Washington Evening Journal
111 North Marion Avenue
Washington, IA 52353
Crawfordsville has laid claim to the birthplace of the Republican Party. In this book, I am taking information from it that states it is difficult to understand why the national organization gives credit to Ripon, Wisconsin.
A young lady Sarah Crawford attended many meetings at the old Seceder Church and said they lasted nearly all night. A state convention of several party groups was held in February 1854. So many groups and views were presented that it was several hours before agreement was reached and a report given to the convention. Much was discussed, amended, re-amended and finally adopted near morning. The convention adjourned and the Republican Party was born. The meeting at Ripon in March, was one month later.
Some wondered if it was a coincidence that the same name was chosen. There was no written proof of the actual meeting at Crawfordsville, as was told by the young woman who attended.
There is a record of a tornado in Washington County in September of 1931 and two people lost their lives. One was in Crawford Township, the other in Marion. The storm came from the west, cutting a swath across the southeast corner of the county and most of the damage was in Crawford Township.
Damage was estimated at $150,000 in the area. Heavy rain followed the tornado and some hail. One lady died later of injuries. The heaviest damage was in Section 17 at a Cherryholmes farm. Every building was leveled and contents scattered everywhere. Other family members were all on the kitchen floor, the only part of the house remaining.
Great damage was also done at the S.K. Orris farm and the Merle Twinam house had to be completely rebuilt. Barns were destroyed. The storm skipped over to the Lisle Maxwell farm and some damage was done to the Lowe place up the road and places south and east and more damage near Cotter.
Much livestock was killed and many strange things happened. A school bus was upset by the wind but no children were injured. Corn was husked and stalks flattened. A watch, which had been in a dresser, was found in the yard, but the ring at the top was missing. When wound, it ran as before.
The Red Cross offered assistance and much manpower was organized to help with the clean-up. Food was donated and meals were set up at the Legion Hall.
Women's Clubs were frowned on in the early days, but in the early 1900's two clubs were formed. The Social Hour Club was organized in 1901 and the Wednesday Study (formerly Care-Away Circle) in 1904. The Wednesday Study Club is still in existence.
The Wednesday Study had 11 charter members. Other Clubs were: W.W.K. in1942; also, Past Matron's Club in 1964 and the Past President's Parley. In 1932 the T.T.T. Society was organized here and is still in existence.
A Chapter of the Order of Eastern Star was active for many years, as well as the Masonic Lodge, before they disbanded and merged with other communities.
The American Legion was chartered in 1921, as was the Legion Auxiliary. Alberta Rhea served as State President of the American Legion Auxiliary and she was also Director of Girls State for several years.
There were many other rural clubs, such as Rural Homemakers, White Cloud, Braden, Square Circle, Sunset Circle, etc. Of these, White Cloud is the only one remaining. At one time there was a Senior Citizen's Club. There is still a 4-H Club and Cub Scouts.
Of particular mention was the Farm Bureau. Local resident J.H. Jones served as state president. In the Women's Farm Bureau, Mrs. Merle Twinam was named Master Homemaker in 1949.
Four from this area served in the Iowa Legislature, the last being Richard Stephens.
Some more history will come in future issues of “Crawfordsville news.”