Editors Note: Jennifer Heartley is a Moulton-Udell graduate who is currently studying journalism at Drake University. She submitted the following for publication to the Daily Iowegian. It will be ran as a multi-part series on the People Page. This is Part 3.
An Investigative Story
The serene, white bricks in the wall opened the space like a sky full of clouds. The room smelled like fresh linens. The ceiling was low as were those of most buildings in town, yet high enough that the people didn’t feel closed in.
A Moulton-Udell student sat at a computer working on a research assignment for school with her grandmother peering over her shoulder. The librarian sat behind the desk checking things at her computer. A sculpted statue of the 16th president of the United States blended in with the walls behind it.
While sitting at the library researching the archives, I found old archives about the library itself. The documents were almost like a flashback from a local that lived during that time. The Moulton Archives had many pictures of the groundbreaking and memorable things in the library. I took pictures of the images in the archives, then walked around the library and took pictures of the same things in present day. One of these items was a very interesting statue of Abraham Lincoln that has been in the library ever since I can remember. I never knew why it was there, though. I was one of those kids that was always curious and constantly asked those impossible-to-answer questions. I remember asking my mother, because when you were five, mothers knew everything, when I was younger: why it was there, where did it come from, did someone make it or did it come from a building (factory/company). I don’t remember what the exact answer was that I got, but I remember her giving me an answer that she thought might be possible (she wasn’t for sure). When I saw a picture of it in the archives, there was a little information about a 17-year-old girl that sculpted it. When I took a current picture of it in the library, I noticed a little plaque sitting on the base. I read it and found out a little more about it, but not much. None-the-less I kicked myself for never noticing that plaque before. Nellie V. Walker, a 17-year-old girl of Moulton, without ever seeing any kind of statues, having any instruction or assistance, or having a model, she cut and engraved the stone. She finished in 28 days, working from Aug. 3 to Aug. 27, 1802.
Another photograph in the book showed a plaque with the inscription:
Garrett Memorial Library
In Memory Of
Wilbur F. and Jennie M.
John M. Garrett
Mrs. Hugh Wood, Sr.
Mr. A. S. Hill
Mrs. Cliff Cosby
Mrs. Wayne Bassett
Mr. J. M. Garrett
Federal Library Grant of 1968
The style of this plaque looked very familiar. I walked around the library and found it just inside the first entrance. It was like being pulled back in time. Garrett Memorial Library in memory of Wilbur and Jennie Garrett (early residents of Moulton) was founded by John Garrett on May 30, 1969.
According to Moulton archives, “Cong. John Kyle was present to deliver the afternoon’s address at the open house. After a short program, John Garrett presented the keys of the library to Mrs. Hugh Wood, chairman of the library’s board of trustees.”
There was a photograph of the board of trustees sitting in the chairs in front of the fireplace inside the library. The chairs were different in the photograph than in person, but I remembered the other chairs being there. They were older, and square in shape. They were a dull yellow color. I remember each year a Santa Claus sitting in those chairs handing us children a brown paper bag with goodies. The current chairs are a dark red with gold buttons in the seat, looking almost like royal thrones. These chairs are so familiar to me now that I don’t even remember when they were changed. But I do remember that the older chairs were used in the aisles of the books shelves for a while before they completely disappeared; before they were gone just like one more piece of history forgotten in a little “unknown” town.
Our black 4x4 pick-up drives into town passing the Daniels’ Station, the trailer park, the abandoned brown house with a sunroom, and Dave Edwards’ barber shop. We come up on an orange net hanging on the back of the Davis County U.S. Bank stage, and we have to take a detour around some Moulton homes on bumpy streets. Moulton is actually in Appanoose County, but has borrowed the Davis County’s fair stage for Jamboree for many years. Pick-ups all over town are parking along side roads or in the alleys behind local businesses. It’s still early so the rides are going, but not many kids are making sounds of fun and joy. The armbands don’t start until 7 p.m. The stage is empty at the moment, but will soon have people milling around setting up equipment, lining up props, and checking the speakers and the sound system. I have helped Gary Harris, the current Moulton town mayor, with arranging the music for the Prince and Princess contest since around fourth or fifth grade. It’s always on the first night of Jamboree, Thursday. This year was the first year that I wasn’t able to help.
Many of the Moulton-Udell students would consider Jamboree a long-time honored tradition. However, many of them probably have no idea how long or what Jamboree used to include. There used to be sheep shearing contests and dog sheep trials. Jamboree parades have always included the schools. There used to be as many as 15 rural schools involved in the parade. Current day, the only other schools in the parade beside our own are just the bands. No other schools do floats. The Jamboree parade always passes Pulliam Park, where the judges sit in the band stand along with the emcee. George Pulliam’s wife thought Moulton should have a park and wanted to name it after her late husband who died in 1921. At first, there were arguments and opposition, but eventually she got her way and the park became a reality according to Moulton archives. Udell used to be its own school; Udell sixth grade won first place of the floats in the Elementary division of the Jamboree parade. Udell now combines with our school, and a Moulton bus goes to Udell to pick the children up. There also used to be a contest for boys to capture a greased pig. There was a picture of Jerry Daniels, now the bus maintenance man for M-U school, as a young boy with his captured greased pig in Moulton the archives. Other celebrations that are now a part of the past include Pioneer Picnic, and 4th of July parade.
Look for Part 4 soon, in which the author looks at how the town has changed and what the future might hold.