Muscatine County, Iowa
Muscatine Journal & News-Tribune
Centennial Edition
31 May 1940

Section 1 - Page 13-14, Submitted by Charlene Nichols Hixon, July 3, 2012

Page 13

Students Given High Placings In Forensics

A well-rounded forensic program, providing competition and experience in public speaking for a squad of 24 candidates, has been carried out at Muscatine high school here during the past school term under the supervision of G. Bradford Barber, forensic coach.

The debate squad coached by Mr. Barber participated in 209 contests during the year, and compiled a record of 104 victories, 34 defeats. Seventy-one were non-decicion affairs. Members of the team were Annette Lewin, who earned 26 decisions while losing 11; Derrine Bieber, who won 33 decisions and lost 12; Albert Goss, who won 28 decisions and lost 11; and Sydney Thomas, who compiled a record of 24 victories and nine defeats.

This group, augmented by Archie King, finished first in the Galesburg, Ill., high school invitational tournament early in the year, and finished third in the Iowa Nine debate tournament at Davenport later. The team also tied for fourth in a large field of entrants in the annual Augustana college tournament at Rock Island, and a team of local girls finished third in the annual girls’ tournament here. Derrine Bieber and Sydney Thomas earned superior ratings as individual debaters in the annual Coe college invitational debate tournament at Cedar Rapids, and Annette Lewin and Thomas earned superior ratings in after dinner speaking and radio speaking contests held in connection with the same event.

Competition was also provided for Muscatine high underclass debaters. Teams composed of Shirlee Levin, Walter Berg, Paul King, Leo Baker, Dale Goss and Cliffordean Collins finished first in a freshman-sophomore tournament at Mt. Pleasant, earned a similar rating in a tournament at Davenport, and tied for fourth in a tournament at Monmouth, Ill.

Archie king was awarded a first division rating in the first two rounds of the state declamatory association contest and Betty Eppel, another local speaker, earned a similar rating in the first round. In Iowa Nine League declamation, Sydney Thomas earned an excellent in the oratorical division, Derrine Bieber earned a similar rating in the oratorical division, Anita Schmidt was given an excellent rating in the dramatic division, and Harriet Glatstein was rated excellent in the humorous section.

Derrine Bieber qualified for the state round of competition in original oratory, finishing third in the district meet. Albert Goss placed first in the district extemporaneous speaking contest and qualified for the state contest. He placed third in the National Forensic League district contest, and represented the local school in the National Forensic League national tournament at Terre Haute, Ind.

Sydney Thomas won outstanding recognition in the Iowa Nine extemporaneous speech contest, earning an excellent rating. He also finished second in the district National Forensic League contest at Waterloo.

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Visits of Arthur Springer, of Louisa county, to Des Moines, in the spring of 1885 were fruitless, as on April 16, that year, it was announced the state executive council had raised assessed valuations of the Rock Island railroad from $5,100 to $8,050 per mile. The narly 19 miles of railroad in that county was thereby increased about $56,000 in valuation for taxation.

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~ A group that attended a family picnic of the old Germania society a good many years ago is shown in the above picture. This picnic was held in Mittman’s pasture sometime between thirty and forty years ago and only a few of those shown in the picture are still living. The Germania club was a social organization and the picnic on the occasion which the above picture was taken was an annual event.

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Page 14

Class Project Work Gains in Ag Department

A year of outstanding progress has been noted by students in the vocational agriculture department at Muscatine high school, according to a report of the year’s work issued by Lindley B. Hoopes, instructor of the Smith-Hughes department. Little change was noted during the year in the size of vocational agriculture classes at the school, and interest in the study has been virtually on a par with that of past years. But participation in class project work increased steadily during the year.

A large portion of the project work is centered among members of the farm crops class, who are gaining practical experience in a variety of lines. Nine members of the class are engaged in growing garden and truck crops, and another has a 20-acre plot of oats. Eight members of the class are raising 10-acre corn plots, and still another member is raising a 15-acre plot of flax as a class project.

The raising of hogs was carried out by 11 members of the livestock class as class project work, Mr. Hoopes reported. Eight boys engaged in the raising of poultry, two raised dairy cows, and another raised sheep.

During the past year, students in the department noted the 10th anniversary of the founding of the Muscatine high school chapter of the Future Farmers of America. The occasion was noted at a joint meeting of the present club members and alumni earlier in the year.

