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The History of the Wilton “BPW”
By Marguerite Kaufmann and Zella Abbott

Transcribed by Lynn McCleary, April 18, 2015

     The Wilton Business and Professional Women’s Club was organized June 26, 1958, as a unit of the Iowa and National Business and Professional Women’s Club Federation Inc.

     Sometime in the id-sixties the local club decided to drop their affiliation with the Federation, feeling they could more successfully accomplish their aims orally, as an independent group.

     One of the most important ais has been “to extend opportunities to business and professional women through education, along the lines of industrial, scientific, and vocational activities.” Concrete effort towards this goal has been to offer a scholarship each spring, to an outstanding senior girl in the Wilton High School, to be used in further education. The Club entertains the senior girls at a dinner each April and presents the scholarship to the girl previously selected by the scholarship committee. Quite often exchange students from a foreign country have been secured as speakers for the dinner meeting, thus giving our local girls a broader understanding of worldwide education.

     The Club has always maintained an active and helpful interest in community affairs. Awareness of needs as they arise, and helping the community meet those needs has been a part of their yearly activities. Donations of gifts to the Muscatine County Home; a monetary gift to the Wilton Library when its new quarters were being made ready; taking part in community celebrations and donating the proceeds thus earned; entering a float in the yearly town parade; these have been an active partner in local progress.

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     This page sponsored by the Wilton Business and Professional Woman’s Club.

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Wilton Rainbow Assembly No. 95
By Merry Staschke & Janelle Henderson

Transcribed by Lynn McCleary, April 18, 2015

    The Order of Rainbow For girls is an international fraternal organization for girls of the age of 12 through their teen years to the age of 20. It is character building program, helping all young ladies to know God and themselves. It is an organization based on religious principles, and of sharing and working together, while searching for new and wholesome friendships.

     Rainbow is a guide in growing up, a search for happiness through good deeds, and learning the meaning of our responsibilities to each other. The teachings of Rainbow should be an inspiration in the life of every young woman.

     Rainbow has an abstract meaning, a deep hidden meaning, that must be sought out and worked for. There is no one set-written or specific meaning of Rainbow, but one that is found in the heart of a Rainbow girl. As the how in the cloud appears, so does the meaning of Rainbow penetrate through.

     Rainbow tries to better our community and the girls in it,. It is service projects and fun projects which reach out and touch the community around it.

     The Order of Rainbow For Girls was founded by Rev. W. Mark Sexson on April 6, 1922.

     The beginning of Rainbow in Wilton was on July 2, 1948 when the first meeting of the advisory board was held. The original board consisted of 11 members; Clara Leith, Chairman, Gretchyn Voss, Secretary, Pauline Maurer, Erma Doerfer, Lela Norton, Margaret Flater, Verda Cole, Leo Maurer, Howard Murrison, Gale mcClean and Jim Walton. TheWilton Lodge No. 167 A. F. and A. M., have donated the use of the Masonic Temple through these 27 years of our existence.

     Our assembly was instituted on Sept. 11, 1948, applied for charter on March 17, 1949, and consititued on April 21, 1949 with 42 charter members.

     The founding date of the Order of Rainbow For Girls is April 6. We celebrate this date each year, on Sunday closed to it. Each girl invites her father to attend breakfast at the Masonic Temple with her, and then the group attends church services together in a body. A request is made each year to the minister that he deliver a sermon on “God’s Promises’ as symbolized by His bow in the clouds. The birthday of Mr. Sexson was July 9th, and is called Founder’s Day. All Assemblies observe this date in a special way. Wilton Assembly observes it with our annual picnic.

     In May when we hold our installation, mothers are honored. Each girl gives her mother a long stemmed red rose, symbolic of her love and devotion to her mother. This touching ceremony was done in Wilton Assembly in May 1959, Joanne Laucamp was serving as Worthy Advisor.

     Deanna Maurer is now seriving as Distict 5 Bowtie reporter. Each…

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     This page sponsored in memory of Mr. and Mrs. E. D. Hinkhouse by Mr. and Mrs. Herbert Clark.

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…year the girls attend Grand Assembly. There is a girl of the year award and three of our girls have been one of the 5 finalist: Pat Kephart – 1971, Terri Schneekloth – 1973 and Charlene Marolf – 1975.

     At the present our membership is 28 girls.

Picture: Wilton Garden Club Guest Day – Courtesy of the Garden Club
Held at Cora Beard’s home about 1944
Back row (left to right); Clara Noble, Caroline Maurer, Edith Winsell, Jenny Kelley, Ella Ayers, Emma Holzhauerer, Clara Cooling, ? , Mrs. Stafford.
Middle row: Faye Grunder, Etta Rick, Etta Lenker, Irene Atkinson, Mayme McKeag, Grace Dawson.
Front row: Nellie Harper, Helen Shuger, Blanche Kreschmar, Cora Beard, Frances Boot.

