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"Prairies of Promise"

Story County

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Chapter Four

When Mary Ellen went to school in Iowa Center, she spoke with a decided southern accent and the children all called her "little rebel." She wore lovely clothes, as she had brought many silk dresses from Virginia. One of these was a beautiful shade of green and she had shoes to match it.

Rev. Walton was the minister of the Episcopal Church and lived west of Iowa Center near the Fitzgerald home. He was a highly educated man from the east, but was afflicted with occasional attacks of epilepsy. Mary Ellen often visited in the Walton home when she first arrived in Iowa Center. One Sunday morning on their way home from church, Mary Ellen was riding behind Mr. Walton on horseback. Mrs. Walton was riding her own horse. Mr. Walton felt an attack coming on and cried out that he was ill. He let Mary Ellen down from the horse and he whipped his horse to full speed, arriving at his home just as the attack came on. The roads were very muddy and Mary Ellen was quite a sight in her beruffled, full silk dress and low slippers, tied on with ribbons.

Kate Berlin Will also loved beautiful clothes and had a number of full length taffeta silk dresses. Among her prized possessions was an all white pure silk imported shawl which she had purchased for $40.00. She had worked in James' tailor shop making buttonholes and for each buttonhole she made, James paid her one gold dollar. While living in Iowa Center, she taught a country school which was some distance from her home, south and east. One day when she was crossing a field, a mad bull charged towards her and the baby. She reached in the pocket of her dress, drew out her revolver, which she always carried for protection, and shot the bull.

Church and Sunday school were the only entertainment on Sunday in Iowa Center. Sunday afternoon, the children used to go to the woods and gather wild flowers to take to the cemetary to put on the graves of their favorite relatives. If the grave stones needed washing, they would take their handkerchieves and clean them. (Maybe a bird had rested on them). One child's grave had a little lamb on top of the stone and this the children especially liked to keep clean.

Among the prominent citizens of Iowa Center were Mr. and Mrs. Frank Baldwin. They were part owners of the big general store and trading center there.

The Episcopal Church was across the street north from the Baldwin home and was blown down by a cyclone and was never rebuilt. The Baldwin home was the rectory which Mr. Baldwin had built for the church, then bought it back and he and his bride started housekeeping there. All of their children were born in this house. They were married by the Episcopal minister of Iowa Center. Most of the old settlers were Episcopalians. One time Mrs. Baldwin made new waists for the three Will boys, Fred, Lee, and Harry to be baptized in at the Episcopal Church and when the minister got water on Fred's new waist he kicked him.

Warren Maxwell was the other owner of Baldwin and Maxwell's general store and trading post. Uncle Warren, as he was called, on one of his buying trips to Chicago, became so intoxicated, that he came home with a car load of caskets and a car load of umbrellas. The song, "It ain't going to rain no more", had not been written at this early date, so we must not blame Uncle Warren. He was noted for his buying sprees and in one room above the store, it was said, there were enough hoops (for hoop skirts) to fit every man, woman, and child from Iowa Center to Chicago.

Millie Baldwin, daughter of the storekeeper, had a real soprano voice and the boys of the neighborhood used to congregate on the old wooden porch at the store so they could listen to millie singing clear and sweet at her home down in the valley below.

Many were the parties held in Iowa Center. To one of these, Mrs. S.E. Cooper, who was in here early twenties, was invited. She took a notion to fix her hair different than she usually wore it. Her hair was a medium auburn and real curly and she had worn it combed straight back with little "frizzies" across her forehead. This special night she parted it in the middle, fixed it up over here ears and pinned it up off her neck. When she went into the party with the rest of her crowd, no one knew her. Everyone looked her over, and as she was not introduced, decided that she was a stranger.

There was a stage performance given in a tent not far from the Bowen Inn. The seats were planks laid on soap boxes and the floor was sawdust. The play was Uncle Tom's Cabin given by a stock company. Topsy had a large stick of peppermint candy. Little Eva was pulled to heaven by a rope and there were two hounds that chased Liza across the ice. Uncle Tom was very black and the children all disliked Simon Legree for whipping Tom. A blind boy by the name of Gifford was violinist with piano accompaniment. It was hardly an orchestra, but at that time was considered pretty good.

In December of 1880, Mr. and Mrs. George Kennedy moved to Iowa Center and lived in two rooms in the "White House" just across the road from the Bowen Inn. Mrs. Kennedy was just nineteen years old and her only caller that winter was Maude Bowen. About the first of March, they moved to the north part of town into what was called the Pat Lacy cottage.

