KEOTA CENTENNIAL HISTORY
                             1873 - 1973

What Cheer Opera House

Icenbice Insurance

 

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A glimpse into the past...

FIRES AND THE KEOTA FIRE DEPARTMENT

May 8, 1877. On Wednesday, May 2nd, J. W. Faris' livery stable and 11 horses were burned; also harness, robes and four or five buggies.

May 12, 1877. The city council was in session when Faris' fire broke out. They broke out too and have met again to finish up. They have bought 10 ladders, a set of hooks, a dozen rubber buckets, and have appointed Wm. Charlton Fire Marshall.

May 19, 1877. The citizens of Keota ask the council to procure a fire engine.

January 21, 1884. Monday evening the Creamery Building burned. The fire was first seen by the band boys who had just begun their practice in the upper room of the main building. The boys gave the alarm and soon everyone appeared ready to work with nothing except a few ladders, a couple of hooks and fewer buckets. The buildings and machinery were entirely destroyed. Every effort was made to save the surrounding buildings which they did - some of the lowest roofs were covered with snow.

August 16, 1884. Keota now has a fire engine. It was purchased from J. G. Chancellor, who was here from the factory in Bloomington, Illinois. The Little Giant, that is the name it will be known by, will throw a good sized stream of water on top or over any building in Keota and is only moderately hard work for the 16 men required to operate it. Now for a fire company.

August 30, 1884. Organization of a volunteer fire company was completed. Officers elected are as follows: Chief, J. Palmer; First Foreman of the engine, W. R. Charlton; second foreman of the engine, John Bailey; first foreman on hose, H. C. Haney; second, C. Hinman; Secretary, W. F. Reed; Treasurer, F. M. Smock.

September 10, 1887. Fire destroyed several store buildings in the neighborhood of the present A.A. Hulse and Company store. The fire originated in Dr. McFarlane's Drug Store, which stood where Dunn's Hardware now is, and spread east to what was then Charles Capron's Barber Shop and Billiard Hall, thence on east to the Charlton and Leinen Meat Market, consuming all three. Miss Augusta Vollquarksen had a dressmaking establishment upstairs in the McFarlane building, and Ed Mitchell and Harry Page had rooms back of hers. Fletcher Graham, located across the street in the Singmaster block, was awakened by the flames and gave the alarm. The fire engine was unable to cope with the blaze due to inadequacy of the water supply. Two vacant lots east of the meat market saved the rest of the business district. Only Dr. McFarlane and Charlton and Leinen had insurance.

February 20, 1891. Keota Town Council passes an Ordinance prohibiting the erection of wooden buildings on Broadway between Davis street on the west and Green street on the east. It is to provide against danger from fire.

April 26, 1895. The Ramsey Elevator, now owned by Smith, Lewis and Co., lumbermen and dealers in grain and seeds, caught fire Monday night and Keota was lucky again to have the fire contained in one building. Everyone helped to keep the pump going and thus save the town.

October 15, 1897. Keota again narrowly escaped being wiped from the face of the earth. The beautiful building which E. J. Ramsey built as a furniture store was gutted by fire last Saturday and is almost a total ruin. The fire was discovered shortly after noon in the upper story. The alarm was sounded and soon an immense crowd gathered to do battle with the flames. It was then that we realized how futile were our means of fighting fire. The flames did get a foothold in the frame store owned by H. Henkle but quick work with a few buckets of water checked them and saved the row of buildings. Keota's life hung by two slender threads during those brief two hours—the wind and the fact that the walls of the building didn't collapse.

Several months later workmen were hired to rebuild the brick structure.

March 30, 1899. Keota is the scene of another costly conflagration. Fire broke out in a mysterious manner in the hay loft of George Bell's livery barn at about 9:45 and in a short time was entirely beyond control. The barn stood at the end of a row of frame buildings so the moment the flames burst forth they were also doomed. Had the wind been in any other direction the magnificient Bryson Block would have been doomed.

May 18, 1899. The 600 feet of hose the town has bought places every building in Keota under fire protection, which is the primary object of our waterworks.