Wilton Garden Club
By Faye Grunder

    Through the efforts of Miss Frances Boot a few ladies met on April 15, 1939 at the home of Mrs. Theresa Nicolaus to discuss organizing a garden club. The ladies were Miss Frances Boot, Mrs. Josephine Bailey, Theresa Nicolaus, Mrs. Blanche Kretschmar, Mrs. Lillan Irvin and Mrs. Faye Grunder. They met again on May 1, 1939 to complete the organization and elected officers at this meeting. There were 14 members present at the first meeting.

     Most years up to and including 1969 a flower show was held on Wilton Days; one included an antique show, one a hobby show and another an art display, to which the Muscatine Art Guild was invited to participate. The club has contributed flowers to be planted at the park and on the depot grounds. They also gave trees for planting on the city hall lawn.

     Plans are being made to contribute a tree or trees for one of the town parks. Each year we meet for a May breakfast. August is a vacation month. One meeting is a picnic and one day we visit some place of interest. Always there is a Christmas party. One year (1963) the club bought six dolls and dressed them for six little deserving girls for Christmas gifts.

     There are currently 14 members and 3 inactive members in the club.

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Picture: Wilton Shriners at the Wilton Depot – Courtesy of Melroy Thede
Left to right – F. A. Maurer, George Karns, Henry Maurer, Frank King, Lute Kiser, Spec Jasperson, ?, Hilbert Johnson, Frank Baker.

Purity Chapter No. 365
By Mary Ann Schafnit Maurer

Transcribed by Elizabeth Casillas, April 20, 2015

     On November 7, 1903, a meeting was held in the Masonic Temple for the purpose of organizing a chapter of Eastern Star. Election of officers was held and a committee was appointed to select a name. They decided on the name “Purity.”

     January 4, 1904, Mrs. F.L. Bills, the District Deputy Grand Matron gave instruction of the work of the Order and administered the obligation to those present. Electa Chapter No. 32 of Muscatine than proceeded with the installation of officers and were declared duly constituted members of Purity Chapter.

     Our charter is dated October 27, 1904 with 21 sisters and 4 brothers as charter members. None of the charter members are living. Mrs. Mattie Agnew was first Worthy Matron; F.B. Corson was first Worthy Patron; Mrs. H.E. Strong, first Associate Matron. Fanny M. Sever was Worthy Grand Matron and A. H. Lindner was Worthy Grand Patron.

     Our chapter has participated in giving food and money to purchase things for the Home at Boone. Several members lost their homes by fire, and food and clothing were donated. During the war, food and clothing were sent overseas to Masonic families and to soldiers. Donations were given to the blood bank and to the Red Cross. Money was sent to the Belmond chapter when a tornado destroyed their chapter. Several of our members were in the service, one member when he was Worthy Patron. There were 10 protems at one meeting in February 1936 due to bad road conditions.

     A Past Matron’s Club was organized in March 1937.

     On November 19, 1973, twenty members of Tipton Chapter affiliated with us. Several others have affiliated since from Tipton.

     We have 25 fifty year members and 396 total members.

     In 1943 it was voted to purchase an Honor Roll and to place the names of members who had entered the Armed Services on the roll. Florence Norton, Dorothy Shaffer Byler and Louis Gill and later the name of Iris McCollough Hetzler were entered. In 1944 it was voted to remit the dues of members in service. During the war years we had a Victory March at the meetings with the collections used to buy Defense Bonds.

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Picture: World War I Veran of Post 584 – Courtesy of Herman Kretschmar
Back row (Left to right) – Harry Griffith, Herman Kretschmar, Harry Schneider, Walter Sheetz, Milt House.
Front row – Jack Shuger, Kirk Grunder, Charles Rife, Clarence Lett, Art Birkhofer.

American Legion Post
Unit #584

    The American Legion Post 584 was organized at Wilton in 1921 and received its charter on December 29. There were 15 charter members and the first officers were P. J. Bridges and Carl Schroeder. The organization was known as the “Gus Chimpanes Post 584” in honor of the first man from Wilton to be killed in World War I. Gus Chimpanes, a cousin of Gus Nopoulos, was born in Greece, but he gave his life for his adopted country.

    The Legion Post 584 first met in rooms over the Wilton Candy Kitchen. When the new city hall was built a room in the basement was reserved for the Legion. Some years later the Legion Post moved into its own building at 219 West Third Street.

