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Mount Ayr Record-News
Mount Ayr, Ringgold County, Iowa
Thursday, July 26, 1916


 A number of the old soldiers of Mount Ayr and several of their wives visited Bedford yesterday to see the new soldiers' monument recently erected in the public park as a memorial to the defenders of the Union. The matter of securing a monument recently erected in the court yard at Mount Ayr will probably be submitted to the board of supervisors of this county at an early date

Transcription by Sharon R. Becker, October of 2016

Mount Ayr Record-News
Mount Ayr, Ringgold County, Iowa
July 10, 1918


Dedicated Thursday, July 4, 1918

Nation's Birthday is Celebrated with
Appropriate Exercises -
Able Address By James H. Wilkerson

The Ringgold county soldiers' monument in the northeast corner of the court house square, erected to the memory of the men who gave their lives in defense of their country, was dedicted last Thursday, July 4, with appropriate exercises. It was a fitting observance of Independence day. The day dawned bright and clear and the weather conditions were favorable to the successful carrying out of the outdoor program. Committees in charge of the various arrangements did their work well. The business houses and streets were decorated with flags and bunting and the town presented a patriotic appearance in keeping with the spirit of the occasion.

It was not the intention of those in charge to make the program such as for generations has marked the celebration of the Fourth of July, but rather to meet to honor those brave men, living and dead, who have given their services, and many of whome have made the supreme sacrifice in defense of the principles upon which the nation was founded. Long before noon the streets were thronged with people who came from all parts of the county to join in honoring the soldiers.

At 1:30 in the afternoon music by the martial band under direction of Comrade G. W. GARTIN was the signal for the people to gather at the south east corner of the park where a large platform had been erected and where seats had been provided. All the available seats were occupied and several hundred people were standing when after a couple of selections by the Mount Ayr band Judge Homer A. FULLER called the meeting to order and introduced Rev. FOSTER, who made the opening prayer. The first speaker was Mayor H. C. BEARD who in a short and appropriate address bade the visitors welcome. Clerk of the District Court W. M. McCANDLESS spoke on the subject, "What the Monument Means to Ringgold County."

The principle address of the occasion was made by Hon. James H. WILKERSON of Chicago, who was introduced by Judge FULLER as a Mount Ayr boy who had met with success in life and of whose success the people of his home town are proud. Mr. WILKERSON, who is the son of Prof. J. W. WILKERSON of this city, has been for many years engaged in the practice of law in Chicago and for a number of years has served as district attorney for the southern district of Illinois. He is recognized as authority on legal matters. Being a son of a veteran and member of the local G.A.R., it was fitting that he should be selected as the orator of the day.

On the platform were seated members of the Grand Army of the Republic, ministers and prominent citizens and members of the local bar and in the large audience were many who had heard Mr. WILKERSON deliver his first political address while he was yet preparing for admission to the bar. Mr. WILKERSON delivered a masterful address - an address filled with patriotism and one which met with hearty and enthusiastic response from the hearers. The speaker reviewed briefly the history of the nation, particular emphasis being placed upon the three wars - the revolution, the rebellion and the present war [World War I] - which mark the three great epochs inthe history of the world. The ideals for which the patriots in these wars have fought were emphasized and the fact was made plain that in the present war we are fighting for the same principles which have been at stake in former conflicts.

At the close of Mr. WILKERSON'S address the Declaration of Independence was read by Frank F. FULLER and the four-minute talk by President WILSON which was used by four-minute speakers throughout the land on the Fourth of July was read by Judge FULLER. The address is printed in this issue.

Too much couldn not be said of the Red Cross pageant which was presented under direction of Mrs. I. J. DALBEY of Kellerton and which was the principal entertainment feature of the program. More than fifty young people participated inthe pageant. The Kellerton Glee Girls, who have become so proficient under the instruction of Mrs. DALBEY that whenever they are considred equal to the best chautauqua attractions, were the principal characters in the pageant. The drill was faultlessly presented, and their singing was a delight to all.

Twelve little Mount Ayr girls served as flower girls. The pageant was presented ina manner pleasing to all and all are enthusiastic in praise of the splendid service rendered by Mrs. DALBEY in providing the entertainment features of the program.

Other features of the program were readings by Kathleen McCARTNEY and Dean SMITH and a vocal solo by Leland DALBEY.

The crowd was then invited to the northeast corner of the square where the exercises incident to the unveiling of the monument were conducted. After a few patriotic selections by the band the monument was unveiled by Miss Irma HOLDEN and Miss Esta POOR and Judge FULLER introduced Prof. J. W. WILKERSON who paid tribute to the memory of the men who have responded to the call of their country and who have made the sacrifices necessary to defend the principals for which this nation stands. Judge FULLER made a short and appropriate address and the closing prayer was made by Rev. Robert L. WELCH.

After the program pictures were taken of the Red Cross girls and of the old soldiers and flower girls in front of the monument.

Of the former citizens who came from a distance to be present at the dedication of Ringgold county's monument were James BEARD of Lingle, Wyo., and Bernard PRESTON of Oleum, Colo., both veterans of the civil war and members of the local G.A.R.

Officers of Ellice (sic) C. MILLER Post who were present and participated in the exercises were F. B. SOLES, commander; A. OSBORN, senior vice-commander; T. W. WHITE, junior vice-commander; John HOLDEN, chaplain; H. A. RICKETT, quartermaster; J. J. DUNCAN, adjutant.

Two members of Company G of the 29th Iowa - Judge I. W. KELLER and John D. CARTER - were present. Judge KELLER is 90 years of age and Mr. CARTER is 94. F. B. SOLES, who is 72, and B. PRESTON, 72, members of Company G of the Fourth Iowa, were the only members of the Fourth Iowa present.

NOTE: An attempt to locate the text of President WILSON'S address which was read by Judge FULLER failed to produce a result.

Mrs. B. M. LESAN noted in her 1937 book, Early History of Ringgold County: 1844 - 1937, page 65, "On August 6, 1917, a contract was awarded to James SALTER of Bedford, Iowa, for the making of the monument of Victoria granite for the sum of $5,772. It was finished and accepted and paid for on June 4, 1918, and unveiled and dedicated July 4, 1918."

Transcription and note by Sharon R. Becker, May of 2010

  • Rededication of Monument, 2014


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