Posts Tagged ‘Iowa’

Halloween Days Not Forgotten

October 31, 2011

Just some old-fashioned fun!

The Spirit Lake Beacon (Spirit Lake, Iowa) Oct 29, 1931

Pepper Martin and the St. Louis Cardinals win the World Series!

The Alton Democrat (Alton, Iowa) Oct 30, 1931

BOO! — Shortages, Inflation, Invasion!

The Alton Democrat (Alton, Iowa) Oct 31, 1941

There is No Death

March 31, 2011



There is no death! the stars go down
To rise upon some other shore,
And bright in Heaven’s jeweled crown,
They shine forevermore.

There is no death! the dust we tread,
Shall change, beneath the summer showers,
To golden grain, or mellow fruit,
Or rainbow-tinted flowers.

The granite rocks disorganize
To feed the hungry moss they bear;
The forest leaves drink daily life
From out the viewless air.

There is no death! the leaves may fall,
The flowers may fade and pass away;
They only wait, through wintry hours,
The coming of the May.

There is no death! an angel form
Walks o’er the earth with silent tread;
He bears our best-loved things away,
And then we call them dead.

He leaves our hearts all desolate,
He plucks our fairest, sweetest flowers,
Transplanted into bliss, they now
Adorn immortal bowers.

The birdlike voice, whose joyous tones
Made glad the scene of sin and strife,
Sings now its everlasting song
Amid the trees of life.

Where’er he sees a smile too bright
Or soul too pure for taint or vice,
He bears it to that world of light
To dwell in Paradise.

Born into that undying life,
They leave us but to come again;
With joy we welcome them the same
Except in sin and pain.

And ever near us, though unseen,
The dear, immortal spirits tread —
For all the boundless universe
Is Life — there are no dead!

Colorado Springs Gazette (Colorado Springs, Colorado) Dec 11, 1910



He Is J.L. McCreery, of Iowa — He Is a Clerk in the Office of the Assistant Attorney General — He Has Also Written a Book of Poems.

MEL R. COLQUITT writes to the Atlanta Constitution as follows: A few months ago I saw in the Constitution in answers to correspondents the reply as to who wrote the poem, “There Is No Death.” The answer attributed the poem to Bulwer, as usual — I say as usual, for it is surprising in view of the publicity given to the real authorship that the mistake still be made. As I am personally acquainted with the writer of those noble lines, I propose to set the matter at rest for all time. As grown people are as susceptible to the logic and object lessons of pictures as children are, I send with this a photograph of the author. Mr. J.L. McCreery, of Iowa, the poet, author of hte verses in question, and of a volume of poems entitled “Songs of Toil and Triumph,” has been for years a clerk in the office of the assistant attorney-general for the department of the interior.

His own story of the poem and the many controversies that have arisen concerning it is told in a delightfully clear and entertaining manner in “Annals of Iowa,” a historical quarterly, published by the historical department of Iowa in October, 1893. His story is extremely candid and told with winning frankness, as he goes most carefully into his own criticism of his poem and shows in verse after verse how revision and improvement finally let to its perfect thought and form. It was written in the early spring of 1863, when Mr. McCreery was living in Delaware county, Iowa. It was sent to Arthur’s Home Magazine, Philadelphia, and appeared in that monthly in the number for July, 1863 — Vol. 22, page 41.

The poem was shortly reprinted in The Delaware County Journal (Mr. McCreery’s own paper) and credited to Arthur Home Magazine. A writer for the Farmer’s Advocate, then published in Chicago, contributed to that paper an article on “Immorality,” concluding his prose article with Mr. McCreery’s lines. The name of the writer of the essay was Eugene Bulmer, and it was signed at the end, or after the quoted poem, with no credit given to the poet, no quotation marks used.

A friend of Mr. McCreery’s wrote at once to the editor of the Farmer’s Advocate, claiming the poem for the rightful owner, but it was too late. A Wisconsin paper had cut off the poetry from the article and printed it with the name of E. Bulmer attached, then another Wisconsin editor desired to reprint it, and supposing that he had discovered an error in the types, changed the “m” to a “w” and so the mischief was done, and to Lord Edward Bulwer Lytton, of England, who had never seen or heard of the matter, the fine poem was accredited. A few years ago Lippincott’s Magazine in its department of One Hundred Questions, asked the authorship of the much disputed verses and the magazine decided, June, 1889, page 918, that Mr. McCreery wrote them.

Lima News (Lima, Ohio) May 14, 1898

[Excerpt – omitted parts repeating same information from above article]

And thus it was that the world came into the possession of a poem by Sir Edward Bulwer-Lytton through carelessness and unbeknown to the English Litterateur. The name of Bulwer attached gave to the poem an immediate notoriety, and in a very short time it was being copied all over the country, and from American journals was recopied in England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales and Australia, and probably every other country where the English language is known.

Its merit was recognized, and it began to appear in school books and in various collections of poetry, and all this time the author stood silently by and saw his words credited to Lord Lytton. Whenever an opportunity offered, however, he asserted his title to the poem, and although the public received his statements incredulously, yet his claims called for an investigation.

In the year 1870 Harper  & Brothers included the poem in one of their school readers, accrediting it to Bulwer-Lytton. When the author discovered it, he called the attention of the publishers to the mistake, and in order to thoroughly satisfy themselves of the error, they addressed a letter to Owen Meredith, the son of Lord Lytton, asking whether or not his father had written the poem. In reply he stated that his father had not written it, and moreover neither he nor any of his family had ever heard of it.

Upon the receipt of this letter, Harper & Brothers wrote to Mr. McCreery as follows:

“An order was sent today to change the plates of our school reader by announcing you as the author of “There Is No Death.” I am glad that I have secured you your just dues.” This letter was dated October 10, 1874. From this time on the poem was properly credited in established publications, but it went wandering about for many years afterwards with the name of E. Bulwer attached.

As to the writing of the poem, Mr. McCreery says that one winter’s night, early in the year 1863, as he was riding home in the clear starlight, the theme of the poem suggested itself to him, and before he had finished his journey the first stanza had been evolved in his mind. With this as an inspiration, he worked on the poem at odd moments during the next succeeding weeks until it was completed. The lines printed above are those of the poem as originally written. In 1883, Mr. McCreery published a new volume of his poems, among which was “There Is No Death,” which he had revised in the meantime making so many changes that it might well be regarded as a different poem. In the revised poem there are 16 verses instead of 10, as in the original.

John L. McCreery was born in Monroe county, New York, on the last day of the year 1835. His father was a poor Methodist minister, whose meager income was barely sufficient for the support of his family, and the early life of the poet was consequently one of many hardships and privations. The greater part of his education was gained from borrowed books, which he would study by the light of a pine knot while lying on his back before the fireplace, or at intervals during the working hours of the day.

