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HISTORY of BEACONSFIELD, RINGGOLD COUNTY, IOWA

Beaconsfield Depot.jpg

CB&Q Depot, Beaconsfield, Iowa
Courtesy of digital.lib.uiowa.edu/railraodinan

Beaconsfield was established in 1881 when the Humeston and Shenandoah Railroad came through the northern portion of Ringgold County. Depot agents included Aaron LAMB, Fred BONHAM, Coil MILLER, and Loyd VANDERPOOL. The Humeston and Shenandoah Railroad later became the CB&Q Railroad which later abandoned the line in late December of 1945.

Beaconsfield's post office was established in January of 1882.

Twice-A-Week News in 1896 noted that Beaconsfield was "an ideal village with promise of future growth, primarily because there weren't any other towns in the north part of Ringgold County at the time, therefore, Beaconsfield didn't experience any competition for business." Despite Beaconsfield's growth, the town didn't have a school until June of 1896. By 1900, the population was 300 with the business directory including a barber shop, lumber yard, general store, coal supplier, dressmaker, milliner, feed mill, carpentry business, meat market, furniture store, buggy company confectionery shop, bank, and harness maker. When Beaconsfield was platted, Dr. R. G. RIDER had already established his medical practice.

BEACONSFIELD'S POSTMASTERS

    POSTMASTERS     DATE APPOINTED
    John F. LANDES     Jan 1882
    Benoni O. HIXON     Feb 1883
    Allen H. FOX     Mar 1892
    Lizzie R. GERMAN     Jan 1895
    Allen H. FOX     Sep 1897
    Carrie NORTHEY     Sep 1906
    Carrie HOSACK     May 1908
    Daisy N. LONG     Apr 1920
    Margaret WARD     Aug 1933
    Agnes O. WEST     Nov 1943
    Vera LANTZ     Dec 1972
    Clem MATLAGE     Sep 1985

 

Beaconsfield's post office closed on October 29, 1993.

1st HyVee.jpg In 1930, Charles HYDE and David VREDENBURG opened a small grocery store in the town of Beaconsfield. Soon, they began opening additional stores in southern Iowa and northern Missouri. By 1938, the men formed a partnership called HYDE & VREDENBURG, Inc. which owned 15 stores and had 16 stockholders who traded in their ownership stakes individual stores for stock in the newly founded corporation. As the chain of stores grew, the corporation’s name was changed to Hy-Vee. Today Hy-Vee owns 222 stores and conducts over $5.6 billion-dollars worth of business annually. Since its introduction in a 1963 television commercial, Hy-Vee’s advertising slogan has been “where there’s a helpful smile in every aisle.” Hy-Vee is the largest employer in the State of Iowa. And it all began with one small grocery store in Beaconsfield.

The 2000 census population of Beaconsfield was 11

Peggy Whitson.jpg Although Peggy Annette WHITSON was born in Mount Ayr on February 9th, 1960, she considers Beaconsfield as her home town. Peggy graduated from Mount Ayr Community High School in 1979, received her B.S. degree in biology and chemistry in 1981 at Iowa Wesleyan College, her doctorate degree in chemistry from Rice University in 1985, and completed her Robert A. Welch Post-doctral Fellow in October of 1986 at Rice. From 1992 to 1995, Peggy served as project scientist for the Shuttle-Mir Program which ended when she was selected as an astronaut candidate in April of 1996 as Deputy Division Chief for the Medical Sciences division at the Johnson Space Center.

Peggy completed two years of training and evaluation. She was a crew member of Expedition 5 crew which launched aboard STS-111 on June 5, 2002 and docked with the International Space Station on June 7, 2002. During her six-month stay aboard the Station, Peggy performed a 4 hour and 25 minute space walk and logged 184 days, 22 hours and 14 minutes in space, returning to Earth on December 7, 2002.

Ringgold Roots
Ringgold County Genealogical Society
Mount Ayr, Ringgold County, Iowa
April, 1981, Vol. II, p. 11

RINGGOLD ROOTS SALUTES BEACONSFIELD

Beaconsfield was a station on the Humeston & Shenandoah Railroad, and was laid out as a village by a town company in 1881. It had one store and postoffice, blacksmith shop, grocery and United Brethren church.

There is a legend in which a man came through the countryside who could do blacksmith work. He broke a wheel and stopped to fix it. While he was working on it a farmer came along who needed some work and suggested that the man start a blacksmith shop. He did and a town sprang up around his shop. The blacksmith was of English origins and he named the town growing around his shop "Beacon" in honor of Lord BEACON of England. The word "field" was added. There is a Beaconsfield in Canada but no other town in the United States named "Beaconsfield."

NOTE: Benjamin DISRAELI, Lord Beaconsfield (1804-1881), was an English novelist who embarked upon a political career. In 1876, Queen Victoria made him Earl of Beaconsfield [Lord BEACONSFIELD] and Viscount of Hughenden.

According to the abstract, Beaconsfield was platted on July 15, 1881. The CB&Q Railroad took over from the Humeston & Shenandoah in 1882.

In 1898 there were approximately 100 residents in the town and during the election 45 votes were cast.

In 1981, there were 40 or less people in the town. The Methodist Church remains active and the building is outstanding. The present [1918] post office was once the bank building. The Community Center was once the old telephone office, the telephone company giving the building to the town. A blacktop road, P-68, goes through the town.

The inhabitants of Beaconsfield are holding their Centennial June 13 & 14 [1981] with many attractions. The ladies of the town met at the Community Center and made over 200 plates for the Centennial. Mrs. Roy HUNTSMAN designed the plates. There are 5 buildings around the outside edge of the plate and the town pump is in the center.

Here is some interesting miscellaneous information taken out of a friend's diary: In 1890, hens sold for $3 a dozen, eggs 3-cents a dozen, roosters 10-cents each; milk 5-cents a quart; and the butcher gave away liver. A hired girl gets $1.00 a week wages, and men wore whiskers, and boots, and chewed tobacco, and swore!

  Sources:
Ringgold County History, Compiled and written by the Iowa Writers' Program of the Work Projects Administration in the State of Iowa, Sponsored by Ringgold County Superintendent of Schools, Mount Ayr, Iowa. 1942.

Written & Submitted by Sharon R. Becker, 2008; updated May of 2010

 


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