One hundred years ago, the Goff boys were home from the war in France. Their sister, Leora, and Clabe Wilson, who had lived on the brothers’ popcorn farm while they served in the army, moved into the town of Stuart, Iowa, in 1919 with their three small children–Delbert, Donald, and baby Doris.
A year after the WWI Armistice, the Stuart News reported on the town’s Armistice Day celebration that year in their November 13 edition:
“Sunday rained all day. Mon. was a wild, delirious autumn day. Wed. snowed a powder of dry snow with a bitter wind. But, Tue. was a perfect day for Armistice Day Celebration. All roads led to Stuart. Streets filled with parked cars. Flags floated gaily.
“4th of July atmosphere. Parade led by the band, GAR Post, American Legion, Boy Scouts, pupils of public schools with their teachers. Band and students massed around flag pole at Nassau & Davidson Streets. Children sang “Marching Through Georgia” and “Iowa.” Legion drilled.
“Free dinner at Community Building–roast beef barbecue style, buns, pie, doughnuts, pickles & coffee. 2000 people. Stuart Band played, speaker’s train late–Judge McHenry of Des Moines.
“Then Stuart-Panora football game; Panora won 13-0. Committee bought movies at the Princess Theatre afternoon and evening. More singing by school children at the Community Building.
“Day closed with a dance.”
Evidently the popcorn farm of Merl and Jennings had been sold or rented when they got back from France. The two brothers bought the Oxford Cafe in Guthrie Center from F. E. Jordan, and were “serving the public in the most approved style.”
American Legion Day the next January, 1920, included oyster supper at the Goff Brothers Cafe. But the brothers lasted about six months before selling out to Frank Cronk.
When they got older, the Goff brothers’ nephews, Delbert and Donald Wilson, played war in the old Army uniforms of their uncles, now veterans of the Great War.
Sources: Goff and Wilson family correspondence, 88th Division in the World War (1914-1918), Guthrie News, Stuart News.