Iowa News from the
Brockway Scrapbook
Page 1

All of the articles will come from clippings submitted to Iowa Old Press by John H. Brockway who has been pasting into scrapbooks for many years ... he writes: "I have kept scrapbooks for a long time, started in high school, missed a lot of things over the years I wish I had saved." Mr. Brockway invites us all to visit their family webpage of Brockway genealogy. Also included..A Genealogy Poem. Wonderful !!
Brockway Family Website

submitted to Iowa Old Press by John H. Brockway, from his scrapbook of

unknown newspaper, March 1879

Old Settlers Meeting.
The Old Settlers of Muscatine county called together at the City Hall, March
24th, 1879, on occasion of the death of J.S. Horton and Mrs. Asenath
Pettibone. The President, Judge D.C. Richman, being out of town, Mr. Suel
Foster was chosen chairman and moved that a committee on resolutions be
appointed, when Dr. B.W. Thompson, Messrs. John Mahin and M. Couch were
chosen in case of Dr. Horton and Messrs. Suel Foster, A. Smalley and P.
Jackson in the case of Mrs. Pettibone, and the committees instructed to
furnish copies of resolutions to the city papers.
S. Foster, Prest.
P. Jackson, Sec'y

Dr. J.S. Horton
Resolved, That in the death of Dr. James S. Horton this community has lost
one of its most highly esteemed and patriotic citizens, his neighbors a
sympathetic and accommodating friend, and his family a kind husband and
Resolved, That in token of our esteem for the deceased and in commemoration
of those distingushing virtues of his which we desire to see perpetuated, we
will spread these resolutions upon the official records of the Old Settlers'
Association and furnish a copy to his bereaved family.
B.W .Thompson
Moses Couch
John Mahin

Submitted to Iowa Old Press by John H. Brockway source: Muscatine Journal, 'sometime in 1881'...The article was written by his grandfather E.F. Brockway.

E. F. Brockway Writes Interesting Letter to Journal.


He as President of the Iowa State Agricultural Society Was Largely Responsible for the Inauguration of the Day.

The appended letter has been received from E.F. Brockway, of Letts, and contains some reminisce of interest, especially to soldiers of the Civil War and those who are interested in the scarred veterans who fought in the bloody strife. The letter follows:

In the year 1880 I became vice president of the Iowa State Agricultural Society and soon after I began to plan for an old soldiers day, but was promptly opposed by two or three individual members of the board who were not known as friends of the soldiers, and never had been and said that the soldier was no better than any other man. But I stubbornly kept up the battle until nearly three years later when our president Charles Porter died and I became president, it fell to my lot to give the annual address.

I made the unusual recommendations and among other new plans strongly recommended a Soldiers day. There were many soldiers in that great audience which consisted of one or two delegates from each county and three times as many people as there were delegates.

The idea was loudly cheered, and at the close of the meeting a resolution was offered and carried that the state fair board establish a Soldiers’ day. 1500 Present. I was happy and the soldiers were invited as our guest, free for a day and a day was set. It was a lovely day, I met the adjutant general who had charged of the tents and helped him to select the nicest grove on the grounds and did all that I could to make them comfortable.

Governor Kirkwood and other noted men were invited to address the boys and soon began to pour in until there were fifteen hundred. The tents were in the form of a hollow square. Each tent numbered and marked with the name of some regiment and several tents for soldiers from other states. Governor Delivers Address. A large box answered the purpose for which speakers stand.

At two o clock p.m. the governor climbed onto the platform, he was in his happiest frame of mind, beaming with gladness and jolly as a care-free school boy. These grizzly old veterans stood around and looked up to the old war governor with the kindly reverence and love that they would have for a father they had not seen in many years, and he greeted them as “My boys.” Many of them he had not seen since in camp when the regiments were formed, and occasionally at the front where there was serious trouble. He was beginning to show age but his mind was clear and active. He told them of his love for them and assured them that as long as they lived and as long as they conducted themselves as good citizens he would honor and love them and be their friend.

He told of the hardships and the difficulties informing the first regiments, how he and two other men had borrowed, I think, forty thousand dollars to feed and cloth them until they were in the U.S. service. He said that he had been in the first camp about two weeks and away from his office and felt he must return for a few days. So he left his best men in full charge and was gone even longer that he expected and when he got back to camp his best man had gone. When he returned he rated them good and said, “Didn’t I tell you to stay right here until I came back? Come, explain yourself, sir, and tell me why you did it?” Joke on Henry C. Dean.

I stood on the outer edge of the crowd beside the great unwashed Henry Clay Dean, who like me, was evidently enjoying the talk very much because he had let his cob pipe go out for at least the twentieth time. I saw the governor glance over our way and knew by the twinkle in his eye that there was fun ahead. His best man, who was a Cal (Somebody) replied “Well governor you see it was this way..; We came here together and you finally got so dusty and dirty you could stay no longer and had to go home for clean linen. You told me stay and I thought I would but it got dustier and dirtier until my clothes were a sight and I could stand it no longer. I was afraid I would be taken for Henry Clay Dean!”