June 20, 1899. The first run with the new hose cart was made to the home of Mayor O. B. Jones where there was a fire. Although several feet of water had been pumped into the tank for experimental purposes, the firemen found the fire easy to extinguish without city water.

August 10, 1899. A bad blaze occurred when the Van Winkle Factory was fired by lightning.

May 15, 1902. Keota fire fighting equipment has been improved by the purchase of "controlling nozzles," two of which were purchased at a cost of $9 each. Men holding the nozzle can control the stream of water at will, allowing it to flow full force or diminishing it as they see fit.

May 7, 1903. The fire department was out in force Monday eve to see whether they had hose enough to reach Wm. Charlton's residence, Mr. Charlton having objected to paying the water tax thinking he had no fire protection. The boys demonstrated they had enough and 150 feet to spare.

July 16, 1903. The grain elevator belonging to Smith and Lewis on East Broadway, near the railroad stock yards, was almost destroyed by fire. The fire companies were on hand in short time and three streams of water were turned on the building and adjacent structures so that progress of the flames was checked before the entire building burned. The building contained 6,000 to 10,000 bushels of grain, nearly all of which is a total loss. The elevator was erected

 

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in the early '80's by J. L. Ramsey and was well built. Roland Neal has pictures of the fire for 25 cents a card.

School House Burns

January 2, 1908. Monday afternoon, December 30, 1907, a few minutes after 1:00, B. L. Sanders was passing the schoolhouse on his way down town when he noticed smoke issuing from both the upper and lower windows of the south annex. The fire department was quick to respond, but the fire had gained a head start and nothing could be done but keep the fire down as much as possible. In an hour the chimney was all that was left and they pushed it over. Nothing was saved but an old organ and several desks. The origin of the fire will probably never be known. $4,500 insurance was carried, but the building was worth $7,500 and other contents worth $300.

The north wing was built in 1874. In 1876 the central portion was added and in 1888 the south wing was built. The house had six rooms. Two have been divided so at the time of the fire there were eight rooms. The town hall, J. S. Stoutner's business room on W. Broadway and the present band room have been engaged for class rooms.

January 9, 1908. A new building will be ready as soon as possible. Schools opened Monday on time. The high room is in the post office, Miss Kite is in rear of the post office, Miss Wilson is in the town hall, Miss Fish is in the band room, Misses McLaughlin and DeYoe in the Stoutner building.

January 9, 1908. John Randolph recalls how the water mains are laid in Keota and the lack of pressure at the school house fire was not due to any defect in the system . A good thing for us all to remember is that our mains are 8, 6, and 4" respectively. 8" on Broadway, 6" on side streets and 4" in the suburbs and the school was in that section.

October 8, 1908. The brick and tile works belonging to S.K . Leacox was partially consumed by fire shortly after the noon hour. The fire department succeeded in saving the west and south drying sheds, but the office and machinery are a complete loss. Mr. Leacox says he will rebuild at once on the same site with a fireproof machinery room 28 x 60 which will consume 100,000 brick and will install in it the very latest machinery which will include a "gravity elevator."

October 19, 1911. The town has a new steel tower for the fire bell located south of the town hall near the railroad. It cost $100. There's just one thing lacking. There is no systematic way of ringing the bell when there's a fire.

February 23, 1922. There is considerable agitation at the present time about improving our fire department by adding a good automobile truck to the equipment, and paying for the same by popular subscription. Our fire fighting equipment is about as modern as it was 10 or more years ago, and while as a whole the department is very efficient, yet a little modernization would be a mighty good insurance.

April 25, 1923. The electric fire siren has been installed and wired to the telephone office, from which it will be operated. One straight blast will be blown at 12 noon each day except Sunday. The fire call, or varying tone, will be used for fire only. Oren Palmer, Fire Chief.

February 3, 1927. Another bad fire menanced the business district Sunday, when Charles Coffman discovered smoke coming from the rear of the Wales Department Store. The fire companies of Washington and Sigourney were called but the Keota firemen found the seat of the blaze and the fire was under control before help arrived. There was smoke damage and actual fire damage to Wales stock was great. There was damage in the Keota Electric store and the Hagist household goods were moved outside.

