The Charles Epperson Moberly Family

Charles Epperson Moberly was born October 29, 1839, in Illinois. He was greeted by his parents Charles Nealy Moberly and Susannah Epperson Moberly, and his 4 older siblings, Sanford Cox, William Pedrow, Sara Margaret and Nancy Ann. He was the 5th child of a family of 12.

Charles Epperson Moberly

Family records indicate that Black Hawk, chief of the Black Hawk Indians was a frequent visitor in their home. Charles' father was with the expedition that completed the treaty with the Black Hawk Indians and made the bread eaten at that parley. The bread was mixed in Charles Nealy's canoe and baked on stones. The older brother William Pedrow remembered playing on the old chief's lap as a child.

Charles migrated with his parents and four older siblings to Iowa, in the late 1840's.

According to family history, while on their way to Iowa, Charles' father was offered 160 acres of land on which Chicago was later built , in exchange for a pony.

In 1850 the Moberly's are living in Benton County and Charles is 11 years old, attending school. By this time Charles has welcomed 5 younger siblings, Richard H., Mary Jane, David Edley, John A. and Daniel. By 1854, the family is complete with the arrival of James Robert and Susan Amanda. In 1856 the family is in Black Hawk county. It seems the Moberly's were gypsies, where ever there was land to be had, they went.

Charles chose his life long partner in 1859. Nancy Wood and Charles Moberly were married in September of that year. Nancy was born in Muncie,

Nancy Wood Moberly

Indiana, Feb 1842 and came to Iowa with her parents, Edward and Elizabeth Wood.

At the age of 20, Charles and Nancy are living as neighbors to his father. Charles was introduced to farming by his father and that remained his profession throughout his life. Many acres of land was bought and sold by this family. He was a hard working young man.

By the late 1870's Charles and Nancy have 6 children, Julias Austin, Charles E."Ed", Elvin Lawrence, and Bertha who were twins, John Newton, and Lewis A.

The family moves on and by 1880, they have relocated in Mahaska Co., Iowa. Again, farming and buying and selling land. Their last child is born in Peoria, Augustus "Gus".

1907 Charles and Nancy's first son, Julias Austin is married in Peoria, Iowa, to Ethlind Alexander. Their second son Charles E. has been committed to a mental institution in Independence and remained in institutions until his death, he never married.

Before 1893, Charles and his family have moved to Lester, Lyon, Iowa. Their daughter Bertha is married to Henry A. Wick in 1893 and in

Elvin & Stella Spencer Moberly

1894 their son Elvin Lawrence is married to Stella Mae Spencer, daughter of Richard Harrison and Margery Leighty Spencer.

In 1900, the only child that remains at home is John Newton. Louis A. is a farm hand at Spirit Lake, Iowa, he is deceased by 1916. Augustus marries Lisa "Lizzie" Larsen in 1902 at Burt, Iowa. John remained unmarried.

Charles Epperson Moberly died at his home February 6, 1906. His wife Nancy Wood Moberly died April 12, 1916 in Webster City, Iowa. Charles and Nancy were loving and devoted parents. Both are buried in the Hillside cemetery, Lester, Lyon, Iowa

l-r John Newton Moberly and Julias Austin Moberly


Julias Austin Moberly was the son of Charles Epperson Moberly and Nancy Wood Moberly. He was born in Black Hawk County, Iowa June 11, 1864. He moved with his family to Mahaska County, Iowa where he met and married his wife, Ethlind Alexander. They were married September 22, 1886 in Peoria, Iowa. In 1887 a daughter was born to the Moberly's . Edna Fae was born

Elvin Moberly

October 9th , in New Sharon, Iowa. Another child was said to have been born to the Moberlys, but died.

As a young man Julias farmed with his father, so when Charles Epperson Moberly moved Julias and his bride followed to Lyon County, Iowa. In 1900 Julias is a restaurant keeper and helping his father on the farm. While living in Lester, Julias also owned a mercantile. There were two mercantile stores in Lester at the time. Moberly Mercantile was on the north side of the main street. "The store was always well stocked, not only with

Charles Moberly

groceries but with shoes, clothing, sewing needs and most anything one would have need for." Fae, his daughter would accompany him on buying trips as would his wife, Ethlind.

