred women, who annually make contributions for its support. The institution is known as the "Birge Benevolent Union Home." The officers of the union in 1914 were as follows: Mrs. D. A. Collier, president; Mrs. H. H. Hawkes, secretary; and Mrs. H. W. Radcliffe, treasurer. Membership can be purchased in the union by elderly women who wish to make the home their own. A few have done this, but by far the larger number of inmates are women without means, who are cared for by the union. 

In December, 1913, the United Charities of Keokuk was organized as an outgrowth of the Keokuk Humane Society and the Associated Charities. Under the present organization the secretary of the society is also the humane officer and an officer of the local     Board of Health. The work of the organization consists chiefly of affording material relief to needy families in -their homes. It does not maintain a large relief fund for this purpose, but invites and secures the hearty cooperation of churches, fraternal orders and charitably inclined citizens. The society also gives considerable attention to improvement of home conditions, the establishment of better sanitary surroundings in shops and factories, and in caring for children that they may have the rights of childhood and the oppor- tunity to grow up into useful men and women. The officers of the United Charities in 1914 were: Rev. John C. Sage, president; Albert Kiefer, Mrs. W. J. Roberts, Miss Lucretia Huiskamp and Leonard Matless, vice presidents; Miss Dorothy Younker, secretary; Fern Erdman, treasurer; David Glascoff, general secretary. Mr. Glascoff is a graduate of the New York School of Philanthropy, and took up his duties as executive officer of the Keokuk United Charities on February 16, 1914. In addition to these officers there are the executive, finance, child welfare, case conference and indigent children committees, each composed of a certain number of the members of the organization, to look after the duties suggested by the title of the commtitee. 

The Penitentiary 

Although not a charitable institution, nor an institution belonging to Lee County, it is considered appropriate to mention in this chapter the penitentiary located at Fort Madison. By an act of the Iowa Legislature, approved January 25, 1839, the governor was authorized to draw $20,000 appropriated by Congress July 7, 1838, for the erection of a penitentiary "within one mile of the public square at Fort Madison." 

The citizens of the town donated and conveyed ten acres of ground, and on June 5, 1839, Amos Ladd was appointed superintendent of the building. The penitentiary as originally constructed provided for the reception of 138 convicts. The main building and the warden's house were built within about two years, but the first convict, Isaac Grimes, was not received until in 1849. William Anderson was the first warden. 

Several additions have been made to the original building. The walls measured 400 feet on each side of the square as at first established, but the inclosed area was extended west to Olive Street in 1896, the preceding Legislature having appropriated $5,100 for the work. With further extensions the dimensions of the present grounds inclosed within the walls are 712 feet on Fourth Street, 363 feet on Olive, and thence east and south there are 1,275 ^ eet f wall to connect with the wall on Fourth Street. Among the improvements made since the first prison was erected are a large power house for furnishing power, electric light and steam heat, a school, a greenhouse, a modern hospital, a library containing nearly ten thousand volumes, and a chapel in which religious services are held. A modern cellhouse was completed in 1914. 

Inmates of the institution are divided into three classes, each dressed in a different garb, showing the "social" standing of each convict in the institution. Convicts, upon entering, are placed in the middle class. If their conduct proves good they are promoted to the first grade, but if they fail to comply with the regulations they are sent back into the third class and don the stripes as unruly or ill-tempered prisoners. The warden in 1914 was J. C. Sanders. 


One institution of a charitable nature, yet one which the pioneers in a new country are always somewhat reluctant to see make its appearance, is a place of burial for the dead. One can hardly imagine a more desolate scene than the first grave in the frontier settlement. After a number of deaths, when the cemetery has reached proportions that naturally require greater care, much of the desolation disappears and people accept the institution as a necessary adjunct of modern civilization. 

When the Town of Fort Madison was laid out the block bounded by Front, Maple, Des Moines and Arch streets was set apart as the City Cemetery. This cemetery is still in use, though it is almost filled with graves, and before many years burials must be discontinued. Elmwood Cemetery, half a mile southwest of the City Cemetery, was surveyed a few years ago by R. H. Heath for John C. Atlee. The northern boundary of this cemetery is Santa Fe Avenue. The original plat shows 192 burial lots. Half a mile north of Fort Madison, on the Augusta Road, is Cherry Hill Cemetery, one of the old burial places of the community. Oakland Cemetery, just west of and across Santa Fe Avenue from Ivanhoe Park, was opened about 1907. St. Joseph's, a Catholic cemetery, is a mile north of the city on the Denmark road. It was surveyed by R. H. Heath on July 24, 1876, and in the western part of the city is Sacred Heart Cemetery, the consecrated burial place for the Catholic parish of that name. There is also a small burial place in connection with the penitentiary for convicts who die while inmates of that institution. 

Oakland Cemetery at Keokuk is the principal burial place in the southern part of the county. It contains forty acres in the northwestern part of the city, and was established in 1855. The main entrance, at Carroll and Eighteenth streets, passes through a beautiful little park before reaching the cemetery proper. Within the 40-acre inclosure ten acres are set apart for a Catholic cemetery, and about two acres as a burial place for the Jews. This cemetery is controlled by a commission, which in 1914 was composed of F. T. F. Schmidt, C. R. Joy and H. R. Jacobs. 

