LYON COUNTY GENEALOGY
Post War Years - Part 2
Late in September the board reversed itself and decided to do the Imperial highway first. It was decided to grade the highway from Lester to a point east of Little Rock on the Lyon-Osceola county line. Contract for the work was let to Ira Cox of Sioux Falls at 57 cents a cubic yard for the dirt work. It was to be a federal aid project.
National politics was building up a lot of heat. The republican party was getting ready to throw out the democratic administration, and when the Lyon county caucus was held the big fight-with a small attendance-was between Governor Frank Lowden of Illinois, and General Leonard Wood. The county party instructed four delegates for Lowden and one for General Wood. When the national convention was held, neither won, the nominee being Warren Harding. The democrats nominated Cox as their candidate in 1920-but when the election was held Harding won in a land-slide-probably partly as a revulsion to the war, during which Democratic President Wilson had been in the White House. In Lyon county Harding carried every precinct-the vote being 4,015 to 776. All republican candidates won by large majorities in Lyon county.
Efforts were continuing to have a company of the national guard headquartered in Rock Rapids and Major E. E. Lambert of the Iowa adjutant general's office came here in May to work with local people. It was decided that a company of 100 men should be signed up-and 32 were enrolled at once. F. L. Sutter and E. O. Carpenter who had bought the Strand theatre building said that it would be available for an armory if the community wanted it.
The campaign for enlistments continued, but never did get near the men needed and the program was finally dropped.
In October a move was started to buy the building from Sutter and Carpenter to be used as headquarters for the American Legion and as a community hall. A fund drive was started, but it was unsuccessful. In December the former Strand theatre building was sold to J. Wick, who had planned to use it as a place to display and sell used cars, but who later decided to fix it up for a place to hold basketball games, dances, etc.
When the general conference of the Methodist Episcopal church held its annual meeting in Des Moines, a Rock Rapids man was honored in being re-elected for the fifth time as treasurer of the world wide organization. He was O. P. Miller, long-time banker and leader in the church. The Des Moines papers carried a column and half story about the outstanding contributions of the Rock Rapids man in church work.
In a special vote held with the primary election in June Lyon county voters favored construction of a new $20,000 jail by a vote of 945 to 657 and the construction of a new county home, at an estimated cost of $35,000 by a vote of 826 to 697. On November 12, the county home, located two miles north and a half mile east of Rock Rapids burned to the ground. Mickey Fitzgerald, a resident at the home discovered the fire, and the Rock Rapids department's new truck immediately went to the blaze, but it could not be contained and the structure was a complete loss. Members of the board of supervisors decided to fix up some old shacks to house a couple of families who had lived at the home and the single men were to be placed in rooms and fed at local restaurants.
Bank problems were getting acute. There had been a big demand for loans for speculation on farms. This had helped push bank footing up and as of June 30 the three locals banks all showed high totals. The First National bank had footings of $891,308; the Lyon County National Bank had footings of $898,359 and the Iowa Savings bank showed total of $1,089,493.
Economic problems were emphasized late in July when Ben Davidson, head of the Davidson store in Sioux City stopped in Rock Rapids on a Sunday morning to get a tire repaired. He told folks with whom he was visiting that prices had come down, in spite of large producers who wanted to keep them up. He said that his store was doing fine and making great gains but that all good merchants would welcome a return to more normal prices and conditions. He started business in Sioux City peddling merchandise around town from a pack on his back-and built a big department store from that start.
The Lyon county fair for 1920 was a fine show and attendance records were broken on Wednesday when 9,818 paid admissions were sold. Weather was not good for the show and profits were down.
A serious situation was disclosed the middle of October, when it bacame known that there were several cases of hog cholera in the county. County Agent Shepard arranged to bring Dr. K. W. Stouder of Iowa State college here to meet with hog raisers. He was an expert on swine diseases and it was hoped he could give suggestions to help stop spread of the disease, and methods to be used in getting rid of the carcasses of animals which were dying.
George Hornbostel a well known and popular young farmer who farmed a half mile west and a mile south of the Catholic cemetery was drowned October 7, a mile north of Lakewood. He was standing in the river fishing, when he had some sort of an attack and fell down. Near him were Mrs. Hornbostel's uncle, John Schroeder and Hornbostel's hired man, Claud Miller. They rushed to help Hornbostel but could not find him. Coroner A. H. Lockwood was called and he got Harry Medberry with his canoe and some others to help look for the body, which was found four or five hours later.
Because of many bank robberies which were taking place over the midwest, bankers of Lyon county met the last of October and organized a vigilante group. Three men from each town in the county were sworn in as deputy sheriffs, and would try to prevent robberies of all kinds-especially of banks. The bankers posted a reward of $1,000 for a bank robber-dead or alive.