American Legion Auxiliary
Unit #584

    The first official meeting of the American Legion Auxiliary, Unit #584, was held at 310 ½ Cedar Street, in the build known as the Wilton Candy Kitchen.

     Thirty-three women enrolled as members and their fundamental aim was to build a stronger America with an earnest desire to achieve service to the country and veterans and their families. The charter was issued on Oct 20, 1925, to the following members: Mrs. Nellie Griffith, who was the first president; Miss Frances Kelley, Mrs. Iola Wacker, Mrs. Rosa Grunder, Mrs. Irene Atkinson, Mrs. Blanche Looney, Mrs. Anna Rottmann, Mrs. Lizzie Nagel, Mrs. Mae Sterner, Mrs. Carolina Maurer, Mrs. Vesta Murdock, Miss …

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    This page sponsored in honor of Mrs. Nellie Griffith, first president of the Wilton Legion Auxiliary by Mrs. Thelma Nopoulos.

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Picture: Laura Duncan, 102 years old – Courtesy of Mrs. Walter Sheetz
This picture taken on her 102 birthday, January 18, 1976.

…Margaret Looney, Mrs. Ida Maurer, Mrs. Julia McCartney, Mrs. Minnie McCartney, Mrs. Catherine Looney, Mrs. Mildred Nopoulos, Mrs. Mildred Thurston, Mrs. Happy Jane Hudler, Mrs. Blanche Kretschmar, Mrs. Mary Thurston, Mrs. Anna Voight, Mrs. Amelia Wacker, Miss Helen Shuger, Mrs. Kate Bacon, Mrs. Olga Bacon, Mrs. A. Estelle Laucamp, Mrs. Elizabeth Marticke, Mrs. Clara Ellis, Mrs. Mary Walters, Mrs. Theresa Bujewski, Mrs. Ida Francis Crispin and Mrs. Ollie M. Griffith. These women presented their unit a rich heritage born out of the past to the present, an outstanding goal of successful achievements of the community, state and nation.

     The American Legion auxiliary holds its regular monthly meeting the first Monday of each month in their own special room at the Wilton City Hall. This room was acquired for its life use in exchange for the property which the Auxiliary presented to the town for construction of the City Hall. This was, originally, the site of the Old Masonic Temple which the ladies had purchased.

     Four living members of the original 33 remain in our community, they are: Mrs. Nellie Griffith; Mrs. Mildred (Thurston) Hill, a Gold Star Mother, having lost a son while he was serving his country; Mrs. Rosa Grunder, who is now residing in Davenport; and Miss Helen Shuger. A member who transferred to our Unit, Mrs. Dora James and is now residing in California, along with the above named members, have achieved fifty years of continuous membership.

     Within the Unit there is a group of Gold Star Mothers, who lost sons in service, they are: Mrs. Mildred Hill, Mrs. Olive Whitmer, Mrs. Goldie Freeland, Mrs. Marie Tumey, Mrs. Mabel Kelley and Mrs. Mabel Miller. These mothers are honored by the Unit each May with a special program.

     Special work of the Auxiliary has been the “Ladies in Blue” which was organized in March of 1952 to do volunteer work at the Veterans Hospital in Iowa City, with a group going each week for duties assigned them by hospital personnel. There have been through the years 42 volunteer workers who have accumulated over 52,000 hours of service. There are at present 5 active volunteers.

     The Auxiliary sponsors a bingo party and summer picnic at Iowa City VA Hospital, a birthday party at the Mental Health Institute in…

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    This page sponsored in honor of Mrs. Laura Duncan by the Wilton American Legion Auxiliary.

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Picture: Charter Members of the Legion Auxiliary – Courtesy of Thelma Nopolous
Two of the Charter members still living are Nellie Griffith (Left), the first president of the organization and Rose Grunder.

…Mt. Pleasant each June, these all in conjunction with the other units of Muscatine County, Muscatine and West Liberty. They operate a lunch stand each year at the Annual REC meeting, and have in the past had one at the Legion Days Celebration. Money obtained from the profits of these have been used to help veterans and their families. A Gift shop, with gifts donated by the different Auxiliary Units, is held each year at Christmas at the VA Hospital, where the hospitalized veteran can choose gifts for each member of their families, and these are then wrapped and mailed for them by the volunteers, Coffee, candy and cookies are available to them after shopping. Cookies and items for the snack-bar are sent each year also.

     Girls’ state is another part of the Auxiliary, and we sent our first girl there in 1948, Thelma Soteros (Nopoulos). A girl in her junior year of high school is chosen to attend to learn the functions of our state government. They in turn report on their stay there at a later Auxiliary meeting. Our Unit has the opportunity to send a girl every other year. It is held on the campus of the University of Northern Iowa at Cedar Falls, Iowa each June.

