Earl & Ethel Wilson

Personal Info_____________________________________________
Father:¬†Edwin Earl Wilson  “Earl”
Born:¬†May 21, 1886         Diona, Illinois
Died: October 11, 1971   Webster City, Iowa    Age  85
Parents: James & Emily Wilson

Mother: Ethel Belle Shields
Born: February 16, 1886    Illinois
Died: April 6, 1967           Webster City, Iowa   Age  81
Parents: John & Martha Shields

Married: March 12, 1905 for over 62 years

Buried: Webster City Cemetery, Webster City, Iowa. Wilson Lot near the northwest side.
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The Wilson family started out farming near Louisville, Illinois then later moved to Iowa. Their hard work paid off and at one time they had over $16,000 in cash. This was during the Depression, which saw many banks fail, so the money was kept buried in the garden.

Earl was a hard working, serious man. His politics, like many Midwest farmers of the early 20th century, were very conservative ‚ÄĒ and set in stone. His oldest son once teased him that he‚Äôd vote for a snake if it was Republican.

In a family consisting of three boys and two girls, Earl was often the disciplinarian. When one of the boys burned down the outhouse door, his punishment was to spend a day tied to the clothesline outside. A rug had to suffice as a temporary door until a new once could be built.

Earl also had very definite ideas about how and when things should be done. In his view, none of the children were ever too old for a bit of advice or assistance. When one of his sons (by this time a grown man with a family of his own) postponed the spring plowing for a day because the fields were too wet, Earl drove out to the farm to do the plowing himself. Upon returning from an afternoon of fishing, the son was then greeted with the site of his tractor firmly mired in the middle of the field!

Ethel was a frail woman who was often sick during her long life. She was especially troubled by headaches which she eased by wearing a wet washcloth on her head. This was eased by finally, at the age of seventy-eight, being persuaded to go to a chiropractor. Ethel also had contracted tuberculosis when a young mother. She was always afraid of her children getting it from her and was therefore not very affectionate.

Her ailments did not prevent her from being an industrious and kind woman.¬†Her strength of character was often a perfect foil for her husband‚Äôs excitability and provided a strong set of values for the family.¬†During the Depression, when it began to look like the bank that held their savings account was going to close, Earl went down to withdraw the family‚Äôs money.¬†While there, he was persuaded to take out only half of it.¬†When Ethel discovered this she said to him, ‚ÄúYou have taken my half out of the bank.¬†Now go back down there and get your half!‚ÄĚ.¬†All of the Wilson family money was thus safely retrieved.

After farming for many years, the couple retired in Webster City, Iowa. Sunday afternoons during the summer would often find them fishing off the Old White Bridge over the Iowa river after enjoying a picnic lunch. Both were avid fishermen and would often travel up to Minnesota on fishing trips. Earl also liked working in his garden and woe to the grandchild who entered it without his permission! (The buried money may had something to do with this attitude.)

Ethel‚Äôs declining health resulted in her eventually being put in a nursing home, but the stay was a short one. After only a few days, Ethel called her husband and said, ‚ÄúEarl!¬†Come down and get me out of here!‚ÄĚ.¬†She was moved back home and died there of a heart attack one April evening in 1967.

Earl lived four more years and continued to fish whenever he could. Leukemia and the loss of his driver’s license eventually made it difficult to get around, but he never stopped trying. Even up to his final days he was optimistic about retaking his driving test and regaining his independence.

Children of Earl & Ethel Wilson

Glen Shields Wilson ‚Äď Farmer, Woodworker
Born: October 13, 1905Died: October 22, 1997

Mildred May Wilson (Hoverstein) ‚Äď Housewife
Born: February 1, 1907Died: ??

Lesslie Earl Wilson ‚Äď Farmer
Born: September 5, 1908Died: 1987

Ruby Belle Wilson (Caudle) ‚Äď Housewife
Born: January 16, 1911Died: ??

