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Memories of Fraser
Fraser, as I was reading about it 1/19/02, brought back many memories of being part of that history for 20 yrs of my life. My family lived there during the power plant era, & the great flood in 1954, when the bridge was washed out, so they placed a "swinging" walking bridge across, so the people could get into Boone, to work, shop, etc. We all went to school, in the (2) room schoolhouse, (now the town hall), up to the 8th grade, then on to high school in another town. One thing we all had to learn before leaving this school was multiplications so we all had to say them thru the 12's in 5 min or less. Nayse Daughtery (our teacher) believed that no person could survive life without knowing how to read, write, and work with numbers, now all these years later, I know she was right in her beliefs, sorry when she passed away. We need more teachers like her today.
Life in Fraser was never easy, and back then, most people who live there tried not to tell anyone their home address, now we are trying to preserve it, this is great. John/May Tuttle lived across the road from us (as Lori France) made reference to 22 Oct 2000. His wife May had horrible leg troubles, and she always would tell us that she "needed to take her legs to town", which always entertained the neighbors, very nice people.
Submitted by Gloria (Elsberry) Stiles
The clipping reads:
"To Be Or Not to Be" Is Question Facing Fraser
A picture is then posted of the town hall in Fraser
Under the picture, the caption reads: "This is the town hall at Fraser, Ia., where the community's 70-odd voters will go Monday to vote to decide whether or not the corporate town of Fraser should be dissolved. There is a barber shop in the building. By Neal Ashby. (Register Staff Writer.)
The text of the article then begins:
FRASER, IA.--Down in a sunken valley beneath the looping hills of Boone county the townspeople of Fraser are preparing to settle a question of the utmost importance to them. In addition to casting ballots for their mayor and their five councilmen Monday, they will decide whether the corporate town of Fraser is to be dissolved.
Favor of Keeping Town.
And if the sentiments of the mayor, the councilmen and some 25 of the citizens interviewed last week are a criterion, there will always be a town of Fraser-----or at least so long as its present residents continue to live. In the words of Tommy Ingalls, owner and operator of Tom's Tavern: "Wouldn't it be a fine thing for our boys in the Army to come home and find their home town no longer a town?" There was hearty agreement from the men found at the roundtable in the corner of the tavern and from the two playing billiards at the table nearby. It is here the menfolk gather for a time after their days work is done.
There was no one to speak for those in service, but the proud record of the names of 40 Fraser youths who now are fighting men rests high on the wall in the general store. Over at the general store across the road from the tavern the feeling was the same. "It will never pass," one woman said, "I don't know of hardly anyone who's for it." The men tilted against the counters nodded affirmatively. The question was, "How did the idea of disbanding the town ever come to a vote?" This soon was learned.
John Tuttle, long a Fraser citizen, had circulated a petition to bring the question to a vote about a year ago. He needed the signatures of 25 per cent of the voters. He got 24 signers and it was enough. Stray Cows. Tuttle's view is this: He objects to the fact the cows belonging to the people of Fraser are allowed to roam and graze the town at whim. "They trample the Victory gardens," Tuttle said, " generally their absolute freedom is not a good thing for the town." Since the town's administrations never have taken action to prohibit the wandering of the cattle Tuttle believes it best to dissolve the town so that the area will come under county control.. This accomplished, he believes county authorities will order the cattle confined. Tuttle further points out, " the amount paid in taxes is not enough to pay the salary of a marshal, who could maintain order." And he thinks the proposal he's sponsoring has a good chance of carrying. Mayor Earl ( Tubby ) Witcraft, a crane operator at the Fort Dodge, Des Moines & Southern railroad power plant, north of Fraser had the following rebuttal to Tuttle's arguments : "The cattle always have been permitted to run loose in Fraser." In time of peace there is no work in the summer for the men of the town who work in the two neighboring coal mines. "If those men can let their cattle graze in the town, the milk and butter they get, along with little bread, will keep their families alive during the off season."
Beside the tavern, the general store and the town hall----which has a barber shop in the front room there aren't many other buildings in Fraser aside from private homes. There are the schoolhouse and the Primitive Methodist church by the roadside. Church services are held on Sunday afternoons because the Rev.W.C. Tyrrell preaches in Boone on Sunday mornings, then journeys over to Fraser. There was a time, maybe 30 years ago and before the coal mines around the town were worked out, that Fraser had a population of 1,800. "Jack" May remembers that. He was Mayor then. Then there were hotels and restaurants and a hardware store and many more taverns. But the mines nearly are gone and the citizens have gone with them, though the population has remained quite stable for the last 20 years. Nobody knows just what Fraser's population is. Maybe 150, or 200. Mayor Witcraft believes the number of voters to be right around 70. Even if there are no sidewalks, and the buildings aren't painted, and the homes are sprinkled about instead of spaced in rows as they once were , the people of Fraser seem to like their town just that way.
Submitted by Lori Sandahl France
22 October 2000
This page is for perpetual written accounts of historical events that have occurred in the city. Anyone who feels they have pertinent information may submit it. This includes all people in or out of Fraser and could involve any interested adults or children with events or items that are of interest. Items may be submitted for publication on this page where they will remain as part of a historical archive for the city. Items of interest may include noteworthy events, special events of historical importance, information about area growth that pertains to the history of the city, and other pertinent notes. We hope to establish a large data base of information about the history of each city. Historical Societies are encouraged to open their own page on Key to the City for more extensive historical information.
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