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Thursday, Apr. 28, 2016

Times Gone By

Friday, September 3, 2010

100 years ago

Street work - Here is a look at how the street in front of the original Lincoln School was laid. It is interesting to see how a horse moved the cement mixer.
At 12:30 Wednesday a.m. there was an explosion on West Cedar Street which was heard all over town. It was at the residence of Guy M. Gillett and was the work of a dynamite fiend. A stick of dynamite had been placed under the northwest corner of the porch, a fuse attached and ignited. The explosion shattered the floor of the porch and tore off considerable of the woodwork, and the large plate glass window was completely shattered. The force of the explosion in seen in nails on the east side of building being drawn partially out. The main force of the explosion went in the ground making quite a hole, and this probably saved the house from destruction and the occupants from serious injury if not from death.

Whom the fiend can be or his motive cannot be imagined as Mr. Gillett has no known enemies. Various surmises are afloat but none resting on a foundation sufficiently strong worth of mentions.

Usually Mr. and Mrs. Gillett sleep on the upper floor in a room that projects over the porch, but for some reason slept that night in a room on the lower floor, and It looks as though the guilty one may have known of the sleeping room of Mr. and Mrs. Gillett and intended to add the crime of murder to his other offense.

An illustration of the force of the explosion is seen in the condition in which a large steamer trunk was found. This trunk was on the porch and was lifted into the air by the force of the explosion and while thus suspended the debris from the wrecked porch was thrown together and the trunk was found resting on top of this.

It is to be hoped the culprit may be found and properly punished.

The shock to Mrs. Gillett was very great and the services of a physician were required but the result will remain with her for many months. Such crimes are so inexcusable and so dastardly that if the culprit is apprehended no sympathy will be wasted upon him and he will doubtless get the full measure of punishment.

Shortly after four o'clock Tuesday evening, O. B. Severine while working in his yard heard someone call "Ole" and at first thought it was some member of his family, but a second call coming from the alley directed his attention there and he saw John Cleghorn who waved his hand and said "Ole come quick." He went as quickly as possible to the alley and found Cleghorn lying on the ground, at first he was afraid to approach him but Cleghorn turned and he observed the he was foaming at the mouth and he went to his assistance. Cleghorn said "Get me in the house" and Severine endeavored to lift him up, but Cleghorn said "My legs are stiffening let me down." Severine asked what was the matter and Cleghorn said "poison" when he let him down and ran to the phone and summoned Dr. Freeman Hornibrook, and then went back to Cleghorn and found him unconscious.

Dr. Hornibrook came in a few minutes but too late to save the man who passed away three minutes after his arrival.

Cleghorn last spring was indicted for gambling and to avoid arrest left town and has not since lived with his wife who was about to obtain a divorce. The separation from his wife and child which he believed was to be permanent was more than Cleghorn could endure, as evidenced by letters which he left.

Cleghorn came from a good O'Brien County family but has been wayward causing it much sorrow, but over this phase it is as well to cast the mantle of charity. That he had good qualities is evidenced by the following letters which he wrote just before taking the poison.

One letter addressed to his wife read as follows: Well Sade, you will never have to go in court and tell what I have done to get your divorce. You remember I told you when I could not live with you I would die. I have thought of you and Babe every hour for the last six months and I know there is no use, I would sooner be dead than to live without you, and I know there is no chance. Be good.

75 years ago

The 1,101 boys and girls who entered Cherokee's four public schools Monday morning established an all time record enrollment, tentative figures released Tuesday morning by Superintendent N. D. McCombs show.

A gain of 32 over last year's record number has been recorded, with a few additions, and possibly a few decreases being anticipated before official enrollment figures are taken September 20.

As usual the senior class is largest of all four high school classes, there being 114 enrolled in this division, Tuesday morning.

This year's graduating class contains 32 more at the present time than the largest in history had. Of the total number, 60 are girls and 54 are boys.

Wilson high school's four classes have 409 pupils as well as three post graduate students. This compares with 388 last year. Lincoln building showed a gain of six over last year, having 298 as compared with last year's 292; Garfield's 1934 and 1935 records are identical, 207 each year; and Webster had 184 boys and girls the first day, a gain of two over last year's figure.

Because of the crowded conditions in Webster and Garfield buildings, a fifth grade has been formed this year at Lincoln building, which in recent years has been housing only primary, first four grades and junior high sections.

Nine of the 16 in the new class are from the Garfield district, while seven are from Webster. Fifth grade class room at Lincoln is filled to capacity where 16 are enrolled.

Complete enrollment records compiled the first day are as follows:

Wilson high school, freshmen, 57 boys and 41 girls; sophomores, 48 boys and 65 girls; juniors, 36 boys and 45 girls; Lincoln junior high, seventh grade, 41 boys, 50 girls; eighth grade, 43 boys, 44 girls; kindergarten, 15; first grade, 14; second, 34; third, 21; fourth, 17; and new fifth, 16.