William Edwin Wilson ‚Äď Farmer
Born: October 13, 1920Died: 2011

James & Emily Wilson

Personal Info_____________________________________________
Father: James Edwin Wilson
Born:¬†March 13, 1856            Virginia
Died: May 14, 1943               Nevada, Iowa   Age  87
Parents: Samuel & Caroline Wilson

Mother:¬†Emily Elizabeth Flesher  ‚ÄúLizzie‚ÄĚ
Born: March 25, 1858            Virginia
Died: April 23, 1916              Near Charleston, Illinois    Age  58
Parents: Unknown

Married: December 6, 1877 for 38 years

Buried:
James Wilson: Nevada Cemetery, Nevada, Iowa. About 60 yards
northeast of the Sexton’s Building.
Emily Flesher: Charleston Cemetery, Charleston, Illinois.
________________________________________________________

James and Emily were both originally from Virginia. Later they moved to Illinois where the family was raised.

James Wilson was a distinguished looking, tobacco chewing farmer. His penmanship was very artistic and stylish. Together, he and Emily raised a family of five boys and four girls. Of these, seven lived to adulthood.

Little is known about Emily aside from her being a housekeeper ‚ÄĒ a busy job with so many children to attend to. She died unexpectedly one day while cutting potatoes outside with one of her granddaughters.

After Emily’s death, James moved back to Virginia to live with his son Kenneth. When the money began running out, James then returned to Iowa to live with another son, Earl. While there he babysat the children, cooked, and helped out with the farm work.

In 1925, pushing seventy, James married a second time. His bride, Cora, was only in her thirties and may have figured her elderly bridegroom had some money stashed away. They moved to Nevada, Iowa to live. Here James split ash to create sledgehammer and ax handles for a living and also tended a garden. Cora would periodically make him take flowers to the cemetery to place at the grave of her first husband.

Amongst James’s many talents was the ability to make moonshine out of yeast and sugar. One afternoon when Cora was away, he made up a batch for himself and her father, who was slightly younger than James. The two often got into arguments and this time, prodded by the moonshine, ended up fighting and breaking a few things. When Cora finally got home and saw what had happened, that was the end of the home brew!

As he aged, James‚Äôs memory began to falter and sometimes he would get lost while downtown.¬†(This was probably a form of Alzheimer’s.) He died in his late eighties with a life that spanned from before the Civil War to the middle of World War II.

Children of James & Emily Wilson

Samuel A. Wilson ‚Äď Farmer
Born: November 4, 1878Died: November 6, 1956
Samuel had serious problems with his temper, and spent time 
at the mental hospital in Cherokee, Iowa.

Lillie O. Wilson ‚Äď Housewife
Born: December 17, 1881Died: August 24, 1956

Cary A. Wilson
Born: July 28, 1884Died: March 14, 1897
Cary died in late childhood of an illness.

Edwin Earl Wilson ‚Äď Farmer
Born: May 21, 1886Died: October 11, 1971

William O. Wilson ‚Äď Prison Guard
Born: April 18, 1889Died: July 28, 1965

Benjamin Wilson ‚Äď Farmer
Born: February 28, 1891Died: March 19, 1939

Dovie Lee Wilson
Born: April 29, 1893Died: June 22, 1894

Kenneth Price Wilson ‚ÄstBlack Sheep
Born: March 23, 1895Died: November, 1955
Kenneth operated a taxi service in Webster City for a time, 
but then skipped town, leaving his brothers Samuel and Earl 
to pay off the loan on the 2 cabs. Kenneth is also rumored 
to have killed a man in Chicago. He died in Wisconsin under 
an assumed name. His sister Electie was the only family 
member to keep in touch with him over the years.

Electie Wilson ‚Äď Housewife
Born: August 6, 1898Died: 1971

Sam & Caroline Wilson

Personal Info_____________________________________________
Father: Samuel Wilson
Born:¬†May 27, 1815               Virginia
Died: November 14, 1862                      Age  47
Parents: Unknown

Mother: Caroline McCoy
Born: July 10, 1836                Virginia
Died: January 10, 1912                          Age  75
Parents: Unknown

Married: October 10, 1854 for only 8 years

Buried: Unknown
________________________________________________________

Caroline was Samuel’s second wife. His first was Elizabeth Armstrong and they were married from October 29, 1940 until her death on July 10, 1853. Probably on the lookout for someone to help take care of the children, Samuel remarried fifteen months later.