October 30, 1930. The new Keota Community fire truck was delivered in Keota Saturday and demonstrated at the Coffman place south of town where a brush pile was soaked with gasoline and set afire. The pump was tested at the creek and it pumped 300 gallons per minute at 120 lbs, pressure through a 1 1/8-inch nozzle for one hour; 150 gallons per minute at 200 lbs. pressure through 1-inch nozzle for a half hour and 100 gallons per minute at 250 lbs. pressure through 7/8-inch nozzle. The Council met at special session and accepted the truck. The truck costs betwen $4,300 and $4,400. Honorary memberships among nearby farmers are $25.00. The charge for fire calls to non-members will be $50 per hour.

March 30, 1936. The work of removing the steel tower, fire bell, and fire siren from the back of the old town hall lot to the new town hall, which is the Hotel Keota, is in charge of Mike L. Greiner. The tower will be re-erected just south of the hotel.

January 24, 1946. The Model A. A. $4,000 fire truck is now better than 15 years old and it is apparent that it is going to have to be replaced soon. It was bought in 1930 when the Keota Farm Fires Service was organized by our firemen. The town put up $1,000 and the farmers of the surrounding community took $25 memberships to the extent of about $3,000. Edgar Bandy hooked his wrecker onto the truck and towed it the two blocks to a roof fire. Its chemical apparatus was used to put out the fire .

May 9, 1946. It limped to a fire near Harper and put the fire out but wasn't able to get home under its own power.

September 5, 1946. The new fire truck is here. The Keota Farm Fires Service was first organized 16 years ago and it has worn out one truck during that period. A drive was put on this spring and more than 300 memberships at $25 each were secured to finance the purchase of the new truck, which cost roughly $5,250 besides the cost of some 700 feet of hose and a few small items of other expense. The old truck which is no longer fully reliable will be kept at the rear of the fire hall for emergency use only. The Town of Keota has agreed to man and maintain the new truck, as it did the old one for the life of the truck. New members can join the Farm Fires Service but memberships are considerably higher since the end of the drive.

 

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The Minnesota Fire Equipment Company of Lindstrom, Minnesota, put equipment onto the long wheel base Ford chassis.

June 4, 1964. The storage building owned by the Keota Lumber and Fuel Company was completely destroyed by fire on Memorial Day 1964. Firemen from Keota, Wellman and Sigourney battled the blaze for nearly three hours before bringing it under control. Also damaged by the fire were the buildings of A. A. Hulse, Farmers Savings Bank, Farm and Home Drug and an apartment in the vacant building owned by Frank Dasher. A car owned by Mrs. Blanche Utt which was parked behind the building was totally burned.

On that day a large part of the business district of Keota hung in the balance for about an hour.

A fire January 6, 1967, completely destroyed the service station in Keota owned by Gordon Pearson. Firemen kept the fire from spreading to nearby buildings. No one was injured in the fire but a car belonging to Bill Heisdorffer received smoke and heat damage. The heat was so intense that pop bottles in the building were melted. That takes temperature of 1500 degrees. The only things saved were the cash register and records. Fire departments from Wellman and Sigourney were called to assist. Estimated loss $30,000.

Keota Spray Service and Grimes Decorating Service were completely demolished by disaster. Estimated loss was about $250,000.

One of the most spectacular fires in Keota's history occurred Thursday night, March 9, 1967, when the offices and warehouse of the Keota Spray Service were completely demolished. The Grimes Decorating Service, also housed in the building, was destroyed. The Keota Locker plant brick building served as a fire wall to stop the flames from consuming the Keota Lumber Company.

The Keota Spray Service lost over 5000 tons of feed as well as seed, chemicals and fertilizer.

The Grimes Decorating Service serviced the surrounding counties with quality interior decorating including paint, paper and drapery material.

The Keota VFW Auxiliary set up a food stand in the VFW Post Home across the street from the fire scene and served sandwiches and coffee to the firemen all night.

