1912-1946: Harley and Floye

After their marriage, Harley resumed his studies at the veterinary college as he graduated in the allotted three years on April 9, 1914, along with about 120 others. It is unknown where his wife and now nearly three year-old son resided during his training and whether they attended his graduation ceremony. It is speculated that mother and son lived in Macksburg with her maternal grandmother Delvina Jessup and made the occasional trip to Kansas City to see Harley.

Doyle E. Garrett wrote, "One Christmas when Dad was in college, Mom and Kenny were with him in Kansas City. They were broke; Dad had less than a dollar. They spent ten cents to buy Kenny a little toy car and each had a nickel bowl of soup. It was the end of a semester and the tuition was due. Dad said: 'Someday I'm going to drive a Buick down this street.' He bought a Buick in 1930, the pride of his life. He never took it to Kansas City, and two years later I rolled it over on the way from a movie picture show on Sunday night. Many people said it was God's punishment for going to a movie on Sunday. Dad had it repaired in Des Moines. When it was finished, Dad had me go with him to pick it up. Dad drove the Buick, and I followed in the Ford when we reached the spot where I rolled the Buick. Dad stopped and said, 'Well, you drove it this far, let's see if you can make it the rest of the way.' We switched cars. It was then and there that I realized that my Dad was on my side, and it gave the love and respect I still have for him to this day.  He sold the Buick in 1935, and the buyer cut off the back end and made it into a truck. End of a dream!"

Kansas City Veterinary College

The Kansas City Veterinary College was founded in 1891 at the Schutte Building on Grand A venue, moving to 310 East 12th Street the next year, and in 1896 to 1404 Holmes Street with an annex at 1330-1336 15th Street and Lydia Avenue. At the time it was referred to as the "largest institution of its kind in America and the fourth largest in the world."

Graduates of the college received a degree in Veterinary Medicine (DVM). It appears that the curriculum initially concentrated on horses, and a number of graduates were part of the military whose modes of transportation and freighting involved large numbers of horses and mules. Later, the college began to pay more attention to other large farm animals, such as cows, pigs, sheep, etc.

The veterinary college also engaged in athletics as documented in the published quarterly bulletins from the college. Sports included football, wrestling, boxing, indoor track and basketball apparently under the guidance of the local YMCA. At least football and basketball played competitively against other local teams. Additionally, there was a college band that was described as "one of the features of all the college social gatherings." A glee club was also mentioned. Harley was not listed as a participant in the quarterly newsletters of the college that were reviewed from 1912-1914.

The college closed in 1918. The building at the northwest corner of Lydia Avenue was then used by the Interstate Casket Company in the 1930s. The structure burned in June 1956 and was razed.

Harley U. Garrett-1914 Veterinary College Graduation

Harley U. Garrett-1914
Veterinary College Graduation

Saint Charles, Madison Co., Iowa

It is not known when Harley and Floye moved to Saint Charles, but Floye is listed as living in St. Charles in 1915 according to the Iowa census, and Harley lists St. Charles as his home of record on his draft registration card in 191 7. Harley and Flo ye remained in St. Charles at 113 N. Cross even after his retirement from veterinary practice in 1946.


Doyle E. Garrett remembered, "Dad started his practice in St. Charles because a man (Alec Johnson) from St. Charles came down to school and talked Dad into setting up practice there because they needed a Vet and it was close to Macksburg. The rest is history!"

Another son Doyle Emerson Garrett was born on May 11 , 1916 in St. Charles, followed by their only daughter Doris Nadine on September 18, 1917.

Kenneth Lester married Marian Elizabeth Kreie, the daughter of William Charles and Elida Christina Hollander Kreie, on 4 September 1939 in Winterset, Iowa. They had two children, Kenneth L (MIO) and Craig Roger. Kenneth died on 8 June 1982 in Rochester, Minnesota, as a result of a pulmonary embolism.

Doyle married Jeanne Frances Ladish on 1 February 1942, in Glendale, California. Jeanne's parents were Adrian Prudhomme Ladish and Edith Hadassah Turner. Their children were Judith Ann, David Emerson, and Dennis Charles. Doyle died on Sunday, 9 September 2001, at his home in Huntington Beach, California, having removed himself from dialysis for chronic renal failure.

Nadine married George Charles Kunz on 1 June 1940 in St. Charles, Madison Co., Iowa. George was the son of Arnold and Freda Pflueger Kunz. They adopted two children, Barbara Ann and Richard Arnold. Nadine died on 14 December 1999 in Sun City, Arizona, from complications of Alzheimer's disease.

As far as it is known, Harley did not participate in World War I, though he had completed draft registration as previously noted. During World War I, there was still a heavy reliance on horses and mules, and so veterinarians would have been in great demand. Harley's registration card listed him as being tall having a slender build, brown eyes, and dark brown hair.

