The News From Dysart & North Central Iowa – First Two Weeks of April 1914

The News From Dysart & North Central Iowa - First Two Weeks of April 1914

State News

Is There A Body in that Trunk?

Trunk

Dysart Reporter April 19, 1914

Dysart Reporter April 19, 1914

This article and articles like it ran in several papers in Iowa during the first week of April 1914. What the people of Dysart did not know is that the killer they were looking for, "James Nolan", had strong ties to Tama County and only a year earlier had lived among them. Authorities in Montana had wired Waterloo to be on the lookout for Nolan who they believed had killed a homesteader in Montana on March 9. Authorities in Osage determined that he had arrived there by train but left almost immediately on another train, believed to be bound for Frankfort, Michigan, where the search for him continued.

Neighbors had reported the homesteader, Arthur E. Kerry, of Woodmountain near Regina, Canada, missing. The police had trailed the suspect, James Nolan to Glasgow, Montana, but the trail had been lost there. Sheriff Nacey found that the wagon and team had been disposed of at Nashua and the person had taken the train for Williston. From Williston he was traced to Minneapolis, going from there to Iowa.

On April 17, Nolan was arrested in Eagle Grove, Iowa, by Marshal Fisher and charged with Kerry's murder. It turned out that his name was James Knowlen, not Nolan. He was arrested on a train headed for Fort Dodge along with his wife and young daughter.

The following day, he confessed to the murder. He stated that he went to the home of an Englishman named "Cary" one evening to get him to drive the Knowlen family some distance overland. "Cary" lived alone in a cabin. Knowlen admitted to striking Cary with a club or sandbag inside the cabin. He took the body of the dead man as well as his valuable team. The woman and child joined him and for three days and nights they continued on their way. The body was removed from the wagon at 4 a.m. the first day and hidden in some brush. The Knowlens reached Montana before the crime was discovered by neighbors who reported him missing to the Canadian Mounted Police. He disposed of the team for $60 although it was worth much more. Knowlen jumped from place to place to shake off any pursuit. He sold a watch belonging to the victim about two weeks before his arrest in Eagle Grove, Iowa. After his confession, Knowlen broke down completely and agreed to return to Canada to face trial. He was described as being about 35 years old and of small stature. The victim was about 25 years old and had staked his claim in Canada some time before his death. Based on Knowlen's confession, the body was found in the brush on Porcupine Creek on Friday, April 17.

The papers reported that Knowlen previously lived near Toledo in Tama County and left for Canada about one year before this event. The Traer Star Clipper in August of 1913 had reported that he had moved from the Henry Taylor Place (west of Toledo) to the Hibbs property near Monticello. The Eagle Grove Gazette reported him as a former resident of that place and this seems to have been true. Both papers stated he had left their communities to go to Canada.

"Nolan was reported as rather a suspicious character while here, and at the time of his departure left quite a number of bills unpaid." Toledo Chronicle April 23, 1914

Canadian Authorities Declared Him Insane

Jim Knowlen

Traer Star Clipper May 22, 1914

Knowlen was tried in Canada. The Canadian government paid for Marshal Fisher to come and testify at the trial. It was revealed during the trial that Knowlen was caught because he was recognized on a train between Livermore and Humboldt by a local doctor, Dr. Bowes, who knew him from when he had lived in Eagle Grove. The trial only took one day and the jury voted 9-3 for first degree murder. He was sentenced to fifteen years and went directly from the trial to prison.

 

Spring City - Colfax

Mr. & Mrs. Ed Gleim and Mrs. W. A. Lincoln of Dysart returned recently from Colfax, Iowa, where they had been for treatment of rheumatism.

Hotel Colfax - Colfax, Iowa

Hotel Colfax - Colfax, Iowa

Nestled along the bluffs of the Skunk River of Central Iowa, the small town of Colfax boasts a big and surprising history. Originally platted in 1866 as a stagecoach and railroad stop, Colfax rocketed to world prominence with the discovery of artesian mineral water springs in 1875. News of the mineral water attracted several doctors, pharmacists, hoteliers, and other enterprising businesspeople to move to the community to capitalize on the ‘life giving properties’ of mineral water.  The mineral water industry soon brought in thousands of visitors a year for about a forty year period, who came to bathe and drink the medical properties of the water and enjoy the clear air of a rural setting.

In its heyday, Colfax became known as “Spring City,” “Little Carlsbad of the Midwest,” and the “Saratoga of the West” comparing the town to famous spa resorts of Europe and America. Colfax sported eighteen mineral springs, four bottling works, nine spa hotels, and other industries that sprang up around the burgeoning economy of the time. In 1900, Hotel Colfax, the largest hotel, registered 13,000 guests. In 1904, Hotel Colfax went through a $600,000 ($17M in today’s money) Spanish Mission style renovation making it one of the premier hotels in the nation. Hotel Colfax was so large that it had its own train station, trolley, power plant, and six-hole golf course. Colfax’s bottling works bottled plain, carbonated, and flavored water (with unique flavors such as ‘iron and celery’ and ‘sarsaparilla’) and shipped the water across the country to be sold as health tonics in pharmacies and hospitals.  The mineral water tourism industry created the need for public entertainment and a 2,000-seat outdoor auditorium, dining hall, and camping grounds were built to host The Chautauqua and Methodist Epworth League traveling entertainment circuits. Performers, singers, lecturers, orchestras, and religious speakers came from around the world to entertain and educate Colfax citizens and guests during the summer months.

Unfortunately, World War I, The Great Depression, and modern medicine brought about the end of the mineral water industry for Colfax.  Many of the great hotels fell into disrepair or were destroyed by fire. In 1933, the iconic gazebo at Mineral Springs Park was constructed by local volunteers and unskilled labor from the Reconstruction Finance Corporation (RFC) to commemorate the once illustrious industry. Now, Colfax has memorialized its unique past by creating the Spring City Commercial Historic District, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and local volunteers are always looking for ways to preserve and celebrate Colfax’s past. Copied from colfaxia.gov

 

Local News

DYSART REPORTER APRIL 2, 1914

DYSART REPORTER APRIL 2, 1914

Wolf

Joe Hill

During the 1910s the local papers occasionally ran stories of people either shooting or trapping wolves. Most of these appears to have occurred near the Wolf Creek area north of town. According to a report by David W.W. Aller and Paul L. Errington, the bounty system for the control of wildlife started in 1817. These laws in the United Stated were based on traditional laws in Europe. In 1840, the governor signed an "act to encourage the destruction of wolves" into law. Counties could offer 50c to $3 for wolves over 6 months old and 25c to $1.50 for younger animals. After statehood was achieved in 1846 these laws remained in effect with changes in pay amounts and rules being added or modified over the years. All of these programs were a strain on the state and county treasuries however, pressure from farmers, ranchers and hunters of small game and birds kept them going. In 1913 the legislature enacted a state -wide law increasing the bounty to $20 for adult wolves and $4 for whelps - the highest rates in Iowa's history. This led to problems with "wolf farming" whereby individuals were keeping whelps or in some cases breeding whelps to adulthood in order to be paid the higher premium. By 1916, those individuals faced stiff fines if caught trying to breed wolves for profit. In 1923 the entire bounty system was revamped. New rates were set for wolf bounties in 1945 which remained in effect until at least 1961 although very few of these bounties were claimed during the years 930s-1960s. Today there are no breeding wolf packs in Iowa however, there are in surrounding states and the DNR states it is reasonable to assume that some of these will travel into and through the state. They are currently a protected species.

Throughout the history of Iowa, bounties have been offered for many different animals. Those of us who grew up with depression era parents may have heard stories of claiming bounties for gopher feet, crows and starlings from the county to supplement family incomes. Waller and Errington: The Bounty System in IowalPublished by UNI ScholarWorks, 1961

 

Business

Electric Plant

Barber Shop

Barber Shop

Kepple

Jensen

Horses Wanted

Ross Taylor

Farm Report

Cows

Arthur and Roy Waller

Church News

Chicken Pie Supper

Advertising

Groceries

House Painter

Manure Spreader100 Hats

Dysart Canning Company

Dysart Canning Company

A Small Town Story

According to an article in the Dysart Reporter on April 9, 1914, the first canning factory in Iowa was established in 1860 with an output of one million cans. By 1914, the state was producing one-fourth of the sweet corn for the entire country.

Dysart Canning Company

1906-1938

"The factory wheels are ready to turn and when the season opens their hum will be heard mingling with the rattling cans, rolling trucks, and rumbling wagons coming and going"
April 20, 1906 Traer Star Clipper

The Dysart Canning Company was located on the fifth block of the Crisman Addition on lots 1-5, on the southwest corner of the intersection of Grant and Estelle Streets, just north of the railroad tracks in Dysart, Iowa. Later this was the site of the Pioneer Seed Company. Based on a lawsuit filed in 1917 it is known that the land for the factory was acquired from H. Walton and his wife who in 1902 acquired the land from J.J. Walton, J.W. Crisman, Christian Fike and Harrison, Yeiser & Co.

Dysart Canning Company

 

Built in Less than 3 Months

The plant was further described as a "space of ground about 185 x 72 feet and consist(ed) of the following: main building 32 x 60, two full stories in height, in the lower room of which are the machinery and tomato peeling rooms and on the upper floor the storage room for empty cans, etc. To this building is attached an L addition 32 x 40, which contains the process room and the boiler and engine room. Running from this addition is an open cooling floor 40 x 40 which consists of a platform about five feet high. At the end of this is the warehouse, a closed building 40 x 48. Beside these buildings there is a husking shed 28 x 40 from which a chain carrier runs to the main building. The factory is equipped with a 15 h.p. engine and a 50 h.p. boiler, which are of the usual capacity for a factory of this size and undoubtedly large enough. The total cost of the factory was a little less than $13,000. Work on the buildings was started on January 15, 1906, and on April 6th everything was completed, a little over two and a half months in all." In June of that same year, the canning company received a load of lumber from Washington state with which to construct boxes and crates.

 

Steady Progress Through the First Decade

In the following years, a steady trajectory of improvements was seen with increasingly more acres being either purchased or contracted as well as additions to the plant. In 1907, green beans were added to the corn and tomatoes that were already being canned. By April of that year, the company had secured contracts for 100 acres of tomatoes as opposed to the thirty they had the previous years. Reports from the railroad depot showed that products were being sent to distant locations like Oklahoma and San Francisco. In 1910 participating farmers growing on contract included John Brandau, Will Lindeman and H.P. Jensen. 1911 was reported as a bumper year for the canning factory, producing about 75,000-80,000 cans.

