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Lester O. and Velora N. Gibbons

Photo page 390

Lester O. Gibbons was born in Red Rock, Iowa, on August 30, 1894. He lived most of his life in the Madrid area, where he worked and raised his family. He was nicknamed "Cotton" in his early years because of his light colored hair, and this name remained with him the rest of his life.

Cotton's grandparents were both born in England and later moved to Canada. The family then migrated to Ohio before Cotton's parents moved to Iowa. They were employed at the quarry in Red Rock, Iowa, and also ran a general store and operated a Huckster wagon, peddling wares in the Dunreath area. It was in this area that the family became involved in coal mining.

In approximately 1907, they moved to Scandia to mine coal and to Zookspur in 1910. In addition to mining coal, the family operated a pool hall in Zookspur, which was owned by the Scandia Coal Company.

It was in the early 1920s that Cotton moved to Madrid, where he mined coal until 1943, when the Scandia Coal Company closed. He then worked for the Schuler Coal Company in Waukee until 1947, when it closed. He was then employed by the Firestone Tire and Rubber Company in Des Moines, until he retired in 1959.

One of Cotton's favorite pastimes was playing baseball, and in 1922, while Scandia Coal Company was out on strike, he played the entire summer for the Oskaloosa team. He was a catcher, and played with the Grants, Baldie Kiddie, "Swede" Erickson, Adolph Schutsman, Alex Russell, and, of course, the other Gibbons brothers.

He was married to Velora Naomi Burton of Boone, Iowa, on December 18, 1920. She was the daughter of Fred and Alfretta Burton. From this union, seven children were born. They were: Frances LaVerne (born September 8, 1921), who married Edwin Thompson; Lester Raymond (born January 31, 1929); Thomas Albert (born November 18, 1930); Robert Keith (born Decmeber 1, 1931); Floyd Frederick (born March 24, 1934); Phyllis Jean (born March 13, 1936), who married Raymond Erickson; and Carole Anne (born July 18, 1937), who married Jimmy Hurst. Velora preceded Lester in death, in 1962. Lester passed away on December 8, 1970.

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