Garfield, kindergarten, 24; first, 32; second, 32; third, 20 fourth, 21; fifth, reduced to 38; and sixth, 37; Webster, kindergarten, 23; first, 30; second, 21; third, 18; fourth, 22; reduced fifth, 31; sixth, 39.

Because of constantly changing figures during the first few weeks, the state department requests that official enrollment not be taken until after three weeks; work is completed, McCombs said.

So far there have been only increases in enrollment. A few transfers and decreases are anticipated, but continued increases are expected to more than make up for any losses, McCombs said.

50 years ago

All aboard - Not much is known about this photo from the Cherokee Archives, but it a great picture that shows what type of fire equipment our firefighters had at their disposal in the early 20th century.
The Cherokee County Board of Supervisors passed a resolution Friday setting up a special election November 8 to vote on the issue of constructing a new courthouse at a cost not to exceed $500,000.

Qualified residents of the county will vote on this matter at the same time as they cast ballots in the general election on that date.

The proposition includes the question of issuing bonds for the purpose of construction and equipping a courthouse building and also levying a tax on all taxable property in the county at a rate not to exceed one mill on the dollar in addition to all other taxes.

The issue was first voted upon and defeated in special balloting at the time of the June primary election this year.

It is stressed by county officials and interested residents that the present courthouse, built in 1891, is no longer modern nor large enough to accommodate the many records of various offices.

Parts of the building are in a state of disrepair and preliminary estimated showed the temporary repairs could not be made for less than $75,000.

In addition to allowing claims against the county at the regular monthly bill day session yesterday, the supervisors also allowed an animal claim of $45 for two lambs and one ewe to Myrna Hunt of Washta.

Qualified residents of the area involved will vote Wednesday September 7 on the proposed Cherokee Community School District.

Voters will ballot on the question of creating a reorganized school district to include: The present Cherokee Independent School District, the Afton Consolidated District, Cherokee Township District, Pilot Township District and remaining portion of Rock Township School District.

All public school students in the area are now attending Cherokee Schools.

From Noon to 7 p.m.

Polls will be open from 12 noon to 7 p.m. on September 7. Voters living within the Cherokee Independent School District will cast ballots at City Hall council room.

Those living in the School Township of Cherokee will vote at the Emil Lundsgaard residence in Section 22 of Cherokee Township.

Polling places for residents of the other district involved are: Afton Consolidated School District, Vere Corrington home in Section 30 of Spring Township; Pilot Township District, Pilot Township Hall in Section 22 of Pilot Township, the included portion of Rock Township, Elmer Fischer home in Section 12, Rock Township.

The new district will go into effect July 1, 1961 if approved by the voters. On the basis of 1959-60 expenditures, officials have estimated that a millage rate of about 37 ˝ mills would support the proposed district.

25 years ago

An informational meeting on a proposed nature trial drew few people to the Washta Community Center Friday evening.

The meeting was conducted by George and Marian McNabb, Storm Lake, the couple heading the Northwest Iowa Rails and Trails group.

The group is proposing a 12-mile path called the Little Sioux Nature Trial which would run from Pearse Access to two-miles south of Washta. The trail would be used for biking, hiking and cross-country skiing.

Present at the Friday night meeting were Ron Dudley, executive director of the Cherokee County Conservation Board, and his wife, Joyce, Conservation Board member Jim Cunningham and his wife, Colleen, and Jack Gibbs and Carol Jean Golden, owners of the County Café in Washta.

The meeting was designed to answer questions area residents--especially farmers--might have about the proposed trail. George McNabb expressed disappointment with the turn-out.

"We want to work with them (farmers), but I'm kind of disappointed that not one of them showed up," he said.

The proposed trail runs along an abandoned railroad right-of-way owned by Illinois Central Gulf. The railroad has offered to sell the land for $54,000. The Rails and Trials group is now raising funds for the land purchase.

The purchase would include all bridges, fixtures and in-town property. Right-of-way property which has already been purchased by adjoining landowners is not included, but the McNabbs said the proposed trail can be routed around these areas.

The McNabbs have appeared before the Cherokee Count Conservation Board several times trying to stir some interest in the trail. If the trail is developed, the McNabbs said they would like to give it to the Conservation Board.

Also, there are state and federal grants which could be used toward the trail, but Marian McNabb said a government agency must apply for them.

Dudley said the Conservation Board has several concerns about the trail, including maintenance costs and legal ownership o the land. Several farmers have said the abandoned right-of-way property should revert to them.

Marian McNabb said deeds to the land have been turned over to a lawyer, and so far no clauses that would revert the land to adjoining landowners have been found.

About eight years ago, the McNabbs began a Rails and Trails group in Eastern Iowa and developed the Cedar Valley Nature Trail. The 49-mile trail runs from Hiawatha, near Cedar Rapids, to Gilbertsville, near Waterloo. After this trail was developed, it was turned over to a county conservation board. Marian McNabb said maintenance costs have been covered by the sale of souvenirs.

The trail has drawn interest from state groups, including the Iowa Conservation Commission and the Iowa Nature Conservatory. Marian McNabb said she has sent maps of the area to officials with both groups.

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