Wyckoff_Family_Picture.jpg (29895 bytes)Charles and Mary Wyckoff Celebrated their Golden wedding anniversary in Preston Iowa.  Read about it in the History of Jackson County Iowa 1910 page 304 The photo is the Fiftieth Wedding Anniversary Picture of Charles and Mary Wyckoff.  Standing left to right:  Samuel, John, Dick (Richard), Lizzie (Elizabeth) Edward (Edwin), Charlotte (Lottie), and Henry Wyckoff.  Seated in front of them are their mother and father, Charles and Mary.  This picture was taken in 1907 in Preston IA.  Identification of the people in the picture was given (in 1886) to me by my grandfather Lowell D. Smith, son of Charlotte Wyckoff Smith.  Mary Wyckoff died a few months after this picture was taken.

From the History of Jackson County Iowa: 1910 -- Page 304


            A mind filled with interesting reminiscences of more then seventy years’ residence in Jackson County makes Charles Wyckoff one of the most honored and valued citizens of this part of the state.  He was about six months old when his father, Colonel R. B. Wyckoff, came to this county from Michigan, arriving on the first day of September 1838.  Charles Wyckoff had been born in the Wolverine state in March of that year, and upon the wild western frontier he was reared.  It was no unusual thing to see Indians, while deer and lesser game were to be had in abundance.  One could ride for miles across the prairie without coming to a fence or house to impede his progress.  Cooking was largely done over the fireplace and the homes of the settlers were wildly scattered but true hospitality reigned supreme and the latchstring was ever out, bespeaking the hospitable reception, which awaited the newcomer.  As he grew in years and strength, Mr. Wyckoff assisted in the arduous task of developing the home farm, while in the public schools he acquired his education.  He first attended school when seven years of age in an old log schoolhouse situated about three miles from his home, and a furrow was plowed from his home to the schoolhouse to enable the children to follow it without losing their way and to avoid rattlesnakes, which were numerous at that time.  His experiences were those that usually fall to the lot of the farm boy on the frontier.

            Mr. Wyckoff was married on the 18th of September, 1857 to Miss Mary A. Wyckoff, who was born at Valona Springs, New York, August 11, 1835.  On coming to Iowa in 1855 she settled in Van Buren Township and two years later gave her hand in marriage to Mr. Wyckoff.  Unto them were born eight children, all of whom are yet living with the exception of a daughter Alice, who died at the age of two years.  The others are:  Theodore, now of Charter Oak, Iowa; Mrs. John Gries, of Ute, Iowa; Henry, Sam and Mrs. David Smith who are residents of Lyons; Edwin, who is residing in Clinton; and John, whose home is in Green Island, Jackson County.  Mr. and Mrs. Wyckoff lived to celebrate their golden wedding, which was observed in appropriate manner at the old homestead upon which Mr. Wyckoff has spent his entire life.  There were probably about five hundred people who called on that day, extending their heartiest congratulations and good wishes, while many substantial tokens of good will were received.  One of the local papers stated: “Early in the morning of the eventful day, even when the rain was falling in torrents, the earliest arrivals were wending their way to the Wyckoff home.  When at 9 o’clock the sun came out there started a procession of carriages that never halted throughout the day and far into the night.”  At 2 o’clock the assembled guests gathered on the lawn with Mr. and Mrs. Wyckoff, and a few friends seated themselves on the porch.  On that occasion Mr. A.L. Bartholomew said: “I esteem it a great privilege on this occasion to present to you the congratulations and best wishes of your old neighbors and friends.  Fifty years ago today before Thomas Person, Justice of the Peace, you and your esteemed wife plighted to each other the vows which made you husband and wife-to travel down life’s journey together.  You have reached the fiftieth anniversary, which custom recognizes as your golden wedding.  Only one couple out of every seven hundred and twenty-eight reach their fiftieth anniversary.  While the event brings emotions of esteem and friendship to your friends, what must it bring to your own hearts as you are today surrounded by your children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, and in the presence of this throng of friends all anxious to clasp your hands in token of respect and esteem?  Your successes have been enjoyed together and your sorrows have been borne with fortitude and patience, each with the other.  Those emotions none can appreciate or realize except by experience and if they bring tears they are tears of joy and happiness in the thought that God in His infinite mercy has seen fit to permit you both to see this day and have your children and their children and the children’s children gather around your home and hearthstone. tender their affection and raise up and call y blessed.  A greater orator once said, ‘The holiest temple beneath the stars is a home that love has build and the holiest alter in all the wide world is the fireside around which gather father and mother and children,’ and surely with this beautiful thought and reflection your happiness on this occasion should be as nearly complete as can come to ordinary humanity.”  Mr. Bartholomew also referred to the fact, which is widely known in this community of the many acts of charity and kindness on the part of Mr. Wyckoff, and also the great aid and comfort which he has extended in cases of sickness and misfortune.  He likewise spoke of the excellent work in promoting with untiring labor the task of beautifying and bringing to its present state of ornamentation what is know as the Van Buren cemetery, he being the leading sprit in the transformation there effected.  Mr. Bartholomew was followed by the Hon. A. F. Dawson, who concluded his speech by presenting to Mr. and Mrs. Wyckoff a number of substantial tokens of remembrance on the part of friends.  In a letter Senator Thomas Lambert, who was unable to be present, said: “I feel that it will not be the event alone which calls forth the spontaneous demonstration of good will, love and affection with which you will be greeted as you are surrounded by hundreds of your friends and neighbors on that day, but rather will their offerings be a just recognition of the good deeds and the kind acts that have been characteristic of your lives from the earliest pioneer days in this locality to the present time.  It will simply be the returning of the bread, as it were, that you have been casting upon the waters for the past half century and more.  And yet we must approach this milestone on the pathway of life-the beautiful golden wedding- with the knowledge that under the immutable laws of nature, the meridian has been passed and as you approach the sunset of life may each recurring anniversary of your wedding day bring that peace and happiness which is consequent upon well spent lives, and your memories revert with sweet pleasure to that occasion when your friends so earnestly gasped the opportunity to fittingly express their approval and appreciation of your life’s work.”

