MR. JOHN VARDY
In July of the year
1841, Mr. John Vardy came to Cedar Rapids. Of his birth-place I am not
appraised, but I think it was in the State of Virginia. He was a
cabinet-maker by trade, but was proficient In any kind of carpentry, as
he built his own house in 1842, which was the first frame building
erected in the town, and it stood on the corner of Third street and
Mr. Vardy had a wife and several children, Martha, afterwards Mrs. J.
G. McLeod, and Henry, now living in Texas, being all that I can recall.
Mr. and Mrs. Vardy were Christian people, and when the First
Presbyterian church was organized in 1847, they were numbered among its
charter members. The first Presbyterian preaching ever conducted in the
town was by the Rev. William Rankin, in the fall or winter of 1842, at
Mr. Vardy’s house. Here, too, the first Sabbath school was organized in
1843 or 1844. Mr. Vardy acting a part of the time as superintendent,
and Mr. Joseph Greene, Mr. Alex. L. Ely and Mr. Barnet Lutz, also
serving at different times in that capacity.
In the same year the first school ever opened in Cedar Rapids, was
taught in this house, Mrs. Vardy being the teacher. This good woman
died in June, 1846, having served her family, her community and her God
well. In 1849 Mr. Vardy was married a second time, and in 1856 the
family moved to Texas, with the exception of the eldest daughter,
Martha, who was at that time the wife of Mr. John G. McLeod, of whom
mention has been made elsewhere. She is now the wife of Mr. J. A.
Malum, and their home is in Eustis, Florida. It is from her that these
dates are principally gathered.
It will readily be seen from this brief outline that, while this family
were plain, unpretentious people, they were nevertheless made of the
right kind of material, and they were very useful members of the
community, and did their full share in the way of setting right
examples, and instilling right principles in the minds of the young,
and in laying the foundations deep and strong for our city’s future
Source: Carroll, Rev. George R., Pioneer Life In and Around Cedar
Rapids, Iowa from 1839 to 1849, pages 86-87, Times Printing and Binding
House, Cedar Rapids, Iowa, 1895.