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Clayton County Iowa


Clayton County
Newspaper Articles

Albert Henry Erickson

ERSKINE, ND - ALBERT HENRY ERICKSON, 95, Erskine, died Thursday, Jan. 19, 1989, in Fosston (Minn.) Municipal Hospital.

Services will be at 10 a.m. Monday in Gosen Lutheran Church, rural Erskine. Visitation will be from 4 to 8 p.m. Sunday in Carlin Funeral Home, Erskine.

Albert Henry Erickson was born Aug. 4, 1893, in Clayton County, Iowa, the son of Samuel and Caroline Erickson. He married Alma Groth May 27, 1922, in Elgin, Iowa. She died in 1955. He farmed in Knute Township, near Erskine.

Surviving are his son, Alton, Erskine; 10 grandchildren; 11 great-grandchildren, one brother, and three sisters.

He was preceded in death by one brother and three sisters.

[Grand Forks Herald (ND)-January 21, 1989; contributed by A. Newell]

Agnes Clara Amsden

HEMET, CA--Services for AGNES CLARA AMSDEN, 91, will be at 11 a.m. tomorrow at Miller-Jones Mortuary in Hemet. She died Sunday of heart disease at St. Mary's Hospital in Apple Valley.

Burial will be in Perris Valley Cemetery.

Mrs. Amsden, who was born in Clayton County, Iowa, lived in Hemet for 26 years. She was a dietician for six years at Long Beach Memorial Hospital.

She is survived by six daughters, Catherine Barnett and Dorothy Culbertson, both of Hemet, Ruth O'Neal of Hemet, Joyce McClaskey of Apple Valley, Shirley Cooper of Hemet and Maxine Beohm of Westminster; 10 grandchildren; 19 great-grandchildren; and a brother, Gilbert Barnhart Sr. of Guttenberg, Iowa.

[Press-Enterprise, The (Riverside, CA) - September 21, 1993; contributed by A. Newell]

Colonel George W. Otis


MxGregor, Iowa, Oct. 22 - Colonel George W. Otis of Monona, colonel of a Wisconsin regiment during the Civil war, and a prominent newspaper man in northeastern Iowa for forty years, has celebrated his seventy-fifth birthday with a large family fathering.

The colonel was editor and owner of the North Iowa Times of McGregor for many years and later the founder of the Monona Leader in 1892.

Among those present at the birthday gathering were Mr. and Mrs. R. D. Blackburn and Mr. and Mrs. A. L. Meier of Postville; Mr. and Mrs. W. J. Knowles, Mr. and Mrs. C. A. Jordan and Catherine Jordan of McGregor; Mrs. Guy Covell and Rlaph Covell of Whitehall, Mich., and Mr. and Mrs. H. G. Buckman of Monona.

[The La Crosse WI Tribune, Published 22 October 1913, submitted by Wearemorse]

Elkins Murder

Perhaps the most sensational crime in the history of the county occurred on Bear Creek, four miles southeast of Littleport, when Wesley Elkins, a boy under twelve years of age, killed his father, John Elkins, and his step-mother, in July, 1889.

The crime was reported to the neighbors by the Elkins boy, who appeared, carrying the baby in his arms and declaring that some unknown man had entered the house that night and killed his father and mother.

The verdict of the coroner's jury was that they had come to their death at the hands of some unknown person. The crime was so infamous that the governor offered a reward. A week later, Wesley Elkins was arrested and held as a witness because of his statement that he was about to leave the county. His stories were found to be conflicting and, on August 1, he made a confession of the crime, as follows:

"My name is John Wesley Elkins, and I was 12 years old on the 12th day of July. I had wanted to leave home and be at liberty to do for myself for a long time. I once ran away but father brought me home. Two or three days before the 10th of July I began planning to kill my parents, and when I came from milking on that night I went to the old granary and got the club which was found, and placed it on a chair in my room. About 3 o'clock in the morning I got up and went out of doors and looked all around, but saw no one. I then went into the bed room where father and mother slept and saw they were asleep. I went back to my room and took the rifle from the wall where father always hung it, and went back to their room and put the muzzle within about two feet of father's face and fired. I ran back to my room and threw the gun on my bed and grabbed the club which was on a chair near the door, ran back to their door and saw mother had jumped out of bed upon the floor and was stooped over as if to light a lamp, when I struck her on the back of the head with the club; she kind of sprawled backwards upon the bed, and I struck her several times more until I was sure she was dead, and then father kind of groaned and I struck him once or twice to be sure he was dead. After I was sure they were dead I lit the lamp and took it to my room and then went back and took the baby from their bed, and took off its bloody clothes and dressed it and quieted it. Then I started to load the rifle, but after getting the powder into the gun I could not find the balls and other things, and thought I was fooling around there too long, and went to the back door and knocked the powder out of the gun by the doorstep, and took the club and threw it out into the weeds. I then went and hitched up the old horses and took the baby and drove down by Potters and they stopped me."

Elkins was tried, in January, 1890, and upon his confession was found guilty, but owing to his extreme youth he was sentenced to life imprisonment and capital punishment was not inflicted.

A few years later it was reported that Elkins was a very dangerous prisoner with a homicidal tendency, and that he was the terror of the penitentiary. It was stated, however, that warden Madden took a great interest in his case and later it was reported that he had become a model prisoner.

In 1898 an attempt was made to secure his pardon. This was opposed by the Elkader Register, which reprinted the confession as given above. This effort was unavailing, but other efforts were made which, though opposed in a strong speech by H. C. Bishop, the then senator from this county, were finally successful and Elkins has for many years been at liberty. He graduated with honors from the University of Minnesota, secured a position with a railway company and is now occupying a place of importance and trust, his career fully justifying his pardon.

History of Clayton County, Iowa, Volume 1, 1916
Submitted by Cathy Danielson

Elsie Mae Bartelma

COLORADO SPRINGS, CO--ELSIE MAE BARTELMA, 94, died Nov. 21, 1999, at her home in Colorado Springs. She was a teacher and homemaker.

Mrs. Bartelma was born Aug. 17, 1905, in Clayton County, Iowa. She was married July 11, 1928, to David C. Bartelma, who is deceased.

She is survived by a son, Robert D.; a daughter, Joanne Little; six grandchildren; and eight great-grandchildren.

Cremation is planned. Inurnment will be in Iowa. Swan Law Funeral Directors, 501 N. Cascade Ave., 471-9900, is handling local arrangements.

[Gazette, The (Colorado Springs, CO) - November 22, 1999; contributed by A. Newell]

Fatal Affray in Clayton County

An affray took place on Saturday last 28th August between Henry Hultzbecker, Sheriff of Clayton County, Iowa Territory, and a Mr. McClellan, also a resident of Clayton County, in which the former was killed.

A family difficulty had for some time existed between them; on that day they met at Prairie La Porte, which first high words, then a duel challenge passed between them, Hultzbecker swore he would not fight, but that he would shoot McClellan anyhow. He went for his pistols and as he returned the latter went into the back room in order to avoid him; Hultzbecker rushed in after him, with a loaded pistol in his hand, but before he could fire, McClellan seized a rifle and shot the latter; the ball entered the left side just below the ribs, and lodged on the right near the spine, Hultzbecker at the instant held his left hand in such a position that the ball cut off most of his fingers just back of the first joints.

McClellan was immediately brought before a magistrate on examination, but discharged because acting in self defence. Hultzbecker lingered in great agony until the next day about noon when he expired. He is said to have been intoxicated at the time of the affray.-Miners' Express

Davenport Gazette, Davenport, Iowa Territory, September 16, 1842
Submitted by Kenneth E. Wright


GARBER, IA. (AP) -- Jonie Horstman, 4, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Frayne Horstman of Garber, was killed Sunday when a car in which she was riding left a Clayton County road just south of here. Authorities said the girl was thrown from the vehicle, then run over. The auto was driven by her uncle, Kyle Horstman, 16, of Guttenberg, who was not hurt.