In his seventeenth year, McCreery removed to Illinois, where his continued feebleness of health and growing literary tastes impelled him before long to forsake the plow for the pen. He began at the foot of the ladder by learning the printer’s trade, but through his efforts and abilities he rapidly rose to more important callings, and was soon filling the position of assistant editor of a country newspaper. When he was 21 years of age he went to Iowa, and finally became local editor of the Dubuque Times. Here he remained for a number of years, and finally removed to Washington in 1878.

Colorado Spring Gazette (Colorado Springs, Colorado) Dec 11, 1910

Another article that accompanies the above picture can be read at the link below:

Title: National magazine …, Volume 36
Authors: Arthur Wellington Brayley, Arthur Wilson Tarbell, Joe Mitchell Chapple
Publisher: Chapple Publishing Company, Ltd., 1912 — [Pg 838 google book link]

Humeston Gobblers

November 24, 2010


“THIS vulgar old farmyard! It must be that I,
With my talents and beauty, was born to live high.
I’m tired to death of the meaningless clack
Of these ignorant fowls, with their ‘cluck’ and their ‘quack.'”
Thus mused a lone gobbler, the last of the brood,
As he eyed his companions in quarrelsome mood,
“I long for the cultured surroundings of town
And a share of the world’s goodly praise and renown.
I’m not a mere turkey, I’m almost a bird” —
And, suiting the action at once to the word,
He flopped his great wings in excitement and flew
Just a few feet in air when he lit in a slough.
“I’m almost a peacock,” undaunted he cried,
And down went his broad double-chin in its pride.
And then, with the rustle and stir of high birth,
He spread out his feathers for all they were worth,
And strutted and trilled in his voluble way
Till the awe-stricken poultry-tribe fled in dismay.

“Look, ma, that there turkey,” quoth old Farmer Brown,
Who appeared at this moment, “I’ll take right to town;
He’ll go like a hot-cake on Thanksgivin’ Day.
Come, git on yer fixin’s, and don’t yer delay,
I’ll give yer the proceeds to git a new hat —
A snug leetle mite, fur her’s oncommon fat.”
Such low, boorish jargon of course was not clear
To this elegant bird’s most fasidious ear;
So they trotted him off the the great distant town
Where a fashionable family gobbled him down, Admired and praised as the tenderest meat
It ever had been their good fortune to eat.
‘Mid “cultured surroundings” he melted away,
His dreams more than realized — King for a day!


The New Era (Humeston, Iowa) Nov 28, 1888

Now for Turkey Jokes.

“Arn’t you afraid that you are living rather too well for your health?” asked the chicken.

“I ain’t in this for my health,” answered the turkey between the pecks. “I’m out for the stuff, so to speak.”

The New Era (Humeston, Iowa) Nov 25, 1891

The New Era (Humeston, Iowa) Nov 22, 1893


Thanksgiving day draws on apace and already the turkey is stretching his joints to make them tough against the festival day. A few suggestions from one of experience in carving may prove beneficial to those who are more accustomed to the easy surgical work employed in carving a round steak, than in the physical dissection of gobblers. When the fowl is placed before you, assume a pleasing smile and a confident manner. It will inspire confidence in those about you.

Keep the turkey on the platter. It is not now considered in good taste to carve it on the table cloth, or to hold it firm with one knee. Should it slip from the platter into your lap, restore it to its place before continuing to hunt for the lost joint. As before suggested, however, it is best to keep the turkey on the platter while carving. The carving fork should be inserted firmly in the breast and it is considered preferable to steady the corpse with the forth rather than by grasping its neck. In the mean time, keep the turkey on the platter. The leg is fastened to the body by a joint. Hunt for it patiently.

Don’t try to cut the bone in two. Should the joint be refractory, quietly ask the hostess for a saw. Watch the fowl suspiciously, for in such a moment as ye think not, it will take unto itself wings and fly into your fair neighbor’s lap. At this point a humorous story, told in your most facetious vein, will help matters amazingly and leave the waiting guests in good spirits, especially if you keep the turkey on the platter. Dismember a wing or two. Bear down on the joint. If the thing slips and shoves the dressing over the edge of the platter, make light of hte incident as a common place matter, and tell about how you used to carve ducks years ago. Then go for the wish bone. Promise the young miss that she shall have the straddling thing to hang over the door. Keep on cutting; the wish bone is there somewhere. Gain time by discovering a side bone or two. But keep the wishbone in your mind’s eye.

If you should find it necessary to use your fingers to secure the bone, it is considered more polite we believe, to wipe them on the table cloth rather than to suck off the grease. It is, we understand, now considered decidedly proper to transfer the dismembered gobbler to the guests’ plates with a long fork rather than to use your fingers. But this is a mere matter of taste, a simple freak of fashion, as it were. By following this simple advise, it will be easy for anyone to carve the turkey, and we have only one parting suggestion, which is that in carving a turkey,it is now considered decidedly more dignified to allow the fowl to remain on the platter.


The New Era (Humeston, Iowa) Nov 22, 1893

Family on Porch in Humeston, Iowa (Image from

This family (unknown name) looks like they could have posed for this picture on Thanksgiving day.  Deadfred states this was taken in Humeston, Iowa, which, evidently, is pronounced Hum – es -ton, according to their rather impressive website. They have a nice promotional video for their town at the link. Looks like a quaint little town with beautiful scenery.

Till We Cease Our Cry for Bread

October 23, 2010

The Farm Supports All.

Does the farmer dig the dirt?
Aye, Aye;
Does he wear a coarse shirt?
Aye, Aye;
And if his cheek is brown
With the kisses of the sun,
Is he less a gentleman?
Nay, Nay.

Does the farmer plow and sow?
Aye, Aye;
Does he wield the spade and hoe?
Aye, Aye;
And if his hand is hard,
And his feet be roughly shod,
Shall we give him less respect?
Nay, Nay.

Does the farmer work for all?
Aye, Aye;
Labors he for great and small?
Aye, Aye;
If from out the farmers store
Comes the bread for rich and poor,
Should we honor him the more?
Yea, Yea.

Give the farmer then his due —
Aye, Aye;
Aye, Aye;
And may Heaven its blessings shed
Down upon the farmer’s head,
‘Till we cease our cry for bread —
Aye, Aye.


Cedar Falls Gazette (Cedar Falls, Iowa) Apr 6, 1860

The Great Grasshopper Raid

August 24, 2010

A variety of grasshopper plague related news spanning from 1819 through 1948, some of it reporting on the devastation, some explaining the methods used to try to limit the damage, mixed in with quite a bit of grasshopper humor that was published as well.

The Republican Compiler (Gettysburg, Pennsylvania) Sep 1, 1819

GRASSHOPPERS. — In the Southern and Western portions of this State the grasshoppers are doing considerable damage, already, to the crops, and the people are becoming discouraged with the present prospects. A gentleman from the Southwestern part of the State, informs us that the ground is completely covered with them, and still they come, not by the “hundred thousand more,” but by the millions. Emigration of this kind is not desired in Iowa.