     Fruit plates are prepared by the Unit each Christmas with about 50 being taken to families and older persons living alone, including veterans. Homemade candy and cookies are donated for this project.

     The Unit is always ready to assist persons who in time of crisis, from death, illness, fire or natural disaster, need help.

     Poppy Day, where the Unit sells the poppy, is observed the last Saturday in May, which honors all veterans of all wars. The poppy is constructed by veterans in the various state owned hospital, from red crepe paper. One of our local members, Mrs. Margaret Weber, now resides at Heinz Hall at the Iowa Soldiers Home in Marshalltown, where she had made over 20,000 large and small poppies this year. The veteran is paid 2 cents for each small poppy and 5 cents for each large poppy they make, this helps in their support while in the home. This year we had two entries in the Poppy Contest, held at the Mid-Year Conference in January, and JoAnne Thurston won third place in…

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    This page sponsored by Mr. and Mrs. Gale McClean and family in memory of Thomas and Annie Boot who came from Canada and bought a farm in Wilton township in 1866. He was a practicing veterinarian and he inaugurated the traveling rural school library in Wilton township.

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…the contest. She won with her display of ‘Anchor A Poppy over Every Heart’, which was the National Presidents’ theme for this year.

     Our oldest member, Mrs. Laura Duncan, at age 102, is now living in California to be near her son, but at the age of 95 was still working as a volunteer at the VA Hospital in Iowa City.

     The present officers serving the Auxiliary this bicentennial year are: President, Irene Sheetz; 1st Vice-President, Harriet Jensen; 2nd Vice-President, Gretchyn Voss; Secretary, Margaret Thurston; Treasurer, Marge Rife and Historian, Betty Lou Hartley.

Picture: Early Meeting of the Progressive Club – Courtesy of Gale McClean
Back row (left to right) Alma Grummer, Mrs. Harry Jarck, Mrs. Vernon Shephard, Mrs. John McClean holding child.
Next row – Ruth Scott, Mrs. Eugene Hetzler, Mrs. Harry Jakeman, Mrs. Arthur Swanson, Mrs. Joseph McClean, Mrs. Gale McClean.
Children not identified.

The Wilton Progressive Club
By Lela Norton

    The Wilton Progressive Club was organized in February, 1922 by Miss Frances Boot. There were 45 members. For several years the lessons were given by the home demonstator from the extension office. Since then programs are given by committees of the club. At first and for many years the club sent the presidents to Ames for a short course. The members gave one act plays to help support a library in Wilton. During the years the club contributed to Red Cross, Cancer Drives, etc. Gifts are given to sick members and to those that have had fires. Special occasions were the silver and golden anniversaries. There are four charter members still in the club and several living who are unable to be active members.

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    This page sponsored in memory of James E. Walton by his wife, Cloe Walton.

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Picture: Grace Noll Crowell – Courtesy of William Nelson
This is said to be Grace Noll’s graduation picture. She became a famous poet.

Grace Noll Crowell Book Club
By Claudette Woller

    The Grace Noll Crowell Book Club was organized in 1936 through the efforts of Inez Glenn Harding, with Frances Frymoyer having the first program.

     The name of the club was selected out of respect for Grace Noll Crowell, the Poet Laureate of Texas in 1935.

     Grace Noll Crowell was born at Inland, Iowa on October 31, 1877. A few years later she moved with her family to a simple farm house set in apple and plum orchards a short distance west of Wilton.

     She attended country school west of Wilton and also the German English College in Wilton. In 1901 she married Norman C. Crowell. She was the mother of three sons. Grace Noll Crowell suffered from a nerve and spine weakness that caused her a great deal of pain throughout her life. Out of this pain came many of her most inspirational poems. In 1917 she and her family moved to Dallas, Texas.

     Following are some of the books she wrote: White Fire, Silver in the Sun, Miss Humpety Comes to Tea, Flame in the Wind, Songs for Courage, Light of the Years, This Golden Summit, Songs of Hope, The Wood Carver and Happiness for Sale, a book written about the town of Wilton. Some of these books are available in the Wilton Library.

     In 1938 she was designated American Mother of the Year and as Outstanding Poet of the Nation. On May 2, 1939 Grace Noll Crowell and two of her sons returned to her girlhood home of Wilton. A May breakfast was held in her honor. She died on March 31, 1969.

     The Grace Noll Crowell book Club selected “I will lay hold upon enduring things” as its motto. The club endeavors to have book reviews, short stories, plays and poetry. Currently there are 22 members.

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    This page sponsored in memory of Grace Noll Crowell by the Grace Noll Crowell Book Club.