Although Samuel was some two decades older than Caroline, he nevertheless started a second family. It is from this eight year union that the Illinois and Iowa Wilsons owe their origins. In 1862, Samuel died of undisclosed causes. Two years later, on November 24, 1864, Caroline married Townsend Price and eventually had additional children by him.

The boy and girl from Samuel and Caroline’s short marriage thus had half brothers and sisters on both sides of the family.

Caroline lived to an old age, dying probably in Virginia. Had she ever been able to visit her son James’s family in Illinois during her later years, she would have been treated to the sight of her great-grandchildren.

Children of Sam & Caroline Wilson

James Edwin Wilson ‚Äď Farmer
Born: March 13, 1856Died: May 14, 1943

Mary M. Wilson
Born: May 5, 1859Died: Unknown

John & Martha Shields

Personal Info_____________________________________________
Father: John William Shields
Born:¬†January 7, 1861         Illinois
Died: March 18, 1907         Illinois  Age 46
Parents: David B. & Susanna Shields

Mother:¬†Martha Ann Littell  ‚ÄúMattie‚ÄĚ
Born: August 5, 1858          Illinois
Died: May 7, 1919              Iowa   Age  60
Father: Hiram Littel

Married: August 7, 1881 for 25 years

Buried: Louisville Cemetery, Louisville, Illinois.
________________________________________________________

John Shields at one time was a hotel owner. But little is known beyond that. After contracting tuberculosis, his was taken by covered wagon to Colorado in hopes that the dryer climate would help him recover. This was to no avail, and he returned to Illinois to live out his remaining days.

Sensing the end, John had a small will drawn up. Since he had already given money to his son Charles ($325) and married daughters Edith and Ethel ($170 each), no provisions were made for them. Instead, everything was left to his wife with the stipulation that the remaining son Robert ($325) and daughters Eva and Clete ($170 each) be paid out of the estate. Sixteen days later, John was dead.

Martha, a heavyset woman, assisted John in the running of the hotel in Louisville. After her husband’s death, she moved to Iowa and made a living keeping house for her son Robert. She also spent some time in Spokane, Washington with her brother.

Children of John & Martha Shields

Edith Shields (Raines) ‚Äď Housewife
Born: April 10, 1882Died: July 6, 1929

Carlie Rice Shields
Born: February 22, 1884Died: October 24, 1912

Ethel Belle Shields (Wilson) ‚Äď Housewife
Born: February 16, 1886Died: April 6, 1967

Robert William Shields
Born: December 12, 1888Died: March 25, 1947

Eva Onie Shields
Born: March 28, 1891Died: December 12, 1910

Clete (Cleatis) Belle Shields ‚Äď Housewife
Born: September 22, 1893Died: February 22, 1952

David & Susan Shields

Personal Info_____________________________________________
Father: David B. Shields
Born:¬†April 21, 1816           Orange County, Indiana
Died: September 29, 1881                  Age  65
Parents: James Sr. & Nancy Shields

Mother: Susannah McKnelly
Born: May 20, 1823            Virginia
Died: May 22, 1865                            Age  42
Parents: Unknown

Married: May 19, 1844 for 21 years

Buried: Old Union Cemetery east of Hord, Illinois.
________________________________________________________

According to family records, David was the youngest by five years of a huge family of nine boys and seven girls. It is unlikely the entire brood was at home the same time. The elder siblings, being well over twenty years older than David, would have long since left home to start their own lives.

David was only eight years old when his father James passed away. In settling the estate, a guardian by the name of Lewis Byrun was appointed for the boy. This shows that the family was looking out for its youngest member.

Nothing is known about David’s wife, Susannah, or how the two met.¬†We do believe this was the only Shields family to move to Illinois.¬†The only other information on the couple comes from records of inheritance transactions.

When David’s mother passed away, David and his wife sold their part of the estate to a Moses Mathers in August of 1846. Later in life David also received money via his uncle Ambrose Shields as part of his (David’s) share of the estate of a Daniel Shields, another uncle, who had died childless.