Many of the boys knew Dean and glanced our way and a great laugh went up at his expense, but Dean enjoyed it as well as they did and lit his pipe again. An Interesting Incident. On returning to the office after the governor’s address I found a large number of visitors sitting on the porch and presently a lady asked, “What is all the cheering about up in the grove?” I told her it was a state reunion of the soldiers of the rebellion. She asked if a certain regiment was represented. She said her husband was a member of that regiment and was killed 16 years ago. She never could learn anything about it nor where he was buried. She went to the camp and returned in a couple of hours and told me had found one who was in her husbands company who was beside him when he fell, help bury him and told her all about it.

I felt in this one little incident that I was well paid for all my trouble in getting soldiers day established. Iowa’s Grand Old Man. I often met Gov. Kirkwood at the state fair. He always knew me and would say, “Here is my good friend from Washington. Now tell me all about my old friend down there Jonathan Wilson,” and then forgetting that he had ever told me before he would tell me the story of his grand entry into Washington but told in his way I never tired of it. He, in that day was Iowa’s grand old man, even as Gladstone was England’s grand old man of the people. Much of the Lincoln type and well worthy of a place in the hall of fame and a beautiful monument on the campus of his home city. E.F. Brockway

source: "from a Boone, Iowa, newspaper"

Courageous Kate Shelley is among Iowa's best-known heroes. She was 15 when
her actions propelled her into the headlines. Born in County Tipperay,
Ireland, Shelley lived on a small farm near Boone with her widowed mother
and younger siblings. Her father, a railroad worker, had died after an
accident. On the night of July 6, 1881, a violent storm struck central
Iowa, and from her house the teen-ager heard the weakened bridge over nearby
Honey Creek collapse as an inspection engine passed over it. She ran out to
find two engineers clinging to trees in the swirling waters, two others had
died. Shelley knew it was up to her to halt the passenger-filled Midnight
Express, which would soon be on its way along the North Western tracks. To
do so meant crossing another wooden trestle high above the nearby Des Moines
River. Shelley grabbed her father's lantern and set out in the driving
rain, crawling 700 feet across the bridge. The rough ties and spikes tore
at her skin and clothes. The bridge had been built without planking, and
the ties were as much as 3 feet apart. One wrong move would have sent her
to her death below. After what seemed an eternity, the plucky girl reached
the other side and ran another quarter-mile to the Moingona depot to warn of
danger. She then led rescuers to the site of the accident. Shelley was
instantly famous, and reporters swarmed to get her story. From the railroad
she received $200 and a gold watch and chain, plus a lifetime rail pass. A
Chicago newspaper paid off the family mortgage. The state of Iowa gave her
a gold medal. When a more modern bridge replaced the trestle in 1901, her
name went on it [remainder cut off]

source: Muscatine Journal, May 1, 1906

E.A. Brockway of Letts, Tells Interesting Tales of Venerable Man.

War Governor was Favorite.

Entrance of Dodge and Kirkwood into Washington and the Different Manner in Which Each Man Made His Appearance.

E.A. Brockway, of Letts, who was personally acquainted with Governor Kirkwood, tells interesting tales of the man who was one of Iowa's greatest favorites.  When Kirkwoood and Dodge were running for office they were each taken to Washington in a manner greatly differing, the former entering the town in a hay rack, while Dodge was seated in a carriage costing $1,000.  The candidates had to go from Signourney to Washington by wagon, there being no railroad in that vicinity at that time.  Mr. Brockway's article follows:

In the spring of 1866, I moved from Oronto, Muscatine county, to Washington county.  The war had just closed and the slavery question was settled.  But the Washington people were still talking of the old war governor and General Dodge's grand entree into that town on that memorable joint campaign.  The debate or political discussion had been well advertised and much talked of and everybody felt that they must be on hand.  The day finally came.  It was a lovely day and people began to flock in from the country.  The candidates had spoken last at Sigourney and as there was no railroad between the two towns they were coming by carriage and were expected about noon.  There was a Mr. J. Bacon, a livery man, neat, enterprising, and up-to-date in his business living there.  And he decided that he would show the republicans how to do things right and, as he was a democrat, would hitch his four black horses with their silver-mounted harness, to his new $1,000 carriage and go out and bring the democratic candidate into town as no other candidate had ever entered it.  In good time he swung out of town with that beautiful equipage -- as only John Bacon could -- for the hill a mile and a half west of town.  His friends cheered him and the republicans said to each other, "That scoops us; why didn't we think of something of that kind."  But one good, old stoop-shouldered joker, Jonathan Wilson, had been thinking; in fact, he was always thinking funny things.  There was a hay wagon in town, one of those huge affairs with high guards around it and two yoke of oxen hitched to it.  Jonathan went to the owner and said to him, "Climb right in and let's follow Bacon; he has gone out after Dodge, let us go out and bring Kirkwood in."  Soon they were on the way, not so fast but sure.  [clipping partially cut off] ... approached Dodge's carriage, raised his hat and asked the pleasure of escorting the general into the city.  Jonathan did the same, doffed his old hat, bowed very low and said, "If Gen. Kirkwood will be so kind as to step into my coach I will be pleased to escort him into the city."  Both candidates accepted the invitations.  Bacon's carriage arrived some little time ahead of the wagon and was received with cheers.  He drove around the town square and up to the hotel in grand style but with some doubt as to what would happen later.