Mr. Peterson

Dysart Reporter April 19, 1909

The decade of 1910 was marked by steady growth. The officers of the Canning Company in 1912 were listed as H.P. Jensen, D. Lindeman, Ervin Moeller, E.F. Douglass, F.F. Trottnow, John Messer and H. Christiansen. A 40 x 100-foot storeroom was added.  In 1914, Henry Hansen and William Rueppel’s names were added to the board of directors. That same year the plant was wired for electric service and a new boiler with a much larger capacity was installed.

The Canning Factory is Sold

Dissolution

Dysart Reporter July 19, 1917

In February of 1917, by a two-thirds majority vote, the company was dissolved. Almost simultaneously to the United States’ entrance into World War I, the business was sold to the Waterloo Canning Company established in 1914 with George E. Lichty as president.

“To the Patrons of the Dysart Canning Company: As new owners of The Dysart Canning Company you are interested in knowing something about us, our plans, etc. With the addition of the Dysart plant, we now have in Iowa four modern canning factories located at Waterloo, Dyersville, Hamburg and Dysart. You may be interested in knowing that Iowa produces 20 percent of all the sweet corn packed, and leads every other state, Illinois being second.

Regarding the Dysart plant, it is our desire to double the capacity of this plant in 1918, and this we can do with your cooperation. Sweet corn factories are valuable in any community giving a home market for one of the most profitable crops. A cash market established before the seed is planted so that you as a grower do not have to guess at what you will receive for your crop. The price this year $10.00 per ton is 43 percent higher than one year ago. A canning factory keeps the money at home and is a real community builder, furnishing employment to home people.”
Dysart Reporter April 19, 1914

The letter went on to provide quite specific instruction to farmers on how to plant and grow sweet corn. An endorsement of the benefits of the fodder left from the growing the crop was given. The financial benefits are again stressed. The letter ends;

“Now we realize that we cannot operate canning factories successfully without your cooperation and we earnestly desire to make the Dysart plant one of the best in Iowa. We will do our best if you will cooperate with us. Please don’t depend upon your neighbor to do this cooperating, but grow sweet corn and grow it this year, and let us get acquainted and get off to a good start….” Yours very truly, WATERLOO CANNING COMPANY
Dysart Reporter April 19, 1917

A list of farmers who had contracted with them to grow corn was included in that story.

List

Dysart Reporter April 19, 1917

In June, the following ad was found in the paper:

Attention Farmers

Wartime Protections

In 1918, as a result of the war, the Waterloo Canning Company was informed that 25% of their production for the year would be required by the US Army and Navy. It was predicted the Armed Services would be taking eighteen million cans of corn from Iowa alone. More corn was contracted than at any other time in their history. A call was put out for help in the canning process encouraging people to help themselves earn money and “help Uncle Sam secure the necessary food for our boys oversees and our domestic army as well.”

Corn

US Department of Agriculture Poster World War I

The plant was inspected by a US Naval officer for safety. The company stated “Each employee will be be required to take the Oath of Allegiance. The oath, however, is something which all true American men and women are glad to sign.” Forty men and women were employed at between $3.50 and $6.00 per hour. In the later part of 1918, the nearby town of Traer started negotiating with the Waterloo Canning Company for another plant in that community and despite many conversations over multiple years, this did not come to pass.

Indication

Dysart Reporter August 8, 1918

1920’s

The plant expanded again in 1922 but by 1926 the Waterloo Canning Company was in receivership.  In February of 1928, the company announced whereas they had been operating five farms in the Dysart area for several years, they had decided to discontinue operation of three farms owned by John Mehlhaus, Theodore Jessen and Charles Goken. A public sale was held at the Goken farm on February 28 including horses, mules, cattle, milking equipment and much more.

The canning factory had its own well which could not keep up with the demand and so a new water reservoir was added in the city in 1929. Drought conditions in 1929 led to a much smaller yield than in previous years. 1,100 acres were contracted at a rate of $12.00 per ton and approximately 100 people were employed at the plant that year. The stock market crashed in October ushering in The Great Depression.

Depression

Dysart Brick and Tile

The 1930s

In February of 1930, the land adjacent to the plant, previously part of the Dysart Brick and Tile Company was purchased for $1,000.  Only one kiln was left on that property'; all other buildings having been destroyed by fire.

1930

The land was needed for the storage of other waste created in the canning process. Pigs were kept to deal with this waste products. Due to drought, a lower yield was experienced and production had to be sped up to prevent the corn from drying out. One hundred twenty men canned 60,000 cans of corn in less than three weeks.

In 1931, Tom Thiesen’s 320 acre farm north of Dysart was leased bringing the total acreage leased by the company up to 920. Other farms under lease were two Lally farms and the Rueppel farm. To help offset some of the losses they had encountered, the company increased the number of cattle they were keeping on the leased farms, feeding these on grass and corn stalks. They were also considering expanding into pea production for diversification. Due to the depression gripping the country, there was no shortage of available workers and the plant employed between 150 to 160 people for the season. Continued drought left much of the corn too dry to be acceptable for canning. In all between 1500 and 1600 acres of sweet corn had been planted. The output was considerably larger than before due to improvements in the plant. However, the consumer price for corn had dropped from 90 cents per can to 75 cents. The Waterloo Canning Company was starting to shows real signs of financial trouble.

Season's Pack

Traer Star Clipper September 11, 1931

A Company In Trouble

Confirmation of trouble for the Waterloo Canning Company came in 1932. In April the company announced that they would still be operating in Dysart but that acreage would be greatly reduced. Later in the summer it was reported that due to the closure of the Commercial National Bank in Waterloo the company had no financing plan and was reaching out to banks in Chicago. This, of course, was a hard blow to area farmers hoping to supplement their already limited incomes.

Financing Plans Fail

Traer Star Clipper Augusts 26, 1932

At the end of August, the canning company announced that they were not able to secure financing and therefore no pack would occur in Dysart. The corn was allowed to dry in the fields and was harvested for livestock feed. Around Thanksgiving time, local farmers Dan and James Lally reached a settlement with the Waterloo Canning Company over notes given for rent. The Lallys settled for farming equipment, all of the crops (corn and soybeans) not yet harvested on their farms, and livestock including 40 head of cattle, a dozen or more mules, and about 25 hogs.

Traer Star Clipper November 25, 1932

Traer Star Clipper November 25, 1932

Enter the Continental Can Company

Across the country, in 1933, very few canning plants operated and Dysart’s plant was no exception. By 1934, the country had pretty much used up the surplus of canned goods from 1932 and the future looked a little brighter for companies engaged in that enterprise. However, this bright outlook did not exist in Dysart.

Continental Can Company

In 1934 the Waterloo Canning Company which had been in receivership for over a year was taken over by the Continental Can Company. Area residents watched the situation play out over the course of several months, not knowing if the plant would ever open again. It was unlikely that the new owners would operate the plant themselves as they were not in the canning business. They were in the business of equipping plants with machinery as well as furnishing cans. Meetings were held in February with local capitalists looking for financial backing which did not materialize. In June the sale was completed with Continental acquiring all of the properties at Dysart, Waterloo and Dyersville for just $52,000. They acquired the canning plants to settle the debts owed to them by the previous owner. In August creditors of the Waterloo Canning Company including some from Dysart were called to a bankruptcy negotiation meeting were it was announced that the Dyersville plant was sold for just $2,800. Shortly thereafter, Rath Packing Company bought the Waterloo plant, a convenient acquisition for them as the two properties were adjoining.

Rath Packing Company

Rath Packing Company

The year 1935 looked much more hopeful for the factory and also the people of Dysart who were anxious to keep this large employer and outlet for crops. Although it had been announced the plant was leased by Mr. Reed of Waterloo, it was actually leased to the Hawkeye Canning Company which was based out of Des Moines. Newer equipment was brought in from the now closed Waterloo plant. Improvements were made to the building which had been sitting idle since 1932. One hundred contracts were let out to 99 farmers in the Dysart area at $7.00 per ton, significantly lower than previously paid. The average size of the contract was 10 ½ acres. Still, the company had no problem finding farmers willing to participate in the leasing.

The plant planned to hire 150 workers, half of which were to be women. They had 250 applicants. Per company policy, all 150 hired workers came from Dysart. Too much rain and cool temperatures in the Spring just after planting decreased the yield. Some of the corn had to be replanted. As the plant had set idle, some of the mechanical equipment failed. Once up and running the plant ran 15 hours per day. In the husking room the women were only allowed a five minute break every hour and two extra workers were added to cover those short breaks. The third largest pack ever was realized that year with just over two million cans of corn being packed. A total of $11,000 was paid out in wages. The participating farmers were paid between $7.00 and $28.00 per acre. Additionally, farmers were offered corn-hog checks covering the acres taken out of seed corn production.

What Is a Corn-Hog Ratio?

The corn-hog ratio was a system originally designed to calculate the profitability of raising hogs versus growing and selling corn feed. It was a comparison that took the price of a hog and divided it by the cost of the corn needed to sustain the hog. In this case, the cost of raising sweet corn versus seed corn.Investopedia.com

Storage of the canned goods seemed to always be a problem for the Dysart plant and made it difficult for the company to hold their goods until market conditions improved. At the beginning of October, the farmers were paid one-half of what was owed to them minus the cost of the seed. The balance being paid in December.

Traer Star Clipper September 20, 1936

Traer Star Clipper September 20, 1936

Changing Rules

Starting in 1936, the federal government changed the corn-hog program for a new soil conservation program which was unveiled in April and May. Many farmers delayed their decision about whether they wanted to grow sweet corn until the details of that program were clear. Changes in how the farmers were to be paid were also instituted by the Hawkeye Canning Company whereby the base rate for the corn was lowered to between $6.50 to $7.00 per ton and a premium added for high grade corn. The total number of acres was decreased to 900 from 1050 the previous year. An extensive explanation of the grading system was published in the local papers. Overall, the market for sweet corn was not good going into the 1936 growing season. There was a large surplus of canned corn which had gone unsold from 1935 already available.

In April of 1936, the Waterloo Canning Company’s bankruptcy case was finally resolved and those who were owed money were paid out at 1.7% of the total owed. Among those in the area who received these small payments were local merchants and employees as well as the Town of Dysart itself.

By May of 1936 most of the contracts had been signed by area farmers, although it was noted that the sign up was much slower than it had been before. A conflict with the new conservation program was sited. As had always been the case, the canning company provided all the seed and determined when each farmer would plant their crop so that the canning process could run on schedule. For reasons that are not clear, that year almost all of the growers were located southeast and northeast of town. The growers were:

Traer Star Clipper June 6, 1936

Traer Star Clipper June 6, 1936

Farming is a difficult business and what looked like it was going to be a bumper crop in May was clearly struggling by July due to intense heat and prolonged drought. The crops were also heavily damaged by grasshoppers and cutworms. Rain late in August improved things a little bit but not much. In the end only 25,083 cases could be packed (compared to 80,600 the year before). This was the second smallest output ever. The plant employed about 75-100 people with total wages of $6,000. To add insult to injury, because of the drought the price of canned good skyrocketed however, the Hawkeye Canning Plant could not benefit from this price increase as their pack had been sold before canning at a contracted price.

