Clapp, Leroy C. (1859-1938)
Posted By: Karon Velau (email)
Date: 6/10/2019 at 23:19:54
Leroy C. Clapp
(March 21, 1859 – April 1, 1938)
Leroy C. Clapp, 79, has lived all his life on Liberty Township farm where he was born
Indianola Record, Indianola, Iowa, Friday, Feb 25, 1938, by D. L. B.
A few weeks ago The Record told the story of Hart Bryan, whose 41 years tenancy on the Jesse Johnson farm is believed to be a record for the county. On the next road west of him, with only a half mile between the back ends of the two farms, lives another man, whose life may be a record.
79 Years on an Eighty
This is Leroy C. Clapp, who has lived for 79 years, come the 21st of next month, on the 80 acres where he was born. On the 18th of December Mr. and Mrs. Clapp celebrated their 59th wedding anniversary. The log house in which they began housekeeping in 1878, in which two of their three daughters were born, still stands on the farm. It is used as a granary. The outside has been weather boarded, but the bare logs with the plaster and mud chinks are plainly in the evidence on the inside. The old cabin is square and firm and well roofed.
Cottage 52 Years Old
The white cottage with its friendly long stoop, perched on a west hillside and looking out across the road down Thunder Creek to Otter Creek, was built 52 years ago. Its background of evergreens and the well trimmed tree-studded sloping lawn give it a setting worthy of any home. The big stone slabs that lead to the back door tell the story of making even the ditches and the outcroppings of the banks contribute something to the attractiveness of the home. Here are people who have retired on the farm, hiring their work done or field-renting their land; and they could hardly have been happier anywhere else.
Father Early Settler
Mr. Clapp’s father came to Liberty Township about 1856, when it was sparsely settled and most of the houses of logs. Mrs. Clapp is also of pioneer stock, a daughter of George Fridley, and sister of the George Fridley who gave a long service to the county as a supervisor. When Mr. Clapp was a boy he remembers that many deer were seen and shot along Otter Creek. Indians also used to camp along its banks at times, and gamble and run horses with the boys of the neighborhood.
Indian Horse Races
They won most of the horse races. Mr. Clapp says, not because their horses were better, but by emitting such blood curdling yells when any other horse was alongside of them, that the horses unaccustomed to the noise would lose their stride. Until he was 75 years old Mr. Clapp used frequently to walk to Liberty Center, two miles distant. From a frontier community with log houses, straw roofed barns, and rail fences, Mr. Clapp has lived on one farm to see his township bisected by a hard surfaced primary road, nearly half of it served by electric high-line (although it does not yet come to his farm), its children educated in a modern consolidated school, all its homes served by daily mail, and most of its roads well graded and drained, although only a few have all weather surface, as yet.
The Clapps’ nearest neighbors on the north for many years were Dick Williams and Till Edgerton, both hard-fisted sturdy products of a pioneer day, characters in their own right. Edgerton was convicted of manslaughter 40 years ago and sent to prison for 10 years for shooting a boy who was raiding his melon patch. Mr. Clapp doubts whether Edgerton really killed the boy. He thinks he may have been hit by a shot fired back at Edgerton from the group of boys. But Edgerton, not used to beating around the bush nor hunting “outs,” admitted shooting him. He became a trustee in prison and was released on “good time” long before the expiration of his sentence. Mr. Clapp thinks Edgerton was partially the victim of circumstances, a somewhat quick temper driven to desperation by annoyances and assigned, in the minds of his neighbors, to an antagonistic position not justly deserved.
Not far from Edgerton’s home many years ago, lay a considerable tract of unfenced timber and hills in which the neighborhood had been accustomed to find free pasturage for its cattle. The owner of this open land, having some road work taxed against him, offered to let Edgerton fence the land and pasture it if he would work out the road tax. Edgerton accepted the proposition, fenced the tract and turned in his cattle.
Feud is Started
Some of those who had used it as free pasture resented this as beating them out of what they had come to look upon as their rightful free common. Somebody cut the fence in the night into short bits and left the remnants in piles along the line. The matter grew almost into a feud. Men went into the Edgerton cellar when the family was away from home and carried glass jars of jellies, jams, plum and apple butter, and canned fruit to the front yard, threw it down and broke the containers. Mr. Clapp says he does not condone all the things Edgerton did, but as he looks back over the years he feels that his neighbor was misjudged and mistreated. The former home of Edgerton, less than a half mile north of the Clapp house, Mr. Clapp believes is now the oldest house in Liberty Township.
The Clapps’ 80 has a short abstract. Mr. Clapp’s father bought it from the man who entered it. At his father’s death Mr. Clapp bought out the other heirs, and still owns the place. They have three daughters, Mrs. Gertie Bales of Milo, Mrs. Nettie Nine of Norwood, and Mrs. Eva Hupp of New Hartford.
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