Monday, July 06, 2015

Kay's Garden (Part 1): The Lily Edition

I've been popping up like a weed since May at this fine old house in northeast Chariton where my friends Kay and Rex live, taking photos of the flowers blooming in Kay's garden. 

Kay also is chair of the grounds committee and chief gardener at the museum, so you can see her handiwork there, too --- but this is the mother ship.

The garden here is not notable because of its size --- a large city lot. It's the variety that makes it so interesting, and beautiful. 

With the exception of ground covers and a few bedding plants, there are few duplicates. This means that around the corner and just beyond that big hosta there's always something different to admire.

I thought at first that I'd start at mid-spring and work forward with these photos, but this is lily season --- both true lilies and day lilies are at their peak --- so I'll start here.

The first gardener on this spot --- long before the big house appeared --- was named Martha --- Martha Waynick.

Her husband, Dupre William Waynick, always known as "D.W.," was a physician and among the earliest settlers to arrive in Lucas County. D.W. and his brother, Wyatt, also a physician, arrived at William McDermott's "Ireland" out in Cedar Township in company with the James Roland family during May of 1848. The Waynicks were born in North Carolina, but had resettled as youngsters with their parents in Indiana.

After helping the Rolands build their cabin southeast of Ireland, the Waynick brothers staked their own claim just inside Monroe County to the east and overwintered there. In the spring of 1849, Wyatt came on to Chariton Point, becoming the first physician to practice here.

D.W. headed back east where he married Martha Clark during April of 1849. They then returned to western Monroe County where they lived until the fall of 1855 when they joined his brothers, by this time Wyatt, Iverson and David, in Chariton.

D.W. and Martha settled down here, in a cabin located near what now is the intersection of Auburn Avenue and North 5th Street --- then open country some distance beyond the straggling village of Chariton to the southwest.

The Waynicks raised a family of 12 children here --- so it seems likely most gardening efforts were devoted to producing edibles. However, nearly all of our pioneer grandmothers had flowers, too, so there's no reason to think Martha would have been an exception.

D.W. Waynick died here at age 58 during 1880, but Martha continued to live on this corner in a frame house that had replaced the original cabin for 17 more years, until 1897.

Sunday, July 05, 2015

Consider the lilies ....

This is the reluctant organist's first Sunday off since, well, the last 4th of July weekend ecumenical service on the square.

Nothing against ecumenical services, but it's almost guaranteed that the sermon will be longer than 15 minutes --- and one year it rained and I was trapped inside Johnson Auditorium with a praise band. That left permanent scars.

So I think I'll do a little work in the garden and let the lilies preach --- courtesy of the Gospel according to St. Luke.

Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow;

they toil not, neither do they spin:

And yet I say unto you: 

That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.

Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field ...

... shall he not much clothe you, O ye of little faith.

And then a thanksgiving from the Book of Common Prayer that I like: "O God, who created all peoples in your image, we thank you for the wonderful diversity of races and cultures in this world. Enrich our lives by ever-widening circles of fellowship, and show us your presence in those who differ most from us, until our knowleldge of your love is made perfect in our love for all your children; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen."

Note: With one exception, from the garden of a friend, all the lilies here were photographed late Saturday afternoon in the museum gardens. Isn't diversity amazing?

Saturday, July 04, 2015

Grand and glorious --- July 4, 1876

The centennial parade heads south along the west side of the square. Mallory Opera Block, which burned in 1903, is the biggest building. The Manning & Penick Building, also three stories, still stands.

Well, here it is the 4th of July --- in Chariton. The big parade begins at 1 p.m., there will be fireworks at 10 p.m. in Northwest Park, the carnival and other attractions fill the square --- and the weather is fantastic. So come on down.

And the flying anvil has just been launched! Heard it myself minutes ago --- along with a variety of other big bangs.

I've posted these photos, taken on the square July 4, 1876 --- our centennial year --- before. They are from the Lucas County Historical Society collection --- lifted from five stereoscope cards placed inside the 1876 centennial box, reopened after a frantic search finally located it in the Masonic Temple with considerable ceremony on July 4, 1976. Here they are again, along with the text of a brief report on the celebration published in The Chariton Patriot of July 5, 1876.

If the streets, which were dirt at the time, look a little muddy --- they were. There had been a huge storm overnight. Right click these images and open in new windows for closer views.