The crowd had increased until the sidewalks were full and the square was full.  It soon buzzed through the crowd how General Kirkwood was coming and when he came in sight, standing in that great old hay wagon drawn by two yoke of oxen, a great shout went up from that mighty throung.  Hats were swung, handkerchiefs were waved, no conqueror of olden times was ever received with more joyful acclamation.  They too drove once around the square.  The general stood with hat in hand and a genuine, glad smile, bowing to the kindly greetings.  His victory was won before the discussion ever began; ever after he was loved by the Washington people and he never forgot them.

Later in the season the democrats, wishing to strengthen their lines had a meeting on the square and sent the great orator, Henry Clay Dean, to speak there.  He was a real orator, second to none in Iowa.  In his speech he said, "I defy any man in this audience to name a case where the democrats ever squandered a dollor of the public money.  I will just wait a little bit for any one to say when and where."  A little old farmer by the name of Henry Morgan, jumped up and said, "I can tell you."  "Well, when was it?" asked Dean.  "It was when the democrats paid you $6.00 a day for praying for them in the United States senate, when they elected you as their chaplain."  This created much merriment. 

In the year of 1877 and for several years before that I had been managing the Washington county fair and was always on the outlook for something to please the people and to draw a crowd so I wrote to Governor Kirkwook and asked him if he would come down and give our people an agricultural talk.  He replied that he would come and would be glad to see the Washington people.  But at the last moment he wrote to me that the soldier boys had invited him to attend a great reunion that was to be held on the fair grounds two weeks later and he would wait and come to that.  When he came I met him and he said, "The only apology I have is that I could not come twice and I never could deny the soldier boys anything."  In fact, having no boys of his own, he seemed to have a father's love for everybody that wore the blue.  He asked about his old friend, Jonathan Wilton, and told me the story.  It was not new to me but it was pleasant to hear him tell it with that happy smile that he always had when he was telling a good joke.

clippings from 3 unknown newspaper(s), January 1905

Two Pioneers Dead - Noah H. Letts, of Letts, and N.B. Richey, of Lone
Tree, pass to the Great Beyond
Noah Harris Letts passed away at Letts, Iowa, January 9, 1905, aged
eighty years and six months. He was born in Ohio and brought to
Illinois by his parents when only six years of age and had vivid
recollections of the Black Hawk war and many other things connected
with those troublous times of pioneer days and the hardships
connected with them. He was united in marriage to Miss Emma Cowen,
of Magnolia, Illinois, in May, 1845, whom he survived several years.
He was a capable man in every respect and took an active part in the
development of every state in which he lived, and as he spent nearly
all his life in Illinois, Iowa and Kansas he left his mark wherever
he was located. He opened up a farm in Illinois and built a
beautiful home in one of its flourishing towns. He taught school for
some years while suffering frm an affliction which left him slightly
lame to the end of his days. He dealt in real estate and in his work
and influence was always abreast of, if not in advance, of his
times. He was an earnest man, fond of his friends and relatives and
always enjoyed the companionship of congenial minds and was
interested in the people who were about him. His mind was clear till
the last and he knew in whom he beelieved and was not afraid. The
messenger came suddenly but not entirely unexpected and he fell
asleep like a babe in its mother's arms.

He leaves three sons and two daughters: Frank C. and Madison Letts
of Chicago, John C. of St. Joseph, Mo., Mrs. Mary Ream of Yates
Center, Kansas, and Mrs. Eva Keys of Temple, Texas. His two sons,
Frank and John, were with him in his illness and accompanied the
remains to Marshalltown for interment beside his wife. Funeral
services were held in M.E. church at Letts at 3 o'clock on Wednesday
afternoon, conducted by Revs. Payne and Childress, and the body taken
to Marshalltown the same evening.

note: the clipping from this newspaper ends here, the write-up
about Mr. Richey's death not being included in the scrapbook.
2nd clipping:

Noah Letts Dies.
Noah Letts, the father of the Letts boys, who conducted large
wholesale houses in Marshalltown, Ia., and St. Joseph, Mo., died
suddenly at his home in Letts Monday. He was about 80 years of age
and had been a resident of Letts for about six years. About 10 days
ago he was taken ill and was found on the floor in an unconscious
condition. His son, John, of Chicago, was called. Mr. Letts,
however, rallied and seemingly was rapidly recovering. Later he was
threatened with pneumonia, but had recovered from the effects of it.
Monday morning, after eating a hearty breakfast he suddenly became
unconscious and died within a short time. The funeral was held
Wednesday afternoon at 3 o'clock from the Methodist church.
Interment was made in Marshalltown by the side of his wife. "Uncle"
Noah, as he was familiarly known, leaves five children, three sons
and two daughters.
3rd clipping:

Noah Harris Letts was born near Newark, Ohio, June 19th, 1824. When
he was six years of age, his father brought the family to La Salle
county, Ill., locating near Peru. At Magnolia, Ill., May 22d, 1845,
Noah H. Letts and Herma C. Cowen were happily joined in marriage. To
them six children were born, five of whom, three sons and two
daughters, survive their parents. Two brothers of the deceased are
well-known in this community, N.M. Letts, deceased May 18, 1894, and
James R. Letts, still living on the old homestead near this place.
Deceased with his family settled in Louisa county, Ia. in the spring
of 1863, and the fall of 1870 they moved to Afton, Ia., and in 1898
to Yates Center, Kas. There, August 9, 1899, after fifty-four years
of happy wedded life, the wife of his youth and the companion of his
manhood crossed the river. He came back to Letts in 1904, where he
remained to the time of his death, which occurred January 9, 1905,
having reached the ripe age of 80 years, 6 months and 20 days,
leaving behind an enviable record for honesty and integrity, mourned
by a large circle of friends beyond the family circle.

Clippings from 3 unknown newspapers, April 1908. Note that the birth
dates given in 2 of the obits differ.

E.F. Brockway is Gone - Dies Suddenly at his Home Near Letts Monday.
E.F. Brockway, a well known and wealthy farmer residing near Letts
died very suddenly of heart trouble and a complication of other
diseases at his home April 20, 1908 a little while after eleven
o'clock in the morning. Mr. Brockway had been feeling ill for about
a week and has summonded medical aid, but it was beyond the reach of
medical science to give him relief and he passed to the great beyond

Mr. Brockway was about the age of 75, and is survived by his wife and
three children, two daughters and one son. They are Mrs. Libbie
Dacrow, Miss Allie Brockway and James Brockway. Mr. Brockway moved
[to] this community from Washington county seven or eight yeras ago.
While he lived in that county he served as representative in the
state legislature during several terms. Mr. Brockway was a good man
and a devoted Christian. He stood for all that was good in the
community and was a strong temperance advocate and used his personal
efforts to suppress it. He was one of the members of an organization
that put the booze peddler out of business in this county.

Mr. Brockway was a member of the M.E. Church of Letts and also one of
the board of trustees of this church. He was a pleasant and
entertaining gentleman and his departing will not only be mourned by
his loved ones, but scores of friends he has in this community. The
funeral services were held at 10 o'clock Wednesday morning from the
home residence, the Rev. Longnecker conducting the service. The
remains being interred in the Grandview cemetery.
2nd clipping

E.F. Brockway Expired Very Suddenly at Home Near Grandview.
The message which came here about the noon hour Monday conveying the
news of the death of Hon. E.F. Brockway was a shock to his friends
and relatives, many of whom had not known of his illness. He had
been indisposed for several days, but it was not until a short time
before his death that his condition was thought to be serious, and
then regardless of all that could be done, he passed away in a very
short time. His death occurred about 11 o'clock at his country home
near Grandview. The immediate cause of his death was an attack of
heart failure.

Edwin Franklin Brockway was born in Brockwayville, Jefferson county,
Pa., April 28, 1832, and came with his parents to Muscatine county in
1842. Here he spent his early days on his father's farm and later
entered and improved a farm of his own. He was always glad to have
had a part in the pioneer work there. September 11, 1860, he was
united in marriage to Miss Rowena Letts. The wedding took place in
the house where our subject's death occurred, and where the family
have lived for the past eight years. The place is the old Letts
homestead and was dear to him because of many pleasant associations.
Mr. and Mrs. Brockway were the parents of three children, two
daughters and a son. They are all at home, Mrs. Elizabeth Darrow,
Miss Alice Brockway and James Brockway. To these, the sorrowing wife
and one granddaughter [remainder torn off]
3rd clipping

In Memoriam.
Edwin Franklin Brockway was born in Brockwayville, Pennsylvania,
April 28, 1834, and passed away at his home near Letts, April 20,
1908. His parents, James M. and Lydia Goff Brockway, removed from
Pennsylvania to Iowa with their family of five sons and two daughters
in May 1842, landing at Bloomington, now Muscatine, and settling on a
farm bought from the government near Conesville, Muscatine county.
Here his youth and young manhood were spent. His education, gleaned
by attending the common schools generally kept in the pioneers'
houses, or by being boarded in some other and older neighborhood,
began, a few months in school in Muscatine and a short session in Mt.
Vernon completed his school training. A natural student, he turned
to books with a thirst for knowledge that must bring results and all
his years he added by study and research to the stores of his mind.

He opened and improved a farm adjoining his father's, in Orono
township and here began the importing of evergreens from Wisconsin
and establishing nurseries on his farm and elsewhere, a work in which
he was engaged many years.