            In making the presentation speech Mr. Dawson said in part: “As you look back over the span of years your cup of joy should be filled to overflowing in contemplation of the wealth you have amassed in this life-not that mere wealth which is measured in cold dollars and cents, but that far richer and more substantial wealth which is measured by the esteem of your friends.  There are few ties in this world that are dearer than the bonds of friendship-not friendships formed in a day but the close friendship which only comes with years of association.  It was of such ties the Petrarch so truly said that ‘Nothing can be sweeter than friendship.’  No man or woman can possess a higher ambition in this life than to so live as to merit the esteem and friendship of his near neighbors and lifelong acquaintances.  Fame, riches and power are fleeting and ephemeral things but the esteem of good men and good women is lasting and abiding-a fitting reward for a couple who have contributed so much to the welfare and comfort of those about them and who during the long years have been striving to advance the worthy objects of this community.”

            A few months passed and Mrs. Wyckoff was called to her final rest, her death occurring on the 16th of April 1908.  Her loss was a grievous one to the community as well as to her husband and family.  One of the local papers said: “She has lived here so many years and her noble traits of character are so well known that words of eulogy are not needed to make sacred her memory.  Her ever ready spirit found a service at hand among the sick and needy, so that a host of friends rise up and called her blessed.  For more than a half century she had been among us and in hundreds of instances had been weighed and not found wanting in motherly love, charity and true neighborliness.  Her life’s history is most effectually written in the hearts of those whom she had made happy by her kindness, charity and hospitality.”  Mr. Wyckoff still remains a resident of Jackson County, where he has always lived, his life work being that o farming, and his life history offers many valuable lesion that may be profitably followed concerning good citizenship, business enterprise and reliability and faithfulness to every trust.  No man in the community is more honored nor more truly deserves the good will and confidence of his fellow citizens the does Charles Wyckoff.           


We have a picture taken on this occasion of Charles and Mary’s Golden Wedding day.  They are seated in two chairs on the lawn of the farmhouse and around them are their sons and daughters. (A. Warnick) 

Identity of the people in the fiftieth Wedding Anniversary Picture as told to me by my grandfather Lowell D. Smith, son of Charlotte Wyckoff Smith.

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