The Gallup Family of Nora Springs Also Lost Three Sons During World War II

I’d shared the February 6, 1943, clipping about the three Wilson brothers lost in WWII, when Mike VerHelst let me know that his great grandmother had also lost three sons. They were the Gallup brothers from Nora Springs, Iowa.

Mike’s son Jacob had added a memorial to Gold Star Mothers to the Nora Springs Veterans Memorial as his Eagle Scout project, and to remember his great great grandmother.

Since then I’ve tried to learn more about their story.

The Gallup Family of Nora Springs, Iowa

The Gallup family had six sons and six daughters. One son was too young, but the older five served in the army. 

The siblings: Ruth, born 1908, Maybelle 1910, Linnie 1911, Eva 1913, Ruby 1914. Yes, five daughters born before their first son.

Then Harold Gallup, born 1915, served in WWII. 

Lucille, born 1917

Lloyd L. Gallup, born 1918, KIA 1943 in Italy, buried in Mason City, Iowa

Glenn Gallup, born 1920, served in WWII

Earl B. Gallup, born 1923, KIA 1944 in France, buried at Normandy.

Robert L. Gallup, born 1925, married with a child, KIA 1944 in Germany

LeRoy Gallup, no birth date but he was too young to serve in WWII.


Robert Lynn Gallup (1925-1944)

Robert Gallup



Nora Springs, Ia. – Pfc. Robert L Gallup, son of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Gallup, of Nora Springs, Iowa, is the third member of that family to lose his life in the present war.

Robert was killed in action in Germany, November 23rd, according to a telegram received by his relatives. He had previously been wounded in France, June 10th, and had received the Purple Heart.

Private Gallup went overseas last March and had not seen his baby Rosella Ann, born June 6th. He enlisted in October, 1943.

Robert’s wife lives with her mother, Mrs. Rose Watts, at Mason City. He was one of a family of 12 children. Surviving are three brothers and six sisters.

Previously killed in action in the present war were Pfc. Lloyd Gallup in Italy, October 14, 1943, and Pvt. Earl Gallup, in France, July 23, 1944.

Surviving brothers are Cpl. Glenn Gallup and Pvt. Harold Gallup, both overseas, and a younger brother, LeRoy, at home.

Waterloo Courier, Sunday December 17, 1944

When I noticed that their father had died in 1948, I expected it to be a similar death to Clabe Wilson after losing three sons–a stroke and a broken heart. But Mr. Gallup’s death was caused by thugs who’d been drinking:

Charles Floyd Gallup – May 23, 1888 – July 17, 1948


Charles City, Iowa – Sheriff B. F. Atherton late Monday said he had filed charges of murder against Arthur Ubben 24, and Robert Garlock, 19, both of Thornton; Orin Lee Burns, 25, Hampton; Harold Riekens 31, Kenneth McClemmons 19, and Johnny Just 21, all of Sheffield in connection with the death of Charles Gallup, 60, farmer near Nora Springs, who died shortly after an altercation with the six men Sunday night.

Justice John W. McGeeney said the men waived a preliminary hearing and were bound over to the grand jury with bonds of $5,000 being set for all except Burns, whom he said he would not admit to bail, as he had admitted in a statement to Sheriff Atherton that he was the one who had struck Gallup, but did not see him fall. None of the five had posted bonds early Tuesday.

Funeral services for Gallup were Tuesday afternoon at the Christian Church in Nora Springs, with the pastor, Rev C. W. Hicks, officiating, and burial in Rock Grove Cemetery, south of Nora Springs.

Mr. Gallup was the father of three sons who were killed in the military service during the recent war. Earl was killed in France, Lloyd in Italy and Robert Lynn in Germany.

Surviving are the widow and the following children: Mrs. Justus Borchers and Harold Gallup, Chico, California; Glenn, Dearborn Michigan; Mrs. Roy Wilson, Rockford; Mrs. D. L. Billings, Mrs. George Wilson and Mrs. John Keith, all of Nora Springs; Mrs. Henry Stepleton, Mason City, and Ray, at home.