The local club also sponsored a Southeastern Iowa Future Farmers club officers’ training school here in September. The event was held in the new high school building a short time after it had been occupied. A rodent extermination contest was also sponsored by the club, and several members of the organization won outstanding recognition at the annual state Future Farmer congress at Ames late in the year. Fruit, vegetable and grain shows were also held by the club during the year.

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Wilton residents voted 59 to 58 for a city charter, thereby incorporating their town. The election was held at the “Reeve House” in Wilton with Thomas Hanna and C. W. Macomber, judges, and H. M. Samford clerk. The first Wilton city council was W. N. McNaughton, president; R. A. MNcIntire, recorder; A. J. Friend, Henry Giessler and O. J. Grover. – Feb. 21, 1857.

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“The boys of this city have invented a new plaything which we consider dangerous. It consists of a forked stick, to each fork of which an India rubber string is attached, forming a sack, in which a stone or bullet is placed and shot out with great force – enough in fact to injure seriously if the missel strikes any person. Nearly every boy is furnished with one.” – Feb. 22, 1864.

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Notices of eight bankruptcy actions in Muscatine county were published on Friday, March 18, 1842.

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Grading of Seventh street, between Iowa avenue and Chestnut street, was voted by the town council on April 29, 1884.

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Class Group Photo ~ Presented here are members of the 1940 graduating class of the Muscatine Junior college, scheduled to complete the two year course at commencement exercises tonight:

Back row, left to right: Richard Daut, Warren Kurriger, Jim Reynolds, Lawrence Herrick, Bruce Rininsland, Paul Stelter, Jim Green, Elmer Bloom, Jr., Stanley Willey.

Middle row: Jack Mills, Richard Crow, Beverly Schmidt, Dorothy McGaughey, Mildred Englund, Helen Handley, Geraldine Wecksung, Jerry Hilton, Ira Stocking.

Front row: Maynard McGreer, Margery Randall, Delpha Baker, Norman Allen, Elizabeth Stevens, Ruth Schmidt, Paul Willhite.

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O. H. Kelley Served As Operator
When First Telegraph Message Was Received Here in Year 1848

Linked to the rest of the nation only by the river, that was closed to navigation nearly half the year, and by slow-moving, horse-drawn vehicles, Muscatine was almost a world unto itself prior to the advent of swift forms of communication. It was little wonder that the extension of telegraph lines to the community was hailed with delight by the citizenry. Facts compiled by the Iowa Writers’ program give Aug. 23, 1848, as the date the first telegraph dispatch was received in Muscatine and O. H. Kelley as the first operator.

The instruments used in 1848 were very crude. They had clumsy contraptions of brass and copper which lacked the modern refinements and adjustment. The electromagnet weighed 185 pounds. The Morse code of dots and dashes was used in the telegraph messages at that time. Any person, for a sum paid in advance, received dispatches daily of all current news. The cost of ten words sent from New York to Bloomington (Muscatine) was $1.50 and six cents for every additional word.

Mr. Kelley, the first operator in Muscatine, was born in Boston and boasted kinship with Oliver Wendell Holmes. He opened a station in a small building, at that time used as a post office, on the North side of Second street where the Woolworth store now stands. Mr. Kelley later became the father of the National Grange for which he was best known.

In 1856 the Western Union Telegraph was organizing by consolidating several independent lines. This concern is now operating in Muscatine at 112 Iowa avenue.

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“The sleighing have been unexceptional before was improved by a slight fall of snow. Every imaginable outfit, from gingerbread-hued cutter to a store goods box set on runners has been brought into requisition. We saw a nondescript affair yesterday, being a round log elevated by a pair of runners on which the anxious sleigh rider sat astraddle.” – Muscatine Journal, Feb. 17, 1858.

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“We observed two sleigh loads of deer meat on the street this morning from Jones county. We did not ascertain the price at which they were sold.” – Muscatine Journal, January 17, 1857.

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Muscatine County Old Settlers’ association formed by Judge Joseph Williams, T. S. Parvin, Pliny Fay, Joseph Bridgeman, Suel Foster, H. A. Jennison, H. H. Hine, Z. Washburn, G. W. Humphreys, J. P. Walton, M. Ward, W. Chambers, Jr., Giles Pettibone, Joseph G. Allen and A. T. Banks. Judge Williams was its first president and Mr. Parvin its first secretary. – Feb. 9, 1856.

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“Greenwood Academy – Prof. Theo. S. Parvin of Iowa City will address the students of this institution at Tremoont Hall on Feb. 6. Subject, ‘Recollection of Iowa a Quarter of a Century Ago.’” – Feb. 6, 1863.

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