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Re: Rosina (Rose, Rosa) B. Meader


Posted By: Sarah Thorson Little (email)
Date: 5/13/2017 at 02:08:34

In Response To: Rosina (Rose, Rosa) B. Meader (Charles "Pete" Van Royen)

I believe I located what you have been looking for. Hope this helps.

First, I found Charles E. Meader's Civil War Pension. Charles applied on September 6, 1873 as an invalid. His widow, Rose B. Meader applied from the state of Iowa on June 18, 1888. She further applied for a guardianship for a child on August 22, 1890 under the name Rose B. M. Odson from the state of Minnesota.

I then checked for a marriage in Minnesota and located:
Yellow Medicine County, Minnesota
March 16, 1890

Edgar Odson had a brother, John Odson who married Rosina/Rose's sister, Lenna D. Blackmarr on September 7, 1882 in Winneshiek County, Iowa

John Odson and Edgar Odson's mother's obituary:

Decorah Republican -- Decorah, Iowa
October 3, 1912
On Sunday last, Sept. 29th, at her home on East Main street, Mrs. John Odson, one of the pioneer settlers of Canoe township, passed away, having attained to more than ninety years. Coming to America with her husband in 1857 they settled in Canoe township and there the family remained until the death of Mr. Odson nine years ago, when with her daughter Rachel she came to Decorah to reside. Mrs. Odson was born January 8 1822 in Ullensvang, Hardanger, Norway, where she was married to John Odson. She is survived by seven children, John of Spokane, Samuel of Seattle, Joseph of Alaska, Wm. and Mrs N. A. Holkesvik of Canoe, Edgar of Fairbault and Rachel of Decorah.


Rosina and Edgar appear to have married but separated soon after the marriage. Both appear in Minnesota censuses and city directories at separate addresses. Edgar is listed as married in 1900 and 1910, but widowed by 1920, which is consistent with Rosina dying on July 1, 1918 in Minneapolis. Edgar Odson died on November 30, 1928 in Anoka, Minnesota.

Rosina/Rose received the Civil War pension and was also a member as was Edgar Odson of the Quaker religion which is probably why they did not divorce. The Quaker community probably provided her with provisions after Charles Meader died. Edgar Odson was very well educated and graduated from Cornell University in Ithaca, New York where he first married and had a son, William.

He studied to be a journalist. I am including what he wrote about the Springwater Quaker community in Winneshiek County, Iowa which has a lot of historical context.

Not a Hint of It on the Latest County Map of Canoe Township By Edgar Odson

During this Home Coming time and backward glance at auld lang syne in Winneshiek, a few glimpses of pioneer days and the people of Springwater may be of interest to some readers before memory of the beginnings of that settlement become quite extinct. In the intellectual realm in educational matters in those days when the spelling school was a test of superiority, Springwater was a community to be reckoned with.

Its beginning was a saw and grist mill erected about 1850. This mill soon after passed into the possession of Ansel Rogers, a preacher and leader in the colony of Quakers that gathered about it in the early ’50s. A number of families of Friends were attracted to the site by a description written by a member of that denomination while on a prospecting tour beyond the Mississippi and published in a Friends paper in the East. Delighted by the picturesque beauty of the locality the writer created the impression that here might be founded another Eden. People in the older communities, especially in New England, were beginning to move uneasily in their cramped home conditions and to turn their eyes to the West. Beyond the Mississippi was then sufficiently distant to lend enchantment to the view and to seem what it proved to be.

Quakers in the older settlements reading about this spot which later became Springwater, with its glorious climate. its wooded hills swarming with deer— its magnificent springs—its crystal brook (the Canoe)—full of rainbow trout —decided that this was the spot they long had sought, and left their old homes to locate on it. They came in considerable numbers, without concerted action, from widely separated localities. The following names of members of the colony will be remembered by some of the older settlers in Winneshiek county: Ansel Rogers, Moses Gove, Lorenzo Blackmarr, Nathan Chase, Samuel King, Joseph Mott, Aaron Street, Ezra King, Amos and Henry Earle, Henry Chappell, the Gripmans, John Tavernier, David West, John Odson, etc. These were men with families more or less numerous and all but two were Quakers. Younger, unattached members of the community were A. A. Benedict, Charles Gordon, Joseph Brownell. Nathan Rogers, Lindley, Josiah and John Chase, Lucretia Bean, Mary Gove, Rachel and Abbie Mott, Zilpah Gordon, Rhoda and Eunice Gripman, Lydia Grisell, Mary and Carrie Chase. Several of these young people did not long remain unattached. Somewhat later the colony was increased by the arrival of Harvey and Lovinia Benedict and their children Aiden and Eva; Washington Epley, with a family and two nephews, George and John Epley; Isaac Gidley and family; Joseph Cook and family.

Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Rhode Island, New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Virginia, Michigan, England and Norway were represented among these early settlers. Plain living (enforced) and high thinking was the order of the day in the settlement. The years immediately preceding had been a time of political unrest in the Old World and of intellectual ferment in the New, finding outlet in rebellions, Fourierism and transcendentalism. Springwater did not escape the contagion, and so the younger set at once organized a literary society which met at stated intervals to read papers and discuss weighty matters. The society also published a paper—in longhand—which probably was the first publication issued in the county, The Atheneum Banner. At any rate it antedated the Decorah Republican published by the present owners by several years. The writer never had the good fortune to see a copy of this journal and it is doubtful if one is now in existence.

For a number of years this served as a house of worship and as a schoolhouse. In this building Joseph Brownell—one of the first if not the first young man to be married within its walls—taught several terms of private school, public schools not having yet come into existence. In the barn-like structure the Friends met every Sunday (First Day) for religious worship, which consisted chiefly of silence and meditation—of the right sort. The “elders” occupied the high places during the meeting—that is, the two or three benches elevated some feet above the floor of the main body of the church and facing the audience. These dignitaries sat with hats on or off, according to individual caprice. Sometimes hats were worn during the first half hour and then laid aside. The leader sat at the head on the rear bench—the benches were elevated one above the other in tiers— and when it was time to close the service he turned toward his neighbor and gravely shook his hand. This was the signal that meeting was over, eyes brightened, smiles appeared—especially among the younger members—a hum of voices replaced the silence and everybody became ordinary humans once more.

But these meetings were not always passed in silence. Members had the privilege of exhorting sinners and others whenever the spirit moved and as the years passed the spirit seemed to move more and more frequently. There was, of course, no ordained minister. Midweek services were held, generally on Wednesdays, and school was dismissed at 11 A. M.; pupils were expected to attend, but attendance was not compulsory. The sexes sat separated on opposite sides of the main room, which could be divided into two distinct compartments by a movable upper partition which was lowered onto a stationary lower partition fixed to the floor. The latter was about four feet high. During religious meetings the upper section was raised—by means of ropes and pulleys—so that the whole congregation was in view. But when “monthly meetings” were held—meetings for the transaction of church business and for disciplining members who had been naughty—the sexes were rigidly separated by the partition and they could communicate with each other only by messenger. At times members were hauled over the coals for shortcomings, but not often. It was a pretty good community—and died young. The meeting house was hot in summer and cold in winter. During the latter season the feminine portion of the congregation often brought heated bricks to keep their feet warm and their minds in a proper state of meditation.

The Springwater school in those days must have been the most advanced of any in the county, and in the spelling contests it always gave a good account of itself. Independent of the regular school, a peculiar geography class flourished, conducted by Charles Gordon at so much per head for the term. A set of large wall maps was used containing all the geographical knowledge then extant and the pupils met on certain evenings in the week to chant in unison the lesson under consideration. The members of the class were mostly young men and women. It was a pretty good method of fixing geographical locations in the mind, and interesting because the world was new and the pupils were interested in each other. Some of the elders looked askance at this class on account of the singing—not by any means too hilarious—because they regarded music in any form as a snare devised by the adversary of man to entangle human souls. They thought it essential to salvation that all the aspects of life should be drab colored. This view, however, was held by a minority of the congregation only, and was more or less a bone of contention. A school entertainment in the winter of 1857-8, perhaps, produced a rift within the lute, which, while it did not widen sufficiently to produce discord that could be discerned by outsiders, it still impaired the harmony of the life there more or less. One of the features of this disrupting entertainment was music from an accordian or concertina, or whatever the instrument was, and Miss Mary Gove was the performer. In the midst of one of her selections, one of the elders, sitting on the other side of the lower partition—the two rooms had been thrown into one—placed his hands upon it and vaulted over with the agility of a boy who has been robbing an orchard, and rushing up to Miss Gove seized her hands exclaiming, “Does thee know that this is the house of God?” The entertainment ceased then and there and that elder did not enhance his popularity in the community by his zeal. He was one of the first to move away. David West, who was not a Quaker, in relating the incident, said: “Why, when the old man vaulted over the fence, his coat tails snapping in the breeze, I thought it was a part of the performance, d….d if I didn’t!”