The house in which Harley and Floye lived in for 32 years while raising a family in St. Charles still stands just to the east of the city park. There was a cement fishpond just to the right of the house, though it was later filled in. A cellar was located at the rear of the house. Apparently Harley had made a stone and cement American flag that still remains embedded in the ground. My brother Kenneth recalled seeing it there during his visits to his grandparents.

1920 United States Federal Census, St. Charles, South Twp,
Madison Co., Iowa:
Last name:    First name:    Relation:    Age: Sex: Born:
Garrett Harley U. Head 27 M Iowa
Floye Wife 23 F Iowa
Kenneth Son 8 M Iowa
Doyle Sone 3 M Iowa
Nadine Daughter 2 F Iowa
1930 United States Federal Census, St. Charles, South Twp,
Madison Co., Iowa:
Last name:    First name:    Relation:    Age: Sex: Born:
Garrett Harley U. Head 37 M Iowa
Floye Wife 37 F Iowa
Kenneth Son 18 M Iowa
Doyle Sone 13 M Iowa
Nadine Daughter 12 F Iowa
1940 United States Federal Census:
Last name:    First name:    Relation:    Age: Sex: Born:
Unable to find
Harley and Floye's children and their spouses L-R: Jeanne and Doyle Garrett, Marian and Kenneth Garrett, Nadine and George Kunz, undated photo.

Harley and Floye's children and their spouses
L-R: Jeanne and Doyle Garrett, Marian and Kenneth Garrett, Nadine and George Kunz,
undated photo.

Harley seems to have made a comfortable living as a veterinarian in St. Charles. He treated large farm animals, and a sampling of Floye's diaries note that he was frequently called at night to come to a farm for some problem. Her diaries also record that he had a number of cars, but she would only refer to them as the V-8. I think to her that represented a certain status. The diaries also mention help coming into the home for various domestic duties.

Floye was an avid churchgoer and Sunday school teacher. As she had when she was much younger, she contributed frequently to the local papers, recording their trips around the country or just her local observations.

The following material was copied from a handwritten script found in Floye's 1939 diary. It is thought to be a rough draft of a response to an observation by Pearl S. Buck. Whether Floye ever sent in her letter or if it was published is unknown.

In Pearl Buck's wholesale criticism of American women, I wonder if she could be like one of those blind men who went to "see" the elephant.
Perhaps there are many who fit her description, but I don't believe it holds true of the great majority, especially those living in the great middle west. I speak as one having had the experience of raising her family and being left with just her home and husband to pamper.
There is a great difference between keeping house and homemaking. The latter is a career far more demanding of our talents and energy than one which necessitates punching a time clock. We who rear our families to useful womanhood and manhood take pride in them and in our privileges which are so roundly denounced.
A life of idleness? Where in America did Pearl Buck get that idea? Surely not from those who do their own housework, laundry, canning and care and training of their children.
After our families are gone, there is always welfare work both along religious and social lines even in small communities which we enter enthusiastically. After all we are 'our brother's keeper." We find our lives still crowded with good and beautiful things.
I would advise Pear Buck to investigate further, seek those who enjoy and appreciate their noble calling. We are not hard to find. Surely only a misanthrope could call us a race of parasites.

Harley and Floye were involved in the local activities of St. Charles. Harley was a member of the local Lion's Club. An official program from June/July 1926 documents the St. Charles community home talent Chautauqua. This was put on by the St. Charles community boosters. The executive committee for the boosters included H. U. Garrett, Loy Downs, and I. K. Sayre. Cost for an adult to attend one day was $.40 while a pass to all 4 days of the event was $1.

Harley and Floye Garrett Undated photo

Harley and Floye Garrett
Undated photo

Harley and I. K. Sayre were speakers at Decoration Day at St. Charles in 1936, while Floye was on the executive committee organizing the day's activities. I. K. Sayre and wife Jennie were close friends in St. Charles. I. K. was a surgical doctor and was called by his initials instead of his first name Ivan.

Harley and Floye were at least attenders if not active participants of the St. Charles Old Settlers' Days. The year 2014 marked the 128th annual event. At the time of this writing, there were 422 'likes' on the Facebook page for the event, possibly indicating its size. When Harley and Floye had moved to St. Charles in 1915, there had already been 29 events, and only a little over 60 years since the area began to be actively populated with white settlers. Harley and Floye had a collection of commemorative buttons of which seventeen remain. Most buttons featured a picture of an 'old settler.' Six of the oldest buttons are undated. The oldest dated button is from 1915, but does not have a picture on it and merely states, "Annual Reunion/Old Settlers Association/of Madison and Warren Counties/St. Charles, Iowa/ August 11, 1915." The last six of the buttons in their collection again have pictures and begin in 1957, ending in 1963. The button for 1960 commemorated H. U. Garrett, DVM, 1892-1957.

