Elliott Centennial, 1879 - 1979

Elliott Centennial Committee

Page 128





    Two pioneer families from different areas in Illinois settled in Montgomery County, Iowa; over one hundred years ago.

    William Joseph Halbert and his wife, Sarah Amelia Morgan, with their young son, set out from St. Mary’s Prairie, Hancock Co., Ill., for their new home in Montgomery Co., Iowa. In the autumn of 1869, they came by lumber wagon to Villisca, Iowa, where the family stayed until spring. William spent the winter building a house on the land in Pilot Grove Township, which he bought on an earlier trip to Iowa.

    William was born June 24, 1842, at St. Mary’s Prairie, Illinois. Sarah Amelia was born March 22, 1846, at Urbana, Champaign Co., Ohio. They were married early in 1868 in Hancock Co., Ill., and were parents of eight children, five of whom grew to adulthood-Miner M., J. Marion, Charles B., Naomi M., and George A. William died June 24, 1900, at the home in Pilot Grove Twp., and Sarah died March 21, 1922. Their resting place is the cemetery at Grant, Montgomery County, Iowa.

    Their daughter, Naomi married Clarence M. Kneedy at the Halbert home. Their children are Dorothy, Paul and Max.

    The educational, social, and religious building was the one-room Botts School, named for the pioneer family on the corner of whose land it was located. Children, beginners and all ages to young men and women, attended the school. Social gatherings such as spelling bees, literary societies, and box social programs were held there. The Church of the Brethren held Sunday meetings there.

    Over one hundred years ago Henry William Kneedy and his wife, Clarissa Miller, left their home near Mt. Carroll, Illinois, and came to Montgomery Co., Iowa. They set out in May 1871, by covered wagon, bringing their herd of cattle, some horses and colts, and their five young children-Milton, Clarence, Minnie, Ernest and Lorena. Two children were born later in Mont. Co.-Clara Eva and Albert Vernon. They had a hard journey, keeping the livestock in bounds and camping at night where the animals could graze. At one time heavy rain soaked everything in the wagon. After about three weeks, June 2, 1871, they arrived at the 80 acres in Sherman Twp., which Henry had bought on a trip to Iowa the year before.

    Henry was born March 4, 1833, at Hagerstown, Maryland, died Aug. 13, 1901, in Montgomery Co., Iowa. Clarissa was born July 17, 1842, in Lowden, Penn., died at Duluth, Minnesota, July 20, 1918. They are buried in Evergreen Cemetery at Red Oak, Iowa. Henry was a machinist, teacher and farmer.

    Their son, Clarence, became a teacher, storekeeper, newspaper editor, farmer, alumnus of Iowa State College. He was a teacher at Botts School about 1880 and again in 1886-87, also at Rose Hill northwest of Elliott, Glenn school southeast of Elliott and others. Naomi Halbert was a teacher and also taught at Botts School.

    Clarence took possession of the Stennett Store in 1892. His brother, Ernest, was editor of the Elliott Graphic Newspaper. Clarence disposed of the store and worked at H. S. Leonard Meat Market, then as printer at the Graphic. In 1896, Ernest sold the newspaper to Clarence, who became the editor. Associated with him as E. D. Hully as business manager.

    Clarence was appointed the first R. F. D. mail carrier out of Elliott.

    After marriage, Clarence sold the Graphic, Clarence and Naomi moved to the farm adjoining the Halbert homestead in Pilot Grove Twp., owned by a cousin, Howard Halbert, and later purchased it. They spent their remaining years on the farm.



~ Dorothy Kneedy