The Liberty Pole is front and center here (with the flag atop it outside the photographer's frame) --- he seems to have been focusing on the sea of mud around it. The north side of the square is in the distance and just a corner of the 1858 courthouse at right.

"The Fourth in Chariton: Pursuant to arrangements, the first Centennial 4th of July was duly celebrated in Chariton. The heavy rain and wind storm the evening before throughout the county caused the crowd to be much less than it otherwise would have been, but yet the gathering was creditably large, and the enthusiasm what might be expected on the hundredth birth-day of American Liberty.

"The day was cloudy but very pleasant and we do not hesitate to say that for a real genteel, orderly and enjoyable gathering it has never been equaled in Chariton. The crowd was estimated at 5,000 people, most of whom remained until after the evening's programme had been gone through with.

"We have not space to refer to the speeches and other performances except in a brief manner (the full text of some of those speeches are printed elsewhere in this issue of The Patriot). The welcoming address by Hon. Robert Coles, the speech on the military of our country, by Col. O.A. Bartholomew, the oration by Mr. Diefendorf and the speech by Judge Boyle, of Garden Grove, the latter of which was delivered at the Opera House in the evening, as well as the responses to toasts by Col. W.S. Dungan, Mr. F.C. Fearing, Hon. E.E. Edwards, Hon. S.D. Wheeler, and Mr. S. Stewart were all good and rang with genuine Centennial patriotism.

Here's the west side of the courthouse with a small percentage of the day's crowd keeping feet relatively dry on the grass of the courthouse lawn.

"In the afternoon the "Whang Doodle" parade came off. This consisted of about one hundred men and boys mounted and dressed in a variety of grotesque costumes, and who were led through the streets by a tin band furnishing music in keeping with the appearance of the procession and the whole affording much amusement for the multitude. The Russell and Chariton brass bands, and the Chariton Glee Club enlivened the day with rare music while the roaring of the cannon reminded the crowd that it was only through the thunder tones of this instrument of death that our liberties were spoken into existence.

The Chariton Cornet Band, aboard a wagon behind horses wearing blankets emblazond with its insignia, was among the parade entries.

"The procession was fine, embracing the Masons and Odd Fellows of the county, two brass bands, and a large, beautifully decorated wagon containing 37 Misses representing the States of the Union and a young lady representing the Goddess of Liberty.

"In the evening a fine pyrotechnic display was made in the square after which the crowd dispersed universally feeling good that they had participated in the patriotic and extremely pleasant exercises of the day."

And here's the Russell Cornet Band looking very dashing indeed.

Friday, July 03, 2015

Ice cream, gingerbread, a grumpy editor & the 4th

Here's an artist's idea of how Chariton looked in the mid-1870s, taken from the 1875 Andreas "Illustrated Historical Atlas of Iowa."

Chariton has celebrated the 4th of July in a big way for many years --- no one is sure exactly how long, however, since newspapers from Lucas County's earliest years are missing. Now and then, celebrations were not held --- 1874 and 1875, for example --- but a huge celebration during the nation's centennial year, 1876, compensated.

If the report published in The Patriot of July 9 is to be believed, the 1873 celebration was was a dud --- or at least the editor thought so. But then he seems to have been in an extraordinarily bad mood, complaining in his "This & That" column, "Oh what a trying time it is for the local editor! No marriages, no births, no dog fights, nothing." Here's his report on the celebration, which doesn't sound that bad once you sort through the editorial snark:


As usual the 4th of July was a "big day" in Chariton. One of the largest crowds that we have ever seen in our town assembled, but we will not attempt to say for what purpose.

Some, and we suppose the greater part of the crowd, was attracted by the announcement of the "Modoc performance" and as that seemed both before the 4th and on that day to be the principal topic of interest, we will first say something of the "Modocs," "Fantastics," Shoo Fly's," or whatever you choose to call them.

This feature of the celebration consisted of a company of mounted men and boys disguised to represent as nearly as possible Modoc Indians, who, led by the band, passed through the principal streets of the town and finally halting at the south-west corner of the square, were charged on by a company of Warm Spring Indians, from Russell, and after a mimic battle, which caused no little excitement, (were) captured.

One attraction of this procession was a huge image placed on a wagon and hauled around by a team consisting of two mules, a yoke of oxen and a span of horses, each animal being rode by a "Modoc." We do not know what this was intended to represent, but it was finally burned while the Indians were engaged in a war dance.

