Ayrshire Iowa Centennial


Family Histories

Charles and Ivah Bennett Allen
by June Allen

Charles William Allen was born July 15, 1890 in Warren County, Spring Hill, Iowa. When he was sixteen years old he moved with his parents to a farm in the Laurens, Iowa, community.

Ivah Marie Bennett Allen was born February 12, 1894. When she was ten years old she moved with her parents to a farm in the Sioux Rapids community. She graduated from the Sioux Rapids High School. She attended summer school at Buena Vista College in Storm Lake and she was a teacher.

Charles and Ivah were married September 8, 1915. Charles was a farmer. They farmed in the following communities Laurens,, Rembrandt, Langdon, Ayrshire, Curlew and Ruthven. In 1941 he retired from farming and moved to Ayrshire. He worked with Denny Rouse and Joe Antoine doing carpenter work.

Charles and Ivah have nine children: June, Ilene, Betty and Harland live in Ayrshire Donald, Colorado Springs, Colo;  Derald, Rochester, Minn. Shirley, Moneta, Iowa Darlys, Fayetteville, Ark. and Garnett, Minneapolis, Minn. They have twenty-six grandchildren and twenty-nine great grandchildren.

Charles passed away November 4, 1962 and Ivah on June 28, 1967.


H.L. Allen
Submitted by Jane Cooke.

H.L. Allen was born in Warren County in 1902. The Allen family moved to the Laurens community in 1904. He married Elizabeth Carrigan in 1923. They moved to the Ayrshire area in 1931. To this marriage there were three children born: Howard Allen Jr. and twin girls, Mrs. Harry Cooke (Jane), Ruthven, IA. and Mrs. Charles Coldren (JoAnn) of Laurens, Ia.

H.L. started a trucking business in 1931 and also farmed for many years. When he was first in the trucking business during the depression, the farmers organized a group among themselves declaring a Farmers' Holiday in order to reduce the sale of livestock and to increase prices. Due to this situation picket lines and road blocks were set up in order to keep the goods off the market. Due to these circumstances, this lead to the event which involved H.L. and an unnamed rider. They were hired to haul a load of cattle to Sioux City, Ia., for market and encountered the road block and picket lines along the way. Armed with clubs, the picketers tried to stop them. H.L. told the rider to reach under the seat and get the gun because he said, "We're going through!" Taking a picketer as hostage standing on the running board, they went on through the picket line, unloaded the cattle, and returned the hostage back to the picket line. They then returned home without further incidence.

H.L. retired from the trucking business in 1945 and continued farming until 1967. He made his home on the farm until his death on Oct. 2, 1971.


Isabella Baxter Anderson
by Helen Christofer

Isabella Baxter was born in Scotland. She came to the United States with her parents. She grew up helping her parents and taught school three miles west and one half north of Ayrshire. She went to Normal School at Nora Springs and helped her father manage a general store.

She married Eric Anderson. they were the parents of four children: Harold Ervin married Bernice Stephas; Ray of Des Moines and Mrs. Harvey (Hazelle) Sorenson.

Eric was a painter and paper hanger. He farmed for a few years. He as an ardent fisherman. He belonged to the Mason Lodge.


Mr. and Mrs. Norman Anderson
Submitted by Lela Anderson


Mr. and Mrs. John Anglum
by Marie Anglum Mann

Ninety years ago, in 1892, Mr. and Mrs. John Anglum, then newlyweds, moved to the thriving little town of Ayrshire, Iowa, where they raided their family,, farmed and operated a meat market. Mr. Anglum served as councilman, mayor and county supervisor,, and both o them took an active part in the Catholic church, of which they were members.

Mr. Anglum was born in Stratford-On-Avon, Ontario, Canada, on July 24, 1862, and died in Ayrshire, Iowa, at the age of 75. He was married to Catherine Bowen of Neola, Iowa, on Sept. 13,, 1892. Their eight children were all born and raided in Ayrshire. They were: James, Margie, Joe, Kathleen, Edward, Marie, Nellie and John. he only surviving member of the family is Mrs. Marie Mann of Sioux Rapids, Iowa.

Mr. Anglum opened a new met market upon his arrival in Ayrshire in 1892 and operated in until 1910 when he leased the business and started farming. The family lived in the John Fagan house north of the hardware store during these years.

In 1917 Mr. Anglum moved back to town, purchased the hotel building, and opened an enlarged market which he operated until his death. In 1919 electricity and a new high school came to Ayrshire, and the town continued to thrive. One native has stated correctly that "In the early days Ayrshire was a thriving small town. Everybody made a living and was happy."

