MR. JOHN VARDY
In July of the year 1841, Mr. John Vardy came to Cedar Rapids. Of his birth-place I am not appraised, but I think it was in the State of Virginia. He was a cabinet-maker by trade, but was proficient In any kind of carpentry, as he built his own house in 1842, which was the first frame building erected in the town, and it stood on the corner of Third street and Sixth avenue.
Mr. Vardy had a wife and several children, Martha, afterwards Mrs. J. G. McLeod, and Henry, now living in Texas, being all that I can recall.
Mr. and Mrs. Vardy were Christian people, and when the First Presbyterian church was organized in 1847, they were numbered among its charter members. The first Presbyterian preaching ever conducted in the town was by the Rev. William Rankin, in the fall or winter of 1842, at Mr. Vardy’s house. Here, too, the first Sabbath school was organized in 1843 or 1844. Mr. Vardy acting a part of the time as superintendent, and Mr. Joseph Greene, Mr. Alex. L. Ely and Mr. Barnet Lutz, also serving at different times in that capacity.
In the same year the first school ever opened in Cedar Rapids, was taught in this house, Mrs. Vardy being the teacher. This good woman died in June, 1846, having served her family, her community and her God well.
In 1849 Mr. Vardy was married a second time, and in 1856 the family moved to Texas, with the exception of the eldest daughter, Martha, who was at that time the wife of Mr. John G. McLeod, of whom mention has been made elsewhere. She is now the wife of Mr. J. A. Malum, and their home is in Eustis, Florida. It is from her that these dates are principally gathered.
It will readily be seen from this brief outline that, while this family were plain, unpretentious people, they were nevertheless made of the right kind of material, and they were very useful members of the community, and did their full share in the way of setting right examples, and instilling right principles in the minds of the young, and in laying the foundations deep and strong for our city’s future prosperity.
Source: Carroll, Rev. George R., Pioneer Life In and Around Cedar Rapids, Iowa from 1839 to 1849, pages 86-87, Times Printing and Binding House, Cedar Rapids, Iowa, 1895.