Cedar Falls Gazette (Cedar Falls, Iowa) May 29 1868

Grasshoppers in the West.

EDITOR GAZETTE. — The old saying that “pestilence and famine follow war” is likely to be verified in our own country from present appearances on our Western frontier. I refer to the grasshopper plague, which is becoming a sad reality, as many of the farmers of Western Iowa are beginning to realize to their sorrow. — Living as I do in the border of what is known as the “grasshopper district,” (Boone County) and having had opportunities to post myself as to their movements and workings, I wish to say a few words to your readers, all of whom are directly interested in this subject.

During the month of August, 1867, millions of grasshoppers inhabiting the plains and Rocky Mountains took up a line of march across the continent, and by the middle of September reached from a point in Minnesota to the half of Mexico, covering the Western half of Iowa, Missouri, Arkansas and Louisiana, and the entire States of Nebraska, Kansas and Texas, also including Dacotah and Indian Territories and extending into Mexico. Much damage was done to crops last fall and millions of eggs were deposited for this years’ crop; and while in the colder regions the old “hopper cusses” perished with the severe winter, in the Southern climes not only the young crop, is now on hand, but the old ones still live to curse the country with their presence. In Arkansas the woods have been burnt this spring to destroy the plague and thus save the crops, but to little purpose.

The best information I can get from Western Iowa is that crops are being destroyed in many places totally and in other localities only partially as yet. Many pieces of wheat in Boone County, west of the Des Moines River are being plowed up, while others are completely destroyed, so much so that there is not a vestige of wheat left to show that then days since the prospect was good for a fair crop. The corn crop has also been attacked and on many farms entirely destroyed. Some farmers replant but others prefer to save what corn they have, considering it useless to throw it away by planting, as there is as yet no prospect fro a better state of affairs. The grasshoppers at present vary in size, from one-sixteenth of an inch to two inches in length, all of whom are busily engaged in destroying everything green in their reach.

Some idea may be obtained of their number by a little circumstance which occurred on the C.& N.W.R.R., near the Des Moines River a few days since, and lest some of your readers may question the truth of the statement, I will refer them for particulars to the officers of that company in charge of the Western Iowa Division. An engine started out of Moingonn with three empty cars, bound for one of the many coal mines in that valley. A little distance from town the train run into a mass of grasshoppers which so completely soaped the track that it was impossible to proceed. Backing up they started again and was again brought to a halt. This time they could neither go ahead or back and another engine was sent to their relief.

I see nothing to save the crops of that country. Should the hoppers cease work now, Western Iowa may average a half crop, but it is doubtful while the prospect is that they will continue their work for weeks yet, perhaps all summer, in which case, crops must be an entire failure throughout the grasshopper district.

The question has been asked me many times in this city, was to the course the hoppers will take at the close of the season. Of course no one can answer that question, but the supposition is that as they always travel with the wind, of necessity, and as the prevailing winds in the Western States are from the Southwest and West, they will probably continue their course easterly. We would of course much prefer that they take themselves back to the wilds of the rugged mountains, where

Lo, the poor Indian, whose untutored squaw,
Sees bliss in grasshoppers and devours them raw.

Should the farmers of Black Hawk County look up some day to see millions of insects fill the air as high as the sight can penetrate, so that the heavens shall present the appearance of a heavy fall of snow, they may calculate that one of the worst plagues of Egypt is upon them and that it will be more profitable next year to raise chickens than wheat.

Cedar Falls Gazette (Cedar Falls, Iowa) Jun 19, 1868

The grasshoppers have invaded Utah, and the consequence is the invention by a Mormon of a “two-horse grasshopper smasher.”

The Atlanta Constitution (Atlanta, Georgia) Jul 15, 1871

EVERYTHING EATEN. — A gentleman who recently passed over the Sioux City & St. Paul road says that the grasshoppers have eaten thousands of the settlers in Minnesota out of house and home, and he saw men with their families at the stations begging to be passed to St. Paul so that they might work and earn something to live upon.

Cedar Falls Gazette (Cedar Falls, Iowa) Jun 12, 1874

The Grasshopper.

Letters from one old townsman, Joe Wells, to his friends here, state that the grasshoppers are making a clean sweep in his vicinity in Palo Alto County. Joe has charge of some 400 acres of land the crops upon which were entirely destroyed last year; but with dogged perseverance he determined to “grin and bear it,” and this spring once more seeded the entire area only to see the pests return in such myriads as to sweep the ground clear of the last vestige of vegetation. This is a hard blow and visits upon him the entire loss of two years hard labor and upon A.A. Wells, who owns the land, a cash expenditure of nearly $2,00, without a dime’s return.

If riches don’t “take to themselves wings” in this case, it’s because grasshoppers can’t fly.

Another person writing from the afflicted country, says “it has been ascertained by careful count that this entire prairie was planted with grasshoppers eggs or in average of 1800 to the square foot, and most of the d____d things hatched twins — the rest triplets.” They have appeared in large numbers as far east as the country between Clarion and the Boone River, and our people need not be surprised to receive a visitation from the festive hopper as soon as he has tarried long enough for his wings &c. to grow. — Iowa Falls Sentinel

Cedar Falls Gazette (Cedar Falls, Iowa) Jun 19, 1874

Grasshopper Devastation (Image from

How the farmers of Wright county, Iowa drove away the  grasshoppers is revealed by the local papers The crops in that county were abundant, and the anxious husbandmen were in hopes that these destructive pests would not appear until after the harvest. At once they came, however, in clouds that darkened the sun. By a preconcerted plan, the farmers set fire to piles of dry straw on the borders of wheat fields, and smothered the blaze with green hay. That caused volumes of smoke to roll over the fields. The grasshoppers didn’t relish the procedure at all. They rose with such a multitudinous hum of wings as to deepen into a roar like distant thunder, and fled the country. In that way the Wright county farmers have a fair prospect of saving their crops.

The Fitchburg Sentinel (Fitchburg, Massachusetts) Aug 4, 1874

Image from Wikinews

The Destructive Grass(w)hopper.

The editor of the Bucyrus Forum has been visiting in the west, and thus writes of the grasshopper pest:

Some forty miles west of Omaha we commenced seeing the ravages of the grasshoppers. We are fully warranted in saying that the half has never been told concerning the wide spread destruction of these insects. It cannot be told. When we assure our readers from actual observation  that we have seen hundreds of thousands of acres of corn that have been literally eaten up by them, we still fall short of the facts.

