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TALES from the FRONT PORCH

Ringgold County's Oral Legend & Memories Project

SEPTEMBER ROAD TRIP

Part II

Friday, September 11, 2009.

Arriving in Davis City, a couple of homes caught my eye.

 

The widow's walk and the original gingerbread of the two porches are still intact.

Sherry Balow writes, "Thanks for the picture of the house in Davis City -- the home my mother Dorothy lived in as a little girl, (1926-1938), along with her three older brothers Chester "Chet", Ovid, and Clarence "Chas." I believe it was referred to as "The Frazier House", and her story was that her father, Otto Turpen, bought it for his wife and family about the time of her birth. I have a copy of the original, (yes, it includes the widows walk and some of the "gingerbread"), but I'm not sure when the photo was taken. My "guesstimate" was pre-1940, but I don't actually have any idea. I DO KNOW that my grandmother, Nora Turpen, had worked in the house as a young girl, and for the Fraziers, circa 1910, so the house is at least that old.

Clarence was the only one who lived all of his life in Davis City. Otto, Nora, Clarence and his two children were interred in the Davis City Cemetery. Both Otto and Nora's families included early Decatur County settlers, Moses TURPEN who was Otto's grand father, and William ACTON, Nora's great-uncle and brother of George ACTON, Nora's grandfather."

Post Card among Sherry's mother's belongings.
Couple on bench in front of house may be the Fraziers
photograph courtesy of Sherry Balow

           
                    Davis City House
            Built for & owned by Clarence Frazier
            purchased by Otto Turpen
            Otto Turpen Family
        Davis City, circa 1936
photographs courtesy of Sherry Balow

This pretty little house, with original gingerbread, is located directly east of Union Church.

Davis City was a hub of activity. There was a "garage" sale being held in the Community Center to raise funds for the restoration of Union Church. The south side, above, has been completed.

  John Clark constructed Union Church in 1878 at a cost of $5,000 with furnishings. William T. Fishburn of Leon, known for his mechanical abilities, installed the clock. John Clark was not affiliated with a particular denomination. He wanted the Union Church to be open to people of all faiths.

John Clark arrived in Decatur County in 1856 and entered 1,000 acres of land. He constructed a sawmill, hauling the machinery from Keokuk with ox teams. The following year, Clark added a carding machine for dressing wool. In 1859, Clark added spinning machines and looms. During the Civil War, Clark's woolen mill handled 75,000 pounds of wool. Clark was the president of the First Bank of Leon which was established in 1869. Clark and his son William H. bought the Davis City Mill in 1876, and in 1875 they bought the brick flour mill. Securing a contract, they supplied the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad's water tank.

Shed and outhouse (far left), Union Church

Next stop was the depot at Leon.

Leon's Depot has been lovingly restored. Above, is the south baggage view of the depot, which faced the tracks when they were still there.

Located on the north side of the depot, there's quite a little mini-museum: concrete signs to alert the engineer to blow the train's whistle and paving bricks.

 

The ornamentation which used to be atop of Leon's brick schoolhouse built in 1903 was salvaged and is now located north of the depot.

 

 

Railroad Bridge Signs

 

Inside of Leon's Depot

After a pleasant lunch at Pillars in Leon, we headed north on Highway 69.

Round Barn north of Leon, east side of Highway 69

Contribution by Sharon R. Becker, September of 2009

To contribute to "Tales from the Front Porch: Ringgold County's Oral Legend & Memories Project"
contact Sharon R. Becker at
srbecker@windstream.net.
Please include the word "Ringgold - Front Porch" in the subject line. Thank you.


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