In 1860 he was united in marriage to Rowena B. Letts, eldest daughter
of N.M. Letts, in the old homestead near Letts, which was the family
home at the time of his death. To this union were born three
children, two daughters and one son. In 1866 he moved to Washington
county and there made his home until he moved to Louisa county in
1902, except four years in Iowa City while his children were
attending school.

In 1873 he was elected to the legislature and for six years was a
member of the state board of agriculture and served for a time as
president. He was intensely interested in the development of Iowa
from his boyhood up, but not only in a material way such as the
building of railroads, schools and churches, but in the culture and
moral training of the young generation. Nothing to him seemed of so
much importance as the environment and influence for the children of
the land. [remainder of clipping torn off]

Contributed by John H. Brockway on 12-01-2007

submitted to Iowa Old Press by John H. Brockway, from his scrapbook of clippings.  Mrs. Brockway was John's grandmother.  She was born January 22, 1841 and died September 28, 1912.
source: "a Louisa co. newspaper"

Mrs. Brockway Dies
Prominent Louisa County Woman Passed Away Saturday Evening.

Mrs. E.F. Brockway, mother of Hon. J.M. Brockway, member of the state legislature from this county, and a daughter of the late Madison Letts, and one of the most widely known and most prominent women in this section, passed away at her country home three miles south of Letts at 10:30 o'clock Saturday evening.  Mrs. Brockway's death followed an illness of but a couple of days duration.  Mrs. Brockway was 71 years of age at the time of her death.  Her husband, the late E.M. Brockway, preceded her in death four years ago.  She is survived by one son and two daughters, Hon. J.M. Brockway and Mrs. Elizabeth Darrow and Miss Alice Brockway, and by one granddaughter, Miss Jean Darrow, who as attending Oberlin college.  The funeral services were held Tuesday afternoon at 1 o'clock at the home.  The services were conducted by Rev. P.F. Barker, pastor of the Letts Methodist Episcopal church.  Rev. G.W. Thorne of Bloomington, Ill., and Rev. F.A. Longnecker of Winfield, formerly pastor of the Letts church, assisted the local pastor. Mrs. Brockway was sidely known and greatly beloved.  She was very active in every phase of church work and gave special attention to missionary activities.  He loss is mourned as a personal one by the entire community.

source: Des Moines paper

Des Moines was home to pioneer automakers.
Forget about Henry Ford and Detroit. When it comes to early automotive
history, Des Moines was definitely in the driver's seat. The city's fling
with the auto industry began way back in 1880, when William Morrison, a
Scotish chemist, came to Des Moines. Morrison was fascinated with
electricity, and was determined to create "a light, portable version of the
storage battery that would provide an efficient source of energy". The
Morrison Electric auto was powered by 24 of his batteries, which were placed
beneath the carriage seats. Morrison wasn't the only automaker the city
produced. In 1905, attorney Edward R. Mason became associated with Fred
Duesenberg, a machinist who had come to Des Moines in 1900 and who ran a
bicycle shop. Their first car, called "Old Number One," was run out onto
the street the afternoon of Feb. 19, 1906. The first Mason automobile was a
24 horsepower, two cylinder, valve in head, 5 by 5 opposed motor. In 1910,
Fred Maytag of Newton became associated with Mason and formed the
Maytag-Mason Motor Co., building a four cylinder car called the
"Maytag-Mason" that was made in Waterloo. In the spring of 1913, Duesenberg
began to design small racing cars in Des Moines. Eddie Rickenbacker, who
became a famous flying ace during World War I, worked for Duesenberg as a
mechanic. Duesenberg and his brother, Augie, would go on to become the
manufactureres of one of the fastest and most costly cars in the world.
Fred Maytag turned to washing machines.

source: Des Moines Register

The first state fair was held in Fairfield, on Oct. 25-27, 1854, on six acres of ground surrounded by a 10-foot high wooden fence.  Highlights of that fair included "an assortment of more than 100 varieties of snakes and lizards preserved in alcohol" and Governor James Grimes' being presented with a 360 pound cheese from his "friends in Lee County."  Cost of the first fair was $320, and the highest daily attendance was between 7,000-10,000.  After its second year, the fair traveled from city to city.  In 1879 it was decided to move the fair to Des Moines because of its central location, access to the railroads and the accommodations to house fairgoers coming from throughout the state.  The first state fair in Des Moines was held on grounds between 38th and 42nd streets and from Grand Avenue to Pleasant Street.  Although it moved to the city in 1879, it wasn't until 1884 that the Legislature finally appropriated $50,000 to purchase grounds for the fair.  The 279-acre site on the east side, now expanded to 400 acres, was dedicated in 1886.  The first fairs were mainly instructional.  Exhibiting and judging of livestock were the central features.  In 1927, John Phillip Sousa's famous marching band drew the largest Sunday crowd the fair had ever had.  In the spring of 1942, the Army Air Corps requested the use of the fireproof buildings.  The fair resumed in 1946.