Children of David & Susan Shields

Elizabeth J. Shields

Mary M. Shields (McPeak)

James B. Shields

Florence M. Shields (Barnes)

John W. Shields

Sara E. Shields (Austin)

Infant
Buried in Old Union Cemetery, Hord, Illinois     

James & Nancy Shields

Personal Info_____________________________________________
Father: James Shields Sr.
Born:¬†Around 1754            Ireland
Died: July 10, 1824                            Age  70
Parents: Unknown

Mother: Nancy (Ann) Brown
Born: November 8, 1770    Nelson (later Green) County, Kentucky
Died: August 8, 1845                         Age  74
Parents: Unknown

Married: November 17, 1787 for 36 years

Buried: Bethel Cemetery one mile north of Orangeville, Indiana.
________________________________________________________

We can only speculate as to why and when James left Ireland for America. One family source mentions him coming over when he was seven years old, but there has been no record found of his parents.

We pick up Jame’s interesting life while he was serving as a private in the Gists regiment (also known as Grayson‚Äôs) of the Virginia Continental Army during the American Revolution.¬†The records at Richmond show him as having served three years in the infantry.¬†A person named Thomas Bell officially attested to this so that James could be eligible for¬†what was called a “Bounty Warrant” ‚Äď a reward for his service.

On June 27, 1783, about seven weeks after Mr. Bell’s certification, James made a claim for the warrant for one hundred acres. The warrants were issued for the south side of the Green River in Nelson (later Green) County, Kentucky. Unlike other veterans who sold their claims, James moved into what was then a wilderness area, got married and settled down. Information about his early years there are sketchy, but he had begun paying taxes by 1795.

Besides sickness, the biggest danger of the Kentucky frontier of the time were the Indians. Their pressure had forced Daniel Boone in 1783 to forsake Ft. Boonesborough. Within a year or two of this, James had settled on land to the south and west of the fort. Five years later, Indians scalped some citizens in the town of Paoli nine miles to the west of James’ farm.

To protect themselves, the settlers formed what was called the “Corn Stalk” Militia of Kentucky. A reference to a Captain James Shields of the Green Country 16th Regiment, appointed by the governor, is dated May 15, 1793. Apparently, his years as a Revolutionary War soldier helped James advance in rank.

In 1814, at what was for that era the advanced age of sixty, James began yet another adventure, leaving three hundred acres in Kentucky to move to Indiana. This was a fearless man, willing to take unknown risks for new opportunities. Probably seven or eight of the children would have made the trip, the older ones having left and started their own families.

Ten years later, James passed away. The inscription on the government marker in the cemetery reads:¬†‚ÄúJames Shields who fought for liberty in 1776 and died upwards of 70 years of age‚ÄĚ.¬†It also lists his rank in the Virginia army and date of death.

Nancy lived another twenty-one years. Upon her passing, the Shields estate was divided amongst the many children.

Children of James & Nancy Shields

James Shields Jr.
Born: November 11, 1788

John Shields
Born: October 12, 1790              

Nancy Shields
Born: April 15, 1792Died: April 22, 1838

Samuel Shields
Born: November 23, 1793 

Hannah Shields
Born: June 1, 1795                

Mary & Elizabeth Shields ‚Äď Twins
Born: February 21, 1796 

Jacob Shields
Born: January 7, 1799           
 
Daniel Shields
Born: December 24, 1802Died: 1876

Henry Shields
Born: December 25, 1804

Jenny Shields
Born: September 25, 1804

Lydia B. Shields
Born: September 23, 1806

Doctor Shields
Born: April 11, 1808
               
Isaac Ambrose Shields
Born: May 5, 1809Died: 1903

Jane Shields
Born: December 11, 1811

David B. Shields
Born: April 21, 1816Died: September 29, 1881

James & Emma Caudle

Personal Info_____________________________________________
Father: James Jackson Caudle  ‚ÄúJack‚ÄĚ, ‚ÄúJim‚ÄĚ
Born: April 17, 1868      Near Yadkinville, North Carolina
Died: August 18, 1940   Webster City, Iowa   Age  72
Parents: Jacob & Margaret Caudle

Mother: Emma Lulu Vollenweider
Born: April 5, 1873             Georgetown, Wisconsin
Died: November 22, 1950   Goldfield, Iowa   Age  77
Parents: John G. & Eliza Vollenweider

Married: December 21, 1893 for 46 years

Buried: Radcliffe Cemetery, Radcliffe, Iowa. Caudle Family Plot
next to the road, near the main gate.
________________________________________________________

Jim Caudle was a farmer and a cattleman. His handsome looks were enhanced by premature white hair. An energetic, rugged man, he would ride his horse long distances on purchasing trips. Amongst his neighbors, who called him Jack, he was regarded as somewhat of a cattle baron and eventually owned more than one thousand acres of land in Iowa and South Dakota.