There is at Keokuk a national cemetery, established by the United States Government on September 23, 1861. During the early years of the war there were five military hospitals at Keokuk for the recep- tion of sick and wounded soldiers, and before the close of the war 770 had been buried in the national cemetery, eight of whom were Confederate prisoners. The grounds contain three acres. The superintendent's lodge is a neat brick building, one and one-half stories high, and in the cemetery is a platform for conducting Memorial Day ceremonies. 

Country Graveyards
Fourscore years have elapsed since the first white settlements were established in Lee County. The first graveyards were established without formality of deed or incorporation and their early history cannot be learned. Upon the map of Lee County in the Iowa Atlas, published in 1904, are marked a number of country graveyards. In Cedar Township there is a burial place in the southeast corner of section 6, about a mile northwest of the old Village of Russellville, and another in the west side of section 28, about a mile east of Big Mound. 

In Charleston Township there is a cemetery, known as the Everhart Cemetery, in the east side of section 1, near the Jefferson Township line; another in the west side of section 4, a short distance south of Donnellson, and a third in the southwest corner of section 26, just south of the Town of Charleston. 

Cemeteries are shown in Denmark Township near the towns of Denmark and South Augusta, but no burial place is indicated within the limit of Des Moines Township. 

In Franklin Township, three miles north of the Town of Franklin, in the northeastern part of section 11, there is an old burial place that is rarely used in the present day, and in the northeastern part of section 29, about a mile and a half north of Donnellson, is a cemetery of more modern character. The only cemeteries shown in Green Bay Township are two, near each other, about a mile north of Wever and west of the railroad.

In Harrison Township there is a country graveyard in the northwest corner of section 10, near the center of the township; one in the northeastern part of section 27, about half a mile south of Primrose, and one in the northeast corner of section 36, two miles from Warren. 

One of the most historic country graveyards in the State of Iowa is Sharon Cemetery, located in the northeast corner of section 4, Harrison Township, three miles west of the railroad station of La Crew. This cemetery originated as a neighborhood burial place, among the earliest burials being members of the Seeley family, one of the wealthiest families in Lee County. Eli Seeley, one of the older generation, died in 1896, and his son, George L. Seeley, innerited a part of the estate. George L. Seeley died in Texas, May 24, 1897, but before his death made a verbal request for the enlargement and adornment of Sharon Presbyterian Church and Cemetery, founded many years before, and left a fund for that purpose. Over thirty thousand dollars were expended in carrying out Mr. Seeley's request. The cemetery was enlarged from three to eight acres, surrounded by a stone wall, surmounted by a non-rusting fence, and $2,000 were expended upon an ornamental entrance. In addition to all this the proceeds of a farm of 160 acres were given by Mr. Seeley for the support of the cemetery. 

There is a historic interest attached to Sharon Cemetery from the fact that here lie buried at least one soldier of each of the wars in which the United States has taken part — the Revolution, the War of 181 2, the Black Hawk war, the Mexican war, the great Civil war and the Spanish-American war. On May 28, 1907, a monument was unveiled over the grave of George Perkins, a Revolutionary sol- dier, which monument was erected by the State of Iowa. 

In Jackson Township the only burial place of importance is the one at Keokuk already mentioned. In Jefferson Township there is a cemetery in the northeast corner of section 2, about two miles northeast of Viele and three miles west of Fort Madison, the only one shown in the atlas above mentioned. 

In Marion Township, a short distance west of the village of St. Paul, in section 15, there is an old cemetery; another in the northwest corner of section 26, a mile south of St. Paul, and a third in the southeast corner of section 29, near an old church. The one near St. Paul is the property of the Catholic church of that village. 

Montrose Cemetery, the only one of importance in Montrose Township, was surveyed on August 1, 1867, at the request of Mrs. Frances E. Billon, one of the heirs of Thomas Riddick, who became the owner of the Tesson land grant. It is located in outlot No. 20 of that grant and the plat was filed in the recorder's office on September 5, 1867. 

In section 16, near the center of Pleasant Ridge Township, not far from an old church and public schoolhouse, is one of the first burial places established in that part of the county. Another old graveyard in this township is located in the east side of section 24, not far from the Denmark Township line. 

There are three cemeteries shown in Van Buren Township, one in the west side of section 24, about three miles north of Belfast; one about a mile west of that village, and one a short distance east of Croton.

In Washington Township there is a cemetery in the north side of section n, not far from Lost Creek, and one in the south side of section 28, about three miles north of Fort Madison. The latter is known as Fairview Cemetery and contains the graves of several prominent pioneers. 

Four cemeteries are shown in West Point Township, one near the middle of section 2, two and one-half miles east of the Town of West Point; the Catholic cemetery immediately south of West Point, in section 5, and two, near each other, in section 30, in the southwest corner of the township.

Source:  History of Lee County, Iowa, by Dr. S. W. Moorhead and Nelson C. Roberts, 1914

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