In the Spring of 1937, the canning company again started signing contracts for one thousand acres with new terms which were supposed to be more attractive to the farmers many of whom had not liked the grading system. The company was switching over to hybrid seeds which promised better yield.

Dysart Reporter March 5, 1937

Dysart Reporter March 5, 1937

In hindsight, it appears the company was having a more difficult time than before getting farmer to sign the contract. More advertising appeared in the Dysart and Traer papers. Incentives were added for early signing and a promise of payment right after the pack was extended. They also started casting a wider net for farmers including Traer, Geneseo, Buckingham and other townships in Blackhawk County. After a meeting of the Dysart Commercial Club in April, that group posted their support of the plant in the Dysart Reporter recognizing the economic impact the plant had on the local economy.

Traer Star Clipper March 5, 1937

Traer Star Clipper March 5, 1937

Soaking rains in May provided hope that the yield would be much improved from the disastrous 1936 season. For the first time in many years there was no need to replant any of the fields. The corn at Claude Sawyer’s farm southeast of town was reported to be knee high by the last week in June.

Des Moines Register and Tribune

Hope springs eternal in the world of farming and in July Charles W. Fort who was the superintendent of the plant stated the sweet corn crop was “the best I’ve ever seen.” Large numbers of people applied for work at the factory and about 160 men and women were hired, most of whom were Dysart residents. A “threshing ring” of twenty-two men worked their way from farm to farm bringing in the crop.  The first sweet corn brought in that year was from the O.J. Hayward and Charles Hill farms.

 

Double Tragedy Strikes

All was going quite well with the pack until tragedy struck on 8/14/1937 when August Filgraf, age 59, was crushed by the machinery in the conveyor pit while salvaging feed for cows.

 

According to the Dysart Reporter,

“It had been his habit to secure some feed for his cows and pigs each morning during the canning season, before the plant opened for work. He had taken one wheelbarrowful of corn to his home near the factory Saturday morning and had returned for a second load. When the machinery was turned on preparatory to starting the day’s pack, neither Howard Marks, who threw the switch in another part of the plant, nor Emil Keen, who was in charge of the unloading shed were aware of Mr. Filgraf’s presence in the pit. Mr. Filgraf was employed at the factory, but in another part of the building, and only the foremen were supposed to be in the plant at the time of the accident.”

A week later, the town was again rocked to learn that Howard Mark, despondent over his role in the death of August, had committed suicide. His body was found by Superintendent Charles Ford and John Reed, the field agent for the plant hanging in a garage. Throughout the previous week, Howard had been questioned several times and by several people representing the insurance company for the plant. All agreed that the accident was not his fault but he remained despondent, nevertheless. Originally from Dallas County, Iowa, he had lived in Dysart for many years along with his wife, Laura (Reimer). They had one son. The son died in 1926 at the age of 16 and his wife three years after that.

1937 Pack Is Successfully Completed

A labeling room was added to the west end of the building expanding the factory’s total footprint. As soon as the corn was canned it was sent to far away places like New York City and San Francisco and Los Angeles. The total pack was between 85,000 to 90,000 and although much better than the year before, it fell about 10,000 cans below what was expected earlier in the summer. The pack took about a month and yielded the workers a total of $13,500 in wages, much of that money spent right in Dysart. Unlike previous years, the farmers were paid right away in September and most made more money than they had previously.

February 25, 1938

February 25, 1938

A Surprise Ending

March of 1938 arrived with the promise of another good season for the people of Dysart and the contracting process started anew. The company advertised in the local papers for farmers stating an expectation that 800-900 acres would be contracted. The county had an abundance of canned corn in storage from last year’s pack and so all the factories were contracting for less acreage. The Hawkeye Canning Company had already decided not to operate the Dyersville factory and a canning factory at Garrison was closed for the season. On April 10, the Waterloo Courier reported that the contract process was being delayed because of a need for more information about the government’s allotment program.

Waterloo Courier April 17, 1938

Waterloo Courier April 17, 1938

Then, on April 15, 1938, the Traer Star Clipper broke the news that the Hawkeye Canning Company would not operate the plant at Dysart that year and as it turned out, any year in the future. The Hawkeye Canning Company seemingly disappeared after that as no newspaper articles about the company could be found after April 17, 1938.
The factory sat vacant until 1941 when it was dismantled.

The News From Dysart & North Central Iowa – Last Week of March 1914

The News From Dysart & North Central Iowa
Last Week of March 1914

State News

Coal Mine Explosion

Explosion at Buxton Coal Shaft

Two Men Lose Their Lives

An explosion at the Consolidated Coal Company at Buxton killed two men. Nineteen mules died in the explosion and timbers were blown from their place on one side of the shaft for a distance of more than half a mile. The dead are John Taylor, timberman, 37 years old and John Williams, pumper, 33 years old. Both men leave families. The blowing out of the track, the destruction of the roof and damaging of timber will cause suspension of work in the mines for several months. There is some doubt if the mine will ever reopen. The mine employed 300 men.

Buxton was located in the southeastern portion of Iowa and was unique in that it was a mining community also because the majority of the population was Africa American. To learn more about Buxton may we suggest the series of articles found here:

Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs

Sterilization of Prisoners

Rudolph Davis, a convict from Linn County, currently serving ten years for burglary, has filed suit against enforcement of the Iowa sterilization law. The case has been filed in Keokuk. He states that he has reason to believe that the prison authorities are about to perform the operation of sterilization on him. Several defendants have been named including three members of the board of parole, the warden and the prison physician. Davis charges that the vasectomy law which was passed by the last legislature is unconstitutional and is in conflict with established laws. Judge Smith McPherson has granted a temporary injunction against enforcement in this case.

According to a report by Lutz Kaelber, Associate Professor of Sociology, University of Vermont, Iowa was the ninth state to pass a sterilization law in the United States.  The first law was enacted in 1911 and applied to “criminals, idiots, feeble-minded, imbeciles, lunatics, drunkards, drug fiends, epileptics, syphilitics, etc.”. It allowed directors of the mental institutions to determine whether or not an inmate ought to be sterilized.   It was compulsory for those “inmates twice convicted of a felony, or sex-offense other than ‘white slavery.’” For the offense of “white slavery,” (prostitution) one conviction made sterilization mandatory

It was soon repealed and replaced by a second law 1913. As a result of the case reported above, Davis v. Berry, the second law was declared unconstitutional. Subsequently, the third law was created and called for the need of written consent before an operation could be conducted. It also eliminated criminals from the list of offenses requiring sterilization.

Sterilizations under Iowa's Eugenics Laws continued until 1963 and in all 1,910 people were sterilized.

For more information we recommend the following:
https://www.uvm.edu/~lkaelber/eugenics/IA/IAold.html

Sports

1913 World Series

1913 World Series

Baseball season is drawing near and interest in the national game is increasing every year. "Major league teams are now at the southern training camps getting in shape for the great struggle which will be in progress in a short time." The Cedar Rapids Republican advertises that they will be covering the national game and all the local action.

William Harrison von Lackum

William Harrison von Lackum

The Daily Iowan, a publication of the University of Iowa, reports that local boy, Harry von Lackum has won an "I" in basketball. Harry was on the regular varsity team this year and played in most of the games. Steps are being taken at the University to start awarding a certificate for the "I" award along with the varsity letter. The board feels that a man leaving college is unlikely to continue to wear his letter sweater but a certificate can be framed and kept as a more permanent memento.

von Lackum family home, Dysart, Iowa

von Lackum family home, Dysart, Iowa

 

Dr. and Mrs. Herman (Emma) von Lackum

Dr. and Mrs. Herman (Emma) von Lackum

Harry von Lackum was a son of Dr. Herman J. von Lackum, long time physician in Dysart, Iowa. Born in 1861 on a farm in Wisconsin, he and his family moved to several locations in Wisconsin, Minnesota and Iowa. His father, Peter von Lackum eventually became a doctor and set up a practice in Waterloo. Herman also became a doctor in 1886 and returned to Waterloo to practice alongside his father. He was called to the Dysart area to assist with an operation on Mrs. Andreas Schreiber and remained with her for about a week. Shortly thereafter he opened a practice in Dysart above the Newt Stewart Harness Shop on Main Street which eventually burned. He married Emma Louisa Kullmer on August 6, 1890 and they had five children; 3 boys and 2 girls. In addition to his role as physician, Dr. von Lackum was very involved in the Board of Education. He was a doctor for 62 years, retiring on November 15, 1949. He passed away in 1950 and his wife passed away in 1959. All three of their sons became doctors. Stepping stones in time

Business

New Manager for the Brick and Tile Company

New Manager for the Brick and Tile Company

Charles J. Swift of Riverside, Iowa, has been appointed manager of the Dysart Brick and Tile Company and has arrived here to take up his new duties. He has had several years of experience in the business. From now on the plant will operate with a force of 12 men and will work at maximum capacity for the coming year.

H.W. Belke who was the victim of a feather theft reported earlier, has now purchased the Fred Matthiesen building and lot on Main Street. He will fix this up and use it for his butter and egg business.

Studebaker

Studebaker

Cars, Cars, Cars!

Throughout the country, it seems everyone is talking about cars. An increasing number of dealerships are emerging throughout the county. Everyone wants to know who is buying a car and what kind. Also of note to the residents are the number of people taking excursions in their automobiles.

For the Farmer

Carter Car

Ford

Ford

Local men who have recently purchased automobiles include: the Lincoln Brothers, A.D. Lawyer, Gottleib Kolbe, Frank Burhenn, and Adam Schnell. Meanwhile, the Hullopeter Brothers who recently purchased a farm just north of Dysart are attempting to sell a Harley Davidson 13 Model 5 horse chain drive motorcycle stating they need the money!

Unknown date and persons on early Harley Davidson motorcycles

Unknown date and persons on early Harley Davidson motorcycles

 

Farmer Report

The Dysart Canning Company is looking for farmers who want to plant sweet corn under contract with them. Contracts can be made either at the Dysart Savings Bank or at T.B. Grain Co. $7.00 per ton will be paid for corn this season.

Church News

Evangelical Conference

Church calendar

Although not specifically titled at such, this appears to be a listing of housing assignments for the attendees at the conference.

Housing Assignments

For more information on the Evangelical Church in Dysart, please see: the-news-from-dysart-and-north-central-iowa-last-week-of-february-1914

Advertising

Welding Outfit

 

The News From Dysart and North Central Iowa – Second & Third Week of March 1914

The News From Dysart and North Central Iowa
Second & Third Week of March 1914

Editor's Note: The primary reason why I have been using 1914 as the launching spot for telling stories about my hometown and Iowa is because the events of that year and years on either side of 1914 are so rich with an underlying tone of a rapidly changing world. From my vantage point in the 21st century, I have the benefit of seeing how these changes effected the future world. Back then they could not have known the impact that their changing way of life and thinking would create. They must have sensed it, however.

