Carlisle Area Historical Society
Saving History for Tomorrow
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 Folks...my 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
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
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
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.