April 8, 1971. Fire seriously damaged the Keota Junior-Senior High building Monday evening at 5:35. The blaze started in the second floor hallway over the main entrance to the building. This hallway is located over the stairwell and is used for janitorial storage and also a locker area. Tom Gretter turned in the alarm and when firemen arrived flames were shooting out the west windows of the upper story. The fire spread north to the history classroom and completely gutted the area. The Wellman Fire Department was called and helped the Keota department extinguish the blaze.

Clean up started immediately Tuesday morning and the insurance company hired professional cleaners. It is hoped classes can resume next Monday morning.

1895 Fire
1895 — Fire at Keota Elevator
1907 Fire Department
May 23, 1907
After fire at the Tom Singmaster home. Keota Fire
Department—Standing with rain coat and fire hat in
center of picture is Roy (Nibs) Schreckengast,
sitting below him, John Hamilton, his dog,
next right, Clark Nelson; standing by
hose, dark suit, Bert Helscher.
Page House Fire
Mrs. Mae Page's house on fire. Mid 1930's.

 

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Lumber storage fire
Memorial Day 1964.
Keota Lumber Company storage building.

Keota's firemen, along with members of five other departments, had the honor of greeting the Fire Marshall of Denmark at the Prairie du Chien Airport.

The Keota fire engine had the dubious distinction of being the only one to catch fire during the rally. However, alert action of the local lads quickly contained the slight conflagration (the exhaust pipe caught the running board on fire). Not only did the Model A catch its running board on fire, but the engine conked out on the last leg of the rally. Fire Chief Jim Mound diagnosed rapidly the problem as being in the ignition coil. He swiftly cooled the offending coil down with ice cubes, and after a tow by the local sheriff (at 45 m.p.h.) they motored across the finish line.

"Wide World of Sports," a well-known Sunday afternoon TV program, was on hand taking video tape of the rally. The news media was also in attendance.

The Los Angeles Times put the story on the front page of its paper. The story was syndicated and appeared in many of the larger papers over the nation.

FIRE DEPARTMENT
GETS SURPLUS VEHICLE

May 25, 1972

Last Friday the Keota Fire Department received a surplus Army 2 1/2-ton 6-wheel drive truck through the U. S. Forestry Service. This truck, a 1952 GMC, is to be used for the control of rural fires but can also be used at town fires if necessary.

The local department plans to install a 1,500 to 2,000-galIon water tank that can be used to deliver water to the fire trucks at rural fires where water is not available.

The unit was obtained free of charge through the efforts of the Fire Department, Keota Town Council and the Keokuk County Board of Supervisors. However the Forestry Service retains title to the vehicle and the local Fire Department must maintain it.

THE GREAT FIRE TRUCK RACE

The Great Fire Engine Race of America was held over the Memorial Day week-end, 1972, at Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin.

There were 45 fire trucks entered in the race, including Keota's 1930 Model A Ford, from all over the United States.

leather graphic

 

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McCrabb Bros. ad

 

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STORMS, DISASTER, CRIME, ETC. IN THE KEOTA AREA

The Great Tornado

One of the most destructive tornadoes which ever passed through this part of the country was the one occurring on the 23rd day of May, 1873. Certain portions of Keokuk County were particularly unfortunate, and is often referred to as the "Ascension Day Tornado."

About 2:00 p.m. there came up a very heavy rain with a good deal of large hail and a tornado started near Lancaster, tore a number of houses to pieces there and came on towards Keota destroying a number of buildings and came on to the east side of Clear Creek.

The tornado raised, passed over Keota and traveled on about 10 miles east of Keota where it struck the ground again and the destruction was terrible, killing some 10 persons and injuring a great number.

In the Clear Creek area the tornado not only demolished homes but took the lives of Mrs. Peter Mersch and child and seriously injuring Mr. Mersch and two other children. The little babe was killed in its father's arms.

Mrs. Nick Engeldinger and babe were also killed in the tornado. Mrs. Mersch and Mrs. Engeldinger were daughters of Mr. Wendel Horras. Many, many more in the area were injured in the storm.