There were near 100 of the "Modocs" and some 25 or  30 of the Russell boys (Warm Spring Indians), the latter we are compelled to say presenting very much the better appearance in proportion to numbers.

A large shed was erected on the square where the Declaration of Independence was read with some singing and other exercises which were very short for reason that the comic procession of which we have been speaking, together with the innumerable ice cream stands around the square were sufficient to absorb the entire attention of the crowd.

We think it would have been better had the committee observed the instructions of the public meeting that appointed them and arranged for the exercises at the grove, but there were doubtless good reasons for this change of programme, and every body seemed to enjoy the occasion so much that we presume it was equally satisfactory to the people generally.

Any amount of ice cream and lemonade was consumed, but so far as we could see the crowd was very orderly and not a drunk man in town. We heard of no fights, runaways nor arrests during the day. There was one case of sun stroke, a young man by the name of May, from LaGrange. He was seriously affected but will recover from the attack. While the only damage from fire crackers of which we have heard was the loss of an eye by one Monjaw, a middle-aged man. The cracker was thrown into the air and exploded so hear his eye as to destroy the sight, it is thought permanently.

Sanford's Comedy Company added very much to the amusement of the day for the large number of persons attending at the afternoon and evening performances. Towards night, an extra train came in from Leon and Garden Grove, and brought quite a number from along the branch road who remained for the play in the evening, and also for the ball, which took place at the hall after the theatre performance. The ball was for the benefit of the string band as we understand and was quite well attended.

There were no fire works in the evening, and from the number of individuals of all ages and sexes who were around the square until long after dark anxiously awaiting the usual display of rockets, roman-candles, etc., etc., this was a sore disappointment to many.

The day was one of the hottest of the season but with the exception of a heavy rain and wind storm a while before night was reasonably pleasant.

Many from the country who attempted to get home before the storm, were evidently caught out and pretty thoroughly "ducked," but we have heard of none following up old Elijah's example by "going up" in a whirlwind; and we do not apprehend that they were in a very suitable frame of mind to be translated just then. (It didn't rain when Elijah went up and he hadn't just passed through the terrible ordeal of a 4th of July "celebration.")

On the whole it was a splendid day for ice cream and ginger bread and afforded we suppose about as much enjoyment for all classes as such occasions usually do."

Thursday, July 02, 2015

Episcopalians embrace marriage equality

Episcopal Church delegates, meeting in General Convention in Salt Lake City this week, approved resolutions on Tuesday and Wednesday granting full marriage equality within the church to its members and those they marry. The move came just a few days after the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling on June 26 that made marriage equality the law of the land.

Previously, Episcopal bishops had been free since 2012 --- when the last triennial convention was held --- to authorize same-sex marriages in diocese where such marriages were legal. The Rt. Rev. Alan Scarfe, Bishop of Iowa, had done so. Civil marriage equality has been in force here since 2009. A provisional liturgy also was made available then that would work either as a blessing, where marriage was not legal, or as a marriage rite, where it was.

The Episcopal House of Bishops gave overwhelming approval to the resolutions on Tuesday; the House of Deputies, consisting of clerical and lay orders, followed suit overwhelmingly on Wednesday. 

Resolution A036, approved this week, eliminates language defining marriage as between a man and a women from canon law. Resolution A054 authorizes two new marriage rites that may be adapted for use by both same-sex and opposite-sex couples. These will be officially available for use at the beginning of the new church year --- Advent 2015.

The resolutions do not mean, however, that all Episcopal bishops and priests are on board. Bishops of conservative diocese, and there are some of these, still may prevent parishes within them from performing same-sex marriages. And conservative priests may decline to do so. However, the resolutions do demand that dissenting bishops and priests find ways to extend marriage equality to same-sex couples within their jurisdictions.

Leadership in the move toward full equality within the church should be credited to those denominations that deserve it --- Unitarian Universalists, the United Church of Christ, the Metropolitan Community Church and others.

Episcopalians have been working toward this point for 39 years, since the 1976 general convention when a resolution was approved stating that “homosexual persons are children of God who have a full and equal claim with all other persons upon the love, acceptance and pastoral concern and care of the church.”

We've been using the line, "The Episcopal Church welcomes you!" for about that long, too. And now it's true.

