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Helmer, Sarah Frances (Byrd) (1848-1943)


Posted By: Cass County Coordinator (email)
Date: 7/14/2017 at 10:58:42

The Atlantic News Telegraph
Atlantic, Iowa
Monday, January 3, 1944
Page 1, Column 2


Mrs. Sarah Frances Helmer, 95, one of Cass county’s earliest residents, died Friday evening at 7:50 at the Atlantic hospital, where she had been a patient since the preceding Sunday. In failing health for several years, she had made her home the last four years with Miss Elsie Berry, 308 Linn street.

Mrs. Helmer, the daughter of the late James Luther and Susanne Huffman Byrd, who came to Cass county in 1852, was born Sept. 25, 1948 (1848), at Greencastle, Putnam county, Ind. The father first brought his family to Wapello county in a covered wagon and after purchasing a claim of 1,000 acres of Cass county land for $125, the covered wagon trip to the present site of Atlantic was made in the summer of 1852.

Mr. Byrd built a log cabin near the mouth of Buck Creek and at that time the only other resident of this vicinity was R. D. McGeehon, who had a cabin five miles from the Byrd place. The nearest doctor was located at Winterset and Mr. Byrd made several trips for a physician in early days when members of his family were ill. Potatoes and seed wheat were hauled by wagon to Des Moines, while it was necessary for pioneers to travel to Rock Port, Mo., to have grain ground into flour and meal.

The woods abounded with wild game and birds and there were still may Indians living in this vicinity when the Byrd family first came here. Mrs. Byrd brought two chickens here from Iowa City and Mrs. Helmer recalled that the family fought off wolves almost nightly to save the nucleus of the flock they were attempting to raise, while a teakettle of boiling water was kept at hand to kill rattlers and other snakes venturing near the Byrd cabin.

Mrs. Helmer was and early-day teacher in Cass county, serving schools at Grove City and Buck Creek. She was married here in 1875 to J. C. Helmer, who was engaged in the stock buying business in Atlantic until his death in 1890.

Surviving is one sister, Mrs. Katherine (Catherine) Bennet (Bennett) of St. Louis, Mo., and several nieces and nephews. A niece, Mrs. Rey Byrd Mulke of Rolla, Mo., died last Monday at a St. Louis hospital.

Funeral services will be held Tuesday afternoon at 2 o’clock at the Roland, Peacock & Baxter funeral home, the Rev. H. G. Darling of the Church of Christ officiating. Interment will be in the Atlantic cemetery. The body will remain at the funeral home until the hour of the service.

NOTE FROM CONTRIBUTOR: Sarah Helmer was born September 25, 1848 and died December 31, 1943

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