People in 1914 seem to be living in two different worlds at the same time. Horses and buggies are occupying the road right along with an increasing number of cars and trucks. Towns are adding an electrical grid while many people are still living without it. The train station, which was the primary reason the town was formed, remains very busy while there is increasing motorcar travel and the not to distant promise of commercial airplanes being developed. The men and women who were the first to move into Dysart in the late 1880s are starting to pass away. The people in 1914 also seem to be restless. Neighbors are switching farms, businesses are changing hands, Iowans are buying lands in less tame parts of the US and Canada. People are traveling to see relatives who they perceive as experiencing a better life somewhere else and others are returning to native lands in Europe. All of these are movements are noted in the local papers.

There is a clear dichotomy between what white people are experiencing in small town Iowa and what the aboriginal peoples experience. Native peoples of this country are struggling to adjust to a world that is both adversarial and paternally condescending. Through the lens of the world, we live in now, you can feel that struggle and it is painful to read. At the same time, I find myself cheering their efforts as if there is a chance that it is going to turn out better for them than it has.

For those who are staying put, small town papers are filled with expressions of great hope that their town is on the verge of growing into something bigger, bringing prosperity in its wake. All manner of societies for the betterment of the individual and their communities are being formed. Commercial Clubs are sprouting up and growing in the region. Throughout the papers of the time, there is a strong sense of civic pride and commitment to help these little fledglings to grow.

In 1914 there is a lot of emphasis on learning. The papers are full of opportunities for people to experience things beyond what they already know. These offerings range from practical knowledge like better agricultural practices to much more cerebral ventures. The religious organizations in the area are hosting trainings and classes of all kinds. Education is clearly not just for the children in the schools although the towns are committed to providing better buildings and offerings for the children.

The lyceum movement is well known to the people of Iowa by this time. Since the mid-1800's hundreds of these informal associations have been organizing programs designed to improve the social, intellectual, and moral fabric of society. Lectures, dramatic performances, class instructions, and debates, by noted lecturers, entertainers and readers travel the "lyceum circuit," going from town to town or state to state to entertain, speak, or debate in a variety of locations, never staying in one place for too long. For the most part, these appearances were open to the public and sponsored by various organizations.

This year, 1914, Dysart will join the growing number of communities who will host a Chautauqua. Popularized in the late 1800's, a circuit Chautauqua was a program of speakers and entertainment organized by a for profit venture to bring a set program to communities. The speakers and entertainers were booked by the agency who provided assistance with the details and advertising . They traveled a circuit bringing their program to a community for a set period of time, generally a week. The shows were usually held in a traveling tent set up in an town. Lectures were the foundation of these shows.

Booking a Chautauqua for a town is seen as another step in community development and the people of Dysart, like many other small towns across Iowa are ready to embrace it. goodpasture farm - carrie koster

 

Dysart Added to the Chautauqua Schedule For The Summer

Circuit Chautauqua

Traveling Culture: Circuit Chautauqua in the Twentieth Century (a part of the Library of Congress American Memories Project)

Chautauqua Assured For Dysart

More Than 20 Businessmen Back of Proposition

"A number of the businessmen of Dysart have made another push toward progressiveness and have backed up the proposition to have a Chautauqua here this summer." E.W. Carson, of Perry, Ia., came here Tuesday and talked the thing to a number of the fellows and the Chautauqua is now an assured fact. Mr. Carson is working for the Jones Chautauqua, Perry, Iowa, and they have a good line of talent. Gladbrook will be hosting the same Chautauqua this year. This is all scheduled for the week of July 4. There will be six days of entertainment and the talent is assured first class. Such men as Dr. Frank E. Day, Westworth F. Stewart, Comfort A. Tyler, Edgar S. Kindley, Hon. Seaborn Wright and Bob Lilley will be the lecturers and they are a platform of men who are widely known. There will be afternoon and evening entertainment each day, making twelve programs and the season tickets will be sold for $1.50 making, 12 1/2 cents for each number.

A good many of our people have been attending the Traer Chautauqua in seasons past and for that reason inquiry was made as to the dates for their program this summer before the dates were set for the Dysart program so as to not have the two conflict and to give Dysart people a chance to visit the Chautauqua at Traer and Traer people a chance to come to Dysart. It was learned that the dates have not yet been set for the Traer Chautauqua.

 

US Stamp Issued in 1974

Stamp

Stamp Issued in 1974

A number of the men who were consulted in this matter and asked to back up the proposition stated that they thought for some time that it was funny that so many of the small towns were putting on summer Chautauqua and Dysart was not in the game. Dysart is waking up and has been for some time and in a short time we want to and will see the businessmen formed into an association for the betterment of Dysart. Twenty men signed the contract for the Chautauqua, but the thing is not stopping there. That list is being circulated and the name of every wide-awake citizen of Dysart is wanted on it. Sometime soon an effort will be made to have these men and all others interested in the progress of the town meet and organize so as to be able to push this Chautauqua systematically and to handle several other propositions that came up for the town such as band concerts, celebrations, etc. According to the signs already shown there is a lot of booster spirit in Dysart and now is the time to make it count. Dysart Reporter March 19, 1914

To learn more about Chautauqua in Iowa see:

http://sdrc.lib.uiowa.edu/traveling-culture/about.html

https://www.chautauqua.com/2021/chautauqua-movement-history/

https://www.greenecountyiowahistoricalsociety.org/stories-articles/in-the-early-20th-century-nothing-was-bigger-in-towns-like-jefferson-than-the-annual-chautauqua/

https://digital.lib.uiowa.edu/tc

Citizen's Caucus

"A citizen's caucus was held at the town hall last Friday evening and a full city ticket was nominated as follows: Mayor A. Sewall; Councilmen H.P. Jensen, John Messer, C.A. Keidel, O. B. Reed, L. Myers: treasurer, Ervin Moeller, Assessor, F.F. Trottnow. This is the Citizen's Ticket. A petition was filed last week for the People's ticket. The names on this petition are those of the present city officials but with E.E. Wieben for mayor and Dr. J.P. Redmond for councilmen. There will be a good bit of interest manifest in this coming election which will be held on Monday, March 30th. Dysart Reporter - March 13, 1914.

Editor's Note: Apparently Dr. Redmond's recent notoriety and lack of support from his fellow citizens did not dissuade him from remaining in the public eye.

See last week's post

 

Telephone Directory to be Published

The manager of the Farmer's Mutual Telephone Company, A.K. Zalesky, is working on the new telephone directory. Citizens are being told if they are thinking of putting a telephone into their home or business, now is the time. In a week or two it will be too late to get their name in the directory. Limited advertising space is also available so it's important to act quickly.

 

Catholic Cemetery Association Holds Fundraiser

The ladies of the Catholic Cemetery Association are planning a bazaar on the evening of March 17th at the Dysart Opera House, followed by a dance. Refreshments will be served. All monies raised will go to the cemetery fund.

 

School News
Lincoln Statue
Professor Sanders at the High School reports that the little bronze statue of Lincoln in the upstairs hall has been causing a great deal of trouble lately. He has promised a surprise to the next one found meddling with it.

Entertainment

Humorists

Dysart Reporter March 12, 1914

Strickland Gillilan was a journalist, author, poet, humorist and speaker. His writings ranged from the satirical to the sublime. He was one of the more popular authors and speakers of his time. He attended Ohio University and started his career as a journalist then became an editor and writer. for such publications as the Washington Post. His poems are well remembered and reprinted today, often in greeting cards. He was a very popular lyceum lecturer and after dinner speaker beginning in 1899. He was often featured in the Saturday Evening Post.

Poem

Often reprinted poem by Strickland Gillilan

Ben-Hur
"Ben-Hur" will be offered at Greene's Opera House in Cedar Rapids for three nights and a Saturday matinee starting on March 19. The production opened in 1899 in New York City and traveled the country until 1920. The stage production was elaborate and included using live horses for the chariot race. The drama was presented in 6 acts with live music. By the end of its run it had been seen by more than twenty million people and earned over $10 million at the box office. There have been several other adaptations of the novel including the legendary movie starring Charlton Heston.

For more information see:

https://rogershermanhouse.com/2019/07/02/the-klaw-erlanger-co-stupendous-production-of-gen-wallaces-mighty-play-ben-hur/

https://www.ben-hur.com/meet-lew-wallace/ben-hur/

Baseball Pictures
Baseball Poster

Giants versus Athletics Worlds 1913 Championship Series will be shown on the movie screen Saturday night, March 14. The first show will be over in time for the entertainment at the opera house.

Advertisements

Invitation

To the Public

Sealed

The News From Dysart & North Central Iowa – First Week of March 1914

The News From Dysart and North Central Iowa
First Week of March 1914

State News

Pheasants

Tama County's Pheasant and Quail Nursery

Traer to Get Game Preserve
SIX THOUSAND ACRES OF LAND INCLUDED

"Traer gets the game preserve of Tama County. The timber land west of town offered a very desirable spot and E. D. Sawyer and others got busy with the result that a contract was sent on by the state game warden to be signed by the property owners, with the understanding that the preserve would be located here if the lease was signed by all the owners of the land included. Mr. Sawyer has thirty or more names on the lease. These parties contract to prohibit all hunting upon their premises for five years and to protect the birds in all possible ways. The preserve will include about 6, 000 acres, much of which is covered with timber. It takes in the McEwen farm and stretches two or three miles west and north. The state will put up signs along the boundary. In April or May a large number of pheasant and probably a lot of quail will be brought here and liberated within the preserve. Great things are anticipated in the way of increased flocks with the five years. These pheasant are imported from Hungary and they multiply rapidly when protected. " Traer Star Clipper March 6, 1914.

The same week, The Dysart Reporter, ran an article that sportsmen in Boone County were also working to establish a preserve at a place called Hat Grove, halfway between Boone and Des Moines along a stream of water called the Big Creek Waters. Another game preserve was secured east of Moravia consisting of 6500 acres.

In June of 1914, the Traer Star Clipper reported that the game warden sent 120 eggs of the Chinese ring-necked pheasant to Traer which were given out to farmers in the vicinity to be hatched.

Originally an Asian species, the ring-necked
pheasant was successfully introduced into North
America in 1881 and into Iowa about 1900. Iowa’s
first ring-necks were introduced accidentally when
a severe windstorm wrecked the pens of game
breeder William Benton of Cedar Falls releasing
approximately 2,000 birds. Benton’s birds spread
north and west and constitute Iowa’s founding
stock. The DNR began stocking pheasants around
1910 with most regions of Iowa receiving large
stockings of ring-necks by 1930. The ring-neck has
since become the most important gamebird in Iowa
with an estimated statewide population of 4 to 6
million birds.

