TALES from the FRONT PORCH
Ringgold County's Oral Legend & Memories Project
G. A. SLENTZ'S EXPERIENCE WITH a LADY CROOK
G. A. SLENTZ DRY GOODS STORE, Far Right
The first brick school house was built in 1875 [Mount Ayr] and that year's school was finished in the new building
from holidays until the end of school. Then in the Fall of 1876, G. A. SLENTZ was the first principal.
he ran for county superintendent and was defeated by W. E. ANDREWS. He then went into the PRATT store as a clerk
but soon became a partner. This store was the first door west of where the Princess Theatre now stands. They soon
moved to the building on the southeast corner of the square. In a short time, G. A. SLENTZ bought out Mr. PRATT, and
went back to Ohio, where he married Hannah OGDEN in 1880. About this time he started a 5-and-10-cent counter in his
store, which was a new departure in Mount Ayr and was a great success, as the women could never get away from the
counter as long as they had a nickle. Mr. SLENTZ was always on the alert for something new.
In the winter of 1883 and
1884, he bought an organ and gave tickets with every dollar's purchase of goods. These tickets were good for a chance
to draw this organ and as organs were something of a rarity even in the 80's, a great many people bought everything
they needed at his store and a great many things they did not need, but some bought sparingly.
When the great day
came for the drawing, everybody came with their fists full of tickets. A boy was blindfolded and dulplicate numbers
were put in a shoe box and thoroughly mixed. Then the boy put his hand into the box and drew out the lucky number,
which was 2,431.
This number was called several times, but no one present had it. In an hour or two, a woman came
to the store with the number meatly pasted under a piece of glass and delivered it to Mr. SLENTZ and had a dray haul
the organ to her home.
When Joe LESAN arrived home that evening, his wife said, "Well, who got the organ?" He told
her and also the lucky number. His wife said, "I wonder how near your number came to it?"
She got up and went to
the cupboard drawer she had put it in, and "low and behold" she had the lucky number!
Joe had bought Howard a little
pair of shoes for $1 and received his ticket, but never dreaming he would draw the organ with one lone ticket, he never
gave it though, nor took the ticket to town with him.
So, this being a Saturday, he came to Mount Ayr early Monday
morning and presented his ticket to Mr. SLENTZ, to his great chagrin and surprise. Mr. SLENTZ went to the show case
and took out the ticket pasted on the glass, removed it from the glass and found out that the woman had rubbed out part
of the figure four and left the straight line for the one and had pasted it on the glass to cover up the rough place
where she had altered the ticket.
Mr. SLENTZ took his hat and the "tinkered" ticket and went to see the woman. He
soon convinced her she had dona a little crooked work and was caught in the act. She returned the organ to the store
and Joe LESAN hauled it home with him before noon. The woman left Mount Ayr years ago and no one knows who she was.
LESAN, Mrs. B. M. Early History of Ringgold County: 1844 - 1937 p. 78. Blair Pub. House. Lamoni IA. 1937.
Transcription by Sharon R. Becker, May of 2010
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