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Picture: Camp Fire Girls – 1946 – Courtesy of Pat Sorgenfrey
Front row (left to right) - ?, Kay Ellis, Miriam Norton, Maxine Coss.
Middle row – Nadine Bowers, Jean Zybarth, Carol Duffe, Kathleen Freeland, Janet Luethye, Claradelle Mueller, Monyeen Wildasin, Edna Mary Maurer, Inez Harding (guardian), Joan Zybarth, Pat Henderson, ?, Dorothy Sheetz (Guardian).
Back row – Adelaide Bishop, Pat Tumey, Oveson, Beverly Tumey.

Picture: Wilton Camp Fire Girls Off to Europe 1972 – Courtesy of Mrs. Carol LaCrosse
Back row – Mrs. Linda Wiley, chaperone, Sue Stoelk, Mrs. Carol LaCrosse, chaperone.
Front row – Kathy Stoelk, Susan Budding, Susan LaCrosse and Pam Shotwell.

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Camp Fire Girls

    In 1933 two Camp Fire Girls groups were organized in Wilton by Mrs. Curtis Frymoyer and Mrs. Elmer Swanson. Under the direction of many leaders Camp Fire has been active in Wilton ever since that time. Mrs. Inez Harding was an outstanding guardian who made a lasting impression on the many girls whom she guided. In February 1970, a European tour project called “Flight ‘72” was formulated for the Camp Fire girls of the Davenport area. It required each girl taking part to earn and save $1,000 by June 1972. Five Wilton girls reached their goal and with their leaders, Mrs. Barton LaCrosse and Mrs. David Wiley, they made the trip to Europe in 1972. In a 3 week tour they visited England, France, Belgium, Holland, Germany, Austria, Italy, Switzerland, Spain and Portugal. The girls were Susan Budding, Susan LaCrosse, Susan Stoelk, Kathy Stoelk and Pam Shotwell.

Boy Scout Troop 151

    Boy Scouting has been quite active in Wilton for many years. In the early 1920’s Wilton had an independent Boy Scout Troop. Then in 1935 the Buffalo Bill Council was formed and the Wilton Scout Troop got its charter. Over the years Troop 151 has hiked and canoed every trail and river in the area. Every summer the Boy Scouts have an opportunity to attend Boy Scout camp at Dixon, Ia. The Buffalo Bill Council has now been changed to the Illowa Boy Scout Council.

     Following is a partial list of past Scoutmasters: Rev. McBlain, Dave Taylor, Bud Hatfield, C. M. Petersen, Charles Lauser, Lyle Ovesen (16 years), Don Doerres, Rolland Clausen, Ken Grunder, Ken Meisinger, Bart LaCrosse, and Mike Stoelk.

     The following boys reached one of the highest ranks in Boy Scouts, the Eagle Scout Award: Don Doerres, Mike Stoelk, Lynn Budding and Tim Stoelk.

     The Wilton Boy Scout Troop is sponsored by the Wilton American Legion. There are presently 22 Boy Scouts.

The Wilton Lions Club

    The Wilton Lions Club was organized on August 24, 1932. The purpose of the club is to sponsor activities for the betterment of the community. One of the first projects was the organizing of the business which grew into the Wilton Milk Products, Co. There have been many other worthy projects completed over the years. In December 1974 the Lions Club initiated a blood donor program. Wilton became a part of the Mississippi Valley Regional Blood Bank. Anyone living or working in the Wilton Community School District and their dependents are eligible for free blood. The 1976 officers are President – Otto Geering; Secretary – Cleotis Gehrls; Treasurer – Lee Oien.

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    This page sponsored for Roy’s Refrigeration by Mr. and Mrs. Roy Staschke and family.

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Picture: N.N.C. and Guests on Kent Tour = Courtesy of Helen Shuger
Back row (Left to right) – Ruth Jipp, Ruth Kiser, Frieda Hinkhouse, Ruth Covell.
Middle row – Leona Mead, Lily Iserhott, Dora Hansen, Hazel Herman, Mildred Schroeder, Helen Shuger, Cloe Walton, Charlotte Grunder, Miriam Hendriks.
Front row – Irma Kiser, Helen Walton, Blanche Kiser, Elsie Collier, Francis Frymoyer, Catherine Herr, Sheldon Devereau (Kent guide)
In front – Blanche Kiser’s grandchildren.