IOWA DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES

Editor's Note: The history of introducing pheasants to Iowa is, of course, more than can be covered in this posting. For readers desiring more information, I recommend:

THE RING-NECKED PHEASANT IN IOWA, by Allen L. Farris, Eugene D. Klonglan, Richard C. Nomsen Click to access book_ring_necked_pheasant.pdf.Iowa conservation commission

Biplane

earlyaviators.com

Patent War Closes Grinnell Aeroplane

"The Wright company of which Orville Wright, the pioneer airman, is president, has served notice on the Grinnell Aeroplane Company to cease manufacturing aeroplanes. The demand is based on the recent decision of the US Circuit Court of Appeals in which it decided as an infringement against the Wright Company patents any heavier than air flying machine which uses a rudder with the wings." Dysart Reporter March 5, 1914

The Wright Company Patent Wars have been written about extensively. Many believe that this slowed the development of airplanes in the US significantly. Readers desiring more information can find many articles, podcasts, and books by searching the internet. I found this website particularly helpful in understanding the lawsuits. https://wrightstories.com/articles/patent-wars. Wright stories.com

Population Decline

"State officials are seriously discussing the loss of 15,000 men from Iowa in 1912 and 1913, as reported by Adjutant General Guy E. Logan, and many suggestions are made regarding plans to overcome the reported loss in population. The Department of Agriculture has suggested that moving pictures of Iowa should be manufactured to be exhibited. It is the idea to make the pictures entertaining and at the same time create a desire among those who see them to come to Iowa. Another idea of this department to attract people to the state is to issue booklets by counties giving the main points regarding each of the ninety-nine counties of the state. Each division of the state would be described independently of the remainder of the state, so that the booklets could be used for local as well as state advertising. The suggestion that the governor appoint a commission to study the causes of loss of population and to recommend a remedy was also made. Adjutant General Logan states that the loss of 15,000 fighting men in the last two years, or 22,000 in the last five years is a serious situation for the 22,000 represent good strong healthy men whose services are needed to build up Iowa. All of these men were between the age of 18 and 45 and were able-bodied. A loss of this many toilers represents a far greater loss than a simple falling off of the population by 22,000." Dysart Reporter March 5, 1914

Local News

Mayor of Dysart Gets Into a Very Public Fight

Mayor in Fight

Dysart Reporter March 5, 1914

Trouble ensued on Monday morning when the Mayor of Dysart, Dr. John P. Redmond attempted to move into the residence of Mr. and Mrs. E.A. Braden and family. Mrs. Braden is the sister of Dr. Redmond. Last fall, the Braden's began construction of a cottage. The plan was that when the home was finished, Dr. Redmond would move into the John Redmond home where the Braden's have been living. The Braden's new house was not finished in time for the planned March 1st move. The Braden's have been living with John and Mrs. Braden's father two blocks east of Main Street for the past seven years. No notice was given to them to move

Monday morning at about 7 a.m., Dr. Redmond crossed the street to the home were the Braden's have been living carrying a large box. He was met on the porch by Braden at which time he announced his intention to move into the house that day. Braden let him know this would not be happening. Redmond had a screwdriver in his hand which he made a pass at Braden with; striking him in front of his left ear. At the same time, Braden struck Redmond, knocking him to the ground where he held Redmond until several men intervened. At that time, Redmond first attempted to use his powers as mayor to deputize the men who had come to help. Braden and his wife then left the scene and went to the hardware store. Redmond attempted to use a ball bat but this was taken away from him by the other men present. He then followed Mr. & Mrs. .Braden into the store wielding a club.

The marshal George Geyer had been called. When he arrived at the hardware store, Redmond ordered Geyer to take Braden to jail. Geyer could do nothing but obey the order. Before they left the store, Redmond refused to make out bonds for Braden and insisted he be taken to jail. This was all witnessed by several men who were in the store. Redmond then went to the gun case stating that he wanted a revolver. He was told that one would not be sold to him. Once he saw that Braden was in jail, he began moving his possessions into the house.

The excitement on the street had reached the level of white heat and a delegation of men threatened to break the jail to pieces to get Braden out. Redmond ordered Geyer to bring Braden to the office where he made out a bond ordering Braden to appear in front of the grand jury as well as a peace bond

W.J. Dysart, the justice of the peace, was consulted and ordered that the bonds were illegal and that Braden would need to be re-arrested. He was re-arrested at which time C. J. Schmidt and Ed Heineman swore out bonds for $200 promising that Braden would appear for trial. The charge was "assault and battery with the intent to do great bodily harm". To most of those present, Braden was just trying to protect his family and was unarmed when he was attacked with the screwdriver.

Even after all of that, Redmond remained determined to move into the house. About one hundred men were present by this time and Braden invited all of them into the house. With one hundred men against him, Redmond could do nothing. During the approximate half hour that Braden was in jail, Dr. Redmond had moved a bed into one of the bedrooms and put a few things into the cellar.

Redmond called Dr. Carl from Garrison to come and tend to his wounds. Dr. Carl arrived about 10:30 p.m. and performed an examination. Several stories are circulating about the extent of his injuries. The incident occurred on Monday and as of Thursday, Dr. Redmond was still in bed. Dr. Gessner tended to Braden's injuries. The wound in front of his ear was about one-half inch deep and lay right over a large artery which if severed would have been much more serious.

A trial will be held on Friday. This will be a jury trial and the judge will be W.J. Dysart. M. J. Tobin of Vinton has been hired to represent Braden. Sentiments are running high in support of Braden. Most feel that Redmond had no right to start the trouble. His efforts to deputize spectators was poorly received. Recently, Braden had inquired about legal procedures to force a man to vacate a dwelling and he found that a family having a notice served on them has 38 days to get out. Braden had not received such a notice. Redmond had received notice that he was to vacate the property he was occupying but Dave Wilson was not pushing him to move out. In fact, he understood that Redmond would not be able to move until the Braden's had moved out.

"The Gene Braden trial which was to result from the trouble which arose between Dr. J.P. Redmond and Gene Braden on Monday of last week did not take place for the reason that no one appeared against Braden. Dr. Redmond states that he was not informed of the trail and was entirely unaware that such proceedings were to be taken. Dysart Reporter March 12, 1914

Social Happenings

Many Moves March First

Pointer

Annual Moving Time Just Past - Many People Change Places of Residence

William Flechner who has been living at the John Kersten farm SE of town moved to a small town south of Des Moines. Charles Bridge has moved to the Kersten farm.

John Dilcher has moved from his farm SE of town to Waterloo. Ed Nyde who worked for Del Karr a few years ago has moved onto the Dilcher place from a farm near Washburn.

Herman Holtz moved from the Hartman Kersten farm to the Mrs. George Speck farm SW of Garrison. Hartman Kersten is moving back to the farm from Vinton and John will farm the place.

Chris Selk moved from his farm SE of town to the residence he purchased from Art Schuchart. Fred Selk moved from the Fulton Boyd farm to his father's farm.

Charles Luze moved from the Fuoss farm to the Haefling farm NE of town. Henry Bauer vacated the place last week and moved to his farm near Waverly. Ben Pippert is now settled on the Fuoss farm.

Mike Meinhart who married Miss Libbie Hach last week is to occupy the Fulton Boyd farm vacated by Fred Selk. John Boyd has rented the farm and Meinhart will work for him.

Dr. Forward moved his household effects into the Charles Zobel place vacated by the W.W. Milne family last week.

George Thiele moved last Thursday to the farm east of town vacated by John Cohrt. Cohrt moved to the Henry R. Miller farm SE of town which Roy Waller vacated last fall. Charles Zobel moved yesterday from his residence in town to his farm east of town vacated by George Thiele.

Bert Burke and his wife have started housekeeping on the William Runyan farm east of town vacated by W. A. Sanford.

R.C. Hall moved his goods from the Charles Urmy residence to the W.D. Brandt place in the SW part of town and really belives that he has moved into a fine residence district. S. Barber has rented the Urmy property for the use of the blacksmith that he has hired.

Lee Murphy has rented the E. A. Huppert farm near Waterloo and will move there the first of next week. Verl Hite has rented the Siemens property which Murphy will vacate.

J.M. Tupper moved the last of the week into the J.G. Temple residence. F. W. Wallace moved into the place vacated by Tupper which he purchased last fall. Ray Johnson moved into the place vacated by Wallace which he has purchased. We understand that Mrs. Hubbard expects to live in her cottage vacated by Ray Johnson.

Art Schuchart moved from the south part of town to his new home two blocks west of Kranbuchl's furniture store.

Clifford and Clarence Milne have started farming on the Andrew Milne place vacated by William Harms. Their grandfather is helping them get started. They are two good boys and though young will undoubtedly make good at farm management.

Are you dizzy yet? My vision of living in this small town in the 60s and 70s was that nothing ever changed much. Either I was wrong or the 1910s were a very different time than the 70s in terms of people moving around!

Entertainment

Dysart Reporter March 5, 1914

Dysart Reporter March 5, 1914

Dysart Reporter March 5, 1914

.

The News From Dysart and North Central Iowa – Last Week of February 1914

The News From Dysart and North Central Iowa
Last Week of February 1914

Awful Tragedy in Clutier

"Clutier had her periodical tragedy Saturday night - the most appalling of all"

Traer Star Clipper February 27, 1914

Bohemian Hall

Reports have been received of the tragic events which occurred on Saturday, February 21, in Clutier. It was reported that two young men who had apparently been drinking got into an altercation at the Corwin Restaurant. In an effort to preserve order, the marshal Tom Weaver arrested one of the men, Charlie Krezek, at about 10 p.m. Krezek and three companions had come to Clutier from Traer about 4 p.m. Saturday to take in a dance. They arrived early in the evening, but Krezek had not been at the dance when arrested. The marshal locked him up in the town jail for the night as a dance was in progress at the Bohemian Hall. Presumably the marshal was needed at that location also.

Train Station

Clutier Train Station

At 11:40 p.m. when the night passenger train arrived, several young men from Traer including Ray McNeal, John Andrews, Louis Caslavka, Wayne Evans and a Mr. Fillersich who were on their way to the dance discovered the jail on fire as it is near the depot. About this time other parties from up town learned of the blaze. All set to work to rescue Krezek who was fast becoming engulfed in flames. Using a timber, the front door was battered down, but this did not liberate the poisoner. There were two rooms in the jail, and he was in the second, behind a door of iron bars which opened outward. In vain did the crowd labor in every effort to batter away this door. In a sad twist of fate, it is reported that Charlie recognized the boys who had come to his aide and they recognized him. He begged them for help in escaping and by all accounts they did all that they could do to help him.

