Ford I. Gano History – Tape 8 Side B

We located in a place back here in the Keosauqua area. There had to be a church, an LDS Church, where we could go to church, and we found out that there was a little branch located there in Keosauqua, so that part was taken care of. As far as suitable housing, why, I kind of missed the boat on that. I didn’t find on farm I’d contracted to buy, it didn’t have suitable housing, not according to what Nellie wanted, and the landlady that owned it hadn’t lived up to her part of the agreement, getting it suitably cleaned out so we could move in anyway. So we all three, Grandma Waddington, Nellie and I went out and started looking for a different place to locate.

Well, we looked at quite a few places. We found many of them that were just too high priced, way above our budget we had allowed for settling in. But on Highway 2, which was about 5 – 7 miles, somewhere around there, from Keosauqua we located a house that was vacant and on 110 acres of land, all farmable, at least mostly all farmable. It had a creek running down through the middle of it, which was not farmable, but outside of that there was at least 90 acres of it that could be farmed. It had a nice big Midwest two-story farm home on it. The only trouble was, the owner lived in Nebraska, so before we could make any kind of a deal there, we had to drive back to Nebraska, after we had found out who owned the place. We thought maybe that would be a good place to have, because of the nature of the house; with four big bedrooms upstairs, a big living room, a big kitchen, and a smaller bedroom downstairs which we figured would be a good place for Grandma to live, because she didn’t like to climb stairs anyway. We realized we would have to make a lot of improvements to the house in order to make it in any way comparable to the house we moved out of, as far as the kitchen was concerned, and in general. But we decided that we would see what we could do about it, so we took off to Nebraska and locating the lady that owned it. She was very reluctant. She wanted to sell it, but she didn’t want to sell it at the price we would give it to her. So she was a very reluctant seller. So we went back, and told her to think over our offer there for $13,000 for that 110-acre farm.


I believe I ended off with while we were trying to buy a farm out here on Highway 2, that belonged to a lady in Nebraska. As I think the last words I had was we had kind of left our offer to her and told her to make up her mind. She decided to go along with it, so we immediately produced the cash to buy it from her.

To sum it up, she did change her mind, after about 4 or 5 months, maybe, she called us up and said she was willing to make a deal. So we did and bought the farm. We’d always called it the Jamison Farm, that wasn’t the name of the lady that owned it when we bought it, that was the name that was on the barn out there. So we always called it the Jamison Farm, three 40’s on one side, south side of Highway 2, split in half, about, by the creek, which took away some of the inconvenience of farming right straight through. Well it made a pretty good little operation to start right out with, and I’m going to just leave that part for a later time, and come back up to the house situation.

We had quite a bit of work to do on the house, in order to make it suitable to live in. Nellie wanted the kitchen, all the cupboards remade in the kitchen, and other things that had to be done to make it a suitable place that she was happy with. So we started working on doing that, we did re-wallpaper the whole house, and I worked in the kitchen cabinet work for, I guess, at least 6 weeks or two months, to get those straightened out and new cabinets on the wall. They weren’t fancy, or anything, but they did have latches on them, and the doors swung open and shut, etc. So we had a good sink in it on one side, and we put in a bathroom. Although it had a full bathroom upstairs, it didn’t have any facilities downstairs for bathing. So I put in a half bath downstairs, and that made it so Grandma Waddington could take care of her cleaning needs right down there on the same level as her bedroom was located.


For the first school year and a half, the girls had to go to a country school. I don’t think they thought it was too big a punishment, although Joanne went to the Cantril High School, or central school. The other girls split up to other locations. We never did think the Cantril School was very high quality, so we switched them over to the Keosauqua district as soon as we were able to do that. So we lived there in Iowa on the old Jamison Farm from 1953 through the rest of our school life for the girls. They all graduated from the Keosauqua High School, and I think all had a good time doing that.


