KNEEDY - HALBERT FAMILIES
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
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
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