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Photo of the Month
February 2018
See Previous Photos     Unknown Faces and Places


Solomon "Sollie" and Elizabeth (Troutman) Sturtz, natives of Somerset County, PA, were pioneer settlers of Ohio, and Indiana before settling for good on a farm in Greene, Butler County, Iowa. The parents of nine children, they lost a son and several nephews during the Civil War. This image likely dates to the late 1890s or early 1900s.

A local newspaper, the Greene (IA) Reporter, once said that the quality of Solomon's farm was "among the best in the county, having a fine residence, 18 by 30, two stories high, and the largest barn in the county, it being 40 by 65, with all improvements in arrangement of the modern 'bank barn'... He was at one time the sole possessor of a single-roofed house in the township." The story also documented how Solomon and other pioneers "experienced some hardships as hauling grain in Cedar Rapids and Independence and made one trip to Dubuque for goods. There was plenty of deer in those early days and he made it a point to have his share of the shy, but out-witted, creatures. The wily wild turkey was overtaken by the swift bullet guided by an unerring aim."

Solomon and Elizabeth were charter members of the Presbyterian Church of Coldwater, founded in 1863. A journalist with the Reporter once noted how "well do we remember as a child watching that stern face of Mr. Sturtz as he sat attentive and almost unmovable in his pew at regular services. Here we might mention that one of the early ministers who 'watched over that flock' was one Elder James, a sort of circuit rider, we presume, but he preached there, led the song service, and otherwise conducted the affairs of christian supplications. His song for opening the services was usually 'Pull for the Shore Sailor, Pull for the shore,' and 'Lead Kindly Light' was the other."

At Solomon's death in 1907, the Recorder said that "the town of Greene and Butler county lost one of her oldest men and one of her best citizens... His memory was clear until the last few weeks and he delighted to tell the story of his life in the early days of Butler county. His many friends marveled at the patience with which he bore the last sufferings and the release that came to him was not unwelcome. He was honest in business, kind to his friends, faithful in service and has a place in the hearts and minds of a large circle of acquaintances." More>>>


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