Decatur County Historical Society Newsletter

June/July 2009
 Decatur County Museum

The Museum will be open for the 2009 season starting Saturday, May 23 and will close Tuesday, September 29, 2009. This year’s schedule will be 1-5 Tuesday, Friday and Saturday afternoons. For viewing times on other days or during the closed season, call Bob Bixby at 641-446-3297 or 515-238-2903. The Museum is located in the 100 block of North Main in Leon.

For viewing appointments, please contact Bob Bixby at (641) 446-3297.


Recent donations to the Museum include:

A collection of antique cameras from Bob Bixby which are displayed in the front window.
A beautiful wood display case from the Jack VanLaar family of Leon.
Period clothes from Marlene [Warren] Scott of Leon.
A large work desk by Barb Campbell of Leon.
An early 1900’s baseball uniform with “Hansell Chev. & Oil Co.”
Thank You.

Many thanks to the Unity Club of Leon for cleaning, displaying and painting the front of the Museum.


A large donation has made it possible to add a second story fire escape, a new first story landing, a new rear main floor exit door and new storm doors. This project will be completed this summer and will add to the safety of visitors and staff in the Museum.

The Museum has applied for a grant to improve the wiring and add new fixtures to improve lighting upstairs and in the general store.

In June, 2009 the Museum received approval for the above grant and the electrical work will be completed by the end of July.

Future projects are the replacement of the four rear windows which are about 120 years old which have rotten frames resulting in water damage to the walls.

The front of the Museum needs brick repair and we will apply for a grant in the near future for tuck pointing and for the window repair.

Also, there is concern to the Museum in regard to the two buildings to the south which need to be removed due to deterioration. The museum’s south wall appears to be solid but we will not know until the buildings are removed. The buildings will be removed when funding is secured by the authorities.

Volunteer Needs

We need volunteers to help in the Museum. At present, there is only one person on duty during the three afternoons we are open. If anyone is in Decatur County that would like to help, please see Bob Bixby at the Museum. There is a lot of work to do and it’s a fascinating place to work.

Printed Resources at the Museum
Instead of news clips of our past history, we would like to show what resources are available for researchers when they come to the Museum.

Printed Books

Roster Iowa Soldiers-War of the Rebellion, Volumes I, II, and III. Lists, names, age, where from, mustered dates in and out, if died, cause and county.
The Iowa Department of the Grand Army of the Republic[Book], has biography of John D Brown of Decatur County.
United Service Women County Unit [Decatur County] collection of many WWII military men, some with pictures and unit and home data.
New Tales of Old Times-A collection of early family histories in the Lamoni area compiled in 1978 at the Lamoni Library.
Lamoni’s Passing Parade by Joseph H. Anthony. A collection of memories of Lamoni.
Down One Hundred Years by L Dale Ahern. Collection of memories of Lamoni.
The History of Decatur County by Hinena V Hoffman 1839-1970.
The History of Decatur County 1880’s by Prof.J.M. Howell and Heman C Smith-1915.
Biographical and Historical Record of Iowa of Decatur and Ringgold Counties-1887.
Decatur County Home [Poor Farm] visitor’s record 1921-1935.
Many School Records, Country and Town-now on main floor of Museum for viewing.
Tax Records from the 1800’s in the Original Journals.
Notebooks of memories of people and places in Decatur County.
4H records.
Teachers in Decatur County 1888-1901.
1894 Plat book-Decatur County.
1875 Plat book-State of Iowa and Decatur County.
Justice Dockets-1800’s.
Record of the Insane-Volume 1.
J Hoffhines Ledgers.
Poor Farm Records-2 Volumes.
Reflections of Lamoni 1879-1979.
Booklet-The Mormon Trail in Decatur County.
Railroad History Book of Southern Iowa.
And many more records!
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