submitted by Jo Ann Carlson, November 10, 2007


Lyman W. Olds died at his late residence, No. 413 West Third street, in this city, of apoplexy, at 9:45 a.m. yesterday. In him another one of Muscatine’s oldest citizens has passed away, making a great gap in the rapidly thinning ranks of those who came to our city in the early fifties. Mr. Olds was born amid the mountains of old Vermont, Nov. 3, 1824, in a little town called Fayetteville, Winston county. His father, Dr. Chester Olds, was one of four brothers, all physicians, all of whom lived to old age, our late fellow townsman being very near the middle of his 71st year. As a boy he attended the common schools. Absorbing there all that was a learn he entered the Townsend academy, which was all the schooling he had outside of his future busy life.

Anticipating Horace Greeley’s advice to the young men, he came to Circleville, Ohio, in 1845, then to Lythopolis, in the same state, where he engaged in the dry goods trade. Here he first met Miss Sarah Curry, of Brownsville, Pa., and on Aug. 8, 1848, he married her. Moving westward again he arrived in Muscatine in 1853 with Sarah Gregg and Lorenzo H. Olds, his family joining him the following fall. He with P.r. Bohn opened a dry good store in the old Bennett building on West Second street. In 1857 the firm dissolved, Mr. Olds continuing at the old stand. He erected the Olds opera house in 1865 and with Henry Hoover as a partner, moved into the large store room in that block. In 1871 Mr. Hoover retired from the firm and that fall Mr. Olds placed his large stock under the hammer and gave up mercantile life.

Turning his attention to his one thousand acres of land a few miles beyond Nichols on the B., C. R. & N. railway, he made it of the finest in the state. His public spirit and taste was shown by the building he erected. A charter member and director of the Merchants’ Exchange, now known as the first National Bank, and one of the incorporators, directors and heavy stock holder in the Muscatine Water Works Co., showed his energy and judgment.

On May 3, 1855, he and his wife joined the First Congregational church by letter from the First Presbyterian church of Circleville, Ohio. He was a faithful member and a liberal contributor to it and its many relations. During the war he was a patriot and helped with his money, labor and influence to sustain the Union cause in the field and at home.

The subject of his sketch lived his best within the family circle and those outside who knew him best loved him most. To his wife, afflicted since their marriage, he was the gentle and attentive lover as of old. His children found him willing to indulge them in every thing beneficial to them. His death makes a break in business circles, but he will be missed most in his family circle and that of his intimate friends. The family have the sympanthies of the whole community in this hour of affliction and sorrow.

To this couple four children were born, two sons who died in infancy, and two daughters, Mrs. Emma O. Reppert, of this city, and Mrs. Ella O. Payne, of Warsaw, Ky., the last two, with his wife and four grandchildren, Lyell and Ella Olds Reppert, Bettie and Lyman Whiting Olds Payne, survive him. Two sisters, Sarah J. Olds and Rosaltha Patterson, and two Brothers, Chester A. and Henry C., are still living in the east.

The funeral will be to-morrow afternoon at 3 o’clock from the First Congregational church. Dr. A. Robbins assisted by Rev. J.F. Robertson will officiate. The pall bearer will be Alex Jackson, J. P. Fox, W.H. Hoopes, F.W. Swan, J. Linn Hoopes and R.B. Baird. The choir will be Mrs. May Morgridge, carl Gray and Frank Lauder.

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