Bankers of the county met again the latter part of November to study the money situation. The Federal Reserve System was pushing them not to make any loans, and to call in all the loans possible. Interest rates were to be increased and other charges added.
Women got some satisfaction in the first week in November when a court order was signed making them eligible for jury duty starting with January 1921. Women who were to serve on the grand jury were: Lena Roach, Leona Cooper, Anna Barron, Agatha Ramsey, Lena Storjohan, Lillian Purchas, Allie Ladd all of Rock Rapids and Minnie Smith and Irene Parden of George. A large list of potential petit jurors was also announced.
Rock Rapids had an outstanding football team in 1920-the team winning every one of its regularly scheduled games in the season-after they lost the season's opener to Sioux Falls Washington high. Nels Hersey, the new coach, had his team in real good condition and at the end of the season they were talked of as northwest Iowa champions. Another outstanding team in the area was Milford-and a post-season game was set up between the two teams to be played on a neutral field at Spirit Lake.
The game proved to be a great disappointment for Rock Rapids. The locals were behind 14 to nothing at the half and then a series of injuries removed most of the key players-after which Milford went on to smash the Lions into the ground, winning 61 to 14.
Local people still thought a lot of the team and a big banquet was held for the team and Coach Hersey. The team was presented with a silver loving cup. Twenty-seven players were on the squad honored.
On December 6 Rock Rapids entertained a former president of the United States when William Howard Taft came here to speak at the Lyon Theatre. He was met by a delegation of city officials, Lyceum committee people and newspaper men. The former president delivered his lecture to a capacity crowd. On leaving Rock Rapids he complimented the community on having such a fine hotel as the Marietta, and suggested that he couldn't stay there long because the food was so good he would put on even more weight. Taft was a very large man, probably weighing close to 300 pounds.
Lyon county lost another of it pioneers on December 29, when Isaac Whitman Woodburn died. He had been afflicted with chronic bronchitis for many years and had been seriously ill for a month. Born in Pennsylvania in 1856 he came to Lyon county with his parents in 1877. His father August Woodburn bought a quarter section farm three miles east of town for $3 and the farm was still in the family. Woodburn had been sheriff of Lyon county for five years.
One of the community's best liked citizens died January 2, 1921. He was Ned Handy and had been born in 1863 and came to Lyon county with his family when he was 13 years of age. Here he had married Carrie Elizabeth Piele in 1884. He had eight children, and died after a long illness. Handy was a prominent republican politician and was deputy collector of internal revenue for several years. He was also active in the land business here.
Although there were many rumors of liquor distilleries being operated in the county, little more was done about the matter until the middle of December, when County Attorney Riter swore out warrants for other raids. Sheriff Ripley, assisted by Deputy Sheriff Oakes and Rock Rapids night watchmen Fred Selfe and O. W. McKee made three raids. At the John Stip farm, three miles south of Rock Rapids, a still was found, not being operated. A sub-basement was found under the barn floor which had a vat containing 300 gallons of mash and under a load of hay in a wagon in the yard, officers found four gallons of the finished product.
At the Fritz Kohlman farm three miles east and a mile south of town officers found a still that was operating. They found some whiskey that was ready to go and also a considerable amount of mash.
At the Mike Van Houten farm in Midland townships they also made a raid, but found nothing incriminating.
The argument about city steam heat continued with the new year. In an action in District court, Judge Bradley sustained a demurrer by the city of Rock Rapids, which had been sued by heat users, but gave the plaintiffs 15 days in which to amend their petition and refile the case. The petitioners submitted statistics which showed that during October, November and December of 1920 and January of 1921, the city had used $5,433 worth of exhaust steam from the local electric plant and had collected $12,433 for the this steam. Making a net profit of $7,000-which the users said was outrageous.
The middle of March E. H. Kooser from the state auditor's office completed his audit of the steam heating system, and filed his report. He recommended that heat rates be not less than 90 cents per 1,000 feet of condensation and not more than $1.00. At any event he indicated the $1.10 which the city charged was not fair.
The council met on April 12 and accepted the Kooser report. They passed a resolution introduced by Councilman Purchas, that the $1.10 rate for the last three months of 1920 be reaffirmed, but that a new sliding scale rate be instituted, effective January 1, 1921.
The council acted on the heat rate matter at their May meeting and set the basic rate at $1 per 1,000 feet of condensation for each 10 cent per ton variation in the price of coal from a base period which was to be the last three months of 1920. The new rate meant substantial refunds for most users-and under the sliding scale the rate for steam heat for February, March and April was set at 83 1/2 cents per 1,000 feet of condensation.
Economic conditions were not good in early 1921-a first class recession was under way. At their meeting February 7, members of the council reaffirmed their January decision to cut wages of city employees. Several said they would not accept the reduction and would resign, but none did.