Emma was a large, pleasant woman who was often sick due to a bad heart. Like most farmers’ wives in those days, she had to cook for a veritable army of children and hired hands, especially at harvest time. It was not a very comfortable life compared to today. The seed for the following spring was stored in an upstairs bedroom and it was a challenge keeping the mice away. The couple did not have a telephone until years later when they retired in town.

While courting Emma, Jim sometimes walked the few miles between their farms and on one occasion was attached by a pack of wild dogs. Had he not been carrying a walking stick to beat the animals off with, he would have been badly hurt. As it was, he escaped with jut a few bites and scratches although his clothes were torn.

Upon getting married, Jim bought the Vollenweider farm from Emma’s father and the two settled down to start a family. Sadly, none of the first three infants survived more than a couple of days. The couple’s fear of never having healthy children was finally dispelled with the arrival of James Wylie just before the turn of the century.

Life in the Caudle household could be both affectionate and chaotic. Jim would often bounce Emma, who weighed close to two hundred pounds, on one knee and his daughter Lucille on the other. The three boys were the usual rambunctious types, getting into mischief. What one brother could not think of to tease their sister Lucille with, another one would.

In 1927, in his late fifties, Jim came down with pneumonia that slowed him considerably and left him susceptible to colds. A few years after this he and Emma moved to Ellesworth, leaving the running of the farms to the sons. The oldest, known in the family as Wylie, tried to make a go of cattle farming on the South Dakota acreage for a few years, but ended up coming back to Iowa. A son-in-law, Glen Wilson, also worked a farm, which unfortunately led to some money disputes.

After attending a family reunion in the summer of 1940 (held at a place called Brigg‚Äôs Woods near Webster City), Jim came down with a cold that developed into pneumonia and passed away not long after that. His last words were ‚ÄúI think I ain‚Äôt gonna make it.‚ÄĚ His daughter Lucille, who was in the room, then said the Lord‚Äôs Prayer next to his body. (Jim’s health may have already started to fail before the reunion. When the pictures were later developed, people were shocked at how frail he looked.)

Emma continued to live in town and tended a garden. She became a rather attractive woman in her later years, finally suffering a stroke and dying in a nursing home the day before Thanksgiving, 1950.

The four children who died in infancy are all buried in the Williams Cemetery. Two are on the Vollenweider lot, and the other two are nearby in the front row by the road.

Children of James & Emma Caudle

Margaret Caudle
Born/Died: March 1, 1895
Strangled on the umbilical cord during birth. 

Infant Son
Born/Died: August 23, 1896 ‚ÄĒ Stillborn.

Edna Grace Caudle
Born: January 18, 1898Died: January 20, 1898

James Wylie Caudle ‚Äď Farmer, Salesman
Born: October 2, 1899Died: April 17, 1961
Wylie liked to boast that he was going to live to see three 
centuries, but only made it to two. He died at the age of 61.

Ida Eliza Caudle
Born: November 12, 1902Died: January 30, 1903
Crib death.

William Frederick Caudle "Fred" ‚Äď Farmer
Born: October 28, 1905Died: 1967
Fred was a good businessman. He also died when he was 61.

Emma Lucille Caudle (Wilson) ‚Äď Housewife
Born: June 14, 1908Died: March 30, 1987

Robert Lee Caudle ‚Äď Farmer
Born: May 16, 1911Died: 1992
"Uncle Bob" married Ruby Wilson, making his and sister
Lucille’s children double cousins.

Jacob & Margaret Caudle

Personal Info_____________________________________________
Father: Jacob Abraham Caudle  “Abram”
Born: September 7, 1837     Boonesville, North Carolina
Died: November 15, 1899   Age  62
Parents: Unknown

Mother: Margaret Reece
Born: December 8, 1827     Boonesville, North Carolina
Died: March 2, 1911           Age  83
Parents: Abraham & Mary Reece

Married: December 21, 1858 for 30 years

Buried: Radcliffe Cemetery, Radcliffe, Iowa. Caudle Family Plot
next to James & Emma Caudle, near the main gate.
________________________________________________________

Abram Caudle was a solidly built man who had great faith in his own judgment. Weathering the disapproval of his future in-laws, he managed to court and wed Margaret despite the fact that she was ten years his senior.