The church facilities in Keosauqua, were not very, you might say, high standard. We met in a rented building downtown, the library building that the church rented, on Sundays only, we had to go in on Sunday morning and clean up, start the furnace in the basement, etc. It wasn’t an ideal place to be having church, but we managed. It was an LDS church. I don’t know just what year I was made Branch President, but I think it was 1955, sometime in there. Merl Fairbourne was called to be on the district presidency. We were in the East Iowa District, with headquarters in Chicago. He was called to be the District President at that time, and when he was called, I was made the Branch President. During those years, several years of time there, all of us were determined that we were going to have a building of our own, and pulled whatever strings we could work to bring that about. The mission president came to visit us two or three times. In fact, we had three different mission presidents during that time, but the third one finally got us permission to start a building, a building of our own. In the meantime, we were having a lot of families that were going to church there, we had about 34 or 40, faithful families, faithful members. We needed the facilities, we needed the building very badly. We were given permission to buy a lot, and we found one up north of Keosauqua, which was priced so that the church was interested in it. With the permission of the District President, we


With the permission of the Mission President, we purchased there a two-acre plot of land in the location that I mentioned, on the north end of the Keosauqua town itself. Still within the city limits, but we had to provide our own facilities up there, sewer system, because the town did not have a sewer up there that far out of town. But we managed to get the building built, with the hard work of the Relief Society, and all the Brothers. I guess there are many stories written about the Donut, and all the food manufacturing process the Relief Society went through to get the goods to sell to the local people to get the extra cash to build. So I’m not going to delve much into that.

We finally hired a contractor to start on the building, and it took quite a while. We were allowed to help on it as much as we can. It was 1960 before we moved into our new building. We moved into it before it had been dedicated, in fact before it was completely finished. But it was much more suitable for our use, with classrooms and bathrooms and meeting room available for our use. It was really crowded though, even for the number we had coming here in Keosauqua, so we determined somehow or another to get an addition to our building. And we did, but that’s a later story.


I had come in to about a farmer-sized dairy system, which I had about 15 or 16 that we’d milk by hand out there at the Jamison farm, with the girls helping me, and I’ll tell you about that later on, too.


Cash funds were a little short when we first started out. Nellie decided she would try teaching school, so she applied around, and finally got a job down in Missouri, down on the way from Mt. Sterling, where she taught along with another teacher from Keosauqua, she taught a little two-room school in Missouri. Her salary was not real great, but nevertheless it amounted to a little something on the side. She made an exceptionally good teacher, I think, and applied herself 100%, and finally was given a job in the Keosauqua system, where she was teaching the children that needed extra schooling.

[Long break in the recording. Apparently he was speaking without the microphone plugged in, because the narrative abruptly resumes several minutes later on the tape.]

…we cannot take care of her here, you’ll have to take her to the hospital in Iowa City immediately. Do not waste any time at all. So that very afternoon she was loaded into an ambulance and taken into Iowa City for treatment. Well, that entailed me making the trip up there daily, even while I was trying to take care of the farm, milk the cows, etc. The only one, all the rest of the girls had gone off to school, some of them graduated, some of them still going, but Kathy was home to help me, and we did the best we could. She did a wonderful job, you might say, a fourteen or fifteen-year-old girl(note 1). I was really proud of her. The day that Nellie was taken to Iowa City in the ambulance, somebody had to go along with her, and she and I, you might say, pulled straws to see who would go with her, and she got the assignment. She didn’t want to milk the cows. So she got in that ambulance and rode all the way to Iowa City with her mother, and helped get her settled up there in that location. Of course, she came home later on, just as quick as she could get away free to do so.

I made it a point to drive up there every day that Nellie was laying there, in the hospital, with the diagnosis of a very difficult case of leukemia. The doctor told me when he called me in for a special session, "I don’t know whether we can help your wife or not. We’re going to try the best we can, and it’s going to take a lot of endurance and patience on her part." She did that very well. She was 100% all the way.

But to no avail. Only thirty days after she entered the hospital, I called up early one morning to find out how she was, and the hospital doctor told me "Well, I’m sorry to tell you, but your wife died this morning about 4 o’clock."

Well, I’d been up there late the day before, and at that time, I talked to the doctor, and he said "We’re going to switch her over to a new medicine right now, to see if it will do any good." But it didn’t, so we lost her that night.


…had done several things on the farm, planned to make a little side money while we were living there. She had bought poults one year, I guess it was a hundred of them maybe, and put them up in the top roof loft of our hay barn that we had there on our farm, to raise them up there. Poults, these were chickens that do nothing but just sit down and eat, and drink water, and make very delicious chicken meat at the end of about six weeks. But they had to endure one summer in the heat of the loft of that barn; it turned out to be a very costly proposition. We lost a great many of them. Nellie was very sad about that, because she was striving to do her best to help out at all times. In the meantime, she was still teaching school, taking care of the poults when she’d come home, as far as everything we had done here.

