Saturday, August 29, 2015

Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery

St. Louis Trip, Day 2 - Saturday, July 25, 2015
The site I most wanted to see in St. Louis was my great great great uncle Philander Lockard's grave.  Philander and his brother John both volunteered for the Union army during the Civil War.  Philander died at age 24 of typhoid in St. Louis on December 8th, 1861.  John, 25 years old, was wounded April 6th, 1862 during the Battle of Shiloh, and died on May 25th in Waterloo, Iowa on his way back home. 
The gravestone where John is buried at one of our local family cemeteries commemorates both him and his brother Philander, and I had always thought they were both buried there.  But upon further research, I found that Philander was actually buried at Jefferson Barracks.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Battle of Athens State Historic Site

St. Louis Trip, Day 1 - Friday, July 24, 2015
Just over the border in Missouri, we stopped at the Battle of Athens State Historic Site.  A storm caught up with us here with tremendous claps of thunder.  It was almost as if we could hear cannons roaring.  It started raining, so our visit was a comparatively short one.  We didn't want to do much walking in the rain.
The Battle of Athens was the northernmost battle west of the Mississippi in the Civil War.  It was fought between the Missouri Home Guard (Union) and Missouri State Guard (Confederates).  Athens was a town of over 500 people.  The building above is a very nice picnic shelter, modeled after the Athens General Store, one of 6 grocery stores open in Athens prior to the war.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

The Pearson House, Morality, and Legality

St. Louis Trip, Day 1 - Friday, July 24, 2015
Driving through Keosauqua, Iowa, we noticed a sign pointing out the Pearson House which was built between 1845 and 1847.  We hadn't planned on stopping, and it was not open while we were there, so we admired the buildings and the grounds, but didn't get to see the inside of the house.  Also on the property are the Ellis Schoolhouse and a log cabin.
Originally, the second floor of the house was used for Methodist church services.  But, what the Pearson House is most noted for is its place as a stop on the Underground Railroad, which helped fugitive slaves on their way to freedom in Canada before the Civil War.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Van Buren County Courthouse

The Van Buren County courthouse in Keosauqua, completed in 1843, is the oldest courthouse in Iowa and the second oldest courthouse in continuous use since its completion in the United States.  
It currently appears to be undergoing renovation, so although the two brick buildings with offices on either side appeared to be open, we didn't make it into the courthouse.  We only admired it from the outside. 

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Lunch Box Cafe

St. Louis Trip, Day 1 - Friday, July 24, 2015
After leaving the American Gothic House, we stopped at about noon at the Lunch Box Cafe in Douds, Iowa.  There were an impressive number of cars parked in front of the cafe, especially considering Douds is a town of only 165 people.  
As we walked in we noticed Acts 16:13 on the front window, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved."  Inside, the place was bustling with locals.  

Monday, August 17, 2015

American Gothic House

St. Louis Trip, Day 1 - Friday, July 24, 2015
On our way through southern Iowa, we stopped in Eldon at the American Gothic House, made famous by artist Grant Wood.  American Gothic is a 1930 oil painting of a farmer and his daughter. Wood's models were his sister, Nan Wood Graham, and his dentist, Dr. Byron McKeeby.
The house still stands in its original location; a pathway lined with beautiful wildflowers leads to it.  A welcome center is nearby, filled with information about the house, the painting, and the artist.  Many parodies of American Gothic are displayed.  We saw humorous parodies, political parodies, quilted parodies, and even a parody made of rebar.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Wapello County Courthouse

St. Louis Trip, Day 1 - Friday, July 24, 2015
In Ottumwa, Iowa, we stopped to see the Wapello County Courthouse, which was built in 1894.  The first county courthouse was a log cabin.  That was followed by a brick building, which cost $1000 to build.  This was sold to a church in 1855.  From 1855 to 1891 another courthouse served; construction costs for that building were $13,000.  Voters then approved $100,000 in bonds to build the courthouse currently in use today.
Wapello County was named for Fox Indian Chief Wapello.  The Fox Indian tribe is also known as the Meskwaki.  Chief Wapello had a friendly relationship with the European settlers, and moved his tribe west of the Mississippi to Iowa.  Wapello died in 1842.  After his death, the U.S. persuaded the Sac and Fox to sell their lands and move west of the Red Rock Line.  In 1845, they were forced to move to Kansas.