Marshal Weaver had been summoned in the meantime but when he arrived the flames were shooting through the barred door, and he was unable to unlock it. Several attempts were made to break in through the barred window on the north side of the building without success. The fire company was called out and as the village has a good waterworks system water was soon playing upon the flames and the frame of the building was saved although the inside was badly gutted.

As soon as the heat had subsided so that it was possible to unlock the door Frank Roubicek rushed in and carried out the body of Charlies Krezek. Roubicek was overcome with smoke himself and a doctor was summoned to care for him. Krezek had doubtless died of smoke inhalation before the fire reached him. The body was taken to the undertaker's until Dr. Redmond could arrive on Sunday morning.

Clutier Jail

In April of 1914, Joe Seda of Traer, was awarded a contract to build a new cement block, fireproof, jail in Clutier. This building still stands today.

Several erroneous reports circulated after the event. There seems to be nothing in the story that the marshal could not find the key to the door or that there was a fire in the stove. The blaze started in the room where the poisoner was while the stove was in the first rom. All the evidence indicates that Krezek started the blaze by setting fire to the mattress. It is supposed his idea was to start a fire and call to people upon the street and thus be liberated as he had done this on a previous occasion. He had set fire in a jail in the past and had been able to escape with another poisoner. At that time, he was rescued unhurt and fined $25.00.

On Monday, the 23rd, Dr. Redmond, of Dysart, the county coroner, empaneled a jury and held an inquest. The jurors were Ferdinand Mundt, W.M. Kokesh, and J.F. Kubaleck. A dozen men were called to testify, several being Traer fellows. The jury's verdict was as follows: "we find that said deceased came to his death on February 21st between 10 and 12 o'clock at Clutier, Iowa, by being burned, said fire was in our opinion, caused by deceased. We do further find that he did not come to his death feloniously and that a crime has not been committed on deceased"

The young man whose death thus came so tragically is a son of Mr. and Mrs. Mike Krezek, one of the old residents and well to do citizens of the Clutier neighborhood. He was 24 years of age. He has been employed by various farmers in late years. Since Christmas he has been working at Will Whitmore's four miles northeast of Traer.

Cemetery

Editor's Note: I was not able to locate the exact cemetery that Charlie is buried in. This is a view from a rural cemetery in Tama County between Clutier and Toledo

The deceased is survived by his aged parents, four brothers and five sisters. One brother, John, lives in Utah and he and his wife were notified and arrived in time for the funeral which was held Wednesday the 25th, forenoon at the home in Clutier. Father Broz of the St. Francis church west of town was the officiant. There was a large attendance of sympathizing friends, whose floral offerings were liberal and beautiful. The body was too badly burned to be shown. Burial was in the cemetery at the St. Francis church.

Clutier was founded in 1900 by a railroad promotor named William E. Brice. The town is named after Mr. Brice's sister and brother-in-law, Bertram and Maude Clutier. It was primarily a Czech settlement. It is home to the last remaining lodge building in Iowa tied to the original Western Bohemian Fraternal Association and is shown in the photo above. Tama County economic development commission

Farmer's Fair Organized in Cedar Falls

The Commercial Club of Cedar Falls has voted to organize the Cedar Valley District Fair Association which includes memberships from nine nearby counties. Efforts had been made to join this group with the Dairy Cattle Congress, but this met with great resistance from the people of Waterloo. Subscriptions are being sold to fund the organization and sixty acres of land have been purchased near the Iowa State Teacher's College.

Fair

Traer Star Clipper - August 27, 1915

 

Business News

McDevitt & Smythe's Big Sale

Saturday morning the Meggers Co. Store will open for business under the new firm of McDevitt & Smythe. The store has been closed for the past two weeks and the stock has been gone over and made ready for the sale being launched. The sale will last for thirteen days and the bargains will no doubt be taken quick.

Final Test Today:

The final test of the electric light plant is being made today. Professor Hill, Dysart's elecctric engineer is here and has been going over the work with the councilmen. The large engine at the plant was not in the best working order a week ago but for the past several days it has been running better, a couple of factory men having had it in charge. The street lights have been working fine lately and we have heard no complaints about the lights in residences.

Blacksmith Shop Changes Owners

Olmstead Brothers, Ray and Bob, have purchased the blacksmith shop formerly owned by J. G. Temple and they expect to open for business Monday, March 2.

New Electric Sign

"Movies" is the sign in front of the electric theater. It is an electric sign placed there Saturday and is drawing a lot of attention. Within a short time we will see more electric signs over the street. Dysart is getting to be some city, if you don't believe it ask us!

Farm News

Dr. Burns of Traer came down Tuesday morning and vaccinated 23 calves for James Wilson. A number of farmers northeast of town have lost some calves with the black leg and Jim wanted to be on the safe side by vaccinating.

Blackleg or Blackquarter or Clostridial myositis is an acute infectious disease clostridium chauvoei (bacteria) and characterized by swelling, usually in the bulky muscles, severe toxemia, and high mortality rate. The disease is acute, causing fever, and highly fatal in cattle and sheep. Blackleg is a worldwide disease and mainly affects cattle. thevetexpert.com

Social Happenings

Henry Schuett Back to U.S.

By the following letter, we learn that Henry Schuett, who has been making his home in Germany for some time has gotten homesick and will soon be in America. "Dear Sir: Will let you know that I am coming back to Iowa. Will leave Hamburg on the 26th of February on the steamer Auguste Victoria, therefore do not send any Reporter to Germany after you get this letter. I got homesick all at once and now there is no place like America. Yours respectfully, Henry Schuett."

John Krug Shares Trip Details

John Krug

John Krug 1864-1947. Photo from findagrave.com

John Krug called in the Reporter office the other day and was telling some of his experiences on his recent trip to Portland, Oregon. He was out there about three weeks and spent the time visiting with relatives and seeing the country. Around where his relatives live, it is mostly timber. Dairying is carried on most extensively. John had a couple cousins interested in large sawmills. The roads there are not worked and are always in bad condition. The timber being so plentiful they use planks to cover the roads, calling such roads "corduroy roads." Now they are graveling some of the main roads, but this proves very slow and expensive. John says the city of Portland is experiencing pretty hard times. Many men are out of work and the men who are steady workers are cut down to three days per week. He says the way the people account for that condition is that the men that do not want work come there to spend the winter where the climate is warm. on account of that the vice districts are overcrowded, and people have to be careful where they are and hang on to their pocketbooks. John said he was very careful and never went out on his own.

Tonsillectomy

Verl Hite went to Waterloo Tuesday morning to have his tonsils removed. He has been bothered with them for some time and expects to get along better without them.

Box Social in Bruce Township

There will be a box social at Bruce Township School Number 9, 6 miles east of Dysart on Friday night, March 6. The program will commence at 7:45 p.m. Ladies please bring supper for two and Gents bring their pocketbooks. Miss Blanche Tharpe, Treasurer.

Church News

Evangelical Church Upgrades to Electric Lighting

Church

The Evangelical Church building as it appears today. /the church is now known as the Dysart United Methodist Church

Several improvements at the Evangelical church and parsonage which have been in progress for some time are now completed. Electric lights and quarter sawn oak floors were added to the parsonage. Electric lights were added to the church. The ladies aid society sponsored the improvements to the parsonage. The Young People's Alliance paid for the fixtures at the church and the trustees shouldered the rest for the congregation. Semi-direct light is used in the church which is the most practical and up to date now on the market.

Entertainment

Grand Masquerade Dance

Advertising

Dysart's New Store

To the Public

The News From Dysart – Third Week of February 1914

The News From Dysart – Third Week of February 1914

Tama County Pioneers Celebrate Anniversary

Waterloo Courier February 26, 1914

Waterloo Courier February 26, 1914

Mr. and Mrs. Hugh Brase, currently of Jesup, recently celebrated their 59th wedding anniversary. Mr. Brash was born August 4, 1831, near Edenborough, Scotland. At the age of 3, he came to Canada with his family. At the age of 17, he returned to Scotland with the intention of going to Australia to seek his fortune in the mines. His mother persuaded him to return to Canada with them.
Mrs. Brash, whose maiden name was Isabella MacKilligan, was born in 1835. The couple married in 1855 near Blandford, Ontario. In 1869, the couple came to Iowa, arriving first in Cedar Rapids. They purchased a team and a wagon, loaded all of their belongings and started across the prairie some 45 to 50 miles west. They purchased lumber in Tama to build their first home and outbuildings. Their farm consisted of 332 acres and was located in the Northwest corner of Tama County.

The Waterloo Courier notes, "Mr. and Mrs. Brash have lived, to see Traer, Dysart, Reinbeck and Gladbrook grow into thriving little cities." They retired from the farm and moved first to Reinbeck and then to Jesup where their daughter lives.

Iowa State Penitentiary Finds Success Paying Prisoners for Work

Paying prisoners for their work within the walls of the Fort Madison Penitentiary has now been tried long enough to prove the venture successful. Those convicts earning salaries are employed on the new cell house including electricians, wirers, plumbers, plasterers, steam fitters mechanics and iron workers.

Civil War Medals

Civil War Medal

Civil War Medal

Charles A. Wright of Keokuk is wearing the first medal to be procured in that area from the mint in accordance with the provision of an act of congress giving the old soldiers of the civil war a medal. The medal was established in 1905 commemorating the 40th anniversary of the war. To qualify a soldier had to serve between April 15, 1861, and April 9, 1865. The metal is both blue and grey signifying both the Union and Confederacy.

Business News

Stepping Stones in Time

Stepping Stones in Time

H.P. Jensen has returned to Dysart to act as manager of the Tama Benton Grain Company. He is taking over for Will Milne who has retired. Nick Hansen, who is well known to Dysart people returned to Dysart last week and will work for Mr. Jensen at the grain office .Mr. Hansen came from California where he has been employed for some time by an oil company.

 

New Business Incorporated in Town

Ruthenberg Clothing Co. recently filed papers of incorporation. The amount of capital is $10,000.

 

Dysart Firm Changes Hands

J.H. Lindeman has sold his store to George H. McDevitt and Will J. Smythe of Cedar Rapids. The store will be closed until a thorough re-arrangement is completed, stocks re-marked and overhauled in preparation for the opening sale. This is one of the oldest stores throughout the section. H.P. Jensen who has just returned to manage the co-op was the first man connected with the store and later F. H. Freshe and Frank Meggers owned the store under the name of Freshe & Meggers and after Mr. Freshe retired, Will Meggers was taken into the firm. After the senior Mr. Meggers died, the name was changed to The Meggers Company. Mr. J.H. Lindeman only recently acquired the store and is now selling to the new owners.

 

Player Piano Now Available

Player Piano
C. B. White has installed an electric player piano in his café and when the electric plant is in operation, the piano is dispensing music to the public. It is an easy matter to hear good music. Just drop a nickel in the slot and the music starts.