An interesting Sunday school was maintained for a number of years in which everybody, young and old, showed much interest and nearly every member of the community became an expert in bible knowledge. In connection with this school a circulating library was maintained by individual contributions. This literature, as a matter of course, was highly flavored with Quakerism, but books were scarce and it served. The autobiography of John Woolman was one of the books. An intellectual-devotional diversion was a “reading circle” held on Sunday afternoon in summer and in the evening during winter. At these gatherings members took turns in reading aloud recent books of an instructive nature, biographies, travels, etc., alternating with purely religious matter.
At a somewhat later period a peripatetic writing master drifted into Springwater and taught some terms of writing school. He was a good penman but a bad citizen and subsequently married and deserted one of Decorah’s fair daughters. The sentiment in regard to music eventually changed to such an extent that a singing school was allowed in the schoolhouse, conducted by James W. Mott, who had previously qualified by taking singing lessons in Decorah. A musical wave rolled over the community and in almost every home some instrument was undergoing torture at the hands of would-be musicians. But there were children who were compelled to take to the woods to practice, out of sight and hearing of their dissenting parents.
The New York Tribune was about the only secular paper read in Springwater. It was everybody's friend, philosopher and guide in worldly matters, and Horace Greeley was a prophet in that locality. The abolition sentiment was strong and during the Lincoln-Douglas campaign everyone became a republican except David West, who was a democrat, and did not care who knew it.

The dress usually worn was the conventional Quaker drab—drab gown and bonnet for the women, severely plain habiliments with broad brimmed black hat for the men. The only color allowed the Quaker maidens was that which glowed in their cheeks, and bright eyes were their only ornaments—but these sufficed. At the time of the bloomer outbreak that costume was occasionally seen on the Springwater hills, but not for long. One of the very first pioneers of the place—forgotten in the enumeration above-—was a character known by the sobriquet of “Greasy Ole.” He was a bachelor who lived by himself in a 6x4 shanty and wore a pair of leather breeches which were never changed or washed. He came to the locality so early that he shot a bear on what later became the Odson farm. One story about him was that being invited to dinner by one of his Quaker neighbors at one time, he showed that he was not devoid of table manners by wiping his knife on his breeches before inserting it into the communal butter.

The first white child born in Springwater was the present superintendent of the well known Minnesota school for feeble minded at Faribault, Dr. A. C. Rogers. The first death was that of Eunice Gripman, a fine young woman of eighteen or twenty. Her grave was the first in the Springwater burial ground. The first post office was called Aquila Grove, Nathan Chase, postmaster. The first member of the old guard to desert the ranks was Ansel Rogers who sought other and better pastures.
No one accumulated a swollen fortune there. No member of the colony disgraced himself by becoming a malefactor of great wealth. The best wheat in the United States was raised on those hills, but it was a slow and strenuous process to grub out the stunted oak shrubs and prepare the soil for the plow, and there was no home market for the grain. It had to be hauled to the Mississippi at McGregor or Lansing, and when the draft animals were oxen it required three or four days to make the trip.

So most of the settlers became tired of the hard work and the meager results and by the end of the first decade the community was rapidly disintegrating. Death claimed some but most were lured away by the greater opportunities elsewhere. Only two of the oldest group lived there to the end of their days, John Odson and Joseph Mott, and only one still survives, Mrs. John Odson, who now lives in Decorah. Of the younger group next in age, Charles Gordon became an inventor and made a fortune in New York and Brooklyn; A. A. Benedict became a rolling stone who gathered considerable moss; Lindley, Josiah and John Chase are somewhere in the West and doing well; Miss Lucretia Bean married one Thomas Truman and lived and died in West Decorah; Nathan Rogers went to the Pacific coast. The whereabouts of others is to the writer unknown. Those who were the children in the settlement are now gray-haired men and women, the radiant light of the world’s morning long since faded from their faces. Some departed never to grow old. James Mott went west but returned and died in his prime. His widow is the well known Decorah business woman. Milton Gove, one of the champion spellers of Springwater in the days of spelling schools, lives in Decorah. Aiden Benedict became a theatrical manager and lived in New York during the last years of his life and died there; his sister, Mrs. Rathbone is at Phoenix. Arizona. J. I. Tavernier is the West Decorah miller. Bailey Street is a citizen of Hesper. Lucy Mott, Maria Chase and Janie Chappell died when on the threshold of promising womanhood. Mrs. Annis Mott Ellingson is the only descendant of the original settlers who now lives in Springwater. Such are a few glimpses of a brief phase in the history of one settlement in old Winneshiek.

Past and Present of Winneshiek County, Iowa: A Record of Settlement, Organization, Progress and Achievement by Edwin C. Bailey, 1913, pages 247-251.

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