Margaret was a very short, pretty, southern lady who was once voted the “Belle of Yadkin County” (North Carolina).¬†A little over four feet tall, she also chewed tobacco, probably a habit she picked up from her rancher father.

The death of Margaret‚Äôs mother in the spring of 1858 may have helped clear the way for the marriage of the two as they exchanged vows later that same year.¬†Abram then assumed ownership of the Reece Plantation (from his wife’s side of the family).

It was not the best time to be starting a family in the South. A little over two years after the couple had been declared man and wife, the state of North Carolina married itself to the Confederacy. Abram and his brothers ended up fighting for the South. One surrendered and was somehow shot later in the war while the other two deserted.

According to family legend, Abram and his brother Abner became horrified by the scenes of death around them and decided to return home. Hiding behind a barricade of dead men and mules, they stole away from the scene of the fighting and eventually made their way back to the plantation. There they dug a hole under the barn and had the children take the fresh dirt out to the field so no one would be aware of the hideaway, which was used for the rest of the war whenever unwanted company appeared. There also is a story of them breathing through reeds while hiding in a pond or river.

Raising a family in the South during the Civil War involved almost unendurable hardship. All the slaves save one had left the plantation while¬†Margaret gave birth to two boys. She was sometimes forced to cook for “visiting” soldiers, first the Confederates, then the Union. If troops were know to be in the vicinity, some of the food would be hidden by bending a sapling over, tying a ham to the end, then releasing the tree.

After the war, two more boys and a girl were added to the family. Abram and Margaret then left the South, moving to Hardin County, Iowa in 1869. Then, in 1877, relocated one county over, to a farm some six miles northeast of the town of Ellsworth. Abram donated land for the Lincoln Church there of which he was a member. The farm ended up staying in the family for over a century. A grandson, Robert Caudle, at one time farmed land that had been owned by both his grandfathers: Abram, and John Vollenweider.

Abram died just before the turn of the 19th century, having been bothered for some time by a festering ulcer in his leg.

Margaret lived to an advanced age and her good looks never left her. She finally passed away due to cancer that had started in her mouth, probably a result of her tobacco chewing. Her granddaughter Lucille Caudle (Wilson) remembered seeing Margaret standing in front of a hall mirror trying to see how the cancer was spreading.

Editors’s Note: When my “Grandma Lu” shared the above memory with me back in 1984, she was talking about a woman who had been born when John Quincy Adams was president.

Ironically, although the family survived the Civil War unscathed, two of the sons later died violent deaths as noted below.

Children of Jacob & Margaret Caudle

Abraham Reece Caudle ‚Äď Minister
Born: October 20, 1859Died: Unknown
"Reece" moved to Nebraska and married a divorced woman. 
He and his wife were later murdered by the woman’s son
from her first marriage. 

Sara J. Caudle
Born: December 20, 1860Died: December 21, 1861

Aaron Caudle ‚Äď Farmer
Born: March 14, 1862Died: April 10, 1910
Aaron suffered through what we would now call a mid-life 
crisis. After becoming increasingly depressed, he finally 
shot himself in the corncrib.
It is a known fact that the number of suicides increased 
during the "end of the world" stories that circulated prior 
to Earth’s encounter with the tail of Haley’s comet in May 
of 1910. It is interesting to speculate whether this was a
contributing factor.

John Henry Caudle ‚Äď Farmer, Cattleman
Born: April 28, 1864Died: May 5, 1927
John was named after John Henry Hoodsbeth, the one Negro 
who stayed and helped the family during the Civil War.

James Jackson Caudle ‚Äď Farmer
Born: April 17, 1868Died: August 18, 1940

Mary Cornelia Caudle (Foster) ‚Äď Housewife
Born: February 28, 1871Died: March 19, 1939

William Caudle ‚Äď Farmer
Born: February 4, 1872Died: January 5, 1948