N.N.C. History

    Four teenage girls (Myrtle Whitmer, Irene Clark, Bertha Bacon and Olga Smith) formed the Priscilla Club at the turn of the century and enjoyed sewing at their Saturday afternoon meetings. They asked their mothers to help them organize The Drill Club to study parliamentary law. Nov. 16, 1901 was the starting date and charter members included the original four plus Mrs. C. C. Bacon, Mrs. Emma Ingham, Mrs. E. R. King, Mrs. D. E. Smith, Mrs. George H. Woodhouse, Mrs. A. E. Ricksecker, Mrs. Myrtle Marshall and Mabelle Marshall. The second year the name was changed to N.N.C. Meetings were held once a week. Later this was changed to twice a month, and more recently to once a month with vacation in July and August. As stated in the club constitution “The object of this society shall be mutual improvement and the endeavor to promote the best interests of humanity.”

     The N.N.C. joined the Iowa Federation of Women’s Clubs in 1902 and has kept its affiliation through the 74 years. It is essentially a study club.

     There has always been an interest in the public schools. In 1911 and again in 1926 paintings were given to the school and a large table was donated in 1916. In recent years the N.N.C. has worked with the public school nurse in performing yearly eye screening of preschool, kindergarten, 1st and 2nd grade children under the supervision of the …

     This page sponsored in honor of Mr. and Mrs. Flavel Port by the N.N.C.

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…Iowa Society for the Prevention of Blindness.

     During World War I the women collected and made large quantities of clothing and bedding for Belgium relief, gave $136.50 to the Red Cross, gave money and books for libraries for the soldiers and made a community service flag with 148 stars and 4 crosses and 1 gold star which was in memory of Gus Chimpanese, the first Wilton boy to die in battle.

     During World War II the N.N.C. bought a “liberty bond” naming the Wilton Library as co-owner, gave 2 Russian Relief Kits, sent clothing to the Russian children, also clothing to overseas relief, gave to “Buddy Box fund,” packed a box for a needy European family, sent 2 boxes of clothing to the people of Holland and a box to the Holland schools as well as contributing to the war scrap drive.

     The N.N.C. initiated the organization of the Wilton Library Association and through the years supported it with cash donations as well as entering the library fund raising play contests. The club has a tradition of placing a book in the library in memory of each decreased member.

     The group has sponsored many community improvements from rest rooms in the depot to contributing to the landscaping of the city park. As a member of the Iowa Federation of Women’s Clubs and the General Federation, the N.N.C. contributes to most of the Federation projects.

History of Wilton Woman’s Club
By Gretchyn Voss and Marjorie McCoy

    The Wilton Woman’s Club evolved from the Chautauqua Literary and Scientific Circle, which was composed of 6 men and 9 women. The current Methodist minister was always the president and the meetings were opened with the Lord’s Prayer and were closed with the Mizpah Benediction. This custom is still practiced by the woman’s club. The early members also sang “The Star spangled Banner” at many of their meetings.

     In October 1895, the ladies of the circle met at the home of Mrs. Helen Smith. They organized a new society called “The Woman’s Club” and selected for their motto, “Neglect Not the Gift That is in Thee.” Green and white were selected as the club colors and the early flower was the rose, but later this was changed to the carnation. Membership was limited to 25 and when vacancies occurred, they were filled from a waiting list. Dues were fifty cents per year which remained the same until 1974 when they were raised to $1.00. Programs consisted of papers on current events, literature, music, history and the arts followed by informal discussion. Entertainment and social activities of various kinds provided pleasure for the group.

     Early in the life of the club, a public library was started on a modest income. Later the books were to be divided between the Wilton…

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    This page sponsored in memory of Mr. and Mrs. Bert Gill by their daughter, Mrs. Cloe Walton.

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…College and the public school. The college failed and the books went to the public school.

     Worthwhile projects of the club over the years include: contribution to the support of a French war orphan in 1919, participation in the one-act play contests for the support of the Wilton Library in the 1930’s (the club won the contest twice), purchase and donation of books to the library, cash donations to worthy causes, encouragement of a drivers’ training course in the high school, support for mail delivery in Wilton and a “This is Your Life” program in honor of Vesta Murdock.