Rock Rapids Review, IA. 02 May 1901,
"Austin Moberly, our rustling general store man is moving his furniture over his store this week and will hereafter make that his home." He later sold his store. Julias was also a member of the Odd Fellows. Edna Fay, Julias' daughter, attended school and graduated from school in Lester.

Lyon Co. Reporter-Oct. 1898
Report of Lester School for month ending Sept. 30. 1898-Number enrolled 28-Average daily attended 24-neither absent or tardy; Fay Moberly, Blanche Spencer.

Rock Rapids Review-Thurs. Mar 1903-page 8
Lester School report for Month ending Mar 06 1903, not tardy not absent during the month. Ninth grade: Zella Deno, Emma Sorg, Blanche Wills, Fae Moberly, Bonnie Kirkpatrick.

Rock Rapids Review-Thurs. Oct. 12 1905 - Lester News
"Miss Fay Moberly and Ella Grossman have begun a winter term of school after a short vacation.

Julias, like his family before, were land seekers. Always traveling to different destinations, seeking land. In 1906 they picked up their belongings and moved on to Presho, Lyman Co., South Dakota. While in Presho, Edna Fae joined the staff of the Presho Newspaper. She married in 1907 to Charles A Burgeson.

1908 both families moved again settling in Sioux City, Iowa. Julias started working for the Sioux City Service Company as a conductor. In 1920 we find Julias as a grocer, owing his own store.

Julias died 13th of April 1926 in Sioux City, Iowa. Ethlind died 13 January 1928 in Sioux City, Iowa. They both are buried in Graceland Park cemetery, Sioux City, Woodbury, Iowa




Richard Harrison Spencer was born on September 17, 1842 in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.. His parents are William Spencer and Elizabeth Hedges Spencer. In 1850 the family is located in Carmichaels, Greene, Pennsylvania-Cumberland Township. Richard is at this time 8 years of age. His obituary states that he lived there until he was married at the age of 24.

In 1865, Richard was united in marriage to Miss Margery Leighty at Uniontown, Pennsylvania. Richard and Margery became the proud parents of six beautiful children. In 1866 their first child is born, Hattie Spencer.

After a few years, abt. or before 1869 the Spencers migrated to Iowa, settling in Fremont County, near Imogene, where they resided for several years. It is mentioned that Richard was a pioneer of Fremont County. Richard was a farmer by trade. In 1869 a daughter was born to Richard and Margery, Elizabeth "Lizzie", a son was born in 1872, John William "Willie", a daughter Stella Mae in 1877, a son in 1885, Harry Ernest, and a daughter in 1888, Blanche.

One by one the Spencer children were married. Elizabeth married in 1886, in Shenandoah, Iowa, Hattie in 1887, in Creston, Iowa and then John William.

Before 1894 the Spencers move to a farm near Lester, Lyon Co., Larchwood Twsp. Again farming and raising their remaining family. Stella Mae, their 4th child was married in March 1894 to Elvin Lawrence Moberly, the son of Charles Epperson and Nancy Wood Moberly. By 1900 the only children remaining at home were Harry Ernest and Blanche.

Margery, Richard's wife, suffered with heart problems, and was quite ill when disaster struck them in June 1901. A veritable tornado struck the region, doing great damage to property, killing one person and injuring several others, inflicting heavy damage to growing crops and buildings.

"The storm followed Mud Creek, and just south of Lester wrecked a house occupied by a man named Spencer. The structure was demolished, but by a miracle none of the occupants were killed. Mr. Spencer went to Lester, about a mile away, in his night clothes as he had nothing to wear, but a smile at his narrow escape, to secure clothing and returning he made his family as comfortable as possible. Ernest Spencer and the hired man were also in the house which is a total wreck escaped without serious injury." On the 12th of June, 1901, Margery Leighty Spencer passed away. The Spencers' were devastated by the loss of their home and the loss of their wife and mother. However, with time, they picked up the pieces and continued on.

After the death of Margery, Richard lived with his daughter in Lester until she married and then he spent time with each of his children. He spent his last months with his daughter, Elizabeth "Lizzie" Deater in Shenandoah, Iowa. Richard suffered from diabetes the last few months of his life. He died March 22, 1920 in Shenandoah, Page, Iowa. Richard was a conscientious Christian man and lived in his belief in the word.

