Public Sale February 10, 1921, Stuart, Iowa

Folks lived through hard times even 100 years ago. They still didn’t have electricity, usually no running water, but neighbors readily helped a new family in town. Especially when their house burned!

Clabe and Leora Wilson struggled after the Great War, while farm prices slumped during that time. Clabe and his father-in-law had lost farmland in Guthrie County.

Leora and Clabe had both come down with influenza, but survived. Leora didn’t recover for months.

Clabe held a sale in February of 1921, on what was known as the Russell farm, 1 mile north and 1/2 mile east of Stuart, Iowa. I think the farm had been sold. This sale bill was among the keepsakes of Grandma Leora Wilson. Items listed under Miscellaneous are transcribed below.

After the sale, they moved into Stuart, but on the edge of town where they could still have a milk cow. Their young sons went with Clabe to buy a cow that windy day, while Leora and young daughter were stayed at the new home.

Leora tore off old wallpaper, burning it in the kitchen range. A neighbor man stopped by. “Lady, I think your house is on fire.” It sure was.

Leora quickly carried 18-month-old Doris and a rocking chair to the front yard, telling her to stay right there. Soon firemen came and neighbors helped haul out most of the family’s things. When Clabe and boys got home, their things were sitting in the yard.

The couple who’d bought the big stucco house, and moved in before Wilsons had moved out, invited them to stay there until they found a place.  The next day, Clabe learned that the Chittick house on Gaines Street was for rent, so they moved there right away. Mrs. Knox, who’d been widowed not long before, lived next door. Her husband was a retired Stuart doctor. She and Leora became good friends.

Photo provided from a neighbor from across the street. This house has been replaced.

The Wilsons’ twins, Dale and Darlene, would be born in the Chittick house just two months later.



Good Ford Touring car; 1 new 3-in. wagon, complete; 1 new Oscillating bob sled; 1 Hayes Jr. corn planter, 80 rods wire; 1 drill planter; 1 See-Saw cultivator; 1 Champion 6-ft. mower; 1 2-section harrow; 1 14-inch stirring plow; 1 New DeLaval separator, No. 15; 1 1/2-inch harness; three 400 bushel hardwood picket corn cribs; 3 new hog crates; 135-ft. hay rope; one 50-ft. guy rope; one 100-ft. guy rope, 1 dozen galvanized chicken coops; 2 1/2 dozen pure bred White Leghorn pullets; some carpenter tools; about 60 lbs. Austlian [sic] hulless popcorn, and other articles too numerous to mention.

Terms:–All sums under $10., cash; on sums over $10. a credit of 6 months at 8 % will be given on bankable note. No property to be removed until settled for.

McKEE & DOUD, Auctioneers.



    • This thread will get more interesting. At the end of March, there’s a bank robbery attempt and the nightwatchman is killed. Guess who is hired as the next nightwatchman.

  1. I wonder how many modern farmers know what that wire was probably used for. While my dad.still had his 2 row John Deere planter he used it.

  2. I know who the next night watchman was. Also I have a sale bill very similar to that saved by my grandmother. Sometimes we think we have problems but there were so many problems in the 1920s and 30s.

    • I’m hoping The Register will use my story about the attempted bank robbery and killing of Mr. Meyers, plus the men arrested and tried! I just worked on it this morning. The 100th anniversary is at the end of March. So Leora wasn’t the only one to save stuff like this!

  3. I always hate it whenever a farm has to be sold like that. It’s like a death in the family. Those are some pretty big items under the “Miscellaneous” category!

    • I don’t think they’d rented there a year. Clabe never owned anything until the Perry acreage in 1944. I’d sur like a ride in that oscillating bobsled, especially if the horses have bells on!

Leave a Reply to dlpeditCancel reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.