At their March meeting members of the council heard complaints from Frank Creglow, that Western Electric Telephone company was charging more for their service than was provided for in their franchise. The council studied the matter and told the company to have their manager, B. C. Way of Mason City, here for a meeting of the council to discuss the matter.
Way had showed no intention of coming to Rock Rapids, but some of his assistants came and discussed the telephone situation with Mayor White and members of the council. They were advised the city was very unhappy with the service which had 240 lines and 504 telephones-so that there was considerable duplication of conversations over the lines. The council told the company that the community wanted a new switchboard and other system improvements. The council was told that Mr. Way would be here in May.
District Manager Way again failed to show up for the May council meeting and members of that body ordered the company to forthwith reduce their rates. City Clerk Medberry was ordered to communicate the order to the company at once. It was again indicated that Manager Way would soon be in Rock Rapids to straighten things out.
June 13 local manager George Madigan of the telephone company met with the council and advised them that the company had started a major improvement program which would include two new copper lines to Luverne and one to Sioux Falls to provide better service. He said that the company would put in more lines in Rock Rapids to avoid "double-talk" on some lines, particularly in the south part of town, where there had been the greatest complaint. He indicated some 9,000 feet of additional cable would be put up in Rock Rapids. The telephone rate matter seemed to have pretty well died after this program was announced.
On March 25 Wm. Berkholtz, died at his home after a brief illness. Born in Wodenstein, Pommerania, Germany, in 1848, he was 72 years of age at the time of his death. He came to the United States in 1865, worked in the lumber trade in Chicago for several years and then moved to Rock Rapids in 1876. Here, with his brother, he erected the upper mill and then in 1881 he built the lower mill, which was to be operated for many years.
While prices were dropping in all lines-and the city had cut wages for its employees-there were some areas in which the working man was getting improvements. Dr. G. H. Boetel, who was a member of the city council brought in a resolution at the April meeting which would reduce the hours that workmen at the electric generating plant would have to work. They were working 10 hours a day, seven days a week. Boetel would cut the workday to eight hours. He said it was impossible to get the best results from men working such long hours each week. He also insisted that the city hire an assistant for bookkeeper Rena Leichliter.
By April conditions had become tight enough that the council decided to drop all the rest of the paving planned, as soon as Greene street was completed. The paving crews were then to be through in Rock Rapids.
Wind up of the paving program brought an immediate argument between the city and Empire Construction company. The city was not satisfied with the work done by the company in several areas, and they were also unhappy with the work of the engineer they had hired to supervise the construction-C. H. Currie.
In July Chenowith & Rittenghouse, Sioux Falls engineers, who were supposed to be experts on paving, were hired by the City to inspect the paving job and report on it. They reported in August and said that the job was not up to par in several particulars and they indicated that the city's construction supervisor, had not done his job. In September the city and the paving company agreed that they would each appoint a representative and the two would get a third man to arbitrate the matter of the paving.
After serving as principal of Rock Rapids high school for 10 years, Miss Ethel Murray, a highly popular instructor and administrator, announced her resignation, to become an instructor at Morningside college. Miss Murray had served briefly as superintendent following the death of W. S. Wilson, and before Lester Ary assumed that post. Miss Murray's resignation was submitted the latter of April, to become effective with the end of the 1920-21 school year.
The last of May another class of seniors was graduated from the local high school. In that group were Viola Albertus, Raymond Baustian, Pauline Colberg, Rosa Garf, Ethel Gossen, Roy Guyan, Olaf Hanson, Karl Hasselmann, Mildred Hawkins, Frances Holliday, Viola Jammer, Harry Jansen, Horace Kelsey, Tena Langfeldt, Hazel Link, Earl McLaughlin, Arthur Payton, Erna Reyelts, Ruth Reigel, Erma Ross and Lillian Thiesen.
At the end of the year the school system had word that it would lose its superintendent. Lester Ary, who had been hired following the death of W. S. Wilson, had an offer to head the Cherokee schools, at a substantial increase in salary, and the board released him to accept that position.
On May 7 another of Rock Rapids' popular women died. She was Mrs. E. O. (Winnie Shannon) Carpenter, who had been ill for an extended period, had undergone surgery on several occasions, and who died at Rochester, Minn., where she had been for further surgery. She had been born at Elgin, Iowa in 1876 and three years later came to Rock Rapids with her family. She graduated from Rock Rapids high school and also from Grinnell college, before marrying E. O. Carpenter.
The last day of July Rock Rapids lost another pioneer in the death of Mrs. Elizabeth Moreland Van Wagenan. She was 90 years of age. Born at Pittsburgh, Pa. in 1832, she had come with her family to Iowa, near what is now Burlington, to live. She came with her husband to Lyon county in 1882. She was very popular in the community and a diligent worker in the Holy Name parish, and noted for her many charitable works.
