Everyone has a story to share
By Ruby McFarland
I always enjoy company at the Dayton Museum, especially meeting people who like to tell a story. Just recently a nice older lady and her husband came in and sat down for a chat.
Their last name is Schnoebelen – say that three times fast. Her first name is Jeanne and her husband is Glen. They have been married well past 50 years.
Jeanne wanted to tell me about where she was born, and that her father worked on the Lincoln Highway. It was the coast-to-coast highway built in the early 1900s.
Both Schnoebelens do a lot for their community, and volunteer for the Carson City Sheriff’s Department.
Well, Jeanne Niclaysen Schnoebelen was born in Mechanicsville, Iowa, about 82 years ago. Mechanicsville’s claim to fame is that it’s the pork center of the world.
It’s on the historical Lincoln Highway and the Chicago Northwestern Railroad. Her great-great-grandfather, as the story goes, might have been the original Uncle Sam! He worked for the government and was an inspector in a meat packing house. His name was Sam Wilson. It was his job to inspect and stamp meat with U.S.
His coworkers began calling him Uncle Sam – according to Jeanne and Glen, that’s how Uncle Sam originated.
Jeanne’s father worked on the Lincoln Highway as a curb bender. Anyone who has traveled Midwestern highways might remember curbs installed on either side of the major roadways. I always thought it odd and didn’t know the curbs’ purpose.
Mechanicsville is 22 miles east of Cedar Rapids. Back in 1924, the population was 875. There were two hotels, two garages, two banks, 25 businesses, two telephone companies and one newspaper – the speed limit was 15 mph.
The Lincoln Highway’s consul was E.B. Sperry who owned Sperry’s Drug Co.
Here’s more about Jeanne: When she finished high school, she joined the Navy during WWII, being proud to be a Wave – she still is.
Jeanne was a yeoman and worked in a steno pool in Washington D.C. She met many important and interesting people.
I’m sure she had a good time because she is a very outgoing person to this day. She also has kept many photos of her activities.
Jeanne and Glen have two grown children who live in California, along with five grandchildren. They are both a pleasure to talk to and have much history to tell.
We all have a story, be it good or bad; nonetheless important. These stories make up this country’s history. Keep them alive!
The Dayton Museum is located on Shady Lane and Logan in Old Town Dayton. It’s also the location of the Dayton Chamber office. It is open during the week upon request and 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturdays and 1-4 p.m. Sundays. Check out the Web site: daytonnvhistory.org. Group tours are available. Call 246-5543, 246-0462 or 246-0441.
The Historical Society of Dayton Valley meets at noon on the third Wednesday of the month at the Dayton Valley Community Center. Visitors welcome.
• Ruby McFarland is a 17-year resident of Dayton, a board member of the Dayton Historical Society and a docent at the museum.