Dexfield Road

I seem to have a lot of history with Dexfield Road, especially if you follow it south far enough when it becomes Maple Street along the west edge of Dexter, Iowa.

The road goes north to Wagon Road (not far, but doesn’t show on the map), which goes west to the ghost towns of Dale and Glendon, east to Redfield.

Beginning halfway between there and the Raccoon River, at what is now 320th Street (just west of the white blob in the upper center). We lived at the top of the hill to the west, where Dad rented the Donald Shaw farm when he was discharged from the USAAF after World War II. I started kindergarten at Redfield while we lived there.

Dad is on the horse with Gloria, while I–one of the SLOW CHILDREN–am posing. Taken along that road, late 1940s.

Remember Bonnie and Clyde? The map notes Dexfield Park, where they had shootout with a posse in 1933. Before it became Dexfield Park, it began as a mineral spring spa called Marshall Springs, named for the distant relative, Pete Marshall, who discovered the spring.

Robert and Dode Reynolds own the beautiful  old Marshall home. They hosted out of us descendants of Miles Marshall, including two from out of state–Malinda Marshall Danziger and her dad, Robert Marshall.

A little farther south, on the west side of the road, is a house known as the Marshall house. I understand that at least part of his original cabin is part of the home.

Next, on the east side, is the site of the 1948 National Plowing Match, where President Harry Truman gave a major speech for thousands on a very hot day in September. Dad perched me, a four-year-old, on his shoulders so I could see my very first US President.

Go south to White Pole Road (the highway through Dexter) and on the corner is Drew’s Chocolates, which was begun when Helen Drew made her first batches of candy in 1927. It still does business in her basement candy kitchen.

The road becomes Maple Street there. Follow it south across the Rock Island railroad tracks to P48. Southeast of that corner was the old town pump, the one Clabe Wilson kept oiled as a WPA job during the Great Depression.

Keep on going to the cemetery (light green area where the road turns west, about six miles from where we began), the old part of which is west of the road. My mother was part of a Decoration Day ceremony there when she was a girl. (Described in Chapter 9 of Leora’s Dexter Stories: The Scarcity Years of the Great Depression.) Many of my ancestors on Dad’s side are buried there.

The new part is east of the road. There I’ll become part of the seventh generation buried in the Dexter Cemetery, awaiting the final trumpet.


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