Wednesday, July 01, 2015

Eating cake as black churches burn

Mount Zion AME Church in Greeleyville, South Carolina --- burned by Ku Klux Klansmen in 1995 --- went up in flames again overnight. It's the seventh black church to burn in the South since nine Bible study participants were shot and killed by racist Dylann Roof at Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston on June 17. 

Arson is suspected in some cases, not in others. And we won't know exactly what happened in Greeleyville for some time.

Meanwhile across the South and elsewhere, county clerks are coming around --- more slowly in some states than others --- and issuing licenses to same-sex couples as marriage equality becomes reality and recedes as an issue for the majority.

Many Christians at the conservative end of the spectrum had invested hugely both personally and denominationally in preventing marriage equality from happening, 

So what to do now?

Carrying the cross of Jesus into battle against those who would force Christian florists, caterers, photographers and bakers to serve same-sex couples is one option.

Lifting high the cross and carrying it into battle against racism is another.

Having had some experience with the church over the years, I'm putting my money on flowers, sandwiches, expensive snapshots and cake.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Here come the Sons (of Confederate Veterans)

Fair disclosure --- I arranged this little scene Monday at the Chariton Cemetery: A Confederate battle flag (Army of Northern Virginia) in a Grand Army of the Republic holder next to George W. Alexander's Confederate tombstone (note the identifying pointed top and inscribed Southern Cross of Honor).

Then I furled my little flag, brought it home and put it back in the dresser drawer with its mate.

Some years ago, when Nathan Love got his brand new Confederate tombstone over at the Columbia Cemetery, my cousin Dorothy (Nathan's great-granddaughter) asked me to round up a Confederate flag for the brand new Confederate holder that accompanied it --- not that easy a thing to do in Iowa.

So I enlisted my friend the Lexington Kid --- we lived in the same town back then --- to pick a few up for me from his favorite purveyor of flags, guns, ammo and heaven only knows what else the next time he was down home, deep in Missouri.

So Nathan got his flag --- and I used up a couple more on Elijah Morgan's grave out at Salem Cemetery. Then I put the last two away and forgot about them.

They were resurrected yesterday because the small Iowa Division, Sons of Confederate Veterans, is coming to town Sept. 19 to "dedicate" three graves in the Chariton Cemetery --- those of my old friends George Alexander, Napoleon Bonaparte "Bone" Branner and Isaac Fain, all Confederate veterans.

Expect I'll go --- if the program is held as planned. That would be good manners. But the whole business is making me restless.


A few things I'd like everyone to know about George, Bone and Isaac before the Sons arrive:

1. All three were native to a hardscrabble area of East Tennessee bitterly divided between Unionists and secessionists before, during and after the Civil War. George and Bone served together during the war. Isaac was the brother-in-law of a mutual friend. All three were combat veterans.

2. The three men came north to Lucas County for two reasons --- to get away from a poisonous post-war situation in East Tennessee and to seek opportunity. None looked back. Isaac put it this way during March of 1909 after returning to Chariton from a visit of several weeks in Tennessee, "glad to get back to the home of his adoption."

"Tennessee is all very well for those who never left there," he told the editor of The Chariton Leader, "but not for a person who has dwelt more than 30 years in Iowa."

3. All three men were successful and widely respected in Lucas County --- Branner as an attorney and entrepreneur, Alexander as an attorney and multi-term mayor of Chariton (in spite of a horrendous problem with alcohol that eventually impoverished and killed him) and Fain, as a farmer.

4. All three were highly respected by Lucas County's Union veterans of the Civil War, not because of their service to the secessionist states but as fellow veterans of a great and horrible war who had lived and worked honorably among them as neighbors and friends. Branner, Alexander and Fain were invited to join the Grand Army boys on various occasions, even to address them. And when they died, the G.A.R. provided U.S. flags to drape their coffins. 

5. After death, the G.A.R. men placed flag holders --- G.A.R. flag holders --- at their graves as a mark of respect and acknowledged their service each Memorial Day thereafter with flowers and flags. Each continues to receive a flag --- a U.S. flag --- on Memorial Day.

6. Branner and Fain were affluent men when they died and their tombstones reflect that. But George died broke. Some 20 years later, in 1936, Charles E. Lewis, acting on behalf of Carl L. Caviness American Legion Post No. 18, ordered the Confederate stone that now marks his grave --- free from the federal government.


