In the news … gathering at the Tolstrups

CarlHBooneRiver (2)Boone_River_According to newspaper archives, in February 1915 our grandfather, then about 12, and several other ancestors and friends attended a gathering at the farm home of our great aunt Anna Malum Tolstrup and her husband Hans. The occasion honored the Tolstrups’ move from their Central Iowa farm to a new home in nearby Webster City. Our grandfather’s siblings, both parents, and a host of other relatives and friends of that era also attended … all listed by name in the article.

It was only after I’d started my family history research that I really began to visit and become familiar with the part of Iowa in which these families lived. The photo at the lower right, taken in 2011, is of the Boone River, which runs through the region. The photo above it is of my grandfather as a boy by that same river, probably in the same general era that the gathering at the Tolstrup home took place. It is one of few photos I have of these families from those years.

The article from February 26, 1915 tells us that “a most delightful surprise was carried out a few evenings ago when about sixty-five of the neighbors and friends gathered at the pleasant farm home of Mr. and Mrs. Tolstrup, southeast of town.” That February day in 1915 could well have been a wintry one for a party in central Iowa..

The article continues: “The evening was spent in social conversation and also various games were played, and at the close of the evening, a delicious repast was served, the guests having brought well filled baskets. Mr. and Mrs. Tolstrup were presented with a sum of money in token of the high esteem in which they are held. Mrs. Tolstrup was previously presented with a beautiful gravy ladel by the Grand View ladies mission society of which she was a member. The guests departed all wishing Mr. and Mrs. Tolstrup much happiness in their new home.”

This is not the first reference I’ve seen to Grand View. I’ve been unable to locate a town, village, or neighborhood called Grand View in the region in which my ancestors lived, which did include such communities as Kamrar, Stanhope, Jewell, and the larger Webster City. The Des Moines area has a Grand View, but that is some distance south of where these families lived, so it’s hard to know if there is a connection.

But what would family history research be without mystery? Where was Grand View? What did the mission society do? What was in those baskets the guests brought? Was it snowing that day? Why were the Tolstrups moving? Where was the new house in Webster City? Who would live at the farm when they left? Is the farm house still there? Who organized the gathering? How far did the guests travel to attend? And by what means?

The 1915 article, like many similar ones, also causes me to note how families who likely worked very hard in farming and in business made time to make life gentle and pleasant. It is perhaps not that different from how we live life today, but I always enjoy the notice taken of such events in newspapers of that era.

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4 Responses to In the news … gathering at the Tolstrups

  1. Sheryl says:

    I love newspaper articles like this one. I can really picture a wonderful gathering of neighbors. It’s too bad that we no longer have events like that.

    I wonder if you could find Grand View if you looked at old railroad schedules. Years ago in Pennsylvania there were often a few homes near each feed mill (grain elevator). There also generally was a railroad stop at each feed mill. Now that the feed mills and railroads are gone, the communities have pretty much vanished.

  2. ljhlaura says:

    What a great idea. I know there was a railroad running through the general area and am familiar with at least one of the major stops, but I know rather little about it otherwise. I also enjoy these old articles and like to try to picture the events. Visiting the places they took place often helps … Thanks for the tip and for stopping by!

  3. mionsiog says:

    Very interesting piece thank you.
    I got to you by reading Day 2 of Awesomeness by Mom and I am glad I did.
    My blog work is on old newspaper stories and family trees so I can totally relate to you picking this item to share with us.
    As for the Feb gathering, I suspect that in Feb there was little to do on the farm (unless it was a dairy farm) so that was when they could get together without cutting into their work hours. Lots of new information here to think about, thank you.
    Take Care.

    • ljhlaura says:

      I had not thought about how little there might be to do on a farm in February, but that’s a great point. I look forward to checking out your blog. Sounds like it’s right up my alley. Thanks so much for stopping by to read …

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