Thursday, March 27, 2014

Elmira Lyons, loved her community and her chickens (52 Ancestors)

Elmira Lyons > Lillian Emma Ransom > Charles Lloyd Walters

Elmira was born in Blairstown, Iowa to John and Emma Elizabeth (Sanderson) Lyons on June 25, 1875. At the age of 17 she married Charles Francis Ransom in her parents’ home.  They were married by Methodist minister, Rev. Robert A. Miller before 60 guests. The couple would be married for over 64 years. 

Elmira gave birth to 6 children. One son, Kenneth Keith, died shortly after he was born. The regular doctor wasn't available and a young doctor delivered the baby. According to my great-grandmother’s “life story,” after the delivery, the doctor thought he was rubbing sweet oil on the baby, but instead it was carbolic acid. Baby Kenneth died the following day and the doctor wasn't seen by the family ever again.
Wedding Photo
For the next several years, the family moved several times, finally settling in Clear Lake, Iowa. See the previous post on Charles Ransom for the complete story.

Issues of the Mason City Globe newspaper for years beginning 1929 (with complete listings starting in 1930) can be found on Charles and Elmira are mentioned often in the pages. I wonder if they were as active in the previous years.

Elmira was chairman of the County 4-H committee and often gave reports at Farm Bureau meetings. She was part of the executive committee for the North Iowa Golden Wedding Jubilee Club, a member of the Retired Farmers Association and a member of the Daughters of Union Veterans (her father, John Lyons, fought in the Civil War). In September 1961, Elmira received “a life certificate for faithful service” in the Women’s Christian Temperance Union.
Elmira with grandchildren Charles
(my grandpa) and Lloyanne

Elmira is often listed in the local paper as being in charge of putting a program together, giving devotions or other readings at various meetings, as well as acting as hostess to various meetings and clubs. She belonged to the Oweso Club and Star Club, being named president of the later in 1943. Although I haven’t been able to find out exactly what these clubs did (if anyone knows, please let me know!) I did come across a few of the meetings topics of the Star Club, topics including: “Lessons on Flags,” “Fashions of Today and Yesterday,” “Freedom of Women of Foreign Countries” and “Storing Fruits and Vegetables.”

It appears that Elmira had a fondness and talent for raising chickens. In February 1931 she received the prize for grand champion pen at the Clear Lake Poultry show. Her Buff Orpington chickens did extremely well in their individual categories as well, giving Elmira first and second pen; first male; and first, second and third female. The previous year, Charles was credited with a fine showing of poultry as well. Elmira also served several terms as president of the Clear Lake Poultry Improvement Association. She retired from her position in 1945 and was named vice-president.

Elmira died on July 11, 1963 after a six week illness. She is buried next to Charles in the Clear Lake Cemetery.

Grandma Ransom's final visit,
with my aunt and mom
Sources: Various issues of Mason City Globe from 1929 and beyond,; family photos and newspaper clippings, Life Story of Lillian Ransom Walters, and census records.

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