Their neighbors on the north were Uncle Jake Shoop and his wife, Aunt Bab.

Aunt Bab was to take care of Mrs. Kennedy when her first child arrived, but being sick could not do so. It had been a very severe winter with snow banks eight and ten feet deep and there were some left in April that were still five and six feet high. On April 13, 1881 Mrs. Funk, (Aunt Nancy) and Mrs. Gifford helped at the Kennedy home when their first baby came. The Kennedys lived here until the fall of 1881 when they moved into the old Fenn house, where Curt Wood now lives. Then on March 1, 1882 they moved to their farm five miles east, but continued to trade in Iowa Center until Maxwell was started.

Baldwin and Maxwell had a big business, and employed many men among them, Frank Hill, Geo Hardenbrook, Oscar Guiger, George Berlin, Jesse Bowen, and George Kennedy and at the head of them was Uncle Jake Shoop. They dealt in everything a human ever would have need for. Someone said they kept everything from goose yokes to threshing machines. James MaGee was the harness maker for the big store. Most of Baldwin and Maxwell's employees moved to Maxwell and established their homes there.

The main society in Iowa Center was the Mite Society of the church. The biggest event was the Fourth of July celebration when everybody turned out, old and young, big and little, male and female. Most of them came in lumber wagons with one spring seat and two or four chairs for older members of the family and usually the children sat in the straw covered box, but everybody was as happy as could be. It seemed like the whole country was there. These celebrations were held in the timber west of the old W.K. Wood home south of Iowa Center. The first road turning west after passing the old mill where people brought their grain to have it made into flour and meal. The millers name at this time was Baker.

Mrs. Curt Wood was the only woman in Iowa Center who had a baby buggy. The rest of the women carried their babies in their arms, but in those days, everybody took all the children wherever they went.

At one meeting of the Mite Society, the president asked if any of the members had called on or seen Mrs. Kennedy, and the postmistress spoke up and said, "I haven't called on nor seen Mrs. Kennedy, but the girl comes to the post office every day." That girl was Mrs. Kennedy herself, and once when the doctor was making a call on Mr. Kennedy, he asked him, if the girl was his daughter, so you see that Mrs. Kennedy was a very young girl when she lived in Iowa Center.

In the spring of 1880 and 1881, the roads were impassable and the mud several inches deep and Giles Randlett who carried the mail from Nevada to Colfax every day with a span of mules had to strap the mail on one mule while he rode the other and he drove them tandem.

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(Insert 1860)

from history of Story County.

In the autumn of 1860, a Mr. Swearingen, his wife and four children were moving to some point north or northwest of here and traveling on the road then leading from Nevada to Story City, and as they were strangers in this county, they knew but little as to the danger of prairie fires in a country like this was. The day was dry, windy and smokey; and as they had just passed Indian Hill in the SE 1/4 section 4, township 84, range 23, (Milford Twp), they first discovered fire on them when it caught in the wagon cover and then their clothing. It seems Mrs.

Swearingen was driving the team, (two horses), while Swearingen was asleep, and as they were traveling at the time, nearly north, the fire caught them, as it came at rapid speed from the southwest, in the rear of their covered wagon - caught them on flat land where the dry grass heavily coated the ground. It seemed also the horses tried to run and Mrs. Swearingen fell

out of the wagon against the horses and probably was seriously injured, while at the same time burning to death. There is little or no wonder under such circumstances that this sad affair occurred as it did. It took place in the afternoon. Two men of Nevada were the first, to find the family, wagon horses and dog burnt to death. They had been caught in the fire, but had managed to start a back fire had had escaped. They had seen the covered wagon ahead of them and after the fire had passed them and had cleared their way of dry grass, they then passed on and soon found the burnt family and wagon. Mr. Swearingen managed to wander to Mr. J. E. Hoover's or was conducted by someone there who probably found him and discovered his awful situation. Mr. Hoover's house probably did not exceed a half mile northwesterly from the sad spot. This sad occurrence took place near the interior center of section four, in Milford Twp. Here is a brief picture of the horror. The wife and daughter lie near each other burnt almost to a crisp. The arms and limbs of each were burnt off and so disfigured it was hard to tell whether they were man or beast. A child, it seemed to have been, was lying near the mother; it was so badly crisped it was scarcely recognizable what it was. The boy, (probably the oldest child) was lying ten feet from the burning wagon and not very far from the dead horse. The boy was not so badly burnt as the other children. His boots were still on his feet. The youngest child, or next to the youngest, was burnt entirely up as nothing of its body was visible. The off horse was lying dead, close to the burning wagon; the harness was burnt off him. The other horse, by some means, got loose and was found wandering around, but seriously burned. The dog was lying dead a few feet from the wagon. Mr. Swearingen could talk but little, for he was fatally burnt, but gave the people to understand much of what occurred after the fire reached them. It is thought he might have saved himself had he not made a desperate and noble effort to save his wife and children. After a few days extraordinary suffering he died, and all were buried in the Sheffield cemetary in Howard twp. What was left of the remains of the wife and children was buried in one grave, but Mr. Swearingen having lived a few days after the accident, he was buried in a separate grave.