     Presidents of the club have been – 1895-1898 no year books; Kate Bacon, 1898-1899; Mrs. C.W. Norton, 1899-1900; Mrs. William Gilkes, 1900-1901; Mrs. Kate Rayner, 1901-1902; 1902-1919 no year books; Nell Looney, 1922-1923; Vesta Bannick, 1923-1924; Cora Jacobsen, 1924-1926; Maude Teasdale, 1926-1927; Ella Ayres, 1927-1928; Ruth Maurer, 1928-1930; Maude Teasdale, 1930-1931; Inez Harding, 1931-1933; Irma Wildasin, 1933-1934; Joyce Swanson, 1934-1936; Eva Baumgartner, 1936-37; Kathryn Claussen, 1937-1938; Etha Wacker, 1938-1940; Clara Leith, 1940-1942; Bernice Thede, 1942-1943; Ruth Maurer, 1945-1947; Imogene McCabe, 1947-1949; Pauline Maurer, 1949-1951; Betty Paul, 1951-1952; Lillian Chapman, 1952-1954; Apryl Frye, 1954-1956; Grayce Nicolaus, 1956-1957; Edith Murren, 1957-1958; Nyla Thrapp, 1958-1959; Phyllis Houghman, 1959-1960; Barbara Dawson, 1960-1962; Joyce Bausman, 1962-1963; Margaret Wendling, 1963-1964; Diana Maurer, 1964-1965; Gretchyn Voss, 1965-1966; Margaret Flater, 1966-1967; Claudette Woller, 1967-1968; Mary Scieszinski, 1968-1969; Ruth Schreiber, 1969-1970; Lorene Lenning, 1970-1971; Barbara Dawson, 1971-1972; Betty Schneekloth, 1972-1973; Kathy Burkle, 1973-1974; Diana Maurer, 1974-1975; Mildred Staschke, 1975-1976.

Seroco Club

    The Junior Federated Club of Wilton, Seroco, was formed in 1972 by a group of young women who wanted to be involved in community service. The name is derived from the first few letters of SERving Our COmmiunity. They have worked on many projects, the latest being the Bicentennial effort of publishing “Wilton’s Heirloom Cupboard of Recipes and Recollections,” the proceeds from which will be given to help build a park for all.

Tri-County Playcasters
By Thelma Wright

    In Feb. 1970 Kathy Amerine of Wilton and Bob Titus of Durant found there was a lot of enthusiasm and theatrical talent right in this area. Dedicated people from Muscatine, Scott and Cedar Counties started a community theater with a Variety Show in April. They then cast a comedy “He Couldn’t Marry Five,” which was performed in Aug….

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    This page sponsored in memory of Mr. and Mrs. J. P. Walton by Mrs. Cloe Walton.

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…1970 on the stage at the Durant Community Center. Such people as Bob Smith, Ken Bland and Sheila Ehlers were in this play.

     The winter show in 1979 was “The Farmer’s Daughter,” a melodrama. It was given in conjunction with a talent show featuring such well-known names as Cindy and Karen Martz, Carol Wetzel, Terry Seligman, Steve Dudd, Sheila Ehlers, John Taylor, Rosie DeBates and Larry Amerine.

     “The Monkey’s Paw,” a mystery drama; “The Valiant,” a drama and “Pity the Poor Fish,” a comedy, were featured Feb. 20 & 21, 1971. These three one act plays ended a busy first year for the Playcasters. Since that time one or two plays in the winter and a Broadway musical in the summer has been the usual rule.

     With this much experience in sets, makeup, publicity, costumes, carpentry, lights and talented people the Playcasters were ready to go “Big Time.” They cast the Broadway hit, “Paint Your Wagon” with a membership of 55. Other favorite shows were “Oklahoma,” “South Pacific” and “Fiddler on the Roof.” Some of the stars (who also work hard back stage) are Cindy Titus, Dennis and Janet Freyermuth, Geoff Richards, Mark Makoben, Terry Seligman, Larry and Kathy Americe, Anita, Mike and Don Wyatt, LeRoy Steffen, Dave Meinert, Bob Stine, John and Bill McClean, Dennis and Susan Langwith, Sandy and Rick Peeks, Sam and Elaine Kresse, Bob and Karen Steele and Rick Crooks. Production and direction of these shows are credited to Bob Titus and Kathy Amerine. These musicals were given in July, three shows in succession.

     The winter show in 1971 was given in the Wilton school gym. “Dark at the Top of the Stairs” featured Karen Hogan and LeRoy Steffen. It was bad weather that Dec. 4 and 5 but the show went on anyway.

     “The Egg & I” by Betty McDonald given in March 1973 at Durant was a howling success. With a chicken that crows on cue, how could you go wrong. Sheila Jones directed this one and you really missed a hit if you missed it.

     Elaine Kresse directed the 1974 comedy, “See How They Run.” This was another crowd pleaser both nights.

     When the show “Fiddler on the Roof” was presented at St. Mary’s Parish Hall at Wilton it was very hot weather. But the weather didn’t hamper the fun of putting on the play or sitting in the audience, and now everyone who went knows that Sam Kresse made the best Tevye ever.

     After “Fiddler” the playcasters decided to branch out to a different form-dinner theater. Taken from the book, “The Four Poster,” the musical “I Do, I Do” was rather unique. It is a full length musical, but had just two people in the cast. Mr. and Mrs. Larry Amerine, played “He” and “She” to a Blue Grass audience and a Muscatine audience.