To particularize: These grasshoppers, which are smaller, blacker and more fierce than the varieties usually seen in Ohio, are so numerous that they resemble a dark cloud slowly moving over the prairie. They are migrators and do not remain long in one place, for the best of reasons — they leave no green thing on which to subsist. Corn, buckwheat, fruit, garden vegetables, leaves of trees and bushes, all are stripped. They attack a corn field of two or three hundred acres, in the morning, and before “high noon” not an ear, tassel or blade is left to tell the tale. Often the stocks are eaten down to within fifteen inches of the soil in which they grew. Frequently strings of grasshoppers from twelve to fifteen inches in length, may be seen hanging on the same ear of corn. It is no uncommon sight to see them two inches deep on the ground. In half an hour they eat all the paint from a Buckeye Reaper and Mower. The only exception we found they made on the farms was sorghum or Chinese sugar cane, which probably contained too much saccharine matter for their delicate appetites.

When crossing Railroads they frequently stop the trains, the unctious matter of their bodies when crushed on the rails, causing the wheels of the locomotives to revolve with the rapidity of lightning without making any progress. From the point where we first observed their ravages to Kearney, we did not see a single field that contained an ear of corn. That unfortunate country is as bare and destitute as if it had been swept by one of the historic prairie fires. The effect may be better imagined than described. We saw dozens of families returning in their covered wagons to their friends in the different states. Many are unable to return.

We learned that aid would be given out of the State Treasuries of Nebraska, Kansas and Missouri to alleviate the sufferings, and to prevent the general exodus of emigrants out of these States to their kindred and friends. Thousands of these people are in a most deplorable condition. Comforted a few days ago with the thought of a large and profitable crop with which to make payments on their land and supply themselves with the necessaries of life, they now find themselves destitute, far from “Home” and among strangers equally as unfortunate as themselves. As we saw the settled look of despondency sitting on the brows of the hard-working, callous-handed men of toil, and their wives and children whose eyes were red with weeping, we thought the original characters of Longfellow’s pathetic lines had re-appeared:

“Hungry is the air around them,
Hungry is the sky above them.
And the hungry stars in heaven,
Like the eyes of the wolves glare at them.”

It is generally believed here by those whose experience and judgment pass for authority that the grasshopper scourge will be short lived. We trust so. The weevil, chintz, and Colorado bug have had their day and are now but little feared.

The Ohio Democrat (New Philadelphia, Ohio) Oct 2, 1874

Congressman Orr, of this State, has secured the passage of a bill through the House allowing homestead and pre-emption settlers in Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, and Kansas, whose crops were destroyed or injured by grasshoppers in 1874, to leave and be absent from their lands till May, 1876, without prejudice to their rights. This is eminently just.

Cedar Falls Gazette (Cedar Falls, Iowa) Dec 18, 1874

KANSAS CITY, May 27. Rain has been falling here in torrents for the past twenty-four hours. It is reported to be general throughout the country. Some damage has been done to fences, railroads and crops. Great numbers of grasshoppers have been destroyed by the flood, as the Missouri river opposite the city is black with them, and it is thought the bulk of the insects in this vicinity have been destroyed. The feeling of dread is rapidly giving way to one of rejoicing, and Governor Hardin will doubtless be called on to issue a proclamation of thanksgiving instead of one for fasting and prayer.

Decatur Daily Republican (Decatur, Illinois) May 28, 1875

Mr. Grasshopper.

He laughs best who laughs last, says the proverb. The agile grasshopper of the western plains may find before he gets through this season’s business that he has carried his conquest too far and made himself an article of Western food, to the peril of all future generations of grasshoppers.

Some days ago the telegraph brought news that a grasshopper dinner had been eaten and relished by an adventurous party of gourmands at Warrensburgh, Missouri. Still later comes the report of another similar feast prepared with great care and critically enjoyed by a select company, including not only the leading local epicures, but several scientific gentlemen, among whom was Prof. Riley, the State entomologist. A bushel or more of “hoppers” were scooped up in an adjacent meadow and a talented cook especially engaged for the purpose brought them to the gridiron. They were stewed into soup, broiled crisp and dainty as smelts; they were fried in the omnipresent grease of the frontier, and baked in mass with curry and “champignons,” and in all these forms were pronounced delicious.

John the Baptist, who ate locusts and wild honey in the wilderness, was accused of riotous living. If this sort of thing goes on for a time it will be useless for the grasshopper sufferers of the far West to work up much sympathy in other States, or gather future subscriptions for food. Simply let them corral the insouciant hopper in their fields, bake him, broil him, and serve him up on toast; let them salt him down in barrels for winter use, and bid gaunt-eyed famine defiance. If the locusts insist upon eating up everything, let them be taught that there are two kinds of creatures who can play at that game.

The Ohio Democrat (New Philadelphia, Ohio)Jun 24, 1875

The farmers in Missouri and Kansas are elated at the discovery of a new kind of buffalo grass springing up in sections devastated by the grasshoppers. The crops in both States are represented to be in a promising condition.

The Fitchburg Sentinel (Fitchburg, Massachusetts) Jul 12, 1875

GRASSHOPPERS have been a burden so long that it is a relief to know that a use has been found for them at last. Some French fishermen, who were lately out of sardine bait, discovered that grasshoppers dried and pounded were just the thing; and hundreds of bags filled with the festive ‘hopper are being imported into France for fish bait. Here, in future, may be found an employment for our home-made ‘hoppers. We cannot all eat them, like Prof. Riley and his brother scientists, and the next best use is to make them provide us with something we can eat.

Globe Democrat.

Decatur Daily Republican (Decatur, Illinois) Apr 14, 1876

Grasshopper Trapper

Image from The Plague of 1875 in the Longmont Ledger.

A New Discovery.

An Iowa man had discovered that the very best of machine oil can be made out of grasshoppers, at a cost only from fifty cents to a dollar per barrel. If such machine oil will only stop the squeaking of ‘machine’ politics it will be worth five dollars per barrel at least. And if the grasshopper can be made into oil, why not that oil into butter better than oleomargarine; and if into oleomargarine, why not, by subtle chemical processes, into creamy butter to fatten the white loaves and lard the tender steaks of the provident. Hoppergrass butter is not an impossible extract or compound, if it be proven that oil can be fried or pressed from their bodies; and the song of “When the cows come lowing home” will be superceded by “When the locusts have gone to roost, Phoebe!”

If in the economy of nature even the perturbing flea has utility, surely the grasshopper, whose demoralizing super abundance afflicts the sad farmer of the West with countless agitations may be converted, by schemes of science, into lubricating food, or at least into anointments for the hair and shoes, and for the neater and better appropriation of an insect plague. Of course such discoveries weaken the work of the Grasshopper Commission; but we trust that the Iowa man will continue to rack his brain and the grasshopper until both shall bring “peace to troubled waters,” and oil to the ways up which “”Hope springs eternal” in the human breast.

Nevada State Journal (Reno, Nevada) Apr 21, 1877

Image from The Grasshopper Plague of 1874 on the Kansas State Historical Society website.