On April 15, 1861, Lincoln called for troops and people went wild. They held mass meetings, gave speeches and gathered in groups to discuss the war. Jesse Bowen enlisted in the Third Iowa Infantry, Co. E., at Nevada on May 29, 1861, when he was twenty-one years old.

Military History of Story County(Rewrite)

from the History of Story County.

At the beginning of the war for the Union, Story County was but sparsely settled, having a population of less than 800 voters. This was before the days of railroad and telegraph communication in this part of Iowa, and our only reliance for the news of the day was a semi-weekly hack line from Marshalltown to the Missouri River, leaving mail at Nevada, College Farm and New Philadelphia. It was several days after the firing on Fort Sumter before our people were fully aware as to what had occurred, but on learning the particulars their patriotism was at once awakened and all were alive to the duties of the hour. Men who had always acted in sympathy with the people of the South instantly changed, and were among the first to offer their service to the government. Under the first call for three month's volunteers, the regiment assigned to Iowa could have been filled in Story County. A company organized under this call at Nevada and a committee was appointed to go to Des Moines to tender its services to the Government. On reaching the Capital they found that the three months' regiment was already full and running over, but another call had been made by President Lincoln for three years' men, and that there two regiments had been assigned to Iowa. Governor Kirkwood agreed to accept from Captain Scott a company for one of those regiments, and the committee then returned and reported the facts, when there was a great thinning out from the ranks of those who offered their services. They could stand it for three months, but "three years or during the war" was a different thing. However, a company of one hundred could have been easily raised within the borders of our own county. About forty men from Boone County joined Captain Scott's company at Nevada. This company was enrolled at Nevada, by order of the Governor, the 21st day of May 1861 and designated as Co. "E" 3rd Regiment Iowa Infantry, and ordered into quarters at Keokuk the same day. At Iowa Center, the citizens had prepared a bounteous supper and entertained the company in good style. [It] Arrived at Keokuk June 1st and was mustered into the United States service June 8, 1861, and the regiment was then organized and Captain Scott was then made its Lt. Col. Lieut. McCall was then made Captain of the company, and George W. Crossley of Nevada, First Lieut. Lieut. Crossley was afterwards promoted to be Major of the regiment. The regiment left Keokuk the last of June for the South, and from that time until the grand review at Washington in May, 1865, it was on the move and always in front. Its first battle was at Blue Mills, Missouri; its last in North Carolina. It was in the battle of Shiloh, siege of Corinth, and with Hurlbut on the Hatchie; with Grant at Vicksburg, and Banks on Red River; in Lauman's reckless charge at Jackson, and Sherman's march to Meridian. It marched all the way with Sherman from Clifton, near Donnelson, on the Tennessee, to Washington, on the Potomac, via Chattanooga, Atlanta, Savannah, Columbia, Goldsboro, and Raleigh. It engaged in all important events of that campaign and during this march the regiment went out of existence. At Atlanta all its commissioned officers were killed, and it was then consolidated with the 2d Veteran Infantry, forming Companies "A", "F", and "P" of that regiment, Co. "E" being a part of Co. "A" as then organized. The Story County boys who went out in this company saw service in every state south of Mason and Dixon's line, except Florida; and out of fifty who enlisted from the county only ten returned with the company in July 1865; others had preceded them, having been discharged on account of disease and wounds received in battle. Some of them died in battle, others of disease and wounds received in battle and one, succumbed to the horrible treatment at Andersonville Prison.