The Commercial club was bothered about what to do about hitching facilities for farmers who came to Rock Rapids with their teams. Livery stables which had served for many years were going out of business, and the feed lot east of the courthouse had been torn down. It was being suggested that Sixth street, east of Tama-(now South Second avenue) should be vacated and a horse shed and hitching racks be built there.
Rock Rapids' pride, the Interstate Automobile Insurance company, had run into problems and H. P. Gardner, of Bloomington, Ill., bought two-thirds of the stock in the company, Gardner had several other insurance companies. Gardner assumed the title of vice president under the new ownership, but N. Hampe continued as president, Emil Tonne as secretary, H. T. Hampe continued as treasurer. All of the stockholders except the original directors sold their stock. H. F. Storjohan, who had been vice-president continued as a director of the company. The sale was based on part cash to the investors and part stock in Gardner's companies. The sale was completed the middle of May, 1921.
In November A. D. Savage, state insurance commissioner, announced that the Interstate had been put into receivership, and that E. H. Hoyt, former state treasurer, had been named as receiver. In a report from Des Moines, the insurance commissioner listed assets of the company at $681,000 with liabilities of $900,000, which included $200,000 of capital stock. The commissioner indicated that there was deficit of some $249,000.
The recession-or depression-which many termed the depression of 1920, was growing worse. Economic conditions all over the country were slipping. Particularly was this true as far as agricultural products were concerned. H. P. Schneider, who operated the City Meat market had been accumulating hides and grease from cattle he slaughtered and when he went to sell them he got only four and one-half cents a pound for the hides and two cents a pound for the grease. He received $1,500 for his shipment-which was just one-fourth what he had expected on the basis of prices from the preceding fall.
The first of June Claude DeVaul, who had bought the Randolph farm for $600 an acre-$96,000-lost the farm. The farm had sold at the highest price ever paid in the community for farm land. He lost his $25,000 down payment. Roach & Keck, who held a $55,000 second mortgage took over the property. The second mortgage had been held by Randolph, but he traded it to Roach & Keck for a part payment on the Meester farm, north of Rock Rapids.
At their meeting the middle of June members of the board of supervisors stood firm on their plan to cut wages paid to county employees. The going rate for deputies was $125 a month and the board cut this to $100. Albert Klahn, deputy auditor, resigned as a result of the move.
At the same meeting the supervisors got word from their bond people in Mason City-the Schanke Co.,-that they could not accept $10,000 in bonds, which the county was proposing to issue to pay for a new alms house.
Plans for a new alms house had been under consideration for some time. Earlier in June the county had let a contract for the project at $16,985 to Oscar J. Carlson of Sioux Falls. This was $7,000 less than a local contractor had figured a few weeks previously.
Because of the tightening economic conditions the board decided to drop-at least for the time-plans for a new jail. Sheriff Ripley was instructed to get some of the cages from the old county jail and have them set up in the county attorney's room at the court house, so that county prisoners could be kept there.
At their meeting October 3, the city council took steps to reduce electric rates. They set the new residential rate at 10 cents per kilowatt-reduced from 12 cents; and power rates were cut from seven cents to five cents per kilowatt. The change was based on lower prices which were being charged for coal. On the basis of the sliding scale worked out by council, based on the cost of coal-steam heat rates dropped to 75 cents per 1,000 feet of condensation.
A large group of Farm Bureau members met early in October and discussed what should be paid for picking corn. It was decided that a rate of three cents per bushel would be fair, in view of the great drop in corn prices, ant that rate was recommended for county farmers.
Prices continued to drop and the middle of November a group of farmers met at Center school in Wheeler township, and asked everyone to burn corn, rather than coal, for heating purposes. They said the price of corn was so low it was cheaper to burn than to haul the corn to town, sell it, buy coal, and haul it back to the farm.
A major business transaction was completed late in July when the representatives of the estate of Tom Walsh, who had died suddenly in Sioux City, sold his interest in the Guarantee Oil company to R. C. Yappen of Sheldon. Fred Yappen, son of R. C. Yappen, was already secretary of the company.
Although financial and economic news had the spotlight-it was by no means all that was going on. In February members of the fire department were called on to help fight a major fire in Steen. The fire destroyed the building occupied by the Hills State bank, also the Henry Logges hardware store and a vacant building which had been occupied by a farm store. The loss was set at about $20,000.
February 15 a tragic accident claimed the life of Clifford Dougherty, 19 years of age. He was the son of Mr. and Mrs. Henry Dougherty. The Doughertys operated an ice company here and they received an order for 40 carloads of ice for the Illinois Central railroad. In getting ready to start cutting the ice, young Dougherty fell through a thin spot of ice and drowned.
Mrs. C. G. Anderson died at her home in Rock Rapids February 20. She had been born in Winterset, Iowa in 1857 and in 1882 she was married to C. G. Anderson and they came to Rock Rapids.
