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Mount Ayr Record-News
Mount Ayr, Ringgold County, Iowa
Thursday, August 25, 2005

Historic ribbon found in Oregon antique store

 

 An interesting relic from the history of Ringgold county has turned up in an Oregon antique shop.

Larry STEWART of Zillah, WA, a native of Blockton, was looking for items in a Lincoln City, OR antique shop when he came across a pin from the old Soliders and Settlers Reunion held in Mount Ayr in 1897.

The ribbon medallion caught his eye and he purchased it, then we were looking for more background on the event when he came to visit the Ringgold county area while on vacation.

STEWART, along with his brother, David D. STEWART of Clearfield, and Fern GREEN brought the object to the Mount Ayr Record-News Monday.

The printed ribbon has a pin bar on the top, including a button with a picture of a log cabin, which may be the first Ringgold county courthouse, and a tassel at the bottom.

After doing some research in back issues of the Mount Ayr Record-News at the Mount Mount Ayr Public Library, it was discovered that the Old Soldiers and Settlers Reunion was held September 29 and 30, 1987 and was the first in what was planned to be an annual event.

They found that the event was held only for three years.

Activities were held on the town square and included speeches and music as well as visiting. A campfire was held in the evening.

Anyone with more information about the reunions may contact David STEWART at [phone number].

 

Mount Ayr Record-News
Mount Ayr, Ringgold County, Iowa
Thursday, September 29, 2005

150 YEARS!
Ringgold County Sesquicentennial
1855 ~ 2005

Ringgold county reunions have history
By Mike Avitt

A ribbon from the 1897 Old Settlers Reunion recently appeared on the front page of the Mount Ayr Record-News. It was brought in by Larry Stewart of Zillah, WA and he wanted to know more about this event. Here's what I have.

The Old Settlers Reunion was held in conjunction with the Ringgold County Fair. The reunion of September 30, 1898 had this program:

The Order of Exercises for
Old Settlers Day

10 a.m. - Music by Mount Ayr Band
10:15 a.m. - Music by Choir
10:25 a.m. - Invocation
10:30 a.m. Address of Welcome, Judge Isaac Keller, president of the association
11 a.m. - 15 minute speeches by old settlers: John McFarland, Mrs. B. Preston, W. L. Arnett, A. M. Gustin.
12 p.m. - Dinner
1 p.m. - Music by Mount Ayr Band
1:15 p.m. - Music by Choir
1:25 p.m. - Invocation
1:30 p.m. - Music by Choir
1:40 p.m. - Address by Dr. J. J. Kackley of Chetopa, KS
3 p.m. - Music by Choir
3:10 p.m. - Presentation of Prize to Oldest Settler Present
3:30 p.m. - Music by Mount Ayr Band
3:45 p.m. - Voluntary Speeches by Old Settlers, General Handshaking and Farewells Until Another Year

The Old Settlers Reunion of 1899 was held September 28 and there would be election of officers at this event.

Other reunions were taking place in the county during these same years. I came across the following in an old Kellerton Globe newspaper.

The eighth annual Kellerton Reunion was held August 2, 3 and 4 (Wednesday, Thursday, Friday) 1905. Ball games, concerts and singing groups provided the usual fare, but also on hand was Iowa Governor A. B. Cummins and State Dairy Commissioner, H. R. Wright. So this was a serious celebration. On a slightly less serious side, the event had scheduled a fat man's race (over 200 pounds), a married woman's baseball throw and a free dinner for the fattest woman in attendance. Oh, her husband got a free dinner, too.

The Old Timers Reunion was started by one man and he didn't even live here.

The Old Timers Reunion was started in 1937 by G. M. "Gum" Kirby of Buffalo, N.Y. Gum, who lived most of his life in Ringgold county, wrote letters to friends an acquaintance informing them of his plans to travel to Mount Ayr for a gathering of old-timers. Word of the informal gathering reached many and they responded. On July 6, 1937, 115 people showed up for dinner in the basement of the First Christian church and 300 attended the program upstairs. The event went so well that the group voted to make the Old Timers Reunion an annual celebration. I believe this event was discontinued in the late 1960s.

The Old Timers Reunion of August 2, 1966 had a special event, the burial of a time capsule. But not just any time capsule.

Joe GROSS of Mount Ayr was the master of ceremonies and 250 old timers registered. J. K. WHITE, age 95, of Kellerton was recognized as the oldest member. The Ringgold county Historical Society held elections and the results were Mrs. Lloyd ANGUS, president; Albert DRAKE, vice-president; Mrs. Clifford NICHOLS, secretary, and Mrs. J. A. BLISS, treasurer. The time capsule from the 1955 Ringgold County Centennial was buried on the noth side of the courthouse in a vault provided by Taylor Fiberglass.

I have yet to learn why it took 11 years to bury that thing.

Photograph courtesy of Mount Ayr Record-News

Transcriptions by Sharon R. Becker, November of 2012


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