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Coles, Cassius A. (1860-1952)


Posted By: Karon Velau (email)
Date: 6/14/2019 at 14:24:08

Cassius A. Coles
(1860 – 1952)

Cash Coles Has Lived in Cy. [city] of Lacona 74 Years
Operated a Livery Business in the Good Old Days. His Father Once Owned the Yeoman’s Ranch
Indianola, Iowa, Friday, Oct 22, 1937
Cash Coles may not be the oldest inhabitant of Lacona, but he is proud to have been a continuous resident longer than any other citizen. His residence there spans three score years and ten, and four and a half years to spare.
It was a rather unusual life that began on the farm a half mile north of Liberty Center, where Cassius McNeer now lives, in the home of George Coles in the spring of 1860. It has not been unusual by reason of wide travel or public life or experience. It has been unusual in its experiences with a residence never more than 10 miles from where it started.
Owned Yeoman’s Ranch
Shortly after Cash’s birth, his father and mother moved to a farm of 600 acres which they owned, five miles south of Indianola. It later became the Yeoman’s cattle ranch, owned by a group of Englishmen and managed by Harry Yeoman’s. Mr. Coles doesn’t know precisely the boundaries of the farm as his father owned it. Some or all of it is now owned by the A. R. Guy estate and occupied by Ira Braucht.
In the spring of 1863 the family moved to Lacona and Cash has been there ever since. In his boyhood and young manhood he rustled boxes, swept out and acted as clerk in the Bartlett store in Lacona. The proprietor was his step-father.
Starts on His Own
At 21 years of age he went to work form himself on a cream route, gathering cream for the Benton Creamery at Chariton. That was in 1881. For the next eight and a half years he drove a team to a cream wagon over the hills and the rough and poorly built roads of that day.
During the latter part of the period he bought cream for the Indianola Creamery. The latter creamery was organized by a number of farmers and was managed by Charles Trueblood, who lived east of Indianola where George Haworth now lives. The creamery occupied the present site of the home of Mrs. Charity Hillis.
Enters Livery Business
In 1889 Cash Coles quit the cream route and went into the livery business in Lacona. Numerous traveling men came to Lacona on the train and drove out from there to call on their trade in the inland stores. The first traveling man hauled over the country by Mr. Coles was a representative of the Hall Candy company at Ottumwa, and the last trip, made 28 ½ years later was for a salesman of the same company. In the meantime Edd Beamley was the salesman for the company for 20 years, and during all that time Coles hauled him to his trade every three weeks. He would meet Beamley at Lucas about noon, after Beamley had come there on the train and called on his customers in Lucas, which at that time was a busy mining town, the home of John L. Lewis.
From Lucas Coles and Beamley would drive north to Norwood and Liberty Center and then to Lacona for the night. On the following day they would go “round the horn.” Going “round the horn” consisted of driving from Lacona to Newbern, Columbia, Dallas, Bauer and back to Lacona, a trip of about 40 miles. All the villages mentioned, except Lacona, are in Marion County.
Such was the life of the traveling man and the liveryman in those days. Over good and bad roads, in all kinds of weather they went. If they had good luck “round the horn” Beamley would be back in Lacona in time to take the evening train to Chariton.
Something of a Healer
Often Coles would meet his traveling customers at Milo, where they arrived on the morning train from Indiana, “worked” Milo, and then went their rounds with Coles and back to Lacona for the night. Traveling men, not tourists, were the support of the hotels of those days.
But such trips might have been the lot of many liverymen in Iowa’s smaller towns. Cash Coles differed from the rest of them in plying a lively trade in magnetic healing while his drummer passengers took orders for candy, shoes, dry goods, groceries, plug tobacco or what have you.
The various neighborhoods knew about when he would arrive and he frequently found groups waiting to be relieved of headaches, cols, warts, “dyspepshi,” “rheumatiz,” “si-atticky,” or housemaid’s knee.
Touch Was Soothing
In nearly every family is some member whose touch is soothing and brings more comfort to the sick than any other. To some this gift of helpful touch is more generous than to others; and to Cash Coles it was given in unusual measure. At 5 years of age his family found that his touch was soothing and relieving to headaches and other ailments. As he grew older he cultivated the art which developed into a considerable business. Not being a licensed physician he could not of course charge a fee, but benefitted patients were fairly liberal with contributions.
The original gift of magnetic touch has been augmented by investigation and study of Osteopathy and Chiropractic. Cash Coles can recite the names of the bones and organs of the human body, their locations and functions with a readiness that will drive a layman into his corner in no time, and would probably puzzle a good many holders of a degree.
Powerful Muscles
His constant use of his hands in treatment has developed powerful muscles of the forearm, wrist and hands. Although crippled in childhood so that he has been lame most of his life, he is proud to say that he can exert a pressure of 500 pounds with his hands.
Licensed practitioners have sometimes tried to suppress his therapeutic activities; but Cash says he can “mighty soon tell ‘em where to head in.” In his little office in Lacona hangs a placard reading: “Not licensed.” He makes no charges.
Their Business
“If my patients,” he says, “want to contribute something to my support, that is their business.” At 77 Cash Coles is still going strong. He has never married which may or may not account for his long activity and good health at 77. He says he has always managed to make a living and thinks he can do it for some time yet to come. [Cash Coles is buried in Cochran Cemetery, Lacona, Iowa.]


Warren Biographies maintained by Karen S. Velau.
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