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Green County Democrat
May, 1908


Maloy, Iowa
May 13, 1908

Editor Democrat,

Dear Sir,

I have just been perusing the Democrat this morning and thought I might interest some of the readers of this paper by writing a few lines for publication as I left home on short notice on the 30th of March.I received a dispatch at twelve o'clock on that day of the death of my brother John H. STEEL and I started at 2 o'clock and expected to meet the 4 train at Point Marion. [He was leaving from Davistown, PA] But owing to the condition of the roads, was 1 1/2 hours late, but struck the train at 6 the next morning, and arrived in Pittsburg at 10 and remained till 5, got to Chicago at 9 the next morning, one hour behind time. Remained there till 6 in the evening, took the Great Western for Denton, Iowa and arrived there at 10 Am April 2, where I was met with a team and conveyed to the church at Delphos where I met the funeral of my brother, as we as a large audience which had met to pay the last tribute of respect to a neighbor as well as myself to a brother. Then, after a most excellent discourse was preached to the large audience, his remains were followed to the cemetery [Rose Hill] at Mount Ayr, about 8 miles.

They have a fine cemetery there, from observation, about 20 acres with a fine blue grass carpet and finely arranged. That was as far as we could go with a brother, so we retired and took dinner in town with a sister, Mrs. Ruth LONG, wife of Minor LONG, then returned to my brother's home and stayed over night, where my son Ramer met me the next morning with a buggy and team and conveyed me to our farm where he resides and I am here yet, writing this letter and have been assisting him in getting in the spring crop.

We sowed 28 bushels of oats and planted 3 bushels of corn and will plant another bushel tomorrow if not prevented and that will be the amount of our crop.

John H. STEEL ["H" was for Hemphill, his grandmother's maiden name] was born July 11, 1838 and was 67 years and 8 months of age. He was son of John and Nancy (BOWEN) STEEL, born on the farm near Davistown, Dunkard township, Greene County [PA]. He was reared on the farm and sent the common schools till 23 years of age when he was married to Rebecca J. WRIGHT and moved to the head waters of Colvin's run and lived for three years and then removed to the house place with his father, then sold his personal property and moved to Ringgold county Iowa and bought one hundred acres of land where he lived until the time of his death. He paid $10 an acre for the land and since then has added 200 acres more to it with all new buildings which is worth $60 per acre with $3200 on the assessor's book and considerable stock. No one but his wife survives him as they never had any children. He was the brother of eight sisters and two brothers.

Well I must say here that I am sorry to say I attended the funeral of William GARARD, brother of Corbly, cashier of the Citizens National Bank about a week after I landed. I saw him the day I landed and talked with him at the depot. Ramer's wife, where I am stopping, is a daughter of his. They live on our farm. The weather has been fine here this month for farming and getting in corn and the grass is looking fine. Wheat looks well, oats is doing well. Corn is 40 cents, hogs 6 cents, cattle 4-3/4, Horses are $200 for good ones, land from $50 to 90 per acre. One of our closest neighbors is planting 160 acres of corn. He has three boys and a hired hand. They work three horses abrest. It takes 12 head. He own about 2400 acres of land and he still wants to buy more. I must bring my scribbling to a close, hoping to find a place in you paper, if not in the waste basket...


The Mount Ayr Record-News
April 12, 1906


John Hemphill STEEL was born near Davistown, Greene county, Penn. July 11, 1838. He was married to Rebecca J. WRIGHT September 4, 1862. They moved to Iowa in October 1867, settling on the same farm in Benton township where he still lived until the time of his death, which occurred Friday morning, March 30, 1906. In early live he received a hope in Christ and in September of 1896 he, with his companion, united with the Primitave Baptist church at Orsberg, Mo.

"Uncle Hemphill", as he was known to a host of relatives and friends, was a man of strong character, positive in his opinons, yet with a high standard of right and an unselfish devotion to truth and duty. The large number of friends who followed him to his last resting place was a tribute paid which voiced more eloquently than words the universal sorrow felt at his death. His long and close walk with the Master whom he loved and served had inspired in him a faith that faltered not even at death. During his last illness, tho his suffering was severe, he did not murmur, but repeatedly said "All is well. I know there is a mansion prepared for me." To his wife he said, "Do not grieve; the same hope that was with me in youth and health is with me now and the Everlasting Arms are underneath me."

He is gone from among us but we are thankful he has lived. His life was a benediction and will always be a blessed memory to those who knew him best.

He leaves a wife and two sisters---Mrs. I. M. LONG of Mt. Ayr, and Mrs. Nancy HERRINGTON of Omaha, Neb; two brothers and three sisters in Pennsylvania; a host of nieces and nephews, and friends inumerable to mourn his death.

Funeral services were conducted Monday morning in the Baptist church at Delphos by Elder YOUNG of Milo, pastor of the church of which he was a member, assisted by Rev. Hiram THARP of Benton, and interment made in the Rose Hill cemetery at Mt. Ayr.

Six of his own nephews acted as pallbearers and with loving hands bore to its last resting place the casket, containing all that was mortal of one we loved so much.

Not now but in the coming years,
It may be in the better land.
We'll read the meaning of our tears.
And then, ah, then, we'll understand.

NOTE: Johnn Hemphill STEEL was the son the daughter of John STEEL and Nancy Agnes (BOWEN) STEEL and a brother of Clarissa "Clara" (STEEL) STEPHENS and Nancy Ellen (STEEL) HERRINGTON.

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