Character and Habits of the Grasshopper.

[From the Faribault Republican]

We have received a circular from the publishers of the New York Graphic asking us for information as to the character, habits, movements and depredations of the locusts of the West, to be embodied in an illustrated supplement they are about to issue. We much dislike to disappoint any one who appeals to us in a candid spirit for information, and we therefore, cheerfully contribute from our abundance:

1. As to the character of the grasshopper, it is bad. Like the deadbeat that he is, he eats his landlord out of house and home and then skips. He is a thief, poacher, robber, glutton and an unmitigated nuisance.

2. The grasshopper has three habits which it adheres to faithfully. In fact, if anything is the creature of habit it is the grasshopper. The first is to hatch under any circumstances; this is a point of honor and duty that it faithfully observes. The second is to eat and eat continuously. From the rising of the sun until the going down thereof it crams its abdomen with victuals, and its digestion is equal to its appetite. It always eats at the first table, for it clears it so clean that there is no chance for a second. Its third habit is to lay eggs, and all the time not devoted to eating is improved in this recreation. How many eggs a well-developed, healthy grasshopper will lay has never been accurately stated, but the Government has a lightning calculator now at work upon the problem.

3. With respect to its movements we are enabled to state that it moves frequently and takes all its baggage with it except the aforesaid eggs. It moves hastily, “gets up and gets,” so to speak, on very short notice and the simple provocation of lack of sustenance. No habit of the grasshopper excites so much interest in the farmer as its movement, and the interest is concentrated in the point whether the ‘hopper is moving towards or away from his farm.

4. His depredations: This is a profound mathematical problem, of which the total number of grasshoppers, the amount each will consume on the average per day, their rate of progress and the amount of forage to be found in the counties where they stop, are essential elements in the calculation. We would respectfully refer the Graphic to the Government commission for information upon this branch of its inquiry.

Nevada State Journal (Reno, Nevada) May 23, 1877

The grasshoppers were at one time pretty thick this year in Richardson county, Nebraska, so the farmers set seven hundred grasshopper machines in motion, and they have succeeded in scooping up 2,800 bushels of lively insects. One set of laborers in Nomah also cleaned up 150 bushels. This shows that the farmers are turning the tables on the ‘hoppers and are gathering them in instead of allowing them to gather the crops. It also shows that the farmers can do much towards saving their crops, it they only try.

The Helena Independent (Helena, Montana) Jul 26, 1877

Image from the  Rural Missouri website’s article: Louses & Locusts.

Grasshopper Eggs.

Mr. Cunningham showed a GAZETTE reporter a small box of earth yesterday which was taken from his ranch in Sierra Valley. In it were myriads of grasshopper eggs. There seemed as much eggs as earth, and the roots of several bunches of grass were thickly imbedded with them. The eggs are of a brownish white in appearance, and about a quarter of an inch in length. Mr. Cunningham said the box of earth shown was a fair sample of all the soil in Sierra Valley, every yard of it permeated with millions of the larvae. Unless the insects migrate after hatching, every green thing in the valley is doomed.

Reno Evening Gazette (Reno, Nevada) Apr 23, 1879

Grasshopper Sparrow

Image from the World News website.


The great grasshopper raid upon Nebraska and Kansas a few years ago led to the better protection of birds, particularly quail. Previous to that time both sportsmen and professional hunters from all the cities of the Union took a yearly hunt and the slaughter of quails, ducks and turkeys was almost incredible. Tons upon tons were shipped into Chicago and St. Louis and even New York and Philadelphia. The result was, the grasshoppers had their own way and multiplied exceedingly. The quail is particularly fond of both grasshoppers and their eggs, and where they are at all numerous the destruction is enormous.

They are besides a valuable article of food and add not only to the dainty table of the rich, but help to fill the poor man’s pot as well. In addition to these uses the quail is a game bird of the first order and commands the skill of both man and dog in its capture.

We publish a column of letters from the Chicago Field on the migratory quail of southern Europe, which we hope may prove both interesting and profitable under the present circumstances. We very much fear that the Truckee meadows are doomed to be overrun in 1880 to some extent, and in 1881 and 1882, very seriously by the grasshopper.

We do not expect that any addition to the stock of birds in Nevada and eastern California could be made in time to serve in the crisis, but they will get a good hold and be a great help in future years. They will flourish and increase beyond all doubt.

Reno Evening Gazette (Reno., Nevada) Jun 2, 1879

In view of the threatened invasion of Kansas by the grasshoppers next year, it is comforting to reflect that the country is swarming with English sparrows, which were imported especially to eat grasshoppers.

Atchison Daily Globe ( Atchison, Kansas) Aug 2, 1885

Grasshoppers Colorado Springs 1899

Image posted by FuzzyTomCAt


HELENA, ARK., November 20. — About 4:30 o’clock last evening this place was visited with a shower of grasshoppers that proved an astonishing feature to the oldest inhabitants, as such a thing had never been seen here before. As they fell on the houses it sounded like a heavy shower of rain. All the stores and houses had to be closed to keep the insects out. The negroes were badly frightened, and most of them claim that it is a bad omen. A cold wave struck the town early last evening and brought the grasshoppers with it. It is very fortunate that this incident did not happen earlier in the fall, as it would have proved very destructive to the crops.

Atchison Daily Globe (Atchison, Kansas) Nov 21, 1885

Image from Family Tree Magazine.

Grasshoppers in Indiana.

DECATUR, Ind., May 15. — Grasshoppers have appeared in this (Adams) county in vast numbers. Never in the history of this section have these pests been seen in such great numbers. Recently a farmer brought in a large farm basket filled with grasshoppers, which he shipped to Chicago and for which he received the rate of $8 a bushel.

Conjecture is rife in this city as to what the purchaser intends to do with the hoppers. As they were sent near the Board of Trade building some conclude the pests are to be used to influence the market in cereals. It will  doubtless be a grasshopper year in this section.

The Daily Review (Decatur, Illinois) May 16, 1886

Grasshoppers’ Foe.

Minneapolis, Minn. — A cricket in the field is worth two on the hearth. His once doleful fiddling now is music to the ear of the farmer of the northwest. So doubtless muses M.P. Somers, grasshopper expert for the state department of entomology, after a summer-long investigation in the grasshopper infested districts of Minnesota and the Red river valley. The cricket is declared by Mr. Somers to have an insatiable appetite for grasshopper eggs and is eating them by the millions.

Sheboygan Press (Sheboygan, Wisconsin) Sep 27 1911


WILLOWS, Cal., Jun 29. — (By International News Service.) — Moving forward at the rate of a mile a day, an immense swarm of grasshoppers is now near Artois and moving eastward toward the Orland irrigation project. Farmhouse porches have been covered to a depth of nearly a foot by the insects, which are the small species.

Grasshopper plagues in other sections of northern California have also been reported.