Chandler H. Smith, 73, died at his home in Santa Rosa, Calif., March 17. He and Mrs. Smith, with their baby, W. G. Smith came to Lyon county in 1871, where he taught school at Beloit for a year after which they moved to Rock Rapids. He had been born at Otisco, N. Y. in 1848, married Augusta Atkins in 1869. In Rock Rapids Smith had been in the newspaper business, had operated a furniture store and undertaking parlor, had been clerk of courts and deputy sheriff. He was postmaster for many years-serving three terms, and losing that post when the democrat, Woodrow Wilson, become president. He moved to California in 1913.
March saw the first woman petit juror to serve in Lyon county, complete her first case. She was Miss Clara Berkholtz, daughter of Mrs. Wm. Berkholtz. The case was that of Shafer & Newel against the Farmers Elevator company of Little Rock. The argument was over the price of some grain sold to the elevator.
Because of the numerous deaths by drowning which had occurred in the Rock river, the city council in July bought a lung motor. It was to be used in drowning cases to clear the lungs of water and induce respiration.
The community paid its last respects and honors to Rex Strait on August 7. He was the first Rock Rapids soldier to be killed in France, and the American Legion post was named in his honor. The Rev. Mr. Fox of the Christian church officiated at service on the east side of the court house with hundreds of area people in attendance. Following the services at the court house, the casket, which had been returned from France and had been placed in the rotunda of the court house with a 24-hour body guard, was put on a caisson drawn by four horses. The body was taken to Riverview cemetery, where interment was made. Strait had been born at Jefferson, Iowa, in 1896. He came to Rock Rapids with his parents when he was two years of age. He enlisted in Company A of the Second Minnesota infantry on June 3, 1917. He went to France on June 7, 1918, and immediately was sent into the battle of Chateau Thierry, where he was killed on September 13.
Services were held August 12, 1921 for Mrs. Nick Roach sr., who died at the family home a mile east of Rock Rapids after a long illness. She was born Mary Hoben at Ripon, Wisc., in 1860 and was 61 years of age. In 1883, at LeMars, she was married to Nick Roach and the couple immediately came to Lyon county, where the lived thereafter.
Tightening economic conditions made themselves evident when the 1921 Lyon county fair was held. Attendance dropped substantially-for the week attendance was down a full 25 percent. The races were excellent, the weather was good and displays were outstanding-but paid attendance was poor. The fair took a substantial loss.
William Carroll, one of the best known men in the community, died at his home September 25. He was 77 years of age and had been city marshal for Rock Rapids for many years. He was born in Miami county, Ohio, in 1844 and when 17 years of age enlisted in the 17th Kentucky cavalry. He served through some of the heaviest fighting in the Civil war, was captured, and spent many months in the Belle Isle prison. He came to Rock Rapids in 1880 and lived here from then on.
Two other prominent area people died in October. October 12 Edward C. Fitzgerald dropped dead in his harness and buggy shop on Main street. He was 70 years of age. Born in Syracuse, N. Y. in 1861 he came to this community as a young man and operated a harness and buggy shop until his death.
Patrick H. Lamb, prominent retired farmer, died at Sioux City. He was 61 years of age. Lamb
had been born at Stony Hollow, N. Y. in 1859-this community was in the Catskill mountains. He came to Rock Rapids in 1893 and farmed near here until he retired. After living in Rock Rapids for some years the family moved to Morningside, and it was there that he died.
In November reports of condition of the banks was published and it showed that footings were holding up quite well, although all had had extensive mortgage accounts. The First National bank showed footings of $849,978.66; the Lyon County National bank showed footings of $826,737.82, while the Iowa Saving bank report showed totals of $881,500.42. These reports were as of September 6, 1921.
On December 13 Lyon county Sheriff A. W. Ripley was feeding two prisoners in the county jail. The men Leonard Capule and Jack Gordon, had been arrested in connection with robberies of farm homes near Inwood.
Ripley let the men out of their cells to go into the jury room to eat-and sat where he could see anyone entering or leaving the room. In some manner the men got past Ripley and escaped. An immediate search was organized without success. The next morning the Rock Rapids night marshal took the Illinois Central passenger and rode down to Sheldon. There he spotted Capule, getting off the side of the train away from the depot platform, and captured him. Ripley had driven down to Sheldon and was waiting when the train arrived. Capule was returned to Rock Rapids, but no trace was found of Jack Gordon.
Four years after the end of World War I-Rock Rapids was beginning to feel the first reaction from the excesses built up during the war years. A small depression had hit the country and its effects were felt wide-spread.
Deposits in local banks had slipped somewhat, prices of land were beginning to fall-and agriculture was not doing well.