     The comedy in 1975 was “No Sex Please, We’re British” by Alistein Foot. This was presented at Blue Grass Civic Center in April for 3 shows.

     Last year, 1975, “Showboat” took to the stage. In fine theater form the playcasters built a “Showboat” for this play. Terry Gerhts and …

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    This page sponsored in memory of E.W. Mead by his wife, Leona Mead.

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…Terry Seligman sang their way into your hearts. Easily 80 people were involved in getting this show together as a family member of a playcaster will tell you.

     The communities of Durant, Wilton, Stockton, Walcott and Bennett have been most generous in supporting this community theater. In loaning properties, money support, technical assistance and various needs that play production demands. Now in 1976 the playcasters are thankful for the theater being built in the Durant School. The plans for the future include using this stage and the playcasters will have come full circle, from a “Community Theater Handbook” to having a good stage on which to perform.

Wilton Chamber of Commerce

    The Wilton Chamber of Commerce, organized in November of 1961, sponsors an annual 10 cents a plate Smorgasbord in May at which approximately 2,200 persons are served. The 1976 officers are President, Wayne Einfeldt; Executive Vice-President, Anita A. Wyatt; Vice-President, Ron Follmann; Treasurer, E. M. Schreiber.

Long Live Our Wilton citizens!

    Wilton has proven to be a good place to live a long life. As evidence we offer the following: Mrs. Sarah Dawson was born February 12, 1846 and died on April 6, 1947 at the age of 101. Robert Wilkerson was born in Virginia on November 1, 1864, moved to the vicinity of Wilton when a young person and passed away here on September 26, 1968, lacking about five weeks of making 104 years of age. Henry Wildasin was born on a farm south of Wilton the year the town was founded, 1855, on October 20. He died on April 28, 1962, at 106 ¼ years of age! Laura McCartney Duncan was born on January 18, 1874 and lived in Wilton nearly 100 years when she moved to California. She is still hale and hearty in this bicentennial year of 1976, having passed her 102nd birthday.

Wilton Bicentennial Quilt

    The women of Wilton worked together to create a truly beautiful bicentennial quilt, with the red and blue bicentennial symbol appliqued on white quilt blocks.

    It was made to be raffled at the city’s bicentennial Fourth of July celebration.

    The quilt contains 25 individual blocks, each hand appliqued and each identified with the initials of the woman who made it. Those who made quilt blocks are: Nettie Dice, Agnes Gradert, Edith Grunder, Faye Grunder, Rosalie Hafner, Floy Halter, Amy Hill, Ruby Kaufmann, Helen Kessler, Frances Laucamp, Edna Maurer, Lillie Maurer, Gerry McCormick, Annette Mueller, Roena Neal, Edith Nicolaus, Ruth Schreiber, Dottie Sheetz, Irene Sheetz, Inez Smull, …

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    This page sponsored by Hans and Jan Carstens of Chico Ranch.

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…Mary Lee Stoll, Nell Stuehm, Helen Walton and Helen Werling.

     The blocks were assembled by Helen Walton and Rosalie Hafner. Mary Lee Stoll and Sue Grimm did the binding.

     The quilting design was created and marked by Doris Koppenhaver, Clella Walton and Helen Walton and Wilton Presbyterian church donated the use of a room while the quilting was being done.

     In addition to many of the women listed above, the following participated in the quilting; Leona Brammeier, Jane Ducker, Sue Grimm, Mildred Grings, Alma Grunder, Shirley Haag, Florence Hinkhouse, Carrie Hopperstad, Evelyn Johnson, Doris Koppenhaver, Erma Kruse, Anna Lett, Violet Lett, Treva McKillip, Katherine Ochiltree, Kristin Oveson Violet Peterson, Vera Sessler, Velma Tharp, Violet Ukena, Joan Vitale, Norma Wacker, Clella Walton, Cloe Walton and Claudette Woller.

     Also a group of women from the West Liberty Methodist church added some stitches when they came to see the Wilton quilt.

Other Bicentennial Creations

    The following articles were created and given to the bicentennial committee to be raffled or auctioned off.

    A needlepoint pillow of the same design as the quilt, the bicentennial symbol in red, white and blue, made by Mrs. Betty Fair.

    A patriotic design (red, white and blue) afghan made by Joan Voss.

    Doll furniture made from tin cans, consisting of a complete bedroom suite with miniature bicentennial quilt, made by Phyllis Dolin.

    A rug in the form of a map of the United States with each state a different color made by the Kenneth Grunders.

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Page created April 18, 2015 by Lynn McCleary