Many horses were killed in the barns as well as many cattle, hogs and chickens. "Ducks were sucked up out of the pond and their feathers picked off as clean as they are picked for a barbeque, and they were dumped out 'dead ducks' half a mile away."

Many now living in the Keota area today are descendents of the two ladies killed in the tornado. Mrs. Mersch was the grandmother of Mrs. Rosa Oswalt and great-grandmother of Maurice Conrad of Keota.

Other descendents of Mrs. Mersch living in the Keota area are Mrs. Leonard Bayliss and Mr. Fremont Sieren and perhaps others. It was on the same farm where the Sierens now live where the tornado struck with such great force killing the great-grandmother of Mr. Sieren.

July 3, 1924. Early Saturday morning, June 28th, a violent storm of wind, hail and rain swept down on this community and worked havoc throughout the town and country side. A strip of farm land from three to five miles wide and extending from south of West Chester to beyond Webster was devastated of all crops by the hail which came with terrible intensity and unusual size. Some hail-stones were as large as a man's fist while others were about the size of saucers. Thousands of window panes in Keota and throughout the country area were broken. The wind that preceded and accompanied the hail wrought much damage, tearing roofs from buildings, destroying barns, tearing up trees by roots and breaking branches from the trees. After the hail and winds came the rains, from five to six inches in about two hours, flooding houses through broken windows and damaged roofs. By six o'clock Saturday morning creeks and rivers were out of banks. Many head of stock was drowned. We are thankful that no lives were lost.

August 20, 1925. A hail storm passed through this community Tuesday morning, August 18, from northwest to southeast leaving in its wake ruined corn crops, dead and crippled stock, some damaged buildings and thousands of broken window panes, broken telephone and light wires. The worst area near Keota was two miles east and four miles south and southwest with the P.S. Peiffer farm as its center. Twelve and four teen-foot corn was battered to the ground, the foliage and ears being pounded into the ground with only two or three-foot stalks left standing. Trees were stripped of leaves, pigs and chickens were killed galore, windows broken and holes were punched in the roofs. Hail stones varied from hickory nut size to the size of walnuts and they fell for about 15 minutes preceeded and followed by heavy rains. Some farmers carried hail insurance this year but many did not.

The following Sunday the main roads and by roads were crowded with auto tourists from all directions, some as far as Des Moines, to see the hail damage. Charles Auwaerter said about 1,500 people visited the Singmaster farm that day.

June 10, 1926. More dust storms swept through the cornfields to the north of Keota Sunday and Monday. Most damage was in the fall-plowed fields. On Sunday the fence dust filled the air and deposited over the countryside. Iowa has probably never had a drier spring and early summer.

Tornado Hits Nine Miles South of Keota, Saturday May 9, 1959.

A tornado struck with vicious force about nine miles south of Keota Saturday evening about 6:45. The tornado started near the Hopewell Church on highway 77 and made a destructive path north to Talleyrand.

The most serious damage was done at the Kenny Henry farm, where the storm leveled all of the buildings, leaving only a corn crib standing. In addition to the eight-room home, and furniture, new machinery worth $20,000 was lost; also approximately 40 pigs, six sows, one cow and 12 head of sheep.

Trees were uprooted, barns and machinery demolished, roofs torn off, windmills blown down, houses twisted on foundations on other farms in the vicinity and strewn over a wide area by the severe storm.

The only person injured was Mrs. Bill Bond when she was blown downstairs in her farm home. She lived north of the Hopewell Church. She later died from her injuries.

Hail the size of golf balls, strong wind and rain hit the town of Keota and surrounding area shortly after noon, Monday, March 22, 1966. There was severe damage to roofs and hundreds of windows were reported broken.

CRIME

April 8, 1882. Burglars visited Keota last Monday nite. They procured an outfit of tools; braces, bits, chisels, sledge, etc., from Van Winkle's Carriage Shop. They drilled the depot safe and blew the door entirely off it and were rewarded with six dollars in dimes and nickels.