Unknown newspaper, week of May 24th, 1915. The accident happened on
Saturday May 22, 1915

News Shock to Community.
One of the most shocking accidents which has occurred in this part of
Iowa in many year happened three miles northeast of Letts Saturday
night when an automobile driven by Harlan Letts and occupied by Leo
Estle and Harry Thompson struck a ditch in the road and plunged into
the air, throwing the occupants out and probably instantly killing
the two former. Mr. Thompson escaped with temporary injuries. The
fatalities brought sorrow to many homes, as both the young men who
lost their lives were very popular and prominent in the county.

As nearly as we are able to obtain the facts, Harry Thompson, whose
home is in Chicago, was a guest of Harlan Letts for supper Saturday
evening at the home of his parents, Mr. and Mrs. James Letts, and
later in the evening they went to Letts in Harlan's little Ford
roadster. There they were joined by Leo Estle, who had been in
Columbus Junction earlier in the evening and returned to Letts on No.
30 at 7 o'clock. They visited the Henry Masonholder home north of
town and also stopped to visit Mr. and Mrs. Ed Hendrix enroute back
to Letts. It was nearly midnight when, after the business houses in
Letts were closing up, they decided to take another little spin in
the country. Letts was at the wheel and Estle was sitting on
Thompson's lap in the one-seated car. While running at a high rate
of speed at a curve in the road between the Adam Epperly and the
James Hackett homes they crashed into a ditch in the road which had
been washed out by spring rains and the car must have made a terrific
plunge into the air. The two boys where were killed were thrown a
distance of more than forty feet beyond the ditch while Thompson was
thrown ten feet farther. The car was found beyond where Thompson

Mr. Thompson says he does not know how long he laid there in an
unconscious condition, probably half an hour or more, but when he
recovered consciousness and was able after several efforts to get
onto his feet, a search was made for his companions. Upon dicovering
that they were in a lifeless condition he, horror stricken, but
courageously made his way in the darkness to the homes of neighbors
where he summoned help and called Dr. Eland from Letts. After seeing
to it that his companions were to receive attention he attempted to
go back to the scene of the accident, but his then overtaxed strength
gave way and he fell exhausted in the road. He was taken to the home
of his aunt, Mrs. Robert Elliott, in Letts, where he is recovering.

Within a short time after the news had been circulated a crowd was on
the scene and Coroner Collins came out from Letts and took charge of
the bodies. Just how the accident happened and just how the two boys
met death will never be known. It seems probable that the automobile
did not turn turtle, as reports have stated. Only the windshield
broke and two tires blown up is the damage to the car, indicating
that it plunged into the air, threw the occupants clear of it and
alighted on the two tires which were crushed. The machine was run to
the Furnas & Turner garage here under its own power.

Harlan Letts was the only son of Mr. and Mrs. James H. Letts and was
born at the family home in Concord township December 2, 1891. He
attended Cornell College at Mt. Vernon for a time and then entered
the agricultural department of the Wisconsin State department of the
Wisconsin State University where he graduated. During the past two
or three years, he has taken charge of almost the entire management
of his father's big farm, several hundred acres, and has demonstrated
wonderful ability in his management and enterprise. Besides his
parents he leaves to mourn his death, two sisters, Mrs. E.C.
Turkington of Loveland, Colo. and Miss Adelia Letts at home.

Leo Estle was about 25 years of age and was the oldest son of Mr. and
Mrs. Chas. Estle, prominent and wealthy farmers living west of
Letts. He attended high school here for a time and attended school
at Iowa City while the family lived there a few years ago to give
their children school advantages. Since going back to the farm he
has taken an active interest in running the place and it was upon him
his father depended for much of the active management of things. He
was industrious and was making good in every way. Both he and Harlan
Letts were splendid young men, attentive to their duties and
possessed good habits. Besides his parents he leaves to mourn his
death two brothers, Lawrence and a younger boy, and one sister, Miss

Harry Thompson is a son of Mrs. D.O. Thompson, of Chicago, and has a
wife and baby. He is a nephew of A.S. Thompson of this place and his
parents were former residents of this county.

The funeral of Harlan Letts was held Tuesday afternoon from the
family home and was conducted by Rev. Phillips, M.E. pastor at
Letts. Interment in the Letts cemetery.