Billings Gazette (Billings, Montana) Jun 30, 1919

Now for something scientific:

WASHINGTON, Dec. 9. (AP) — An elaborate process so intricate that nature alone can guide it to perfection, is credited for the survival of American agriculture.

The tremendous scheme, revealed by Dr. N.A. Cobb, federal chief nematologist, is built around the subtle function of the Mermis subnigrescens, commonly called the hairworm. Years of study and investigation have convinced Dr. Cobb and his associates, whose work has been assisted by approximately 150 of the nation’s foremost zoologists and entemologists, that grasshoppers, in limitless hordes and a thousand species, would devour practically every farm crop but for hairworm parasitization.

An avaricious enemy, the nema enters the grasshopper’s body when it swallows eggs of the hairworm, matures there, and bores its way out. The grasshopper dies from the wound.

Every Detail

Nature has perfectly correlated every detail. The nematizing process is as ruthless and deliberate as premeditated murder. Instinct forces the grasshopper to feed several inches from the ground, on the exposed surface of plant leaves. To make sure the victim is trapped, the female hairworm is so constituted that she cannot lay eggs in a shadow. Emerging from the ground in the spring, she ascends to a position well lighted by the sun, irrevocably the spot on which grasshoppers feed.

An overdose of eggs would cause premature death for the grasshopper. It must live until the nematode has reached an adult stage, and nature makes it her business to see that is does. Twenty eggs may be deposited in one place, but each egg is equipped with polar filaments that become entangled with the “fur” of young leaf hairs. As the leaf grows and the hairs spread apart, the eggs become sufficiently scattered to keep the grasshopper from getting more than two or three eggs during the entire feeding season.

The contents of a grasshopper’s alimentary canal are eliminated approximately once every hour. IN that time the hairworm larvae must work from the egg into cavities of the victim’s body, there to thrive on the food it has digested. Again nature is prepared. The equatorial region of the nema egg is composed of a substance soluable in less than an hour.

Color Scheme

An even more astounding circumstance, leading scientists to believe environment may be responsible for determination of sex, enters nature’s colorful scheme. Female hairworms, growing from half an inch to six inches in length in six weeks, usually are many times larger than male nemas. Whether it is because of limited room to develop in the grasshopper’s body or because of insufficient food supply, the hairworms, regardless of the sex propensity in the larvae, always become male when a large number of eggs are swallowed and as invariably are females when the number is limited.

In every case, Dr. Cobb says, a parasitized grasshopper immediately becomes sterile. Tests have shown that fields attacked by nematized grasshoppers are free of the pests in following years or until uninfested grasshoppers from adjacent territory invade them. That, he says, explains “grasshopper waves” in this country.

The Evening Huronite (Huron, South Dakota) Dec 9, 1927

Watertown Sieged By G’hoppers

Watertown  (AP) –Clouds of grasshoppers invaded Watertown and the surrounding countryside over the weekend and yesterday began attacking corn and vegetable crops.
The invaders rode on the waves of Lake Ontario in the Chaumont area Sunday, swarmed over the beaches, docks and summer cottages, driving vacationers indoors.

Farm Bureau officials here said the insects already are making inroads on crops, but that damage so far in not extensive. It is the worst grasshopper invasion in ten years, officials said.

The base of operations for the grasshoppers’ is not known, but the Farm Bureau said they were larger than recently hatched insects, and therefore probably are not local products.

This belief was strengthened by reports from Chaumont that large patches of the pests were seen floating in from the lake. When they reached shore they swarmed inland.

The city of Watertown was less attacked than rural areas of Jefferson County, but thousands descended upon the city, especially on the golf course.

The Farm Bureau notified farmers that poison bait made of wheat bran, molasses and arsenic is the only safe way to halt the pests. A sufficiently strong concentration of DDT would harm crops also, the bureau.  [said?]

Oneonta Star (Oneonta, New York) Aug 24, 1948

Corn Contest: Seed Corn and WWI

March 9, 2010




Corn See Contest Successful in Every Way. Ames Expert Awards Prizes Offered by Carroll Merchants. Cash Prizes by Carroll Banks For Sweepstakes Prizes.

The seed corn contest Saturday was all that its promoters had hoped for. A lively interest was roused in the matter of gathering see, the number of exhibits at the contest in the Citizens club room was large and many enthusiastic farmers and farmers’ boys were present at the assignment of prizes Saturday afternoon. The attendance of teachers at the afternoon meeting was good, indication an interest in the schools of the county. And to complete the success of the undertaking the address delivered by J.W. Jarnigan of Des Moines, editor of the Iowa Farmer, was instructive and entertaining.

The Citizens club deserves much credit for getting behind the contest and supporting the efforts of the school authorities in such a wholesome manner. The business men of Carroll contributed handsomely to the prizes awarded by the Ames expert and throughout the contest for several days efforts were made by the president and secretary of the club to stimulate the workers in the country.

There was but a small crowd in the afternoon till the teachers meeting at the school building was over. Then the club rooms were well filled and the meeting listened to the address of the speaker of the afternoon. Mr. Jarnigan told his hearers that he would talk about something so common that only few had ever thought about it. He proceeded to tell them about corn, describing it botanically, giving its history and process of cultivation, its products after manufacture and a whole lots of things about corn that people never thought before. The main object of his interesting talk of three quarters of an hour being to call attention to the small things about us, the things that we do not notice, but which reveals a world of interesting, useful things. The address was replete with interesting bits of knowledge, and sage advice, all told in such an entertaining manner that listeners did not realize that they were receiving instruction from a teacher in the wider field experience.

Prof. Wilson of the extension department of the State college deserves much credit for the manner in which he promoted the seed corn campaign and saw that it was carried to success. Prof. Wilson is an expert in the seed corn line and has done much to carry along the work first started by Prof. Holden in the state. He has been over the state quie generally and says that there is plenty of corn fit for seed, but fears that farmers are not giving sufficient attention to gathering the same. On account of the large per cent of soft corn in the fields he believes that more care than usual should be exercised in gathering seed corn.

Prof. Wilson is conservative in his estimate of the corn procured in the state this year. The average per acre will not be so great, though the acreage is large. After extensive observation in this section of the state he is of the opinion that at least one third of the crop is affected by the frost, that is, a third will be soft.

Image from Carroll County, Iowa GENWEB

Exhibits were presented by the following from the different townships, and the winners of prizes are indicated:

Jasper Township: Oscar and Loyd Peters, (1st prize) Roy Lawson, (second prize), Harry Reid.

Sheridan Township: Lusher Higginbotham, Ruth Lasher, Agnes Harris, Roy Harshbarger, Freddie Seeden, Henry Schleismann, Daniel Lasher, (2nd prize), Harry Sievers, Alice Lasher, Emery Sievers, Josie Williamson, Earl Lasher, (1st prize), Robert Shaw, Edwar Schaeffer, Alice Lasher.