Interment was in the Hillside Cemetery, Lester, Lyon, Iowa next to his wife Margery.

Back Row L-R:  Elizabeth Spencer, John William Spencer,Hattie Spencer, Stella Spencer.
Front Row:   Margery Leighty Spencer, Harry Ernest Spencer, Blanche Spencer, Richard Harrison Spencer

Helen Josephine (Wick) Bruzer was born March 2, 1909, in Lester, Iowa the daughter of Henry and Lottie Marie (Dressler) Wick. She was raised in Lester and graduated from Lester High School. On February 28, 1927, Helen was united in marriage to John H. Bruzer at Lester. Following their marriage they lived in Rock Rapids, Iowa where John was a barber.

Helen and John also operated the Lester Dance Hall in Lester with Helen in charge of the tickets. Many people within the area remember when Lawrence Welk's orchestra played in Lester. Helen and John were blessed with one child, a daughter. While living in Rock Rapids, Helen worked as a store clerk at Tony's Associated Market and later at Bernstein's and Row's department Stores. For many years Helen and John were also in charge of the meal preparation for the Kiwanis Club. Helen was a long time member of the United Methodist church in Rock Rapids along with the Golden Age Club. In her leisure time Helen could often be found reading, a pastime she enjoyed her entire life. Other favorite activities of Henel were fishing, listening to music, and traveling. Helen was a big Denver Bronco football fan and she faithfully watched the games on television. In spite of the fact she never played golf, Helen also enjoyed watching golf on TV.

On March 18, 1979, Helen's husband of fifty-two years died. After John's death, Helen continued living in her home in Rock Rapids. She became a resident of the Rock Rapids Health Center on July 1, 1998. Helen Died there December 21, 2000 at the age of Ninety-one.

Spencer Home
Rock Rapids Review, Lyon County, Iowa
Thursday, June 13, 1901, Lester News

A veritable tornado struck this region at 1 o'clock , doing great damage to property, killing one person and injuring several, and inflicting heavy damage to growing crops and buildings. The wind was tremendous, and was accompanied by a miniature cloudburst. The storm struck the Schrader farm, three miles southwest of Lester. The house was occupied by Onne Zylstra, a son in law of Mr. Wangmeesteer of this place. Killing a seven months old infant outright and breaking the jaw of Mrs. Zylstra who has been sick for several weeks. While Mr. Zylstra was pinned in the wrecked building and seriously injured. A little girl about three years of age was blown away but not injured. The babe when found some twenty rods away was dead.

The storm followed Mud Creek, and just south of Lester wrecked a house occupied by a man named Spencer. The structure was demolished, but by a miracle none of the occupants were killed. Mr. Spencer went to Lester, about a mile away, in his night clothes as he had nothing to wear, but a smile at his narrow escape, to secure clothing and returning he made his family as comfortable as possible under the circumstances. His wife who was sick escaped serious injuiry.

Ernest Spencer and the hired man were also in the house which is a total wreck escaped without serious injury.

At Henry Moon's place the upper part of his barn was blown entirely away while the lower part remained. His house and other buildings were damaged to a considerable extent.

At Larchwood considerable damage was done. Edward Ugland's house was wrecked and the family blown some distance, landing in a wheat field with bruises of no seriousness.

Near Rock Rapids the large barn of Vint Reynolds was moved from it foundation.

In town trees and out-buildings were strewn on every side. Mr. Spratt's new barn was lifted bodily over a row of trees and thrown down in a neighbor's yard, W. S. Watson's barn was rolled up into his front yard and Peters & Whittaker's corn cribs near the Burlinton track, were overturned, slightly injured. The cornice and part of the roof was blown from S. S. Wold's store and the sign of N. Koob,

Son & Co's store was blown down and the building slightly injured. The tower was blown from the German Lutheran church, and the barn of Neil Perry was blown down and his horse killed.

Much other damage was done about town although nothing serious. East of Rock Rapids some slight damage was done. Telephone poles were in some instances blown down which cut off communication for a time but were soon repaired.

Photos and biographies provided by Linda Wood

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