Decatur County, Iowa
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Biography ~ Clara Belle "Callie" (Sellon) Stebbins
1858 ~ 1958
Reflections of Lamoni - 1879 to 1979
The Lamoni Chronicle
Lamoni, Decatur County, Iowa
Volume 20, Special Centennial Edition. April, 1980
Clara B. Stebbins, one of the few Lamoni near-centenarians, came to Lamoni on her honeymoon in October, 1879.
Born Clara B. Sellon, Dec. 13, 1858, in [Shiawassee County] Michigan, she was married to Henry A. Stebbins in Oct., 1879, at the home of her parents in Burlington, Iowa. They went at once to the home of David Dancer and his wife in Lamoni. Mr. Stebbins had lived with the Dancers while their home was in Plano, Illinois, and was like a member of the family.
Arriving in Lamoni, David Dancer met the young couple with team and carriage to take them two miles west of town. They had stepped from the train into a cornfield. The station had not yet been built Theirs was the first passenger train ever to enter Lamoni. Only construction had been coming through while the road was being built.
Mr. Dancer was president of the Order of Enoch; Henry Stebbins was secretary. In Clara B. Stebbins' Memoirs, published in the Saints Herald in 1958, she recalled that "Saints from different parts of the country were settled on the colony farms scattered over the southern part of Decatur County, Iowa. Brother Dancer made daily trips to these farms and Sister Dancer often accompanied him. She was known as the good angel of the colony. In an unobtrusive way she carried gifts to the families, sometimes dress material for the mother, at other times clothing for the children, always with sympathy and interest in their work. They took us with them on their rounds, and we visited in more than thirty homes during one month's stay.
"They drove with us straight east from their place into Main Street of Lamoni. On Linden Street, the cross street, there were a few houses, a meat market, a millinery shop, a small grocery, and some other buildings, while on the west corner of Main and Linden two large buildings were being constructed. One was the Tilton store, the other the Teale store. Those still stand, and through the years have had only a few changes of occupants. The post office was still in the country, a mile east and one mile south of town.
"At the end of our vacation we went to live in Plano where Bro. Stebbins resumed his work as assistant editor of the Herald...At the end of that year we moved to Lamoni to spend the rest of our days.
"We rented a small house southeast of the depot and lived there until our house was ready for us in July, l88l. In the fall of l88l Herald Publishing House was moved from Plano to Lamoni. This brought with it the men and their families connected with the work of the office. One of these was Bro. Joseph Smith and his family. Liberty Hall, the name he gave to his house, was built that year one mile west of Lamoni...
"In that early time Bro. Joseph's eldest daughter, her husband and two young sons were visitors at the hall. One day the boys did something of which their father disapproved. He said, 'If you do that again, I'll take a switch to you.'
"Quickly the boys said, 'You can't. There aren't any switches. Zaide said so.'
"And they were right. There were no trees except along the creek. All the new people were setting out shade and fruit trees, but there was nothing large enough to furnish a switch..."
~ Excerpted from Aunt Callie Stebbins' Memoirs, 1958.
by Cleo H. Moon.
Copied by Nancee(McMurtrey)Seifert, August 14, 2002