Farm News

Several hogs were shipped to Cedar Rapids and Chicago. Farmers whose hogs were shipped include Fred Elliott, George Bunz, Theo. Heckt, E. A. Huppert, George Melhouse, C. Seebach, Adam Herwig, Joe Raudabaugh, George Burr and Wilson Brothers. Other farmers shipping out livestock include Charles Vaubel, Jones Brothers, Ed Cox, Frank & Roy Burhenn, Ollie Jones and Earl Vaubel.

Hog Cholera Effects Local Iowa Farmers

Reports from around the state show that last year 2,827,907 hogs valued at $33,000,000 in were lost due to hog cholera. This is effecting all 99 counties. Benton County shows a loss of 22% of its hogs or a total loss of 28,000. Tama County suffered a loss of 28% of the hogs or 31,608 hogs.

Social Happenings

In a letter from Hans Wieck at Taopi, Minnesota, written Sunday he says; "It is snowing here today although the winter so far has been a soft one. With the exception of mother, who is sick now, we have been getting along nicely. There are plenty of good farms for sale here at good prices."

Henry Gunderman and Carrie Thiele were married last week. They were married at the home of Charles Thiele on Main Street. The bride is the only daughter of one of Dysart's most highly respected families. The groom is the son of Mrs. Henry Gunderman. Henry had a neat little house built on his farm south of Dysart this past summer and the couple will make their home there.

The town of Elberon currently has no houses available for rent or sale. The postmaster Jesse Shugart has moved his family to Marshalltown where they will remain as there is no place for them to live in that town currently.

Valentines

About sixteen couples enjoyed a Valentine party at the home of Miss Agnes Kesl last Friday evening. The rooms were gaily decorated with red paper hearts and cupids, sixteen of the former were strung on a card across the open doorway and the gentlemen were given a bow and arrow and each in turn was requested to pierce one of the hearts on which he would find the name of the lady who was to be his partner for the evening. Much fun was had at the expense of the gentlemen's skill with the bow and arrow but after many trials all succeeded in securing a heart and likewise a partner. The evening was a round of merriment from beginning to end. A delicious three course supper was served including brick ice cream through the center of which was a pink heart.

School News

Pony

Internet Image - Not from Dysart

The seventh grade enjoyed a bob ride Tuesday evening. Misses Wild and Zika chaperoned the crowd. The class is indebted to John Kersten for his kindness in furnishing the team and bob and doing the driving. The fourth and fifth graders also were treated to a bob ride by Walter Leo.

Big School Entertainment

Entertainment

Socialism

 

Advertising Directed at Your Aches and Pains
Maybe it's because of the winter blahs but there is a lot of advertising this week directed at curing your ills!

Pills

Weak WomenCouigh MedicineTapeworm

The News From Dysart – First Two Weeks of February 1914

The News From Dysart - First Two Weeks of February 1914

City News

At a regular monthly meeting the Town Council reviewed a number of applications for the position of Superintendent of the Eclectic Light Plant. W.D Crowl was hired at a salary of $76.00 per month. George Geyer was hired as night man and will continue his position as Marshall. He will draw a salary of $75.00 per month. Mr Crowl has been at work doing electrical work since last November. He is a young man who came here from Chicago. Mr. Geyer has been in the employment of the city for seven years. Mr. Geyer will be performing the task of meter reading and collecting fees which he will deposit with Mr. Irvin Moeller at the Dysart Savings Bank. Residents who pay their fee before the 10th of the month will recieve a 10% discount on their bill. The electrical engineer will be in town next week to test the equipment. The planned date for opening the plant is February 18.

 

Business News

House Beautiful 1914

House Beautiful 1914

John Mowery is working on a proposal to supply Dysart people with ice at retail during the coming summer. His plan is to deliver by team every day, as Dysart currently has no ice dealer.

Farm News

Shroeder & Goken shipped eleven cars of cattle to the market. Carloads were received from Henry Fischer, E.N Riddlesbarger, August Jansen, Henry Siemens, Dengler and Schreck, Lorenz Lorenzen, Albert Witt, Rudolf Siemens and Ben Lorenzen.

G. J. Monroe purchased a yearling filly from W. H. Bechtold, of Breese, Illinois and had the colt shipped here last week by express. Mr. Monroe believes he has added a fine animal to his bunch of fine horses.

T. B. Grain Co & Marsau shipped nine carloads of hogs from Dysart last week. They received carload lots from H.P. Jensen, John and Ed Powell, Dan Rinker, Peter Untiedt, Frank Bragonier and John Hack.

Dave Reddick shipped a load of fine horses from Dysart to Thomas at Waterloo. There were seventeen and he was paid an average of nearly $20 per head.

Wilson Bros. are advertising a closing out sale to be held Febuary 13th. They will sell 21 horses, 74 head of cattle, 100 hogs and their farm machinery.

Social Happenings

Fred Steaffler and his seven-year-old son of Sheyboygan, Wisc., came last week for a visit with Fred's sisters Mrs. Charles (Emma) Burmeister, Mrs. Henry (Wilhelmina) Kusel and Mrs. John (Caroline) Selk. Mr. Steaffler has sold his farm in Wisconsin, and he expects to spend several months here in Dysart.

Mr. and Mrs. Erwin Moeller of Dysart were in Cedar Rapids yesterday. They came to attend the meeting last night of the White Shrine No. 1 an organization recently formed by members of the Eastern Star. Mr. Moeller is cashier of the Dysart Savings bank

Editor's Note: The Order of the White Shrine of Jerusalem started in 1894 in Illinois. The organization continues today, and their website says they provide funding for medical care.

School News

The Senior Class of 1914 is beginning their preparations for graduation. They had several evening meetings where they decorated the the west end of the assembly room in the school colors of black and orange which included a dinner of oyster stew. Their class motto is "Work and Win" They have agreed to perform a modernized version of the Merchant of Venice as their Senior Class play in April.

Iowa State Gazetteer and Business Directory

Iowa State Gazetteer and Business Directory

Some of the students have been out looking at colleges for post-graduation. Dewey Thiele recently traveled to Waterloo explore the Waterloo College of Commerce where he may go to improve his salesmanship skills. Jane Heinrich has gone on a visit to Iowa Falls where she is considering going after graduation.
Editor's Note: For more information on the Waterloo Business College, you can visit: https://www.lostcolleges.com/waterloo-business-college

Hawk

In what may have served as inspiration for Alfred Hitchcock, a female teacher in Wales was recently attached by a hawk which flew in through an open window in her classroom. The bird was clinging to her blouse and was only dislodged with difficulty when a male teacher came to her rescue. The bird is now in a cage in one of the classrooms.

Entertainment

Deaths

John Kavalier formerly employed as a section hand at Chelsea, Vining and Elberon, died at the home of his sister, Mrs. John Ash, in Dysart last week. He had been living with his sister for the past couple of years due to illness and had been seriously sick for several months. He was bedfast for only two weeks. Yellow jaundice was the cause.

John Kavalier was born in Bohemia in 1871. He came to America with his parents when he was six years old and settled with them near Vining, Iowa. He was married in 1895 to Mary Korble who died six years ago on the 8th of February. He was very superstitious about that date and stated to friends that if he could live till then he felt that he would get well. But he had not the strength to live till that date. Born to this union are the sons, George and Albert. When he was first married, he lived at Chelsea where he worked on the section. From there he moved to Vining and then to Elberon, continuing his section work at those places. He was at that work for about thirteen years. After his wife died, he has been making his home around Dysart with his relatives and working for those that needed his help.

Mr. Kavalier was well known among the farmers in this vicinity. He was a willing worker and those that have been used to his help will miss him greatly. Tuesday morning, a short prayer was made at the John Ash home by A. R. Kepple and the body was taken to Elberon where the funeral was held at the Methodist church. The services were conducted by Rev. Powell, of the Evangelical church of Vining, the same minister that conducted the services over the body of the mother of the two orphan boys. Interment was made in the National cemetery, five miles southwest of Elberon.

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Neighbors Protecting Neighbors

Neighbors Protecting Neighbors

Fire Protection in The Early Years

"Neighbors noticed that the home of Mrs. Martin Kerner was afire and the fire bell was rung. The company was called out but when the men got there some of the neighbors had nearly extinguished the fire with water buckets. The fire was caused by a faulty flue and had not been noticed by the family until their neighbors sounded the alarm. Not much damage was done. The Reporter states that the fire company was on hand with hose carts and the men were in their places as they had practiced. This was only the second fire since a new system was put in place and in both instances the homes had not sustained much damage. It is reported that there are thirty men in the fire department. The officers are: Chief John Keel, Secretary Iver Shupe (1871-1957), and Treasurer Ed Schmidt. (1887-1981). " Dysart Reporter February 12, 1914

This was not Dysart's first experience with fire, and it would not be the last. In February of 1875 a fire had broken out at the large elevator of Brown, Doty, and Company and destroyed much of the building and contents. This fire was fought by town residents and also several farmers who lived close to town. Although the building had been insured, the contents which belonged to several areas farmers was not. It was estimated at the time to be a loss of between $8,000 and $10,000 to these farmers.

Realizing that a fire on the Main Street would quickly spread and devour all the businesses at once, the city organized a hook and ladder company in 1878. A hook and ladder company tears part of the structure down while it is on fire in order to contain the spread of that fire. They have no other equipment available to them.

Dysart Firemen

In July of 1882, the Traer Star Clipper reported that a massive fire in Dysart that claimed six businesses. "About 3 o'clock in the morning a bright blaze was noticed in Manrid & Haney's Drug Store, by a gentleman who was watching the sick. He quickly gave the alarm and a crowd was soon on the scene working valiantly - women included - but the fire had become too strong a force to be controlled." The drug store burned down. The wind was from the south. The building next to it on the north was made of bricks so between the wind and the bricks, that building was spared. However, on the south side stores caught fire one after another until four had been consumed. The buildings included a saloon belonging to William Seefield; a grocery belonging to Mrs. Horton and occupied by Sult and Company. the Welcome Mowry's Store occupied by Pinkerton Drug Store, and a meat market, A barber shop was pulled down to save other buildings. A livery stable on the west side of the street caught fire and burned. This belonged to Joseph Furrow. The horses were rescued but three sleighs were destroyed. The wooden addition to Federson's store was burned and his good damaged. The total loss was estimated at $20,000. The Star Clipper concluded, "They have no fire protection whatsoever, and it was only by hard work (of the citizens) that the fire was finally checked. Most of the stores will be rebuilt, some of brick." A Remington Fire Engine was purchased in 1883.

Remington Fire Engine

In 1886 bylaws were established and the company was named the "Pioneer Engine Company". At first, the fire engine was pulled to the location of the fire and the water was pumped by hand from cisterns which were located around town. The machine was pumped by three or four men on each side of the machine similar to a hand car on the railroad. There were two cisterns on Main Street, one by the schoolhouse, one by the elevators and at several other places. A prize of $5.00 was given to the first team that got to the engine and got hitched up. The work was so hard that one team could only stand to pump for a few minutes at a time.