The funeral of Leo Estle was held yesterday morning at 11 o'clock
from the home and interment was made in the Cranston cemetery. Both
services were largely attended by the host of sorrowing relatives and
friends who wished to pay their last respects to these unfortunate
young men who wree taken from them so suddenly and in such a tragic
manner. The sorrowing parents have the sympathy of everyone in their
dark hours of sorrow.
Contributors notes - There are two other lengthly clippings in the
scrapbook, nearly the same as the above accounting of the tragedy.
Additional info. given in the other clippings:
*Parents of Harlan Letts, Mr. and Mrs. J.H. Letts were 'among the
best known residents of Louisa county'
*Harlan's mother's maiden name was Hendricks
*Harlan Letts was born on Line Grove farm (or Linn Grove farm),
Concord township, Louisa county, Iowa
*Relatives and friends from a distance, who attended the funeral of
Harlan Letts on Tuesday are: E.C. Turkington and wife, Loveland,
Colorado; Mrs. Florence Letts Burston, Chicago, Illinois; Mrs.
Annetta Letts Robinson, Vinton, Iowa; Dr. and Mrs. Howard Letts,
Davenport, Iowa; L. Bonnell, Loveland, Colo; Mrs. Frank Hendrix,
Perry, Ia.; R.B. Huff, Muscatine, Iowa; J.D. Letts and wife, Wapello,
Ia; Arthur Letts, Burlington, Iowa; Fred and Ernest Letts, Davenport,
Iowa; Flody Letts and wife, Washington, Iowa; Mrs. Walter Hendrix,
Pittsburg, Pa.; Anna Fern Shinabarger, Muscatine, Iowa; Milt Dickens,
Washington, Iowa; Dave Corbin, wife and two sons, Burlington, Iowa.
*Harry Thompson was a commission merchant in Chicago
*Leo Estle's mother's name was Elizabeth
*Leo Estle was born November 14, 1889

Contributed by John H. Brockway on 12-01-2007

paper - possibly the Des Moines Register & Leader
April 1916

Col. C.C. Horton is Dead
Recent Commandant of Soldiers' Home Expires at Marshalltown.
Was Connected with U.S. Pension Bureau Sixteen Years.

Marshalltown, Ia., April 21 -- Col. C.C. Horton, until recently commandant
of the Iowa Soldiers home here, died at his home here late today. He had
been suffering from heart and kidney disease for the past three months. Mr.
Horton was born at Goshing, N.Y., Jan. 13, 1839. He came to Muscatine with
his family in 1848, returning to New York however, for his education. At
the outbreak of the civil war, Mr. Horton enlisted as a private in the
Second Iowa cavalry. Before the end of the war, he had been promoted to be
lieutenant colonel for distinguished service. Mr. Horton served two terms
in the Iowa legislature, was for several years trustee of the Iowa Soldiers'
Orphans' home at Davenport, was special agent of the United States land
office and for sixteen years was special examiner for the United States
pension bureau. He was appointed commandant of the Iowa Soldiers' home in
1897 and held that position until March 1 this year when he resigned on
account of failing health. Colonel Horton's wife, formerly Miss Belle
Ogilvie of Muscatine, died in 1912. He is survived by four children, J.L.
Horton, Clearmont, Wyo.; Ethel Horton, Buffalo, Wyo.; Mrs. James Brockway of
Letts and Miss Bertha Horton of Marshalltown. Funeral arrangements have not
been completed.

unknown paper - April 1916

Horton Funeral Sunday -- Services Will Be Held from Residence at 3:30 --
Burial at Muscatine.

Funeral services for Col. C.C. Horton, late commandant of the Iowa Soldiers'
Home, who died Friday afternoon, will be held from the residence Sunday
afternoon at 3:30 o'clock, in charge of Rev. J.P. Linn, pastor of the
Presbyterian church, Mr. Linn will be assisted by Chaplain H.O. Pratt,
chaplain of the soldiers' home, and Dr. M.N. Voldeng, superintendent of the
state hospital and colony for epileptics at Woodward, who will represent the
state institutions. The members of the state board of control are expected
to be here for the funeral. The Horton home will be open to friends from
1:30 until 3 o'clock. Commandant Whitehill, of the home, ordered the
colors placed at half mast immediately following the death of Colonel
Horton, and they will remain at half mast until the body of the late
commandant is removed from the grounds Monday, when the funeral party will
leave for Muscatine, Colonel Horton's body will be laid at rest in the
family lot in the Muscatine cemetery, beside the grave of Mrs. Horton. J.
Lisle Horton, of Clearmont, Wyo., arrived in the city at 1:10 this
afternoon, and James Brockway, of Letts, Colonel Horton's son-in-law,
reached the city this morning. Mrs. Brockway has been with her father for
some time.

Republican; Marshalltown; April 22, 1916

Col. C.C. Horton, late commandant of the Iowa Soldiers' Home, died at his
home at 3:15 this afternoon. The end was not unexpected, and followed an
illness of three months. He has been gradually failing since Jan. 24, when
he was in his office for the last time. Heart and kidney disease combined
to cause his last illnesss. The end came peacefully, and followed a day of
practically total unconsciousness. The patient has been failing rapidly
during the past few days, and within that time he has been irrational part
of the time. Colonel Horton's death will be [illegible] with deep regret
not only among his many friends in the city and the soldiers' home, but
thruout Iowa where he was exceptionally well known.

