Nancy and I took a day trip to Jones County, Iowa. We knew that Jane Langford was buried there and thought we might learn a few more things between the cemetery and the County Courthouse in Anamosa. It turned into a very fruitful day, thanks to the hospitality of the good people of Wyoming, Iowa.
Wyoming is located on Highway 64 and is home to the Wyoming Historical Museum in the 1878 Williams Hotel, the Wyoming Fairgrounds and the Calkins House. The museum is the town's repository of history. We saw that it was closed but had posted a number of phone numbers to call if you arrived at a time when closed. We dialed Jim Eichhorn's number and he came right down from working on the horse show ring at the Fairgrounds and opened up for us.
We explained that Nancy's great grandfather had a sister, Jane Langford, buried at South Mineral Cemetery, and that her children were also buried there, Thomas Allen and Mary Alden. Jim got right on the phone with Joyce Fishwild, the Curator of the Museum who was on vacation in Texas. Joyce and her husband stopped what they were doing and Jim put me on the phone with them.
Between Jim and Joyce we learned that Thomas Allen had a farm out in the country and that Marvin and Carol Parmer lived on the farm today. Otto Allen was the last descendant to live on the farm. Otto and his wife Hulda are also buried at South Mineral. We then dropped by the Wyoming Library to see if there was any genealogy information. While there, Jim found us again with Joyce on the phone and we talked some more.
We had spent more time than planned in Wyoming and as we left decided we did not have time to go to Anamosa. We decided to try and find South Mineral Cemetery. We took a blacktop north out of town and tried to head into what I thought was the general direction of the cemetery.
Then, it happened. That moment when you see a sign and know what you have to do. The sign said simply "Parmer" with an arrow that pointed up a gravel road. We drove right to the house and barn that had been built by Otto Allen in 1912. Here are some pictures of the Parmer farm.
The Parmers were very gracious to us and made us welcome right away. Marv was on the phone with Joyce Fishwild in Texas when we arrived. Joyce was briefing him on our stop at the Museum.
Marv had grown up there and knew more background on the farm. When Thomas Allen died he divided his farm between his two sons, Otto and Leo. Otto got the portion without the house and had to build one along with other buildings. Marv and Carol had grown up in the area and raised their children there. The farm that had been Leo's was not as clearly handed down and was apparently now a rental.
Marv and Carol had also kept in contact with two of Otto and Hulda's grand daughters and shared their contact information with us. Both grand daughters live out of state but make an annual trek to put flowers on the graves at South Mineral Cemetery every Memorial Day.
Below are pictured the grave markers from South Mineral Cemetery of Jane Langford and Merritt Allen's two children, Thomas and Mary. Also pictured are the stones of Otto Allen and Hulda Warren, and Leo Allen and Ora Howard, sons, and their wives of Thomas Allen and Angie Ward. Jane herself is buried in the same plot as Thomas and Angie but does not have a marker.
A big thank you to Jim Eichhorn, Dick and Joyce Fishwild, Marv and Carol Parmer, the Musuem Board and all the other good people of Wyoming, Iowa.