On the whole, Story County may well be proud of her military record. Not an important battle was fought, nor an important event occurred during the whole war in which some of her citizens did not take an active part. In all the phases of the war the citizens soldiery from Story County sustained a conspicuous part, and returned at the end of the war to their homes, resuming their quiet and peaceful vocations as though they had only been absent on a holiday excursion. "Army pay wasn't much of an issue in the Civil War. The soldiers received $13 monthly."


Jesse was mustered out of service and reached Iowa Center, June 20, 1864. A short time after his return, he say Mary Ellen skipping across a lot to the store and he fell madly in love with her. She had golden hair and blue eyes, and fair skin with pink cheeks. He hurriedly found someone who knew her and got an introduction to her. There was to be a dance on the Fourth of July and Jesse asked her to go with him. From that time on, they were together a great deal and attended the dances and parties together.

The Wills sold their home in 1864 and moved to the "White House", and inn owned by Mr. and Mrs. White. James Will, southern democrat that he was, was really angry about his daughter's romance with this northern soldier and decided to pack his worldly possessions and take his family back to Virginia, hoping that Mary Ellen would forget her sweetheart. Her two trunks were packed and ready to be taken with the other things to Colo by wagon, where they would take the train to Chicago and thence to Virginia.

But "Love will find a way" and on October 31, 1864, Jesse 24 years old and Mary Ellen, 18 years were married. Their love obliterated the differences between North and South and laughed at the War. In the evening they went over to Mrs. Jim Bale's log cabin which was just across the street from the store west. Guests at the wedding were Mr. and Mrs. Jim Bales, Mrs. Mel Berlin, Miss Minerva Titchner, Dave Vincent and the minister, Rev. J.M. Dudley. Mary Ellen wore a very full skirt with wide pointed girdle. Calico was 50 cents per yard and was very popular. (dress pictured in dauguerrotype.) After the ceremony, all went over to the Sessions Hotel, (later the Bowen Tavern) to a grand ball which Mr. Sessions was giving in honor of Jesse's return from the war. The bride and groom stayed and danced until someone whispered that, "Jesse and Mary Ellen were married." Mary Ellen was afraid that her father would hear that she and Jesse were married and would come to the party and make it unpleasant for them. Her father and mother were at the White Tavern just across the road from where the party was being held. Dave Vincent took Mary Ellen and Jesse in his wagon out to the Bowen farm where they lived for some time.

James S. Will disposed of his business in Iowa Center, made a business trip to Illinois and then on to Buckhannon, W. Va. On November 1, 1864 they boarded the train at Colo, Iowa which was the western terminus of the railroad and the nearest railroad station to Iowa Center. Mary Ellen did not make an effort to tell her people goodbye as she was afraid that her father would make a scene. Her brother, John, who was about twenty years old also stayed in Iowa Center, where he was employed in the Baldwin and Maxwell store. This was a great comfort to Mary Ellen.

Mary Ellen and Jesse lived at the Bowen farm for two years and it was here their first child, Fred was born. They rented and moved to the Dave Vincent farm south of Colo, where there second child, Maude, was born. Here they lived for two years and in 1870 moved to the town of Iowa Center. They moved into a lovely small red brick house, where their third child, Edna, was born. Jesse continued to farm eighty acres east of Iowa Center. He and John Will bought the brick house together and John lived with them. John also had a very nice room at his store.

About this time, John fell in love with Sina Maxwell, a sister of Mrs. Baldwin and Warren Maxwell. When they decided to be married, John bought Jesse's share in the brick house and furnished the whole house beautifully with black walnut furniture, hair cloth covered. It had carving of the grape design on it. John's wife lived just three months. At this time, James Will and his three boys moved into the brick house with John and the three boys continued to return to it for their vacations. John ate all his meals at the Inn for which he paid well. However, Mary Ellen said he was extremely fussy and particular about his food. But like many sisters, she was fond of her brothers and just did everything for them. When Fred Will came home from Annapolis, Md. he and Millie Baldwin were very chummy and after he graduated from the naval academy and the Iowa State Medical School in Iowa City and practiced medicine one year in Jewel Junction, they were married and lived in Eagle Grove, Iowa.

Jesse's brother Will, was a very handsome carefree young fellow who was in the habit of riding horseback into town from his father's farm. One day he decided to stop at the home of his brother for a few minutes. He rode up to the house and shouted for Mary Ellen who came to the door with dough in her hand as she was preparing biscuits for baking. Her cheeks were as pink as could be from working near the warm cook stove and Dapper Will could not refrain from telling her that she was the "Prettiest girl at the dance last night." This embarrassed her no end and her cheeks got even pinker. She stood for one second and then let the dough fly, hitting him squarely in the face. She and Jesse had gone to the dance the night before and she had worn a pure white muslin dress and Will told many years afterward that she was the prettiest and most popular girl in Iowa Center.

