Eldon Carey Moon

Of Hardin/Franklin County, Iowa-Cottonwood/Jackson County, Minnesota
by Jim C. Carpenter

The year was February, 1920 and Eldon's wife Anna Mae (Polley) Moon had just died at age thirty.  Eldon was left with four young children to raise.  Ruth Anna, age eleven and Lewis E., age eight, were both born in Mountain Lake Minnesota where Eldon's parents, Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Moon resided.  Helen Jane, born in Reeve City, Franklin County,  Iowa, was
six and Charles William, three, was born in Latimer, Franklin County, Iowa.

Eldon, a farmer near Sheffield, Iowa, was thirty-three years of age when he buried his wife in the City Cemetery at Eldora, Iowa.  He then proceeded to raise the children alone.  It wasn't long until he found that he could not make a living as a farmer and provide proper care for the four children. He decided his best option was to sell out everything he owned, find a temporary home for the children, and go look for a different line of work.

On November 1, 1920, he wrote a letter to his sister, Ina Sue Fancher, in Tulsa, Oklahoma asking for the address of another sister, Minnie.  He also ask how much Ina Sue would charge to keep two of the children.  He said he would pay any reasonable amount.   He stated that he was going to sell out and look for work as soon as the corn crop was harvested.  The letter was mailed from Sheffield, Iowa.

Ina Sue Fancher did not take the two children immediately so all four children were left with Minnie Moon, who lived in the Steamboat Rock, Iowa area.  (Ina Sue and her husband, Edgar did adopt Ruth and Helen later).

Eldon Carey Moon at age 33 sold his belongings and set out to find work.  He had every intention of returning for the children, or did he? He was never seen nor heard from again.

Many speculations have risen over the years.   Did he die, was he killed, or did he leave the area and start a new family?  Did he change his name as some have theorized and just start over?  Did he go to Mexico as is indicated by his father's obituary in 1921?

Perhaps he went to visit his mother, Mrs. Joseph Moon, of Heron Lake, Minnesota for a time. Perhaps he settled in the Heron Lake or Windom area and descendants might still live in that area.

Whatever the answer, the "longing to know" will not go away. The mystery has persisted within the family for over 70 years.  Those who most wanted to know are now gone, but the mystery still remains for living family members to contemplate.

Somewhere out there in the vast unknown lies the answer to an evasive family mystery that waits to be solved.  Somewhere out there, someone must know the answer to: "Whatever happened to Eldon Carey Moon?"

Following is the text of Eldon Moon's letter:

Sheffield, IA
Nov. 1, 1920

Dear Sister:
Well how are you by this time?  We are all well.  We sure do have lots of rain again.  It seems like it just can't stop.  I was to Eldora the other day.   Every body down there is well and doing fine.  Aunt Ama Montgomerys have come back to Iowa to live again.  Have you heard from the folks since I saw you?  I haven't.  Say, I wish you would send me Minnie's address if you know it.  I still expect to have my sale on the 16th of Nov., if this rain don't put me back too far with corn picking. I hope the weather will be good after this.  We have had so much bad weather this fall.  Say, Ina, how much would you charge me to take care of 2 of these children.  You haven't got much work to do.  The way things go around here they don't get half taken care of.  I am willing to pay you anything reasonable.   I cant make things go this way and I don't like to send them to the orphans home.   If you can see a way to do this, Ina, it will help me out wonderfully.  Well write me about it soon as you can as I have just made up my mind to let them out and must know where they're going before I sell out.

    As ever, your loving Brother,
            Eldon and the kids

Submitted by Jim Carpenter - rcb404@bankrcb.net