Wheatland Township: K.M. Hansen 1st prize.

Arcadia Township: Elsie Stieper (1st prize, 2nd sweepstakes), Viola Sieverkrubbe, Evelyn Schroeder, Raymond Alter, Roy Rickers.

Maple River Township: Eleanor Jons, (1st prize).

Grant Township: William Beidler, (1st prize), Hilda Lappe, (2nd prize), Clarence Lappe, Robert Stephan.

Glidden Township: School district No. 8, (1st prize).

Richland Township: Gerald Dankle, (1st prize), George Dankle, (2nd prize), Lyle Dankle, Hazel Dankle, Basil and Selma Brand.

Pleasant Valley Township: Carl Schumacker, (1st prize).

Roselle Township: William Schwaller, (1st prize, 1st sweepstakes), Helen Overmoehle (2nd prize), District No. 5.

Washington Township: Julius Schroeder, (1st prize).

Warren Township: Herman Musfeldt, (1st prize), Lester Rowedder, (2nd prize), Arthur Gruhn, Lester Ginzen.

Eden Township: Hildegard Roth (1st prize), Irma Sandrock, (2nd prize), Delbert Morgan, Cluryl White.

Newton Township: Carl Sandrock, (1st prize), Kenneth Renshaw, (2nd prize), Merle Pomeroy, Virgil Renshaw.

Union Township: Alfred McCabe, (1st prize), Miles Smouse, (2nd prize), Irene Bolger, Walter Whalley, Joe Baker, Orton Cretzinger.

The Carroll Herald – Oct 24, 1917

Louisa Massey Avenges Her Brother’s Murder

March 8, 2010


Found of Church Was Murdered and Young Sister Avenged His Death.

Dubuque, Ia. Dec. 25. — The celebration of the diamond jubilee of St.[1st?] church found by Methodists north of the Missouri line, began Sunday with an eloquent address by Bishop McIntyre, of St. Paul. The founding of St. Luke’s recalls to the memory of old residents the most sensational episode in the early history of the Upper Mississippi settlements.

Among the organizers of the church was Woodbury Massey. He was the first trustee, and his name let the list of those who subscribed the $225 that built the log chapel. One year after he became implicated in a feud which resulted in the tragic death of himself and two other men. Mrs. Reuben Noble, of McGregor, who as a child lived on the farm adjoining that of Mr. Massey on Otter creek Jersey county, Illinois, tells the story of the tragedy as follows:

“Mr. Massey, with his wife, two children and a younger brother, left the farm in Illinois in 1833 and came to Iowa to prospect in the mining region about Dubuque. No sooner had the two brothers staked out a claim than their right to it was disputed by one Smith and his son. The case was carried into court and decided in favor of the Masseys. When they returned to take possession the elder Smith appeared and shot Woodbury Massey, killing him instantly. The younger Massey retaliated by killing Smith.

“A few days after the tragedy Louisa Massey, the 16-year-old sister of Woodbury, came to Dubuque. On finding one brother dead, and hearing that the son of Mr. Smith had threatened to kill the other brother on sight, she secured a pistol and went in search of the young man. She found him in a grocery store, stepped up in front of him, and with the words, ‘If you are Smith, defend yourself.’ fired. The ball struck against a bundle of papers in his pocket and his life was temporarily saved. He died as the result of the wound two years later.

“The young girl had no sooner thus avenged one brother’s death and protected the life of the other than the upper river county went wild with her praise. No war hero was ever welcomed with greater enthusiasm than she when she returned by boat to the old home at the mouth of the Illinois. Cheering throngs greeted her at every stop on the river, and nearly sunk the boat at the final landing near Otter creek in their eagerness to greet her. Some years afterward a new county was organized in southeastern Iowa and named Louisa in her honor.”

The Carroll Herald – Dec 30, 1908

Woodbury Massey Gravestone

Image can be found on Find-A-Grave at this LINK

Murder at Dubuque.

The last Salt River Journal states, on the authority of a gentleman who had just arrived there from Dubuque, that Mr. Woodbury Massey, a worthy merchant of that place, was shot dead on the 7th alt. by capt. Wm. B. Smith and his son. Smith shot first and his son immediately afterwards. Massey’s hand being raised the ball passed through it, entered his left breast and lodged in the right side. The parties had been engaged in a law suit, in which Massey had the better, after which Smith was frequently heard to threaten his life. when he had shot Massey, he immediately gave himself up to the civil authorities, but his son tried to escape, and was shortly after taken. They were held to bail in the sum of five hundred dollars each, to appear at the next circuit court. The grand jury being in session, found a bill, and they are safely lodged in jail to await their trial. Mr. Massey was buried on the next day, and was accompanied by about four hundred of the most worthy citizens of Dubuque. He as a man of high reputation, and left a wife, four children and a great many friends to mourn their loss.

Niles’ Weekly Register, Volume 49 By Hezekiah Niles, William Odgen Niles Oct 10, 1835

Galena, Illinois (Image from

Mr. Woodberry Massey resided in St. Charles county a short time after his marriage, and about 1830, crossed the river into Illinois, and settled on the present site of upper Grafton, where he entered some land. Not long after he moved to the forks of Otter creek, where for a short time, he carried on merchandise, after which he removed with his family to Galena, and there engaged in mining and merchandise, residing there about one year, when he moved to Dubuque, where he was engaged in the same pursuit. After a while he withdrew from mercantile pursuits and devoted his whole attention to mining. Soon he commenced working an abandoned claim, which proved to be quite rich in lead ore, and in going on the grounds with his men on the afternoon of September 7th, 1835, and there meeting some of the former operators of the mine, and a dispute arising, without any notice he was shot and killed by two men, father and son, by the name of Smith, both of whom afterwards paid the penalty of their crime by their death. The elder Smith was shot by Henry I. Massey, a brother of the one that was killed. The circumstances were that Smith came riding through Galena, asserting that he would exterminate the Mssey family, whereupon Mr. Massey rushed into the street and shot Smith dead while sitting on his horse. He then rushed through his shop and mounted a horse and crossed the river into Iowa. Miss Louisa Massey, sister of Woodberry Massey, entered a store in Dubuque with the avowed intention of purchasing goods, and the younger Smith being poin ted out to her by a small boy, she quickly drew a pistol and shot him in the breast, giving him a mortal wound. The general verdict of the people was that the brother and sister of Mr. Massey did right in avenging his tragical death. After the event we have mentioned occurred, Mrs. Massey retired with her family to St. Charles, Missouri, and in 1837 settled in the present limits of this county, and in the winter of that year was married to B. F. Massey, a brother of her former husband. She died at her residence on the 4th of January 1852.