About 1866, Iowa Center had become a village of considerable business. It had two mills and was in the midst of an excellent country and surrounded by good settlements. It was situated mainly on the west fourth of section 10, township 82, range 22, near the east bank of East Indian Creek, seven or eight miles southeast of Nevada..

In the meantime, the Wills had reached Virginia and James did any sort of work he could find to do. They lived in Buckhannon and Harrisonburg. Their youngest son, Harry Clayton Will was born in Buckhannon, near "Sand Run" on February 22, 1866. As Kate was not able to feed Harry, one of the negro mammies acted as wet nurse. As Harry had a very dark skin, the children teased him about his colored mammy. Kate was taken ill when Harry was about five years old. When she knew she could not live, she had James bring her three little boys to her bedside and she said to them "Boys, I am not going to get well. Your father will take you back to Iowa to John and Mary Ellen who will take care of you. You must always be good to Mary Ellen." They never forgot their mother's words as they were ever kind and good to their sister. Kate Berlin Will died in Harrisonburg and is buried there. James stayed in the south for six or seven years and then came north with his three little sons, Fred, Lee, and Harry who was five years old. They came to Iowa Center where they lived with Mary Ellen and Jesse in the little brick house. One night at the supper table, James and Jesse had a heated argument on politics and James in his anger, decided to take his boys and move out. He had a tailor shop just across the street from the store and here they lived.

Mary Ellen and Jesse moved from the brick house to the tavern in 1871. James and the boys continued to live in the brick house until the boys were grown and away in school. Fred Will was at Annapolis, Lee at Pella, and Harry at Iowa State College. Mary Ellen and the girls who worked for her, helped James keep his house clean and did most of the cooking.

Jesse traded his share in the brick house to John Will for a piece of land. Then he traded this land to Mr. Metcalf, a Presbyterian minister, for the hotel or tavern. Here Molly and Jesse lived until November 1882, and it was here that Sidney, John, Kate, Curt, and Esther were born. The Bowen children now numbered eight.

There were two taverns or inns with bars in Iowa Center and they were located directly across the street from each other. Jesse discontinued the tavern as his family grew larger, leaving just one tavern in the village, Mr. White's.

The Bowen Inn was surrounded by a white picket fence and to the east of the kitchen. In the spring asparagus grew along this fence. Mary Ellen planted Virginia creeper along the east fence. One time when Kate was very small and had an infected toe, Edna carried her out to see a comet which was very visible in the eastern sky. It was right over the little red brick house across the street east.

South ------------* North.

Jesse named his third daughter Jesse K., but she was always called Kate. She must have been a lonesome little girl with Sidney and John always playing horse and sheep and not wishing to [be] bothered with their little sister; Maude and Edna who were older were busy with their own activities and also helping their mother with her many duties. Mary Ellen said that Kate was a fretful child.

The Kirkman Murder(Rewrite or omit)from Story County history.

On the ninth of May, 1875, George N. Kirkman, an old citizen living near the south line of the county, (southeast of Maxwell, Iowa) was taken from his bed, under cover of darkness, and killed. Some new steps have been taken in reference to the Kirkman murder, but no definite conclusion has been arrived at as to who were the actual perpetrators of the deed.

The coronor's jury, after spending a week in taking testimony and examining some seventy-five witnesses, believed that there was sufficient grounds for the apprehension of Geo. E. Woodman, Lenford Fisher, Wm. E. Parr, Daniel Kirkman, and John McLaughlin, and in accordance therewith they were arrested on Sunday and Monday last and are now lying in jail awaiting the Grand Jury.

Woodman is a farmer by occupation, has lived the past seven years in Washington township, Polk County, and within one mile of the place where Kirkman was hung. He was born in New Hampshire, has lived in Illinois, been to California six times and has seen considerable of frontier life. He is in good circumstances, having a large farm well stocked and out of debt. The following is a correct description of Mr. Woodman. He is forty-seven years of age, five feet five inches in height, square built, sandy hair and whiskers which are sprinkled with gray, florid complexion, gray eyes and is a good talker. Mr. Woodman says all he wished is a fair and impartial trial, and he has no fear but what he can establish his innocence.