After a citywide water system was created, small hose carts were used which were pulled by teams of men and the races to see which team would arrive at a fire first continued. In 1887, a report to the city indicated the Pioneer Engine Company had the following equipment: One horse, one hand power Remington Engine with two suctions and two horses and six hand levers. Also one axe, two sledges, four iron stakes, two spanners, four braces, two chains, two wrenches, one lamp, one oil can, two sec. whiffletrees (pivoted swinging bar to which the traces of a harness are fastened and by which a vehicle or implement is drawn) and one neck yoke.

Dysart's First Fire Department

In 1889, the fire department was reorganized and became the Dysart Fire Department. Membership was limited to 40 members: 18 assigned to Engine Force, 12 to hose and 10 to hook and ladder. In that same year, they were able to purchase a Running Cart.

In 1890, a second big fire occurred in April. This fire was also reported in the Traer Star Clipper. "Our sister town of Dysart was visited by a disastrous fire early Sunday morning, which laid waste to the greater portion of one side of the main business block. In a reprint from the Dysart Reporter, "Sunday morning between 12:30 and 1:15 o'clock fire was discovered in the restaurant of Mrs. Weigle, a widow lady. The fire had gained such headway that nothing was saved from the building, the occupants having barely time to escape with their lives. From the restaurant the fire spread both north and south. On the south were J. T. Drayton's Jewelry Store and J. T. Kranbuehl's Furniture Store, which were soon enveloped in flames. Much goods were saved from these two buildings, though in a considerably damaged condition. Adjoining the restaurant on the north was Marsau's Meat Market, from which nothing was saved due to close proximity to the origin of the fire. Following the meat market, four more building succumbed to the devouring element - Mrs. Julia Duncan's dressmaking establishment, Joseph Furrow's Meat Market, lately leased to H.W. Lahmon; Stewart & Drayton's Harness Shop, Cody & Wench's Millinery establishment, and J. Kullmer's Clothing House." Most of the goods in these buildings were removed, although much was damaged. By the time the flames reached the Kullmer building the good work of the fire company and bucket brigade had the fire well under control. Had the water supply been sufficient the loss might not have been so great. "The fire department fought the fire heroically and are deserving of much credit....Three hours had wrought a disastrous work, and the Sabbath morning dawned on the smoldering embers of nine business houses and the homes of several families." The loss added up to about $12,000. Most the businesses had no insurance.

In 1918, the use of chemicals was added to the arsenal of tools the Fire Department had available to fight fires and improved their efficiency. This had the capacity to carry 45 gallons, claiming to be equal to 18,000 gallons of water, and could force a stream of chemicals 80 feet into the air.

In 1920, a new fire truck was purchased and a telephone system of alerting firefighters was add. Previous to this the department was dependent on a bell system. The first motorized fire truck was purchased in 1929.

The Dysart Rural Fire Company was organized in 1932 and each member was assessed a fee of $10 so they could purchase a fire engine. Moving forward from 1931 both departments progressed in their methods and purchase of equipment. They joined forces in 1963 when they jointly purchased a Ford Econoline truck. The present day Community Fire Station was opened in 1969.

Dysart Fire Department Shield

As a child growing up in a small town in the 1960s and 1970s, our firefighters were integral to so many area of our lives. They contributed heavily to the sense of safety that we enjoyed as children. They not only protected us from fires, but they guarded us from the weather by spending long hours out in the country watching for tornados. They responded to emergencies of all kinds and manned our ambulance service. They were the first ones out after storms and sounded all clear when it was safe for the rest of us to venture out.
They, with the support of their families, offered important social functions through dances and breakfasts and fire safety demonstrations at our schools. I cannot imagine how much time these men and their families sacrificed for all of us.

They practiced their skills by doing controlled burns on abandoned houses which when you are a ten-year-old straddling your stingray bicycle is a pretty big deal in a small town. Sometimes they sponsored contests with other area firefighters where each could hone their craft while still providing entertainment for the rest of us.

They were the good guys. They were present and provided comfort in people's toughest times and they contributed greatly to our corporate celebrations. They drove their trucks in parades and lit the fireworks on July 4. They were the other adults in your world who you could identify and knew could and would help you if you were in need. Many people have served the town of Dysart over the years as firefighters and first responders. They still do. All of their contributions are noteworthy but to me the term firefighter means Harold, the Dons, Leo, Gordon, the Bobs, Ralph, Terry, Dick, Ray and Steve and many others who added so much to the tapestry of our lives.

The News From Dysart – Last Two Weeks of January 1914

The News From Dysart - Last Two Weeks of January 1914

Top Stories

Electricity Will Soon Start Flowing Throughout Town

The local paper reported that Dysart was soon going to become one of the towns to be favored with electricity, "the force that no man can define, yet which can be used to great advantage." According to "Stepping Stones in Time" in 1901 a hot air engine was placed in the gas plant to manufacture enough gas so all lights could be used at once. In early 1909 the city installed a new boiler for the gas works, to heat the water for mixing with the gas and a notable improvement was realized. The electrical plant construction was approved in 1913 by special election.

In January 1914, the Dysart paper reported that Dysart's citizens has always been "quite energetic" about municipal improvements. The building which was to house the mechanicals needed to generate power was nearing completion at the corner of Tilford and Wilson, just south of the railroad tracks. To the left of the building were the supply tanks which stored the 10,000 gallons of fuel needed to run the engines. The fuel cost the city five and a half centers per gallon and it was believed that two tanks would be needed per year.

The Dysart Reporter gave this account:

In February of 1914 it was reported that Ernest Hix put a concrete floor in the electric power plant. In March, there appears to have been some conflict over the cost of the plant prompting the project manager to write an open letter to the Reporter, clarifying costs. The total cost of the plant was $13,411.44. The plant at first ran 24 hours a day on Tuesday and Wednesday "for the benefit of those using electric irons."

In October the city posted a notice in the Reporter asking that all residents, business and churches turn on all their lights between 6 p.m. and 7 p.m. so that the Alamo Engine Works of Omaha could test the engines at the plant.

On December 30, 1915, in a special session of the City Council met to consider the purchase of electric current from the Iowa Railway & Light Company of Cedar Rapids which was approved for the next 20 years. The Council disposed of the local equipment for $3500.

Harold Langbehn

Editor’s Note: When I look at that building, I always think of our old neighbor and longtime city employee, Harold Langbehn. As a child when I passed by, I would always look over to see if I could see him with his signature cap.

Growing Economic Troubles in the Cities Start to Find Their Way to Dysart

"A well-dressed man was put off of a train here Tuesday morning and at noon he was up against the question of something to eat without any money. He started out to get a dinner and was successful after stopping at the fourth place. We talked with the fellow and he said he was on his way from Minneapolis to Kansas City, was a boiler maker by trade and was looking for work. He said that work was harder to get than he had experienced for fifteen years. Men in Minneapolis are being fed through what ar called "soup houses" and stopping at Mason City and a couple of other towns he said everything was shut against outside help and a good bit of the local help. We hpe these hard times in the cities let up soon." Dysart Reporter

Dr. and Mrs. Lames Continue Their Recovery

Dr. and Mrs. G. Lames who were injured in a serious auto accident are recovering. Both are able to be around. Monday, Dr. Lames was taken to Waterloo for x-ray pictures of his fractured arm. The pictures showed a very complicated fracture and dislocation. On Tuesday H.P. Jensen accompanied him to Chicago where Dr. Murphy, one of the greatest surgeons in the world, could fix up the arm.

Business News

Seven car loads of ice were shipped down from Traer this week and the buyers have been unloading it and packing it into their ice houses. Ed Gleim purchased three cars, E.B. White two cars, Charles Santman and John Messer each one car.

Farm News

The train yards have been very busy of late. Several carloads of livestock were shipped recently. Nate Burhenn sent two cars of cattle and a car of hogs, T.B. Grain Co and Marsau a car of hogs, W.C. Heineman a car of cattle, O.J. Smith two cars of cattle. W.C. Heineman and Nate Burhenn accompanied the shipment to Chicago. H.P. Jensen also shipped two cars of cattle to Chicago.

John Hahn, one of the prominent farmers west of Dysart, has rented his farm and sold his stock and machinery to his sons. He and Mrs. Hahn are making plans to travel through the western states this year.

R. B. Allard, who has farmed northeast of town for many years, has decided to sell his farm machinery and household goods and move to Texas. An ad for this sale appears in this paper.

Social Happenings

Bridal Veil - 1914

Benjamin E. Pippert and Marie Schmidt Wed

Dysart's Orphan Train Children

Orphan Train

Copies of Ben and his sibling's story are available by contacting The Dysart Historical Center at https://www.dysarthistoricalcenter.com/

William Struve and Louisa Koepke, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Claus Koepke were married at the German Lutheran parsonage. The bride was born and raised to womanhood here. Mr. Struve is a stock buyer in Elberon. The party came to Dysart in an auto and returned immediately after the ceremony.

"A merry crowd of Bohemian ladies surprised Mrs. Jim Ulrich at her home Saturday evening and had a feather stripping bee and spent a very happy evening."


Editor's Note: One of our readers has provided a link for you to learn more about feather stripping bees. Although this one is from Poland, one would guess it was very similar for the Czechs. : Thank you, Joan https://www.sophieknab.com/blog/stripping-feathers-in-old-poland

The young son of Mr. and Mrs. Fred luze was baptized and christened a week ago last Sunday. Rev. Christiansen performed the ceremony in the presence of relatives. The boy was named Carl Henry.

 

Entertainment

Henderson Stock Co. Performs at Opera House

The Henderson Stock Company played all last week at the opera house and enjoyed good crowds. The plays each night was good. Many people went to the opera house on Saturday expecting to see Dora Thorne (a play) but instead a very funny mistaken identity comedy was staged. The crowd seemed well pleased. Mrs. Holtz held the lucky number on the pig which was given away the last night and Albert Miller went on the stage and caught it with as much ease as he would were he in his barnyard. The audience expected to see a lively chase around the house but was disappointed. R. Henderson stated that it was his intention to come back to Dysart in the Spring. Editor's Note: Were they chasing a live pig around the Opera House?

Deaths

They don't write obituaries like this one anymore....


Rosetta Mae Heath Smith Stoner 12/18/1888-4/22/1980

Editor's Note: William Smith's widow, Etta, was remarried in 1915 to Sylvan Stoner and lived in Dysart under the name of Etta Stoner until her death in 1980. Etta was my neighbor when I was growing up in Dysart and I have written some of my memories about her in another post on this website entitled "I Think I Finally Understand Etta Stoner".

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