Now in the meantime, I had made arrangements with FHA to build a Grade A milkhouse out there alongside of the road on our farmland, and it adjoined all the farm barns and buildings there. We had put up a pole barn we had to keep hay or keep cows in the wintertime. And then we had to put up a nice brick building to house the milking operation. The milking operation of course, if you know anything about a Grade A setup, was done by herding the cows into a holding corral, and then letting them in one at a time alongside of a working chute, which was 3 or 4 feet lower than the level of the ground. We had facilities for washing them off with hoses, and then attaching milkers to them. The milk was sucked up, pumped by vacuum, up glass tubes into the milk house itself, which contained a big 1000 gallon tank, where the milk was finally deposited and then held until it could be picked up by the truck from St. Louis. We sold our, we had decided to sell our milk down in St. Louis, to a dairy down there, and they had a truck up here about as often as every other day, sometimes every day if the herd was producing well.

Well, the milk house had the facilities that made milking a lot easier. It had the facilities for the holding pen, the cattle corral, and feed overhead, it was just a pretty neat operation. The girls helped me very much. They’d help me quite a bit, in fact they did a lot of the milking in the old horse barn when we first started out, bring cows in to a stall, four cows at a time, and there we washed them off with a bucket of hot water carried out from the kitchen, cleaned them up and got them ready, and then milked them by hand. Dumped the milk out into a 5-gallon can, and then carried the can into a holding tank that was electrical cooled, until they hauled it into town to the Creamery. We sold our product at that time at the Keosauqua Creamery, and got our egg money and everything at that location.

Well, that was the start of our dairy business. We got into that a little more thoroughly. DeVon Andrus, my son-in-law, had gotten into the operation, in 1960, wanted to get started in the operation in 1960, brought his family… well, I shouldn’t say brought his family, he brought himself out here, and left all of his children behind him that first time. He had six children at that time, but his wife had died, and he came out here kind of seeking a new life. He taught in high school; he was a good math teacher, and got a job in the Keosauqua math department, where he taught school, as well as he would come out and help a little on the dairy farm when he could find a bit of time to help milk and one thing or another.

Well, we were in a kind of a partnership deal there. I did most of the milking, and he did most of the managing, working while he was teaching school. He just simply had too many school operations to take care of to do much actual milking out in the milkhouse. He savvyed cows very well, though, and he understood the milking operation very well. But while he was here, he wooed my oldest daughter, and they decided to get married.

Well, that’s a different story, too, and I’ll leave that to another department.

DeVon was here, then, and Nellie and I let DeVon move in with his family, when he took Joanne to wife (note 2) and came back here. They first lived in Utah, where he was teaching school there when he first came out. But they decided that they’d come back here to live, and brought his girls back, or brought his whole family with him, which consisted of the four girls and two boys, all very intelligent kids, girls boys and all. They all went to school in Keosauqua, and did very well there. I have an interesting story to tell, sometime, about Mark, who is DeVon’s second son. Hey, Devon had 3 sons, and Mark was the youngest one. Well, I get mixed up pretty well, all through these things that I’m trying to remember.

When DeVon first came to live here, and bring his family here, Nellie and I decided that we would let them live out in the farm house, and we would move into town. So we came into town, and we couldn’t find a place suitable to live that we could afford, so we decided then to buy a trailer house, so we bought a very nice little two-bedroom trailer house. Kathy was still with us, so we needed to have at least 2 bedrooms in it, and this little trailer house had just that. So we set it up in Keosauqua. But after living in that trailer house for about 6 months, I called it the Dodge house, I got so tired of that, that I said, "We’ve got to find some other place to live." And then the Shag Place, which just was about a mile north of the Jamison farm came up for sale. So we bought that place from him, when he sold out, and moved into the house that was there on that farm.

Now, I guess the best way to describe the place where it was located was simply just about a mile and a half from the farm house on the way in to Keosauqua along the park route, going in to the Keosauqua Park. At that time, we could cross Indian Creek, and go directly into town from farm, down by the Shag house, on in to Keosauqua, and that’s the way we usually traveled, going into town.

Later on, when Lake Sugema…(note 3)

[end of tape]

1 This note deleted to preserve privacy of living persons. However, the date of this event would have been spring 1965.

2 DeVon and Joanne were married 1 June XXXX, in the Salt Lake Temple.

3 Indian Creek was dammed in the early 1990’s to create Lake Sugema, now one of Iowa’s premier hunting and fishing spots, and a major tourist draw for Van Buren County. The large lake covered the old Park Road, making it necessary to travel first east on Hiway 2 and then north on Hiway 1 to get to town from the Jamison place. The old bridge over Indian Creek was removed, and the point where the road passed down into the Indian Creek bottoms became a boat ramp.