[Des Moines Register, Des Moines, Iowa, Monday, August 21, 1967, Page 3]
Submitted by Janice Rice

Harvey Robert Wirkler

GARNAVILLO, IA - HARVEY ROBERT WIRKLER, 73, passed into the presence of the Lord from the St. Luke's Intensive Care Unit Dec. 8, 1997. He was born Oct. 9, 1924, in Clayton County, Iowa, at the family farm home west of Garnavillo, the son of Harvey Peter and Louise Dickman Wirkler. On Sept. 8, 1951, he was united in marriage to Shirley Naomi Jacobs at the Western Avenue Gospel Hall, Waterloo, Iowa. They had four children.

Harvey first farmed with his dad and brother on the home farm west of Garnavillo. In 1951, he and Shirley moved to their present farm northeast of Farmersburg. He enjoyed history, harvest time, his grandchildren and Bible study. He taught himself fluent German and Greek.

He is survived by his wife, Shirley; son Alan and daughter-in-law Darci Wirkler of Farmersburg; daughter Linda and son-in-law Paul McDonald of Waterloo; son Brian of Farmersburg; and daughter Becky and son-in-law Glen Menke of Marion; sister-in-law Jeanne Wirkler of Garnavillo; and seven grandchildren: Nicole, Carmen and Elliot Wirkler, and Jacob, Stephanie, Matthew and Lauren McDonald.

Harvey first heard the gospel preached by Mr. Lorne E. McBain in Garnavillo. Harvey was saved or born again April 3, 1938, through faith in the finished work of the Lord Jesus Christ on the Cross. He read the Bible verse text on his wall, "The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?" Psalm 27:1. His parents and brother were also saved in that same year. On June 26, 1938, he gathered out to Christians meeting in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ at Garnavillo. He maintained a consistent testimony in this Assembly, often started the hymns, and was a real help in Bible readings.

He entered St. Luke's Hospital in Cedar Rapids Nov. 12, 1997, for a heart catheterization. Harvey had open heart surgery Nov. 14 to replace his aortic valve. His heart stopped Nov. 29. Although he was revived, he never made significant progress healthwise. He peacefully went home to Heaven Dec. 8 at 11:03 p.m.

Funeral services will be Saturday, Dec. 13, at 11 a.m. at the Garnavillo Gospel Hall. Visitation is 2 to 8 p.m. Friday at Tuecke-Allyn Funeral Home in Garnavillo.

[Gazette, The (Cedar Rapids-Iowa City, IA) - December 12, 1997; contributed by A. Newell]

Inez Katherine Cook

ORLANDO, FL--INEZ KATHERINE COOK, 76, Athena Place, Orlando, died Saturday, Aug. 7. Mrs. Cook was a hairdresser. Born in Clayton County, Iowa, she moved to Central Florida in 1957. A member of St. Paul's Presbyterian Church, she also belonged to the Veterans of Foreign Wars Auxiliary. Survivors: sister, Marion Shontz, Marion, Iowa; brother, John C. Maehl, Elkader, Iowa. Woodlawn Funeral Home and Memorial Park, Orlando.

[Orlando Sentinel, The (FL) - August 9, 1993; contributed by A. Newell]

Karl H. Kainz

SATELLITE BEACH, FL - KARL H. KAINZ, 73, 511 Second Ave., Satellite Beach, died Oct. 10. Born in Clayton County, Iowa, he moved to Satellite Beach from Orlando in 1959. He was owner of a direct-mail service and was a Protestant. He was a member of Mount Herman Masonic Lodge, Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and Order of the Eastern Star Alcyone Chapter 71, Milbridge, Maine.

Survivors: wife, Betty; sons, Karl R., Windermere, Richard I., Gainesville; daughter, Betsy L., Jacksonville.

Florida Memorial Funeral Home, Cocoa.

[Orlando Sentinel, The (FL) - October 18, 1985; contributed by A. Newell]

Lester Noack

TAMPA, FL - LESTER NOACK, 72, of Iowa and a winter resident of Tampa, died Thursday (Dec. 15, 1988). He was born in Clayton County, Iowa, and was a winter resident here for 21 years. He was a retired farmer and was a Methodist. Survivors include his wife, Pauline ''Polly''; two sons, Larry and Curtis, both of Iowa; seven grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. F. T. Blount Funeral Home, Lutz-Land O'Lakes Chapel.

