in Clarke Co., Iowa

Through the years as I have researched Clarke County records, I occasionally come across proof that African-Americans lived in this rural, southern Iowa county. There has never been anything but a very minute minority presence in this area. It occurred to me that Clarke County would not be an obvious place for African-American researchers to look, and they might never find these clues.

For that reason, I have decided to put the references to African-Americans I find in local records online. I have not done an exhaustive research of the records, but am merely passing on the references I have come across. In the records below I have marked with an asterisk (*) the references where the person was not identified as "black" or "colored."


African Methodist Episcopal Church - Osceola, Iowa


"Clarke County, Iowa Birth Records 1880-1897" (Record Book I and Book II)

The last number in the Mother's Data is the number of births for that mother (1 equals first child, 2 equals second child, etc.)

 Father's Data

Mother's Data

Child's Data

Anthony Lankford, age 35, b. Wayne Co, KY Sarah Louisa Hill, b. Boone Co, MO, 6 female, b. 31 Jan 1881
Peter Langford, age 42, b. KY Emily Ray, age 33, b. KY, 8 Freddie, b. 16 Feb 1883
Peter Langford, 44, b. KY Emely Bay, age 35, b. KY, 9 female, b. 1 Apr 1885
John Walker, age 37, b. Ridgely, Platt Co, MO Martha Jane Ray, age 24, b. Hainsevilel, Clay Co, MO, 8 female, b. 7 Mar 1881
John Walker, age 44, b. MO Martha Jane Ray, age 28, b. MO, 5 Prince Allen, male, b. 5 Feb 1884
John Walker, 37, Ame. Martha Ray, 27, Ame., 10 John, b. 6 Aug 1886
John Bryant, 42, b. MO Mary Catherine Canton, 44, b. MO Roy, b. 29 Aug 1882
Thomas R. Griffin,31, b. LA Celia Williams, 25, b. LA, 1 Thomas Richard, b. 31 Jan 1883
Marion Griffin Mary Lizzie Lankford Willy Grant Griffin, b. 6 Aug 1885
A.G. Griffin, age 23, b. MO N.M. Dunn, age 20, b. MO,1 male, b. 23 Apr 1889
E.E. Williams, 30, b. AL Amanda Pierson, 37, b. KY, 11 female, b. 20 Feb 1887
John Wilson, 27, b. MO Lankford, 22, b. Osceola, 1 John, b. Dec, return dated 5 Jan 1897


Webster Funeral Home Records

The "Deceased" information includes the name of the deceased, name of spouse, birth date & place, death date & place, and cause of death. Parents' data include place of parents' birth.





Mary Elizabeth Draden, John Draden, b. 12 Mar 1876, MO, d. 11 Mar 1934, DM, tuberculosis; Peter Lankford, KY Emma Ray Maple Hill (Osceola)
Mary Trent Draden, Jacob Draden, b. Jun 1850 Va, d. 2 Jan 1935 at residence, flu & pneumonia Trent unknown Maple Hill
Jacob Andrew Draden, widower of Sarah, butcher, b. 14 Sep 1842, GA, d. 14 Apr 1939, Deming Nursing Home John Draden not known Maple Hill
Frank Bryant, Bessie Bryant, b. 3 Jan 1870, Osceola, d. 9 Jan 1938, Osceola John Bryant, b Paris, MO Mary Clanton, b Utica, MO Maple Hill
Robert Walker, porter (occupation), b. 6 Mar 1873, Osceola, d. 18 Mar 1940 home, 126 Delaware St., Osceola John Walker, b. Albany, MO Martha Ray, b. MO Maple Hill





Luther Elmore, labor, b. 26 May 1912, d. 22 Nov 1940, bullet in frontal lobe of brain on Highway 69 Horse Elmore, b Monroe, LA Louise Rederick, b. Monroe, LA removal to Kansas City, KS
Donald Williams, 10 April 1920 (shipped in, either funeral date or billing date)      
Emma Peniston, widow, age 72y 20d, d. Sep 16,1932, Ottumwa, IA     Gallatin, MO
Amanda Pierson Holder, b. 16 Jan 1851, KY, d. 16 Feb 1931, Osceola Pierson, b KY Martha Keller, b. KY Maple Hill
Mary Bryant, b. 7 Oct 1837, MO, d. 10 Dec 1931, Osceola, IA     Maple Hill
Joseph Wilson, married, retired farmer, b. 3 Aug 1854, MO, d 21 June 1931, lived Osceola Washington Wilson, b. KS Mariah Thomas, b KY Maple Hill

Clarke County, Iowa Cemeteries, Vol. 1, Maple Hill (Osceola)

Draden, Mary, wf of Jacob; , age 84y 7m 2d, d. Jan 2, 1935 (according toWPA)

05-27 Bryant, John Mar 24, 1839-Aug 26, 1910

05-27 Bryant, Mary 1840-1931

05-28 Bryant, Charles 1872-1948

05-29 Bryant, Frank 1870-1938

*21-09 Wilson, Ira L.W., d. 10 Aug 1901, age 25y 7m 17d

21-10 Wilson, Mollie E. 1860-19(blank)

21-10 Wilson, Joseph W. 1854-1931

1936 Old Age Records

A tax was levied in Clarke County in 1934-1936 to support a fund to help the impoverished elderly. In order to collect the tax ($1.00 in 1934 and $2.00 in 1935 and 1936), a "census" was taken of everyone 21 yrs and older. These records contain a wealth of genealogical data. The original 1934 and 1935 records are at the Clarke Co. Historical Museum and the 1936 records are in the Osceola Public Library. The information recorded include the person's name, birthdate and birth place, father's name, and mother's maiden name. The names listed here were all in Osceola in 1936.




Bryant,Bessie, b.13 Apr 1882 in MO Peniston, Tom Lashley, Emma
Draden, John, b.1 Mar 1888 in PA Draden, Jacob Jordon, Sarah
Jackson, Hattie, b. 17 Apr 1852 in Platt Co, MO Rogers, Buck Mickens, Elizabeth
Peniston, Milton J., b.19 Feb 1887 in Davis Co, MO Peniston, Thomas Lasky, Emma
Peniston, Delia Bell, b.31 Aug 1900 in MO Jordon, Mose Ewing, Lillie May
Rhodes, Walter A., b.13 Jul 1893 in Monroe Co, IA Rhodes, A. W. Cropp, Margaret
Rhodes, Lula, b. 12 Jun 1881 in Clinton Co, MO Jackson, Geo. Rogers, Hattie
Walker, Robert, b. 6 Mar 1873 in Clarke Co, IA Walker, John Ray, Martha

Miscellaneous Records

Murray News, 1913 (List of marriage license issued in 1912)

*March Ervin Wilson, age 20, and Matilda Lankford, age 22


Insane Accounts Book #2, Clarke County Courthouse

*Wm. C. Lankford, p.o. Osceola, 1 August 1893 to Clarinda State (Mental) Hospital