Famous Among the Red Hog Men

Grandma Leora Wilson wrote in her memoir that her husband Clabe and his father, Daniel Wilson, were in the purebred hog business, and had won prizes for them at the Iowa State Fair.

But when she claimed that one male hog brought over $2000, “a fortune in those days,” I was skeptical. Until I found the 1907 clipping.

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Panora Vedette, October 3, 1907

Clabe, then 19 years old, was Dan Wilson’s only son. Dan had taught him to hunt and trap, to ride and take care of horses, to identify the flora and fauna of the woods in Iowa’s Guthrie and Dallas Counties. He even let Clabe keep a young wolf as a pet when he was a boy.

And they raised hogs. They’d owned LaFollett about a year, so in 1907 there were several of his offspring ready to sell. They decided to sell #36563, too. Just like fancy horses, these red hogs with droopy ears were known by their pedigrees.

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This hog was so famous that you can now even google  LaFollette 36563 and find him!

Because of Dan’s asthma, according to a Panora Vedette item that fall, they planned to sell out and try another climate, maybe the Ozarks. But by the next January, he had attended a hog sale at Yale, Iowa, and had invested in “new blood.”


Even though they showed three Duroc Jerseys at the 1908 Iowa State Fair, Dan Wilson’s health was deteriorating: July–attack of apoplexy (stroke), October–stroke, January 1909–stroke of paralysis. In February he threw a corn knife at his son, according to records from Clarinda State Hospital, where he was admitted in March.

Dan Wilson had been a “periodical drinker to excess” and “domestic relations have never been pleasant.” Now after the strokes, he could barely use his left arm. Evidently right handed, he sent a photo postcard of himself, with such a poignant note to his wife, “I am anxious to hear from you all  love to you all  from your best friend.”

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Daniel Ross Wilson died in the state hospital that April, leaving a widow (Georgia), son Clabe, two adult daughters, two small daughters (ages six and two), and a barnyard of red hogs.


  1. Sorry to read about his demise. I lived in Clarinda in the ‘70s when my mother was director of nursing at MHI (mental health institution), the regional state psychiatric hospital.

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