He is also survived by two brothers, Frank, Nora Springs, and Will,, Chicago, Illinois; two sisters, Mrs. Clarence Mathieson, Estherville, and Mrs. Helen Batdorf, Patton Pennsylvania, a stepfather, Miles Fenn, Rudd, and two half- sisters, Mrs. Earl Johnson, Rudd, and Mrs. Eleanor Steffin, Chicago, Illinois.

Sheriff Atherton said all the men had made written statements except Just, admitting their part in what he termed a beer drinking party Sunday afternoon. According to their statements, Atherton said, the six had started drinking right after dinner and had driven from their homes through Rockwell and on to Rockford. There they bought gas and went on to Nora Springs on highway 18, about 8 p.m. Apparently Gallup came out to investigate and, according to the men’s statements, told them to “clear out”. In an argument which followed, according to their statements Gallup picked up a rock in each hand and there was a scuffle. After Burns had struck Gallup, the men drove away, stopping at Clear Lake before returning home they said. The car, Sheriff Atherton said was traced by Highway Patrolman Victor Rima, through a dent inflicted in the side of the car by a rock thrown by Gallup’s son, LeRoy, 14, and a shield on the license plate reading “Thornton Fire Department”.

Waterloo Daily Courier, Tuesday July 20, 1948.

Eagle Scout Jacob VerHelst.




  1. Such deaths in foreign combat–especially multiple deaths in one family–are all sad indeed. But deaths resulting from domestic altercations here are especially sad. Incomprehensible.

      • My mother is one of Charles Gallup’s surviving grandchildren. She was born in 1941 so was very young when her grandfather was killed but still remembers some details. I’d be happy to ask her any questions and see what she recalls. So glad to see this informative posted!

      • Oh my, thank you for writing. You may share with me via email if you’d like: I did correspond with Rosella (born two days after I was) but she didn’t share much and no photos. Which of Charles’s children was your mother’s mother or father? I hope your family will eventually be remembered more readily!

  2. Wow. And living so close, really. Sacrifices from the heartland. I don’t know where I ever got the idea (movies?) that if a family lost a son the government sent the other sons home.

  3. Lucille is my grandmother. I never knew this about my great grandfather or her brothers. I need to ask my mother what she knows. This has all made my heart sad 🙁

    • Oh, you dear girl! My family didn’t talk about their losses either, BUT Grandma Leora lived to the age of 97. I’m the daughter of her oldest daughter, so my sister and I went with them to leave flowers at the graves every Memorial Day.

      I knew in my head that they’d lost the three brothers, but it wasn’t until after Grandma died in 1987 and I got to read the letters that I learned that only one of the brothers is buried in Perry. And that one of them has never been found. They just couldn’t talk about it.

      The floodgates opened for Mom and her sister (who was the twin of one of the lost brothers, the one who’s never been found) after Grandma was gone and they went through all her things. I eventually was able to read their letters and transcribed them for the surviving siblings.

      Now Mom and her sister are also gone. I’ve ended up with all the letters, telegrams, Purple Hearts, etc., and had to make sure their story isn’t forgotten. The third book about the family just came out last weekend, but it started with the WWII story.

      I wanted to make sure the Gallup losses aren’t forgotten, as well! They need to be remembered.

  4. Hi, my name is Wendy Fullerton. My MIL was related to the Gallup family. Her mother was Mrs Earl Johnson from Rudd. My mother actually has done a ton of research about people in the Rudd Cemetery. My MIL has dementia and she is one of the few relatives still remaining.

    • Thank you for your note. My family also lost three sons during WWII. All five Wilson brothers are remembered on the Dallas County Freedom Rock and in the book “Leora’s Letters: The Story of Love and Loss for an Iowa Family During World War II.” I wanted to make sure the terrible Gallup family losses are also remembered.

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