Kenneth: Growing Up in Saint Charles, Iowa

Kenneth grew up in Saint Charles, Madison Co., Iowa, a town that was originally platted in 1852 and named after St. Charles, Missouri. The town lies about 10 miles east of Winterset and just west oflnterstate 3 5. In 1910 the year before Kenneth was born, the population was 399, and 20 years later and 2 years after he had graduated from the local high school, the population was listed in the federal census as 400.

1920 United States Federal Census, St. Charles, Madison Co., Iowa:
Last name:    First name:    Relation:    Age: Sex:
Garrett Harley Head 27 M
Floye Wife 23 F
Kenneth Son 8 M
Doyl Son 3 M
Nadine Daughter 2 F

As far as it can be determined, Kenneth always attended school in St. Charles as his parents lived there throughout his childhood. His boyhood home is about two blocks of the main street and faces a park. One can imagine that he did the usual things that a child of his age would do. He appears to have been a rather average student in elementary and junior high school as the following scholastic record shows:

Elementary School Records
School Year Grade     Days Present Conduct               Scholarship Teacher
1916-17 P 164 None Recorded None Recorded C. Carol Dodds
1917-18 2 142 1/2 C C Orma Howard
1918-19 3 170 A B Mabel Sayre
1919-20 4 171 B C Mary Arnold
1920-21 Missing Missing Missing Missing Missing
1921-22 6 175 1/2 C C Ruth Gray
1922-23 7 158 1/2 B B Raymond Byers
1923-24 8 176 B Missing Raymond Byers

Class pictures with Kenneth from the combined 5th and 6th grades and ih and 8th grades survive showing him to be neatly dressed and shorter than other boys. In another undated group picture, he is the only boy wearing a coat and tie. In these pictures his hair is clearly parted on the right side of his head and does not have any waves in it. I think he has a rather impish or mischievous look about him in these pictures as his face seems fuller or more rounded than the faces of his classmates.

St. Charles School, 5th and 6th Grades, 1921-1922 Kenneth is front row standing, 3rd from the left. Kenneth would have been in the 6th grade.

St. Charles School, 5th and 6th Grades, 1921-1922
Kenneth is front row standing, 3rd from the left. Kenneth would have been in the 6th grade.

St. Charles School, 7th 8th Grade: '192"2-l923. Kenneth in middle row, shortest boy in the middle of the row.

St. Charles School, 7th 8th Grade: '192"2-l923.
Kenneth in middle row, shortest boy in the middle of the row.

St. Charles Elementary School, Unknown grade Kenneth is far left, second row from bottom.

St. Charles Elementary School, Unknown grade
Kenneth is far left, second row from bottom.

Pets included dogs and cats. Dogs' names that survive include: Muggins and Ford. A family cat was named J. Guzzlem. There was also a cement fishpond next to the house in St. Charles that had to be emptied of water and fish before winter.

Kenneth kept a photograph album that shows photos of him and his friends in various poses and different scenes. I can imagine that the camera was his and that he developed his own pictures in someone's attic. His pictures show farm fields, cemeteries, water towers, steam locomotives, Clanton Creek, Mt. Johnston, cattle, a dredge, and scout camp in 1926. Pictures sometimes show the boys goofing off or pulling stunts and sometimes posing for group pictures.

Friends identified in the photo album include Bruce Winters, Harold Arnold, Chick A., Chick L., Sam and Eugene C Coltrane, Glen, Floyd, Loyd (probably Murphy), Dale, Andy, Bum, Lynch and Jack.

Bruce Winters (1906-1984) and Loyd Murphy (1910-1962) were high school classmates of Kenneth's. Bruce's mother was a frequent caller at Floye's house. Harold Arnold
(1909-1994) was in the class of 1927 and was someone with whom Kenneth remained in contact through the years. Our families would infrequently meet, occasionally in Atlantic, Iowa, where Harold lived. Jack may have been Jack Sayre (1912-1978), son of Dr. I. K. and Jennie Sayre. I. K. was the town doctor and Jack's parents were very close friends with Harley and Floye. Samuel R.* ( 1914-1944) and M. Eugene (1911-1997) Coltrane were minister's sons. The rest are not further identified.

There are several pictures of young women in the album but not all are identified. One that is identified is a Frances Turpin of Lamar, Colorado. Frances was born in 1912 in Colorado. Her family may have been an acquainted with Floye when Floye lived in Lamar, Colorado, for a time as a child as documented in the 1900 US Federal Census.

Kenneth was involved in at least some athletic activities in St. Charles like the 1925-26 basketball team. There are several pictures of the team in the album.

His pictures show him to be of average height. His hair is combed straight back and has not yet developed any curl to it.

*Sam appears to have been killed on December 18th, 1944, two days after the start of the Battle of the Bulge. He is buried in an American cemetery in Liege, Belgium.

 

Previous

Next