Leonard Fisher is a son-in-law of the murdered man, lives in Washington Township, Polk County, and within six miles of the Kirkman residence, has been in the State six years and a farmer by occupation. He was raised in Ohio, is twenty-six years old, five feet eight inches in height, spare built, hair and whiskers light brown, gray eyes and fair complexion.

Daniel Kirkman is a son of the murdered man. He is twenty-one years old, was born in Story County on the farm where the murder was committed. He is five feet six inches high, brown hair and eyes and fair complexion.

John McLaughlin is an Irishman by birth, twenty-four years old, five feet eleven inches high, brown hair and eyes, has lived in Polk County the past eleven years and worked for Kirkman some three years of that time (1875).

The day following the arrest of the above, Mrs. Kirkman was also arrested as being accessory to the crime, and is now in the custody of the law, at the residence of Mr. D.H. McCord. We think the only evidence against her, thus far, is in the fact of the doors being unlocked, when, if we are correctly informed, it was the habit of Mr. Kirkman, since the commencement of these

troubles to always keep the doors locked. In connection with this we might also add that after the murder of Mr. Kirkman, Mrs. Kirkman sent a telegraph dispatch to Mr. Zinmaster and the children, at Des Moines, to be at the funeral, and entirely forgot the oldest son, James Kirkman, in Union, Hardin County. The first that James heard of his father's death was through the account of the tragedy in the State Register. But it seems that when he did find out he comprehended the situation at once, as he came down on Monday last and has been enquiring about the condition and shape of the property very carefully.

The will which Mr. Kirkman made after the separation of himself and wife was carefully destroyed before they commenced living together the last time. A copy had been kept by Mrs. Haynes, unbeknown to Mrs. Kirkman, until a few days ago, when that was also burned as soon as Mrs. Kirkman discovered it. Many other strange moves have been made by this or that one of this family, enough to make a curious volume, could they all be collected together.


About 1876, Jesse started working for Baldwin and Maxwell and was one of their most dependable men. As there was no bank or express office nearer than Colo, Jesse was often entrusted with large sums of money for deposit in Colo. On one occasion as he was taking a considerable amount of currency on horseback, a pigeon followed very close to him all the way, making him feel he was being guided safely to his goal. At other times he rode ahead of droves of cattle which were being taken to Colo for shipment.

One day in 1882, Mary Ellen sent Edna, age 11 and her friend Jennie Hardenbrook over to Mrs. Steve Cooper's which was south and a little east of the Inn, to borrow her sad irons, a new invention. They took Kate, was then four years old, with them. Here the girls first got acquainted with Rae and Grace Cooper, who had on checked pinafores and who hung onto their mother's full skirt. (This Cooper house was later moved to Maxwell).

Esther was born when Kate was about four years old. One day when Esther was but a few days old, she rolled out of bed while Mary Ellen was asleep, but she was well protected by the bedding so was not harmed.

In 1878, a young man by the name of Frank Hill arrived in Iowa Center and started working at the Baldwin and Maxwell store. In September 1881 he was married and he and his bride stayed at the Bowen Inn for a few weeks.

Mary Ellen was kept busy from morning until night with eight children, her three brothers and her daily work about the Inn. She made her own soap and the lye used in it. There was a huge ash hopper which was filled with wood ashes over which they poured soft water. A trough carried the lye water, a brownish substance, into a vessel for that purpose. The hominy she made was also soaked in lye. She also browned and ground her own coffee. This browning coffee was extremely fragrant. White flour was a luxury and was used for "Sunday or company" baking. Corn meal and buckwheat, fresh from the mill had all the needed vitamins, none were extracted. Hence the sturdy pioneer.

Ephriam Bowen lost his land due to post war conditions, debts and excessive drinking. He and Gillian moved from the farm into a small house next door west to the Inn. One of Gillian's prized possessions was a huge safe made of black walnut. Dr. Ephriam used the living room of the Inn for his office and operating room. One time Kate saw him lift a cancer from the breast of a woman, after having treated it previously. This cancer looked like a huge spider. When treating for tapeworm, he would give the patient unlimited amounts of whiskey, getting the tape worm good and drunk, then give the patient slippery elm tea, a herb cathartic. He used to keep great strants [strands] of slippery elm bark tied in hanks like yarn.

A young girl about seventeen or eighteen years of age by the name of Maria Frye helped bath and dress the new babies that were ushered into the world by Dr. Ephriam Bowen. About this time Gillian became seriously ill and died.

Copyright © - 1999 Curt Larsen

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