In January the community's top industry, the Anchor Concrete Machinery Company, started to leave the community. For several years Anchor had been buying their castings from an Adrian, Mich. foundry, the Adrian Steel Casting Corporation. To meet competition from other builders of similar machinery, Anchor decided to buy the Adrian plant and E. F. Olsen, operating head for the local firm, moved to Michigan city to take charge. It was the start of a move that took all of this company's operations out of the state.
On January 5 the board of directors of the school system announced that L. J. Gillis had been hired to be superintendent of the Rock Rapids schools. L. C. Ary, who came here to take the job following the death of Professor Wilson, had been asked to go to Cherokee to head the schools there. The board released him from his contract and hired Gillis, who had been fieldman for the Y.M.C.A. with headquarters in O'Brien county. Gillis was rated tops in his work with young people.
On January 12 a sheriff's sale was held in which the Lyon hotel was sold to satisfy a debt, with E. A. Hunt buying it for $1850.88. H. G. Williams was the operator of the hotel, and he had a year in which to redeem the property. Later on in 1922 C. W. Bradley bought the property for $12,500 and announced he would put in about that much more remodeling it into apartments-with some of the rooms retained for transient occupancy.
There was much doing in the community as far as entertainment and social activity was concerned. Early in January the Methodist Women's Aid Society presented Mrs. Rena Gilman Dack in a program "Happiness" at the Lyon theatre. She was a local woman who had made a name for herself on the eastern stage as a dramatic reader and actress. The program was highly praised-and attendance was large.
Later in January another outstanding attraction appeared on the stage at the Lyon. It was the Brown Brothers' Saxaphone Sextette. The musical program was billed as "the most popular act in vaudeville".
Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle was the most popular comedian on the movie screen in those days, but in February the Ladies Reading Circle passed a resolution directed to the management of the theatre asking that no more Arbuckle pictures be shown here. He had been involved in a couple of very notorious morals cases on the west coast, and the women decided the community could get along nicely without his pictures. After some consideration the management agreed and said that Arbuckle shows would not be presented here.
Late in February one of the most interesting items in local papers was about Professor Hersey's radio station. Hersey was coach, principal, physics and science teacher. In his spare time he built a radio receiver, which was kept at the high school. It was completed in February and on Monday, February 20 the first broadcast was received here. "The station caught part of reports from New York and Chicago, and heard a concert given by the University of Pittsburgh. It was more distinct than the usual telephone conversation, and the music was the equal of any Victrola concert."
In March Helen Knapp presented the all high school play "The Courtship" at the Lyon theatre-with packed houses. The production was said to be a great success.
In May Mr. and Mrs. C. A. Nichols, Mr. and Mrs. F. L. Sutter, Dr. and Mrs. J. J. Maloney and Mr. and Mrs W. G. Smith entertained the 20 members of the senior class, Superintendent and Mrs. Gillis and members of the high school faculty at a dinner in the Sutter home.
Then the last week in May, there was graduation activities for the seniors of the class of 1922. The Rev. F. E. Burgess was the speaker for the baccalaureate service held at the Methodist church. The class gathered at the high school and marched two-by-two to the church for the service. On Monday evening the senior class play "Clarence" was presented under the direction of Helen Knapp. On Wednesday evening the Junior-Senior reception and banquet was held at the Marietta Hotel. Gordon Macnab, president of the junior class, was toastmaster. The toasts were: "Windmills", Martha Nichols, president of the senior class; "Dykes", Professor Hersey; "Senior Class Will", Harold Hoben: "Response to the Will", Helen Sutter; "Wooden Shoes", L. J. Gillis; "Senior Prophecy", Ervin Hart. Following the dinner and program there was dancing to music provided by Benita LaChance.
At the graduation exercises on Thursday evening, Professor Orie Klingman, head of the extension division at the University of Iowa, was the speaker. President of the school board Simon Fisher presented the diplomas. Member of the class were Ruby Johnson, Irene Hasche, Zelma Beaman, Mildred Griesse, Clara Rath, Mary Herbert, Martha Nichols, Inez Jennings, Ervin Hart, Ruth Ramsey, Louis Sutter, Paul Smith, Helen Maloney, Donald Webber, Aaron Grogan, Helen Egbert, Harold Hoben, Amanda Oldenburg, LeRoy Roberts and Milton Sinclair.
In July local people were delighted when the daughter of a local couple was picked as the handsomest girl in Lyon county. She was Eva McKisick, who went on to rate high in the state contest in Des Moines, and to have a career in the early days of radio at Des Moines.
Rock Rapids had for years realized the need for a new school building, but little had been done. The board had, a couple of years previously, bought a plot of ground in the south part of Rock Rapids for future school use. Other preliminary work had been done-including the holding of an election which authorized the issuing of $150,000 in bonds for a new school. The board had sold some $20,000 worth of the bonds to pay for the land and also to clean up some old school bonds which were out. Now they decided there was no use to wait any longer. The delay had been because of poor economic conditions which showed little signs of lifting, but the board decided to go ahead. It was felt that the $130,000 left from the bond issue would be sufficient to build the new school.