December 19, 1885. An attempt was made last week by H. N. Kinkade of Nebraska to swindle the Keota Bank out

 

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of $11,000. He came to buy horses from the Singmasters to the amount of $3,500. To pay for the horses he presented two drafts drawn on the Ashland Bank in Ashland, Nebraska—one for $10,500 and the other for $500. He wanted to draw on these for the amount to pay for the horses and get letters of credit on Washington Banks for the difference. It didn't seem a good way to do business; so, a telegram was sent to the bank of Ashland, Nebraska, which couldn't be delivered as there wasn't any bank by that name. When Kinkade learned of the investigation, he took the first train to Washington saying he would return in the morning, but he didn't show up. The bank is to be congratulated for escaping from this scheme.

September 17, 1897. Sheriff Teeter says lots of horses are being stolen. He gets cards and telegrams daily. Horse owners should be on the alert against thefts; a sure sign that horses are coming up in value.

November 5, 1897. If a man who claims to be an agent for a patent hair restorer and dandruff remover calls at your house with a satchel and a broad, bland smile, sic the dog on him. If you haven't a dog hit him with a stove lid. His story of virtues of his "wonderful" hair restorer is refreshing, but the stuff isn't. It is only water and weak acid, and its only virtue is that it acts as a sort of mild scalping knife.

November 26, 1897. A lot of our venturesome boys were arrested yesterday for "hopping" the trains and were fined $3.50 apiece.

December 31, 1897. Someone had the audacity to steal a handsome evergreen tree from C. Kirkpatrick's place a short distance west of town last week.

December 31, 1897. Some of the Talleyrand young people attended a dance at Harper Friday nite and came home minus overcoats, lap robes, caps, and all their other valuables that they hadn't in safe keeping.

January 7, 1898. A thief entered the H. A. Millhouse carriage shop and carried away $30 worth of fine tools. On the same night the same robber forced a window at the Van Winkle carriage works and took tools, about $10 in value.

A FOUL MURDER

March 11, 1898. Robbers Slaughter A Defenseless Old Man For His Money. The heart of this community was stirred to its depths on Wednesday evening when the report was circulated that George Shultzberger, a harmless old man living just a mile and three quarters southeast of Keota, had been found dead in his home, cruelly murdered. "Dutch George" as he was known had been an eccentric character to this neighborhood for 25 years. He owned a farm of 40 acres and had lived in a small house upon it, alone and unattended for many years. It had been supposed that he had stored away considerable wealth. On Wednesday evening, Wm. Nelson called at the house to see about some stock he was pasturing on George's place, but he could see no signs of life about the place. Suspicioning something was wrong he called his neighbor, E. Campbell, and they with Charles Dayton forced an entrance to the house and discovered the horrible evidence of murder. Someone had struck the old man a fearful blow near the left ternple with a club or blunt instrument, likely killing him almost instantly. It is thought the deed was committed between the hours of 7 and 9 o'clock in the evening as he was dressed in his daily garb. His room was torn up and a chest or box in which he kept his valuables had been broken open.

George Shultzberger was 73 years old. He had a brother in California and a sister who lives near Wapello. The body was brought to Keota where an inquest was held. The verdict was as follows: "The deceased came to his death from a blow at the hands of a party or parties not known." His sister, Mrs. Wiederrecht, took his body to Wapello where he is buried.

March 25, 1898. A man living near Wellman recalls having borrowed $400 from "Dutch George." The old man lifted a loose board from the floor, took out a tin bucket, and from it counted out the money. The taking out of the $400 made no apparent change in the size of the pile.

June 3, 1898. Some miscreant picked the lock on Neal's photo display frame one night and stole all the pictures it contained.

September 29, 1898. Saturday nite a couple of Keota's young men bought some oysters and refused to pay for them. The Marshall was called in and the young men resisted arrest. One of them was finally taken and lodged in the cooler and the other got away without his buggy, started out of town by "hand." Their trial is still pending.

August 17, 1905. Monday morning Bower & Sanders discovered their store had been burglarized and silks to the value of $400 taken. The robbers confined themselves exclusively to silks. Their work was smooth. They abstracted the valuable Taffetas and Peau de Soies from their coverings and inserted cheap calicoes and such in their stead, replacing the bundles on the shelves.