[St. Petersburg Times (FL) - December 16, 1988; contributed by A. Newell]

McGregor, Iowa News

The Camp Fire Girls will give an entertainment May 16.

Mr. and Mrs. Joe Zimmerman of Prairie du Chien spent Friday with friends here.

Rev. Gough of New Albin has been a guest of Mr. James Robbins.

Sheriff Bergemeyer was over from Elkader Tuesday.

Attorney Giske attended court at West Union the first of the week.

Will Winterlin left for Dubuque for a several days' visit.

The Misses Handle have gone to Savanna to spend their vacation.

Dr. J. A. Walter left Tuesday for Davenport, Iowa, to attend the state dental convention.

Charles Widman went to Cresco Tuesday in the interest of the binddery.

Mrs. W. J. Knowles and Mrs. C. A. Jordan spent Tuesday in Monona.

E. H. Rantsow came up from Selleview, Iowa, Tuesday to attend to business.

Miss Marie Sulivan departed Wednesday for Oelwein to visit Mrs. Charles Chambers.

Mrs. F. L. Kinsley and Mrs. J. C. Boyle have returned from Dubuque.

Will Walters is at home after closing the season with the Felds minstrels.

Miss Edith Peickert arrived home Wednesday from La Grange, Ill. Her mother and sister will come later.

Mrs. C. H. Barron returned the latter part of the week from Minneapolis, where she has been a guest at the Charles Hunting home.

J. E. Flaucker returned to Easton, Wis., Monday.

Miss Mamie Sweeney returned to Waukon Monday after a short visit with home folks.

J. K. Gray left for La Crosse Wednesday morning.

Rev. Father Peickert of Dubuque has been the guest of Father Dowling.

Miss Nellie Maley of Elkader has been a guest of Miss Bess Smith.

C. J. Wolf returned Wednesday night from St. Paul where he has spenet several weeks.

Mrs. R. C. Dripps of Rochester, Minn., is the guest of her sister, Mrs. George McLanahan

Mrs. George Allert and baby left Wednesday for Oak City, Wis., to visit her parents.

[The La Crosse, WI Tribune, Monday 12 May 1913 page 4, submitted by Wearemorse]

Ruby E. Plumer

GALESBURG, IL - RUBY E. PLUMER, 91, of 121 S. Simmons St. died at 9:10 a.m. Monday, Dec. 16, 1991, at her residence.

Born March 31, 1900, in Clayton County, Iowa, to Cassius and Alice Green Mason, she married John A. Plumer on Oct. 29, 1927, in Galesburg. He died in 1962. Surviving are two sisters, Ella Mason of Waterloo, Iowa, and Mildred Brumfield of Luray, Va.

She was a printer and lithograph operator at Galesburg Register Mail and Labor News for more than 40 years, retiring in 1959. She was past president of American Legion Auxiliary Post 285, 40 et 8, Royal Neighbors of America, Daughters of American Revolution, and was district secretary of Rebekah Lodge.

Graveside services will be at 11 a.m. Thursday at Memorial Park Cemetery, Galesburg, the Rev. Norman Myer officiating. There will be no visitation. Hinchliff-Pearson-West Chapel in Galesburg is in charge of arrangements.

[Peoria Journal Star, The (IL) - December 17, 1991; contributed by A. Newell]

Volga City Fire

A fire in Volga City, Iowa, yesterday, destroyed McMichael Brothers' elevator, with lumber and grain, making a total loss of about $20,000. It is supposed to have been incendiary work.

(Source: San Francisco Bulletin, Sept 10, 1879; contributed by A. Newell)

Volga City Fire Record

Volga City, Iowa, McMichael's elevator; $17,000.

Ottumwa, Iowa, Kisir & Pierson's oatmeal establishment; $18,000.

(Source: New Hampshire Patriot, Sept 16, 1879; contributed by A. Newell)

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