The Kitchen Table Historian

I am an author and historian who writes about long-forgotten and out of the way events and places. I love the bizarre, the unusual, and the downright weird. I write a regular blog at my website, www.johnbrassardjrcom.wordpress.com, and also manage a facebook page about things of historical interest called The Kitchen Table Historian.

The Audubon-Exira-Hamlin Flood of 1958

     Flash floods are some of the most devastating natural disasters in the world. They can come without warning, destroying everything in their path. Iowa is no stranger to them. Although there have been many throughout the years, one still stands out in the minds of Southwest Iowa residents. Perpetual Rain       It began …

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Suicidal: William Stewart Walks the Long, Dark Path in 1920

William Stewart’s beloved wife, Mary, was dead. He was only in his early 40’s, still a relatively young man. He had planned on spending the rest of his life with her. But it was not to be. Grieving, William sent his two children, Pearl and William, to live with his brother near Charlotte, Iowa. He …

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Edward Graham’s Legacy: The Forgotten DeWitt Courthouse of 1854

   In 1853, Edward Graham was made the County Judge of Clinton County, Iowa, when his predecessor unexpectedly vacated the position. While the new promotion may have come as a surprise, he was more than up to the task.    Born in Pennsylvania, he decided to become a lawyer. Seven years later, he and his …

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The Marble Woman: Thoughts of Henry Reese in Adams County

If you ever happen to be driving along Highway 34 through Adams County, Iowa, you’ll eventually pass a cemetery along the right-hand side of the road. While mostly unobtrusive, there is one stone that definitely stands out. Standing nearly ten feet tall, it’s an elaborate monument, topped by a beautiful woman carved from marble. She’s …

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Bandits in the Blizzard: The Schroeder Brother’s Crime Spree of 1937

Paul Schroeder was running through the repair shop, trying his best to avoid the hail of bullets flying his direction. He fired back blindly, trying to make the cops stop shooting long enough so he could get to his car. To be fair, it wasn’t his car. He and his brother, Everett, had stolen it. …

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Justice on the Prairie: Farmers Break a Horse Thieving Ring in Clinton County, Iowa

   From his home in Elvira, Iowa, Captain Robert Lyons surveyed his property with his mariner’s telescope. A relic from his 18 years as a sailor and sea captain, Lyons still liked to use it on occasion, and what he saw on that day in 1851 surprised him.      There, in one of his …

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Deadly Lessons: The Logan, Iowa Hammer Murders of 1933

William Kelly was a large man, 6’2″, with hard muscles built from a lifetime of farm work. But still, he sat humbly and quietly. Across from him sat his mother, Myrtle Kelly, who was fervently asking why he had committed the deed that had put him here, in the Harrison County, Iowa jail. He explained …

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