Old Settlers Buttons Harley Garrett is second from right on bottom row

Old Settlers Buttons
Harley Garrett is second from right on bottom row

The following reminiscences were written by Chester Lawrence Smith, the son of Hallie Beard Smith, Floye's sister:

"Our Aunt Floye, mother's older sister, lived in St. Charles, Iowa, where there were no dog licenses required. Her dog, Mootz, was a Toy Boston Bull Terrier who also was attired in a small harness. Aunt Floye would send $1.00 to have mother get her an Escondido dog tag. This nonsense went on as long as Mootzie lived. Mr. Christofferson, the animal control officer, went along with the gag, only Mootzie's tag did not have a number.

"We made a trip to Iowa in 1936, via Santa Fe, Rock Island and the Burlington Routes ... the rest of the trip to St. Charles, Iowa, was on a combination coach, freight and mail car the railroad euphemistically called a 'Motor Coach'. These contraptions were powered by a diesel engine somewhere in their bowels. The natives gave it a rather undignified naine, 'Galloping Goose.' They could be lashed together in short trains of two to four, but usually each sailed along all by itself. We more or less made St. Charles the headquarters with our Aunt Floye and her husband, Harley. Harley was a veterinarian specializing in farm stock.

"While on that visit to Iowa in 1936, Uncle Harley announced one evening that he was going to change his middle name to Ollie. Mother asked him why and he said it was for professional reasons. His initials spelled 'Hug' , but he thought 'Hog' would be better for business. In later years he was advised by his medical advisor (MD-type) to stop spending so much time in cold barns with ailing cows-or-else. Mother suggested that he might hang out a shingle and have the people bring the animals to him. He said, "I want nothing to do with that damned pet trade. You have to spend too much time figuring what is wrong with the owners before you can treat the animals." He technically retired and before he drove everyone in sight crazy a friend of his in the legislature asked him if he would consider an appointment as State Veterinarian if nominated. He got the appointment.

"The last time we saw him was in 1955 while on our way to Massachusetts. At that time he had several counties quarantined for a pig disease. No one could ship a pig in or out of these areas. The problem was a virus disease, traced to scraps from the Union Pacific Railroad and to insufficient cooking of the garbage. It made the pigs quite sick, but the key was that the virus was communicable to man. Once a pig reaches about 250 lbs, it goes to market. Pigs over that magic weight fetch less per pound so the feed is a dead loss. What worried him most was the ability of viruses to mutate. This bug caused a low fever and general ratty feeling for a few days in humans, but a mutated version could become a major epidemic."

Floye kept several souvenirs documenting some of their trips. Included among them were a program of Cheyenne Frontier Days in July 1928, official pictures of the 1933-1934 Chicago Century of Progress Exposition, and the official score book from Comiskey Park in Chicago for the 193 8 baseball season. She wrote the date of 21 May, 1938, on the program. The Sox were playing the New York Yankees, whose roster included Crosetti, Di Maggio, and Gehrig among others. The final score was not mentioned.

In 1935 Floye began keeping a diary of the daily events in her life. It is possible that she began keeping a diary earlier than that, but none remain. Why she began to keep a diary at that point in her life is also speculative. Her youngest child was then 18 years of age and presumably graduating from high school. Her initial entry into the diary was written on Tuesday, January 1, 1935.

Harley, Nadine and I watched the old year out at Sayre's (I.K. and Jennie). Jimmie Anderson and Wilma and Loren Sayre completed the party. Nadine and Doyle slept all morning. Arletha (?) ironed this afternoon. Kenneth was at home and read, as the store (Easter's grocery store in St. Charles) closed at noon. Quite cold but a pretty sunshiny day. Snow is still on the ground from Thanksgiving. (She closed with a Bible quote) "Thou crownest the year with thy goodness."

A letter to Floye in November 1938 from the Junior Vice Commander-in-Chief, Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil war called her the President of the Tent of Union Daughters. Floye was asked to provide information on the activity of the local camp of the Sons of Union Veterans. There is no documentation of her reply.

Perhaps while living in St. Charles, Floye was found to have colorectal cancer in the 1940s and had some rough times because of it. She had a colostomy, though I did not know about it until the last years of her life. She spoke of having the "whammy" from time to time, and I suppose that meant she was having abdominal pain.

Harley was a past president of the Central Iowa Veterinary association and a member of the Iowa Veterinary Medical Association, the American Veterinary Medical Association, and the United States Livestock Sanitary Association of which he was a past vice president. He was also a member of the national board of veterinary examiners and the national research council of the U. S. Department of Agriculture. He served as a director of the Farmers and Merchants State Bank of Winterset, Iowa.

Harley sold his veterinary practice and equipment to Dr. Charles Miller, a graduate of the School of Veterinary Medicine of Washington State College in about 1946. Dr. Miller had been a veterinary inspector during World War II.

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