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Shearer, Mary Thompson


Posted By: JCGS Volunteer
Date: 3/21/2014 at 18:05:39

Mary Shearer, 100, Observes Birthday Today
Jasper County’s Oldest Resident In Usual Health
Only Living Son, Harry, Comes from Oregon For Dinner At Prairie City
PRAIRIE CITY – Jasper county’s oldest resident reached the age of 100 years today and planned to cut the birthday cake at a dinner in her home.
She is Mrs. Mary Shearer of Prairie City.
Born in 1837
Born Dec. 17, 1837, in Pittsburgh, Pa., she has lived in Jasper county since 1857.
Here to congratulate “Grandma” Shearer on her hundredth birthday today were her only living son, Harry Shearer of Dalles, Ore., a granddaughter, Mrs. J. H. Ross of Carthage, Mo., and a niece, Grace Doud of Indianola.
Mrs. Shearer received numerous cards and gifts, including a poinsettia plant from the Women’s Relief Corps and a large birthday cake – with 100 pink candles – from Mrs. Martha Zaayer, and flowers from The Daily News Three Quarter Century club.
In Usual Health
Mrs. Shearer was in “her usual health today” and sat up in a chair to greet the many visitors.
Members of her family and of her husband’s family were pioneer builders of Vandalia and Des Moines township.
Mrs. Shearer, a daughter of John Thompson, saw mill operator in early Vandalia, came to the county in 1857 from Pennsylvania when a young girl.
Her father came through in 1856 and worked for a time in a saw mill up around Mitchellville. He then removed to Vandalia where he operated a mill of his own.
Came Down Ohio
The family came down the Ohio river and across the Mississippi at Keokuk and then drove up from Keokuk by wagons. Prairie City was just a little town when Mrs. Shearer came through. The railroad had not been built up from the southeast.
Mrs. Shearer married Daniel W. Shearer, son of Henry Shearer, one of the founders of Vandalia, and a brother-in-law of John Q. Deakin, the first white man to ride into the vicinity now occupied by Vandalia.
For a time they lived away from Iowa in other states, but later they moved back into Iowa.
To Civil War
Mrs. Shearer’s husband was in the Civil war, he having enlisted and camped where Prairie City is now located. It was just a new village then. He went from the training camp to Fort Donnelson to take part in the Civil war.
Mrs. Shearer has seen many things change during her many years, “but things have changed for the better” she optimistically philosophizes. “There are so many more things now,” she says, evincing enthusiasm in the new things that are being done daily.
Wild Country
As a girl she can remember that the country around Vandalia and in Des Moines township was wild and overrun by many wild animals. Wolves, in particular, were her chief concern, she tells.
She is a member of The Newton Daily News’ Three Quarter Century club and of the W.R.C.
She still lives in the home in Prairie City where she resided with her son, Frank, until his death several weeks ago. He was a former Prairie City postmaster.
Source: Newton Daily News; Friday, December 17, 1937
(newspaper article includes a photo)


Jasper Biographies maintained by Barbara Hug.
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