Growing Up in Madison County, Iowa: Harley

Harley's father, Charles Robert Garrett, had moved to Iowa in 1856 when he was 14-years-old. He resided in Clarke Co., Iowa, and, except for several stints in the Union Army during the Civil War, was a farmer in Clarke Co. until he moved his family to Macksburg, Madison Co., Iowa, in about 1893. At that time he had apparently stopped farming, opened a butcher shop, and began peddling meat around the countryside from a spring wagon. At some point, Charles operated a mill southwest of Macksburg called the Griswold mill.

When Harley moved to Macksburg, the town had only been in existence for about 17 years. It was named after Dr. Joseph Hughes Mack, a physician, who was one of the original owners of the town site. In the History of Madison County published in 1915, Macksburg is thus described, "This little trading point is about eighteen miles southwest of Winterset, and is on the divide constituting a water shed between the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers." Its population in 1890 was 186, 235 in 1900, and 197 in 1910. The town must have been an 'island community' as it apparently did not have a railroad until 1912, and that railroad only ran between Creston and Macksburg.

Harley's Children's Tool Chest Ruler says 'Hood's Sarsaparilla'

Harley's Children's Tool Chest
Ruler says 'Hood's Sarsaparilla'

1900 United States Federal Census, Macksburg,
Grand River Township, Madison County, Iowa:
Last name:    First name:    Relation:    DOB:          Age:
Garrett Robert C Head 8/1842 57
Catharine (sic) Wife 6/1846 53
Charley F. Son 9/1886 13
Horley U. (sic) Son 9/1892 7

Presumably Harley attended grade school in Macksburg as well as high school. There is no record of his academic achievements or if any sports were played. Without a train, one can imagine that travel involved riding in a horse-drawn wagon or carriage. It seems unlikely that Harley's father would have ever had a car. Perhaps Harley had a horse, but living in a small town there probably was not much need to have one. Maybe he had a bicycle.

© 2018