Upon the death of Mr. Anglum the market was left to his two sons, Joe and Jim. Jim was in the Navy during WWI and Joe was in the Army. The boys were just nicely in the business when the store burned down. Emmetsburg and Laurens fire departments helped fight the fire.

The Anglum brothers then built a fine new store which they operated until Jim's death. At this time the store became the sole property of Joe, who continued to operate it. Joe died in 1956. The store continues to operate and serve the community of Ayrshire under different management.

The Anglums
Submitted by Florence Degnan and Maurine Sweeney

William Anglum and his bride left Tipperary, Ireland, in the early eighteen hundreds and landed in Stratford, Ontario, Canada. Four children were born to them: William, Jr., Mr. Mary Peyton, Mrs. Margaret Goodkind of Montana and Mr. Henry Bradshaw of Nevada.

William Sr. was born in Stratford in 1841 and married Rachel Kirby, a native of Ireland, in 1861. He graduated from high school at the age of twenty, and taught school for many years. Some time later they came to the United States, making their home in Chicago. Later they came to Neola, Iowa. They came to Palo Alto County in 1893. His good wife passed to eternal reward in 1911. Grandpa, as he was called, died in 1917. He had taken care of his grandchildren while he was ill. He is buried in Calvary Cemetery at Ayrshire.

William Jr. was the father of eight children:: Mary, who died in childbirth and the son was raised by his grandparents; Thomas, who died in Canada;; Rachel, Mr. Wilkson, who is buried in Montana John, who married Catherine Bowen; James married Ann Dailey Elizabeth, who married Patrick Bowen Sarah wed Frank Russel of Whittemore and Winifred, who was married to Tom Smith.

Tom Anglum decided to migrate and homestead in Canada, so his sister and her husband, Pat Brown, planned to go with him. Since the family was soon to be separated, they had a photo made of the group. They all went to Emmetsburg (in their surreys with the fringe on top) where they had the photo taken. It is sad to say, but they never met again. The lived where the Wilbur Heiman family now lives, north of Ayrshire.

William James Anglum was born at Neola, Iowa. His wife, Ann Dailey, was born in Ft. Dodge, Iowa, on December 27, 1875.

James and Ann were married in the Sacred Heart Church on Feb. 6, 1893. Ten children were born to them: Edward, died in infancy William died at the age of two; Mary was seven when se was burned to death in a tragic fire in 1904. This fire is the fire that destroyed the north half of the business district of Ayrshire. She and some little friends were on their way home from school, and as children will, were picking articles such as pretty buttons out of the ashes left from the fire of the night before. Her clothing caught fire, apparently from a small spark that was in the debris. A man who was passing by threw his coat about her and distinguished the flames. She was taken to Dr. Duhigg's office and later Dr. O'Brien was called, but she was dead when he arrived in Ayrshire. At that time they were living in the house that was located where Steve Peterson's log house now is. Rachel married Harry Degnan, and died in 1972. Florence married Ralph Degnan, and lives southeast of Ayrshire, Harry (Posey) died in 1973. John M. passed away at the age of thirty-three in 1938, Matthew and Margaret (twins)), Margaret died at birth and Matthew in 1930. Maurine (Toots) married Bert Sweeney. She lives in Ayrshire, and is Postmistress of the local Post Office.

The Anglums came from Neola, Iowa, in 1892. Later James and John operated a meat market in Ayrshire for several years. Later, Jim, with his family, moved to Mallard where he ran a meat market. Mr. Anglum died while they lived there, in 1911. Jim continued in the meat market until he became ill in 1917, when they returned to Ayrshire. He passed away in 1921.


The Antoine Family
by Salome Currans

In March, 1903, my parents, Fred and Salome Antoine, with their two children, Joe and Mary, moved to the farm which they had bought in Silver Lake Township. Fred and Salome were from different villages in Alsace, France. At that time Alsace was under German rule, because it has been seized by Germany in the Franco-Prussian War. My father came to America in 1889 to escape serving in the German Army. My mother, then Salome Collin, arrived a few years later. They met and were married in Clare, Iowa, in 1900.

The 160 acre farm was southwest of Ayrshire in section 22. Two thirds of the land was covered with sloughs and water. One pond on the south was big enough to sustain fish. Muskrat and mink thrived. One day a tall Indian came striding across the fields to ask permission to pitch his tepee on the land so that he could fish and trap. My father urged him to go to Silver Lake, which was only a mile away.

There were many rocks on the farm, especially in the north pasture. The swamp was dotted with rocks and hummocks. Once when two year old Teresa wandered off, our desperate search ended when when she was found sitting on a boulder with the cattle grazing around her. Eventually father blasted the large rocks with dynamite and hauled them away on a stone boat. They were used in the foundations of buildings.