If the September program is similar to dedication programs conducted by the Sons during other years in other Iowa cemeteries, there will be considerable fanfare --- re-enactors marching, various Confederate flags flying. It would be useful to remember, however, that:

1. There are far more men and women born into slavery and their children and grandchildren buried in the Chariton Cemetery than there are Confederate veterans.

2. The graves of the three Confederate veterans who are buried here were dedicated long ago by men and women who knew and honored them for the totality of their lives --- not for the secessionist cause they served as young men.

3. That secessionist cause, as Branner, Alexander and Fain knew full well, had enslaved some of their fellow Lucas Countyans and, had it been successful, would have kept them in bondage.


That pretty red, blue and white flag next to George Alexander's tombstone is a small elongated version of a battlefield flag and as such still may be appropriate as a marker for Confederate graves. For decades after the war its principal use really did involve history, not hate.

But then it was tainted by hate groups, including the Ku Klux Klan, that wrapped themselves in it. After 1948 it became a rallying symbol in the South for racism and resistance to integration, equality and voter rights for black people. 

Jeb Bush called it a racist symbol on Monday --- in the aftermath of the the slaughter of the Charleston nine at Mother Emanuel AME Church --- one of the few things I'd agree with him about.


The Sons themselves, worthy gentlemen though they may be, also are propagandists for what sometimes is called the "religion of the lost cause," recasting a great and deadly war fought to end slavery by simply ignoring its core reality.

Here's how the Iowa Sons put in on the cover page of their Web site:

"The citizen-soldiers who fought for the Confederacy personified the best qualities of America. The preservation of liberty and freedom was the motivating factor in the South's decision to fight the Second American Revolution. The tenacity with which Confederate soldiers fought underscored their belief in the rights guaranteed by the Constitution. These attributes are the underpinning of our democratic society and represent the foundation on which this nation was built.

Today, the Sons of Confederate Veterans is preserving the history and legacy of these heroes, so future generations can understand the motives that animated the Southern Cause."

By perpetuating this great lie, the Sons dishonor my friends George, Bone and Isaac --- and hundreds of thousands of other Confederate and Union dead.

Here's a link to the Web page of the Iowa Division, Sons of Confederate Veterans.

Monday, June 29, 2015

What else is blooming on the prairie

As I've probably said before, at least 34 percent of the world's ills could be resolved if more people took long walks, or parked themselves somewhere to watch birds a couple of times a week, or sat down on the bank of a pond with a fishing pole --- just to sit on the bank of a pond with a fishing pole without the ego-driven need to catch anything.

Before becoming besotted with butterflies Saturday morning, I was doing inventory --- of what's blooming now on the tiny patches of prairie remnants that I have easy access to. Here are some of my finds, most natives to the territory, but a couple of intruders, too.

The first Black-eyed Susans (Rudbeckia birta) of the season (top), among the first in the aster family to bloom.

Pale Purple Coneflowers (Echinacea pallida), also an early riser among the asters.

The first Rattlesnake Master (Eryngium yuccifolium) I've seen, a sure sign that the transition into summer has taken places.

More Butterfly MIlkweed (Asclepias tuberosa).

A little Spotted St. John's Wort (Hypericum punctatum).

Only one False Sunflower (Heliopsis helianthoides).

Quite a bit of Prairie Coreopsis (Coreopsis palmata).

And then the intruders --- tiny Deptford Pinks (Dianthus armeria), a visitor from Europe.

And Sulphur Cinquefoil (Potentilla recta), considerably more invasive --- although not specifically here --- also native to Europe.

Elsewhere along the trail --- the sky was a stunning blue.

And the wild plums were coming on.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Why they call it "Butterfly" Milkweed

The bright red-orange of Butterfly Milkweed (Asclepias tuberosa) is impossible to miss in prairie remnants, savannas and elsewhere right now --- one reason for a hike Saturday afternoon down the Cinder Path east of Derby.

This also was the first time I'd been back to that particular patch of prairie since the conservation staff did some much-needed work in mid-spring with a brush cutter. Wounds were evident then, but all have healed now and the early summer variety is as amazing.

At least four varieties of butterfly were lunching when I walked by --- another reason for a long walk right now. I wish I were better at identifying butterflies. The big one here is a Fritillary, the smaller one (with wings aflutter), a Pearl Crescent. When you figure out which variety of Fritillary --- let me know.

The big guy here is another variety of Fritillary; the smaller butterfly --- I'm not so sure.

And finally, here's a Pearl Crescent sitting still with wings spread.