Interviews with architects who wanted the job of designing the school, and visits to many communities where schools had recently been built took considerable time, but in May the board entered into a contract with Hughill & Blatherwick of Sioux Falls, to design the school. It was decided the building would be 199 fee long, 61 feet wide, and that it would have an 80 x 62 addition to the south for a gymnasium.
The middle of July bids were opened on the new school and Spencer Construction Company of Spencer was given the contract at $134,108. Other bids went as high as $163,000. Not included in the contract was electrical wiring and controls, which it was estimated would cost $3,000. This work was to be done by employees of the municipal utilities. The contract called for a start of construction within 10 days and completion within one year.
Also not included in the bid, it was indicated, was the heating. There was considerable discussion as to whether boilers should be put into the school or whether a high pressure line should be run from the electric plant to the school-looped around to take care of the old school building, too-and the whole heating operation be handled by the municipal steam heating system. This was found to not be feasible so regular steam heating boilers were ordered.
Politics was not quite as "hot" in 1922 as it had been in the early days in Rock Rapids. Top local politician probably was S. D. Riniker who had long been prominent in northwest Iowa republican circles and who had been mentioned for many top offices. He was being talked very strongly as an appointee to fill the office of United States Senator, succeeding Senator Kenyon who was resigning. Riniker's friends believed that he had the inside track and were boosting for the appointment, but in mid-February the bad news came-Governor Kendall had named a Des Moines man, Charles Rawson, as Iowa's interim senator.
Riniker was at the peak of a professional career. He was extremely busy with cases all over this area-possibly over-work was responsible-at any rate while speaking to the jury in the Sands-Morain case here in November, Riniker suffered a stroke. He was given emergency attention in the court room and then taken to his home, where his condition was listed as very serious. He did partially recover, but never again was he able to carry on his large legal practice and participate in political affairs of the area, state and nation.
The automobile industry was being affected by the national recession. Prices were dropping, drastically in some cases. Ford Motor Company announced a $50 cut in the price of its cars-but its dealers were loaded with cars, and the cut broke many of them. Earl Ladd, the Rock Rapids dealer, was caught with only four cars on hand, so he did not have serious problems. Incidentally he was advertising a new Ford one-ton truck chassis for $430 FOB Detroit.
Another blow to the community's economic life cane in May. Then, E. H. Hoyt, who had been appointed receiver for the Interstate Automobile Insurance Company, which was in financial trouble, started suit against former directors of the company: N. Hampe, H. T. Hampe, J. J. Maloney, C. W. Bradley, E. A. Tonne, H. F. Storjohan, Simon Fisher and also the Illinois men, who had bought the Interstate, H. P. Gardner and W. H. Gardner, of Bloomington, Ill. Hoyt said that assets of the company had been converted to their own use and that they had substituted securities of little value for these good assets. The case dragged through the courts for several years, before a settlement was reached.
The Interstate Insurance companies-the Automobile Insurance which was in trouble and the liability insurance company, which was not in trouble, had been employing a lot of people, and was one of the brightest hopes the community had for many years.
The general depression was blamed for the company's troubles. It couldn't liquidate its assets fast enough to pay out loss claims, because of financial institutions (banks) which just couldn't liquidate their loans rapidly.
There was already talk that the Interstate Liability company would be moved to Des Moines-which finally happened, and the company today, under the Hawkeye Casualty name is one of the leaders in the insurance field.
A major business transaction was completed in late June under which the Lorenzen store was sold by Hans Lorenzen to Wolff & Bernstein. The new owners-Robert Wolff of the Wolff group of stores and David Bernstein, were the new owners. Bernstein came to Rock Rapids to operate the store-and he was to be one of the community's leading businessmen for the next 35 years.
Another business move of much interest was that of C. A. Nichols and W. H. Sisterman. They leased the garage building across from the Reporter office on Main street and prepared it for two new stores. In the west half Sisterman opened a grocery store and Nichols had his hardware store in the east half. Both had been in business here for years and were not only well known, but highly popular.
Late in July, Hans Lorenzen and his father, Jacob Lorenzen were involved in a serious automobile accident near Sanborn, Minn., and Jacob died of his injuries later. The men were on the way to the Lorenzen summer home at Pine Cone lake.
Rock Rapids golfers were enthusiastic about the new sport and many were playing on the short course just north of town. "Frosty" Forster made a record 37 strokes for the nine holes-and the Reporter put up a $5 prize for anyone who could beat that mark. Not satisfied with the course on which the game was started here, club members held their annual meeting at the Comus club the last of August. They picked a committee of Dr. L. L. Corcoran, A. G. Miller, and F. L. Sutter to try and secure larger and better grounds for the club. Officers chosen to head the golf group were: president, R. T. Carpenter; vice-president, J. W. Carey; secretary, H. T. Hampe; and treasurer, R. H. Rohde.