The farmstead was on a knoll near the center of the quarter section. It consisted of a shed for cows, a granary, a horse barn, and an Lshaped house that had been pieced together. The place was infested with rats. Although traps were set daily, the rats continued to multiply. One day Dad took a rat from a cage trap and put a hog ring through its jaws. The squealing rat rushed about and somehow led all the rats away.

Father began making improvements at once. He planted a grove for a windbreak and an apple orchard. He mad a cave a short distance from the kitchen stoop. He used stones and concrete for the walls and formed an arched top with bricks. He built shelves along the walls for canned goods, and a bin with an outside opening for potato storage, and smaller bins for vegetables. There was room for sauerkraut and pickle crocks. A low, cool area long one side was arranged for milk and butter. We used this cave for many years. Sometimes we went there for protection against storms.

As this ingenious Frenchman plodded along behind his faithful horses his determination grew. He would make the wasteland productive. Tilers were hired. With only spades and strong backs they began the tedious task of digging ditches and laying tile to drain away the excess water. These hardworking men stayed with our family for many months. By that time there were more children. Mother's strength must have been taxed with cleaning, washing, ironing, and cooking for everyone. All the water had to be carried. Once the tilers found a turtle "as big as a bushel basket"" which they prepared for cooing. A delicious platter of turtle appeared on the dinner table. It was a welcome diversion from the salt pork, sauerkraut and chicken.

Gradually the dilapidated buildings were replaced and others built. A corn crib was the first venture. An elevator with a horse drawn sweep was installed. A few years later a large barn was constructed. It had a carrier to convey hay and straw into the huge mow. About that time we acquired an outside feed grinder. AS a team of horses hitched to the sweep circled around, corn and oats were ground into meal. We even made our cornmeal for cooking. Neighbors often came to use our grinder.

Our old house was so cold and drafty in winter that father developed such a severe case of sciatica that he could not walk. He spent three months at Colfax, Iowa, taking mud baths. From that time on his physical activities were limited. However, he continued to work. In 1920 a new house was built. It was one of the first farm homes in the locality to  have a water system and electric lights (supplied by Delco Light Plant)). The large parlor and dining area was used often for neighborhood dances and parties. The music for the dances was provided by Pete and Gretchen Ricklefs and George Nesshoefer. Later the younger Antoines played for dancing.

When Dad retired Joe and Clem took over the farm. By the 1940s it was among the most productive and neatest farms in the township. Father now devoted his time to gardening. His fruit trees, grape vines, berry patches, vegetable gardens and flower beds were admired by all who saw them. He generously gave his products to friends and neighbors. He went to his reward on Thanksgiving Day in 1943. Mother lived to be almost 92. She died on November 8, 1967.

There were ten Antoine children. The youngest, brother Fridolin, passed away in 1938, before he was 18. My brother Jim went farming for himself, while Joe and Clem remained on the home place with Mother. Joe was also a carpenter. He constructed many buildings in the vicinity. His death in June, 1968,, was the result of a fall from scaffolding. Clem continued to operate the farm for a few years then moved to Ayrshire and married. In his last years he raised fruits and vegetables, which he shared with others. Clem died on December 14, 1978. His wife, Pearl, lives in Ayrshire. Jim is now retired on his farm near Bancroft.

The six daughters are all teachers. Mary (Sister Salome) became a professor and administered the English and Humanities departments of Silver Lake College of Manitowoc, Wisconsin. In 1979 she was awarded the honorary degree of Professor Emeritus. Catherine Schade lives in Algona Salome Currans is in Graettinger; Teresa Graff resides near Mallard and Rose Geelan is in Ruthven. Alice Schuller of Freeport, Illinois, died in 1967, just one day after the death of mother.

The members of the Antoine family were active in the affairs of the community and of Sacred Heart Church. Mother assisted at the births of many babies. Once she was summoned to a neighbor's home on a dark bitter cold winter night. Leaving her small baby and other children with father, she walked the mile through deep snow, feeling her way along the fences. She was so cold and exhausted upon her arrival that she had to rest before she could go to the sick woman.

Dad was receptive to new ideas and was always ready to share his knowledge and skills. He helped his neighbors and was involved with several organizations. He was a part of the Shipping Association. He served terms on the school, creamery, and telephone boards. He was director of the Citizens Savings Bank. Joe was a committeeman for the A.S.C. from the time it was started. At the time of his death he was president of the Farmers Cooperative Elevator.

Our parents proved that America is indeed the land of opportunity and that Ayrshire is a fine, resourceful community. As poor immigrants they had a dream. With determination, hard work, perseverance and the encouragement of neighbors they were able to fulfill that dream. They became U.S. citizens, bought a farm, established a good home and reared and educated their children in a wholesome environment.