Charles Cummins Horton was a native of New York state, having been born at
Goshen, Orange county, Jan. 13, 1839, a son of Dr. James S. and Mary Gamble
Cummings Horton. That young Horton came of "fighting blood," and possibly
was predestines to become a commmander on the field of battle, is indicated
from the fact that he sprang from Revolutionary stock on both sides; his
great-grandfather, Capt. Jonathan Horton, serving thruout the revolutionary
war, as well as a maternal Grandsire, Archibald Gamble, who was an engineer
on the staff of General Moultrie, who later laid out Fort Moultrie during
the war of 1812.

In 1848 the Horton family came to Iowa, settling at Muscatine. For two
years the Hortons remained in town, but in 1850 moved to a farm two miles
distant. Young Horton had started his schooling in New York state, and
continued it at Muscatine and in a district school near his father's home in
the country. In 1857 he returned to New York state and entered the Delaware
Collegiate Institute at Franklin, from which he was graduated in 1859.

[illegible line]
When the first warnings of civil strife came in 1861, Horton, then a young
man of 23, talked of enlisting, and at Muscatine, in July of that year
enlisted as a private in Company A, Second Iowa cavalry. He was
commissioned second lieutenant on Aug. 2 [?], and promoted to first
lieutenant Nov. 2. On June 4, 1862, he was made captain, and on Sept. 20,
1863, major of his regiment. From that he rose to lieutenant colonel, on
Sept. 27, 1864, and was mustered out Sept. 19, 1865, at Selma, Ala. Colonel
Horton was the last commander of the regiment. He was next in line for a
brigadier generalship to the late W.P. Hepburn, who has just preceded his
old comrade to the place of final muster. At the age of 23, and then a
major, Horton commanded his regiment, altho Hepburn had been made colonel.
He, however, was on detached service, and never was in command of the
Second. Horton commanded the regiment as lieutenant from the time it
veteranized in 1864 until the regiment was mustered out, and for the last
few months of his service was in command of his brigade.

During his four years' service, Colonel Horton participated in thirty-one
engagements. His first fight was the battle of Monterey, where William
Paxton, of Indiantown, Tama county, was the first man of the regiment to be
killed. Horton was in the fighting at New Madrid, Island No. 10., the two
battles at Booneville, in the second of which Phil Sheridan won his first
star; Farmington, Luka and Corinth, Tupelo, Jackson, and Nashville. In the
famous charge at Farmington, made by the Second Iowa on May 7, 1862, Horton
had his horse shot from under him. He was wounded in the battle of
Coldwater on September, 1863, and carried a [illegible] in his hip to his

Directly after the war Colonel Horton went to Alabama where, in company with
Captain Brunton, of the Second Iowa, he engaged in a coal mining enterprise
near Toledagoula. The business did not prove profitable, however, and in
1866 Horton returned to Iowa and went to farming. He specialized in the
raising of small fruits and fine stock, largely horses. Later, for several
years, he was in the abstract business in Muscatine in company with John
Kemble, under the firm name of Horton & Kemble.

Colonel Horton has been in public life practically all the time since he
returned from his army service. He was made the fourth commandant of the
Iowa Soldiers' Home, taking charge of the institution in November, 1897,
altho his appointment was effective from Oct. 12. He has been reappointed
at the expiration of each four-years term. His last appointment became
effective Jan. 1, 1915, and altho not expiring until Jan. 1, 1919, Colonel
Horton gave notice of his resignation to the board of control last November,
effective May 1, of this year. He took the action because of declining
health. Some time after the beginning of his late illness, or on March 1,
he filled his resignation with board. On April 1, he was succeeded by the
present commandant, B.C. Whitehill. Col. Horton has served the home as
commandant longer than any other of his predecessors. The first commandant,
when the home was opened in December, 1887, was Col. Milo Smith, who served
until October, 1892. Smith was followed by Col. John H. Keatley, who served
until September, 1894. Col. J. [?]. Ratekin, of Shenandoah, followed
Keatley, and served until September, [illegible]. Colonel Horton has given
the [cut off] ....

Colonel Horton had been a lifelong republican and was widely known in state
politics during a long period of years. He was a member of Marshall Lodge,
No. 108, A.F. & A.M., of this city; of Phil Sheridan Post, No. 452, G.A.R.
of the soldiers' home, and of the Iowa Loyal Legion. His religious
affiliation was with the Presbyterian church, of which he had been a member
a great many years.

Colonel Horton's home life was broken three years ago last summer, when, on
June 29, his wife passed away suddenly of heart disease. This proved a
great shock to Colonel Horton, whose close friends and associates have
watched him age rapidly since that time. Colonel HOrton's wedded life dated
from Oct. 31, 1867, when he claimed as his bride Miss Isabella Ogilvie, of
Muscatine. Four children born to the union are all living, in the persons
of J. Lisle Horton, of Clearmont, Wyo.; Frank O. Horton, of Buffalo, Wyo.;
Mrs. James Brockway, of Letts; and Miss Bertha Horton, of this city. One
brother, Edwin W. Horton lives at Muscatine, as does also a sister, Miss
Sarah L. Horton.
-------- be continued with more Horton articles

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