Carlisle Area Historical Society

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In October 2016 CAHS offered its first cemetery program. Seven pioneers were presented by students from Carlisle High School. We could not have done this without them: Derek Johnson,  Aubrey Burgin, Tim Black, Austin Black, Zeke Petry, Chris Ohrt-Brown and Jillian Wells. We also wish to thank drama coach Jon Wright for his help and advice. We are very grateful for research help from Wm. Schooler Sr., The Powers family, The Iowa Stoneware Club and various Warren  County histories.

We honor our ancestors by remembering!

Here are the actual voices from the past in the order of appearance.

Andrew Jackson Van Scoyk

Hello name is Andrew Jackson Van Scoyk. I died

when I was 65 years old in a most unfortunate accident.

First I would like to tell you a little bit about myself. I served my

country in the Civil War as a teenager. I enlisted and became

a part of Company E...4th Iowa Infantry. My company fought in

many battles. You have no doubt heard of some of them. They

included Pea Ridge, Atlanta and Sherman's famous March to

the Sea. After returning to Carlisle, I worked as a teamster

and then on the railroad. I was active in the Odd Fellows


even served as an officer.

Well, in my retirement years, I decided to serve my church as

custodian. The church was the Methodist and it was a new

brick structure. As a matter of fact, those bricks were made

right here in Carlisle at the Carlisle Brick & Tile Company, a


business that was owned by William L. McKissick. You will

hear more about Bill a little later tonight.

As I was saying...I was custodian and it was my duty to check

and see that all was in good repair. There was no electricity in

Carlisle when I was living.  It didn't actually come to the area

until the 1920s, or so I hear. Because of this the church was lit

by acetylene gas. The church was constructed with small

pipes in the walls, which lit the many light fixtures in the

sanctuary. To fuel the lights there was a small plant located

in a wooden building on the North side of the church.


Acetylene gas was first discovered in 1836 by an English

chemist. It was formed by combining calcium carbide with

water in a cylinder that was then closed. The expanding gas

produced pressure which would then travel through the pipes

to the fixtures. These lights were brilliantly bright! Well, I was

in charge of checking for gas leaks. On the spring night of

April 3, 1914, it was my usual duty to do maintenance after

the evening services and check for gas leaks. I took my trusty

lantern to light the way to the plant so I could shut everything

down. Sadly, I found there was a gas leak or some type of

malfunction. A massive explosion took part of the church and

took me with it.

Now remember, I had survived bloody battles of the Civil War.

Warren County had 10,000 people in it and sent 1,041 soldiers

to fight for the Union. Many did not return, but I did! However, I

could not survive the explosion that my lantern caused that

fateful spring night in 1914.

I wish I could thank the members of the Carlisle Odd Fellows

Lodge who paid for my funeral and headstone.


William C. Stumbo

Hello Folks! Let me introduce myself before I light into telling

you my story of who I am, how I came to this town and a few

facts and events that occurred as this handsome little suburb

of Old Dudley, Carlisle, came into being.

My name is William Stumbo. I was born in Laurence County,

Ohio on a fine summer's day in August of 1822. I came to

Iowa as a very young man when my father John, picked up

and moved us to what is now Mahaska County, in the Iowa

Territory. Pa only stayed there on that 400 acres of mostly

timber for short while before he picked up again and moved to

Nebraska territory.

As for me, I couldn't see moving to Nebraska. I'd made some

money splittin' what I reckon was nigh onto ten thousand

fence rails,. I saved a good portion of that money as I had my

sights set on getting me a yoke of cattle and a plow. You see,

in my mind, a man with a pair of workin' cattle, a plow, a strong

back, a bit of gumption and some first class farm land could

very well make his mark in this world! Well, I knew I had the

cows, the plow, the strong back and the gumption....I just

needed the land.

Now as fortune would have it, I heard there was some pretty

fair land up the Des Moines River Valley, just shy of the fort

up there where the Raccoon River flowed into the Des Moines

River.  The fort was where the government land office for Iowa

Territory was located. There also were Dragoon Troops

stationed there at the fort should there be any land squabbles

or Indian trouble. So I took my possessions and caught the

river steamer up to where Old Dudley was and disembarked.

I put a warrant on 160 acres in what became Polk County and

paid cash for another 55 in what became Warren County.

Soon after I was established, I took a bride. It was 1847, the

state of Iowa was one year old. I found a woman who would

have me who just happened to also be from Laurence County,

Ohio. Her name was Drucilla Langdon (but I called her Zilla).

Things were fine for a while but then poor Zilla took sick a bed

and she died.

You know, nothing was guaranteed on the prairie frontier.

Hard times were no stranger to us early Iowans.

Let me tell you about a few of the good times I had as Carlisle

was being formed. Let me set the stage for you. You see, back

in about 1832there was an uprising amongst the Sauk and

Fox tribe over in Illinois. The US government said they'd

treated with the tribe to move the tribe across the Mississippi

from Illinois to Iowa Territory. Black Hawk was the Sauk and

Fox War Chief and Keokuk was their Peace Chief. The Indians

were defeated. So the US Government, in their own peculiar

fashion, felt the need to provide shelter and sustenance for the

survivors of the war. The government settled the tribe on a

patch of prairie just close enough to Fort Des Moines that the

Dragoon troops could keep a watchful eye on their charges.

So, you might be wondering, just what does this Indian activity

have to do with me? Well, it just so happened that the land

chosen to relocate the tribe on was right close to my land.

The Indians were encamped on a peninsula of land formed by

a large crescent shaped bend in the Des Moines River about a

mile or two North of Carlisle which came to be known as

Keokuk's Bend to river pilots. Having such a horde of new

neighbors naturally intrigued me. I ventured out to mingle with

the tribe. I got to be good friends with Keokuk and several of

his band.

It just so happens that I love to dance. Every Indian

celebration included the whole tribe dancing late into the night.

One thing let to another and it wasn't long until I found myself

being invited to their Pow Wows and I would enthusiastically

join them in their dancing. Looking back, I probably provided 

pretty good entertainment for the tribe. a white man doing

Indian dancing! At least Keokuk appreciated my participation.

It came to be a tradition that he would present me with a new

pair of moccasins to replace the prior year's pair as he was

sure I'd worn out the last pair dancing!

While I have you, let me tell you one more story about Keokuk

and me. I would frequently dine with the Indians. One night

they prepared a particularly savory stew over the campfire.

After finishing my second helping, I asked Keokuk what was

that delicious preparation called? He looked at me and with a

big grin on his face said DOG STEW! He knew very well I had

early on in our relationship, expressed my aversion to the

Indian custom of eating dog meat. I called the incident

"Keokuk's Revenge".

Well, I did marry again. Nancy Deaton was her maiden name.

We lived on the land that became the North Park here in

Carlisle. We had a family consisting of one 1 and six

daughters.George, my son was the oldest. HE became a

farmer in Polk County. My daughters, Emiline married a local

 farmer, Perry Fry, Eliza married William Seid, Ellen married

Hix Randleman, Lillie married Joe Alkire, Flotilla married

Sherman Myers and Carrie married James Utterson. They are

all buried here in this row with Nancy and me.

I died in 1913 at the age of 91.

Well, I better get back to where I have been resting and let you

folks get on with your visit.