Osceola Man, 93, mows Own Lawn

Came to Iowa Back in 1857

Worked in First Sawmill County Had.

by Fred Lazell (Tribune Staff Writer)

This clipping, probably from the Des Moines Register, is dated Monday, June 15, 1931.

OSCEOLA-- "Ninety-three and still goin,' that's me." It's A. K. Ralph, Osceola's next to oldest resident, speaking, who at 93 drives his car daily, continues to repair sewing machines and grind lawnmowers in his little sewing machine shop at the edge of town and otherwise amazes visitors with his perpetual agility.

Born in New Jersey in 1838, Ralph came to Iowa in 1857, settling in the southwestern part of Clarke county. Some 50 years ago he moved to Osceola, where he has resided virtually ever since.

Ralph worked in the county's first sawmill at Long Creek, where he sawed the lumber for scores of houses in and around Osceola. Shortly after the civil war Ralph decided he would like to locate near a larger city. Packing a few things in a bag which he threw over his shoulder, he walked to Des Moines and got a job in a sawmil then on Four Mile creek, a short distance from the present Iowa state fair grounds.

Stayed 18 Months

After some 18 months in the capitol city, however, he returned to Osceola. Upon his return here he started his sewing machine repair shop and later took on the lawnmower grinding business. Up to June 1 he had ground 57 lawnmowers this year.

"I like to keep busy, it helps make the time fly," he says.

Shortly after automobiles first came in Ralph picked up parts of various small make cars and built himself his own machine. He drove that four years. Now he has one of the small model crs which is no longer manufactured but it takes him to town and back and to nearby points in the surrounding countryside almost every day.

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