FARMERS SAVINGS BANK ROBBED

A lone bandit walked into the Farmers Savings Bank in Keota about 9:40 a.m. Monday, August 1, 1966, pointed a gun at Wm. Henderson, assistant cashier, handed him a paper bag and ordered him to fill the bag with the money in the drawer. The bandit then fled across Broadway, through a vacant lot to the railroad right-of-way where his car was parked, and fled out of town with approximately $6,000.

Keokuk County Sheriff J. "Bud" Wallerich filed a charge of robbery with aggravation against Charles Robert Wallerich.

Wallerich, a former area resident, had been serving a 25 year term on an Iowa charge of robbery with aggravation and escape and had been paroled when he was wounded in a gun battle at Kansas City. His parole was revoked and he was returned to Fort Madison. He was later taken to the University Hospitals in Iowa City for treatment of a gunshot wound when he escaped July 28, 1966.

The Keota bank was robbed and the robber escaped in a cream-colored Jeep which he had apparently stolen in Iowa City. This vehicle was later found abandoned in Chicago.

 

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A couple months after the Keota robbery, Wallerich robbed a Minnesota bank, stole several cars and was involved in two kidnappings.

After his indictment in Minnesota early in 1967 he pleaded not guilty for reasons of insanity and had been confined to a criminally insane ward of a Missouri prison.

He was never brought to trial for the Keota robbery.

IOWA'S OLDEST COLUMNIST AND KEOTA HISTORIAN

Miss Kate B. Glover of Keota, Iowa, lived to celebrate her 94th birthday December 6, 1964.

Kate was born on a farm south of Washington, Iowa, December 6, 1870. In the early 1870's the family moved to Keota where they purchased the house in 1874 and this had always been her home.

A graduate of the Keota High School in 1889, Kate later taught speech and drama in the same school for 15 years. She was honored at the 1964 Alumni Banquet as a 75-year graduate. She also coached dramatics at Ainsworth, Cotter, Washington and Millersburg schools and directed plays at Sigourney, Wyman and other area towns.

Kate's main love was writing. Her column, "Bird Notes," appeared in The Keota Eagle for 42 years and she was possibly the oldest regular columnist in the state of Iowa according to a story published in the National Audubon Magazine.

She also had served as correspondent for seven southeast Iowa newspapers, besides acting as society editor for The Keota Eagle.

Since she had lived in the new town of Keota since its infancy this made her a real source of information regarding the early history of the town.

Kate's love of life, her smiling Irish eyes, and her determination to remain young in heart was observed by a reporter when, in discussing her 94th birthday, she said, "You don't stop having fun because you're growing old, you grow old because you stop having fun!"

Kate passed away November 7, 1965.

Glover House
The house pictured here was built in the early 1870's. It was the Glover home in 1875 when the family came to this community. Mrs. J. E. Glover, pictured here, was the mother of Kate and Frank Glover. This house stood until 1967 when it was razed.

**********

August 15, 1935. Keota has broken into print in an odd way—Lois Montross, noted fiction writer for a national magazine, including Saturday Evening Post, chose Keota to be the home town of the college senior heroine of a clever and well-written story in the September Pictorial Review. The editor of The Eagle wrote Lois Montross and asked her choice as Keota as the girl's hometown and she said she knew Harold M. Page when both were students at the University of Illinois before the war.

**********

September 14, 1967. John Powell was given an appreciation dinner on September 11 by the Lion's Club for his many years as public official in Keota as mayor, member of town council, trustee of the Keota cemetery. His typewritten records list the owners of about 2000 lots and the record of graves on these lots. He has been chairman of the committee supporting the Red Cross and Salvation Army. He is a member of the Methodist Church and a resident of Maplewood Manor. Mr. Powell is 91 years of age.

**********

July 4, 1968. Joe Geil tore down the old building in back of his house and reports that it was the first home (one-room) built in the town of Keota. It had plastered walls, a chimney, and was built on a limestone foundation.

94 Today

 

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Kaiser ad

Dekalb trio ads

 

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