Henry Massey served under General Dodge and assisted capturing Chief Black Hawk at the Battle of the Bad Axe which open up the land west of the Mississippi for settlement. Henry later opened up a harness shop in Galena, Illinois. His brother, Woodbury, along with his wife Maria and one child, was one of the firsst to cross the river and move to the area of the Dubuque lead mines. His brother Benjamin and sister Louisa came shortly after along with the Langworthy girls. Shortly thereafter, Woodbury was murdered in a dispute over a mining claim called “The Irish Lot” by a Mr. Smith and his son William. They were arrested but later released because the judge ruled that the Wisconsin court where they were tried had no jurisdiction over Iowa cases.

From: Biographies in the Atlas Map of Jersey County, Illinois – 1872 (USgenweb site – Jersey Co. IL)


More HERE: The Black Hawk Wars 1832

Thomas A. Piper: An Old Settler Dead

March 5, 2010

Image from - Nancy Lawson


Thos. Piper Died at His Home, Having Lived in the County 38 Years.

Thos. A. Piper was born February 28, 1829, in Bedford county, Pennsylvania, and died at his home near Carrollton, Iowa, June 25, 1906.

He was born and reared in the old stone fort built by his grandfather in 1776, where he also lived for about nine years after marriage.

On May 20, 1852, he was united in marriage to Mary Funk of whom he was bereaved February 6, 1861. To this union were born five children, four of whom survive him.

On Jan. 1, 1863, he was again united in marriage to Rebecca Livingston. To this union were born eight children, seven of whom are living.

His wife, five sons and six daughters; C.R. Piper of Mayword, Nebraska, Harry, Edward and George Piper of Carrollton, Iowa; Mrs. Chas. Corbin of Coon Rapids, Mrs. Coppock and Mrs. Chas. Davis of Carrollton, Mrs. Solt of near Glidden, Miss Avilla who remains at home and Mrs. J.W. Boggess of Danville, Illinois, all of whom were present. He also has thirty-six grand children and nine great grand children.

Mr. Piper came of patriotic ancestry, his grandfather served in the revolutionary war, an uncle was general in 1812, and he served in the civil war in company K, 50 regiment of Pennsylvania veteran volunteer.

He moved with his family to Carrollton in 1868, residing here continually for thirty-eight years. He enjoyed to an unusual degree the love of his family.

He united with the church at the age of 24 and experienced a wonderful work of grace about 12 years ago, the joy of which never left him. He was a member of the U.B. church of Carrollton. His funeral was held the 27 in his home church and his remains were laid to rest in the Carrollton cemetery.

Mr. Piper was loved by all who knew him and will long be remembered for his kind acts and deeds.

The Carroll Herald – Jul 4, 1906

The above pages are from:

Report of the Commission to Locate the Site of the Frontier Forts of Pennsylvania
Publisher    C. M. Busch, state printer, 1896

Google Books LINK

Source for the following:  Hutchinson on

Notes for Thomas Piper:

My great grandfather was in the Revolutionary War and my grandpa Piper was in the civil war. Grandpa Piper married twice, his first wife died and he was left with four children, two girls and two boys. His first wife was an aunt of Merle Hay, then he married his wife’s seamstress(Rebecca). All the sewing was done by hand and they did their own weaving, carded and spun their wool, made their dies to color the yarn, and wove their own dress material. Grandma often died faded dresses; she showed me how to set the color in some of the material I’d buy to make a dress so it wouldn’t fade after it was made up.

Grandpa Piper was called in the draft, but they let him hire a young unmarried man to go in his place until after mother (Jennie) was born. He was a blacksmith, he was ten years older than grandma, but he was soon discharged on account of his eyes. Eye doctors wasn’t heard of I guess. They’d always use some eye drops they’d get at some store or quack traveling through the country and that’s the way they’d get their glasses.

Several famlies came to Iowa at the same time and settled at the little town of Carrollton as they had heard that the railroad was to go through there and they made Carrollton the county seat. Carrollton got to be quite a little town. They had a store, church(two story) school upstairs. Most of them came by train. One man traded a nice team and buggy for a farm and never saw it . It didn’t have a building in sight. He’d been a captian in the army. I don’t know if he was married at that time or not. I have heard him say he was really sick when he did see it. I believe he said he walked from Glidden out to look it over. It was all prairie, lots of hay and lots of prairie fires. All they could do to stop them was to plow several times ahead of the fire. Most farmers had teams of oxen to do the heavy work.

Mother was four years old when they came. Grandpa started a blacksmith shop. Then someone ran a hotel and the post office was in the store. They even built a courthouse. After they found out the railroad wasn’t to go through there, they voted to make Carroll the county seat.

Vera Coppock Hupp

Thomas A. Piper’s grandfather, Col. John Piper:

From: Frontier defense on the upper Ohio, 1777-1778: compiled from the Draper manuscripts

Publisher Wisconsin Historical Society, 1912

Google Book LINK

Insane Mother Cuts Throats of Her Children

January 25, 2010


Insane Mother Seeks to Burn Home to Cover Evidence of Awful Crime.

Cedar Rapids, Ia., March 31. — Suddenly becoming insane after a long illness, Mrs. John Lynch cut the throat of her five weeks old baby and her 3-year-old son this afternoon. Failing to catch the three elder children she then set fire to the house and cut her own throat.

The farm house is five miles from this city, and was burned to the ground. Later the three bodies were found in the ruins. The husband was in the city at the time of the tragedy.

The two oldest children, who escaped, state that they tried to prevent their mother from setting the house on fire, but that she beat them over the heads and shoulders with a stove poker until they were compelled to jump out of the window, and flee for their lives.

A third child had his throat cut, but is still living. It was rescued from the kitchen by a neighbor who saw the smoke.

The Carroll Herald – Apr. 7, 1909

Ruth Ann Carr Buckner

January 15, 2010


Mrs. Buckner of Montezuma, a Slave, Was 110 Years of Age.

One of the oldest, if not the oldest person in Iowa, died at Montezuma at the age of 110. She was a former slave, but had been a resident of that city for a number of years. Ruth Ann Carr was born in Lee County, Ky., the exact date of her birth being uncertain, but from certain other dates and knowledge of deceased it is supposed that her age at the time of death was not far from 110 years. She was married to Henry Buckner in 1850, at Memphis, Mo. No children were born to this union. In 1863 they moved to Poweshick County, and in 1877 to Montezuma. Mrs. Buckner was born in bondage and remained so until the civil war set her free. She has been a helpless invalid for twelve years.

Carroll Sentinel (Carroll, Iowa) Sep 29, 1903


Based on census records, I think they may have exaggerated her age slightly:

1885 Iowa Census -Montezuma Poweshiek Co. IA

The 1885 census states she is 68, which would mean she was born about 1817. In 1903, she would have been about 86.

1900 Federal Census - Montezuma, Poweshiek Co. Iowa

The 1900 census gives her birth as May of 1820.