Ever since the paving had been put in here, following the war, there had been an argument with the contractor, Empire Construction company, about the job. The city maintained it was sub-standard and of poor quality-but the company said it met specifications. Several efforts at arbitration were tried and finally the council and the company agreed the city would pay the balance of the $132,260 contract, holding back $3,000 for damages.
The 1922 fair went off in good shape. Exhibits "were the finest ever on the ground" with more than 600 head of livestock entered. Unfortunately it rained from Tuesday until Friday and attendance was cut. The fine free acts booked for the fair included Crandall's Comedy Circus, the Princess Kaaiawapui's Hawaiians, and the Smiletta Sisters. The racing program was good, when races could be held. The fair lost money.
Late in November the annual meeting of the fair association was held and there was enthusiasm to go ahead, expand the fair, and hope for good weather in 1923. W. C. Cooper was chosen head of the association, O. J. Reimers and C. J. Locker of George were named as vice-presidents, E. L. Partch was to be treasurer, and W. G. Smith was named as secretary and active manager of the fair operations.
Because of the numerous bank robberies which were taking place in the country, a local vigilante organization had been set up and throughout the summer it had regular target practice, in hopes of discouraging any bandits which might make a try at robbing a bank here.
When the second annual picnic of the Lyon County Farm Bureau was held there was an attendance of 5,000 people estimated. Governor Kendall was the speaker of the day, the high school band played and everyone had a fine time.
Mid-summer brought the annual chatauqua program and with it one of the nation's greatest public speakers. W. J. Bryan, a candidate for president several times, spoke at an overflow crowd in the chautauqua tent, east of the courthouse.
When the general election was held in November, republicans made a fine showing over the country-both houses of congress were to be republican. In Iowa a maverick republican, Smith Brookhart, was sent to the United States Senate. He carried Lyon county over Herring by a vote of 2091 to 641. Of greatest interest in the election was the proposal to issue bonds to pay Iowa's veterans of the war a bonus-it carried statewide-and in Lyon county by a 1956 to 789 margin.
Late in November the board of supervisors let a contract to M. S. Smith & Son of Jackson, Minn., to grade and gravel the King of Trails (now highway 75) from the state line to the Sioux county line. This would give the area an all-weather road to Sioux City. The Osceola county board also voted to gravel the road between the Lyon county line and Sibley-thus giving local people gravel road access to both east and south of Rock Rapids. The road contract for the King of Trails work was $1,000 a mile-said to be the lowest bid for such work since the war.
Two tragedies marred the early part of December 1922 in Rock Rapids. Charles Libby, veteran Rock Rapids business man, took his life by taking "26 grains of strychnine". He had been acting "queerly" according to reports from friends and relatives. Then Floyd Stiegel and his wife continued their brawls and he went into the cafe where she was working, shot her twice and then put a bullet in his own brain. Both died-and patrons in the cafe were badly shaken by the event. Stiegel had been a "trouble maker", the papers reported.
Two Rock Rapids drug stores had permits to sell liquor for medicinal purposes-but it took a doctor's prescription, and the druggist could only sell a pint every 10 days to those who had the prescriptions, and the necessary money. But there were other sources from which booze could be obtained.
And then bad news for those who wanted to have a little holiday cheer.
Federal agents from Sioux Falls, Sioux City and Minneapolis made a raid at Granite a week before Christmas. There they found four stills working in a small barn on the James DeZotell property. J. F. Cronoble, DeZotell's father-in-law acknowledged the he was the operator. The agents found 150 gallons of raisin mash, and a quantity of the finished product. There were 600 gallon glass containers, 200 stone jugs, a gross of pint bottles-all were seized. The revenuer said it was one of the largest liquor plants in Iowa-and the Sioux Falls agent said it was the main source of supply for Sioux Falls people who wanted a little "hootch". On the way back, after the raid, the agents stopped at Lester and picked up "Fat" Arends. His restaurant had the reputation of having liquor for those who wanted it-and he was charged when agents found liquor in the place.
It is our hope that those who have read this book will keep it in mind, that while reproduction of some of the pictures used is not of the quality we would have liked-all of the pictures are fifty or more years old. Time has taken its toll.
The historical record of Rock Rapids and related incidents of Lyon county ends at what was the beginning of a depression which affected local people until the beginning of World War II. At a later time we hope the record of the years from 1922 on will be compiled. That record must await the passage of time. There are still too many people alive who figured in the various events of the period from the 1920's on, to present the picture without stirring up memories that are too painful.
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