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Pilgrim Chapter NSDAR
Iowa City, Iowa

Serving our Community since 1898

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Honoring Pilgrim Chapter NSDAR Charter Members

Charter Granted February 19, 1898

Dr. Ida Holson Bailey Eleanor Startsman Biggs Adella Shrader Carder
Elizabeth Gardiner Cox Ella Lyon Hill Ella Frances Johnson
Dr. Leora Johnson Ella Jayne Lindsay Martha A. Marshall
Kate Shrader Palmer Dr. Alliene Holson Seifert Fannie Fracker Startsman
  Winifred Startsman  
To read more about our charter members' lives and times click on each name.
Find out about Pilgrim Chapter NSDAR's Real Daughter.

Fannie Fracker Startsman and her husband, Oliver Startsman, were the parents of Eleanor Startsman Biggs and Winifred Startsman. Oliver Startsman came to Iowa City in May of 1854 and established a silver smithing and jewelry store at 109 E. Washington Street. It is now continued at the same location as Hands Jewelers store. A curious sentence in the Johnson County History (1882) says that Oliver Startsman "...is the only business man in Iowa City that has been in business as long as he has that has not changed his business." Oliver and Fannie were married on May 30, 1862, and lived at 110 E. Bloomington Street. Fannie's father, George Fracker, and her mother, Fannie (Richardson) Fracker, were also widely known in town. Born in Boston in 1795, George Fracker shipped out on a sailing vessel bound for South America when he was 21 years old. His ship was wrecked on a desert island and he lay for days in the tangled wreckage with a broken leg and severe cuts and bruises. A passing family rescued him, and with much kindness, nursed him back to health. After teaching school in Boston and Ohio, the Frackers came to Iowa City in 1856. They had 11 children. Following her husband's death in 1889, Fannie (Richardson) Fracker continued to live in their home at 24 E. Burlington. The Johnson County History spoke of Fannie as "someone for years all our citizens have known." The Startsmans had two sons and another daughter in addition to Eleanor and Winifred. No further record of Minnie (the third daughter) seems to be available. Harry F. Startsman became a traveling salesman, perhaps for his father's business. Charles W. received a B.S. degree from the University of Iowa in 1899. Fannie (Fracker) Startsman died on June 7, 1905. The DAR applications of Fannie Startsman and her daughters were approved on October 7, 1897.

Eleanor Startsman Biggs was the daughter of Fannie and Oliver Startsman. Eleanor graduated from the University of Iowa in 1887 with a Bachelor of Philosophy degree followed by an M.A. in 1890. She married Edward C. Biggs; he was probably the son of Elijah and Jane Biggs, 30 W. Bloomington Street. The only other Biggs family in the city directory, Elijah, was a dairyman in 1894. Eleanor was Pilgrim Chapter, NSDAR, parliamentarian and one of the finest ever. In 1901, Eleanor listed herself as a widow and as living in the Startsman household with Winifred and her brothers. Eleanor, Winifred, and Harry (now a civil engineer), were still living in the family home in 1911. They were living on E. Bloomington Street between Dubuque and Clinton Streets that was described as a beautiful old brick three-story house filled with many lovely pieces of furniture. By 1929, Eleanor was blind, and her sister Winifred would lead her when they went out, and how they would breeze down the street. No one would have thought one led the other.

Winifred Startsman was said to have flaming red hair and a disposition that went with it. She never married, and was the geography teacher in the Iowa City grammar school. Winifred is remembered for her stories of all the interesting trips she and Eleanor had taken–especially through the eastern states. Being strongly patriotic, in 1904, she made the motion that anyone who had not memorized the words to America by the end of the year be fined $5.00. In later years, Winifred would read endlessly to her sister Eleanor, who had become blind. Both Winifred and Eleanor were well versed on national political news, and both women were exceptionally brilliant.

Dr. Leora Johnson & Ella Frances Johnson: A sign on the door at 22 Clinton Street announced that here was the "home and office of Dr. Johnson - visiting hours 9-11 and 3-5." She was the daughter of Sylvanus and Daily (Bradley) Johnson, natives of New Haven, Connecticut. Sylvanus came to Iowa City in 1839. In 1840, built the first brick yard and kiln in town, and also the first brick building - of two stories - in Iowa City. It was later occupied by O'Hanlon & Sons Boots & Shoes. The early Johnson home on Prairie du Chien Road embodied many of the features to be found in Connecticut homes, according to Margaret Keys. Brick was made for his home at a kiln near the area. The suggestion, that Johnson may have had a brickyard at the location of the present Happy Hollow Playground east of Dodge Street, is made by Lois Anderson whose husband has been a long time resident of Iowa City. The shape of the playground with its banked sides, higher at one end, is similar in shape to another old brickyard north of Longfellow School - also a playground now. Leora's interest in medicine might have been sparked by the fact that her father, when 16 years old, had an accident that left him crippled for life with a dislocated hip joint. In any case, Dr. Leora received her H.M.D. degree in homeopathic medicine from the University of Iowa in 1890. By 1904, she and her mother and sister, Ella Frances Johnson, were living in the Clinton Street house together. Later Dr. Leora donated the south window in the Baptist Church to the memory of her parents and to those of their children who had died: Ella Frances died on October 24, 1906, and Leora on December 28, 1915. DAR papers for Dr. Leora were approved on November 7, 1895, and for Ella Frances on October 7, 1897.

Dr. Alliene Holson Seifert and Dr. Ida Holson Bailey were the daughters of Captain Nathan A. Holson, of West Lucas township. Nathan was a farmer and a soldier who had seen distinguished service in the Civil War. All seven of his children received a good education. Dr. Alliene received a B.S. degree from the University of Iowa in 1886. While she was teaching at the high school, she boarded at 326 Iowa Avenue. Alliene went back to the University and in earned the degree of DDS in 1900. She married A. A. Seifert.

Dr. Ida, like Dr. Leora Johnson, received a degree of H.M.D. in homeopathic medicine in 1898. She married John H. Bailey, who is later noted as having a millinery store at Casey, Iowa. However, she signed the Pilgrim Chapter, NSDAR, guest book on December 19, 1920, as from Knoxville, Iowa. The Pilgrim Chapter yearbook lists her address as 516 Grant Street, Iowa City. Both sisters were approved as members of DAR on May 6, 1897.

Ella Lyon Hill, a three-time regent of Pilgrim Chapter, NSDAR, was the daughter of Ethel C. Lyon, an early settler in the Iowa City area whose brick homes, topped by cupolas, occupied a square block at 617 S. Van Buren Street just north of the Rock Island Depot. Land for the depot came from the Lyon home grounds, according to Irving Weber, a local historian. Lyon's interests included not only railroad routes but land additions to early Iowa City plats. With his brother, Lou, he owned the Iowa City Manufacturing Co., which constructed a dam across the Iowa River to produce power for the mill, according to historian Clarence Ray Aurner. The family donated the window over the altar at Trinity Episcopal Church and its lectern. His daughter, Ella, is listed as the widow of C. W. A. Hill in the city directory of 1901-1902. The Hill family home was located at 323 E. College Street and their grocery store at 111 E. College Street.

In a letter to Marcy Fisher November 14, 1978, Sarah Cox Rigler, daughter of Elizabeth Cox, another founder of Pilgrim Chapter, NSDAR, said, "I so well remember Ella Lyon Hill! She lived across the street from Trinity in a row of apartment houses known as 'Sausage Row' - Why, I don't know - as they were quite respectable." As fellow parishioners, the Cox family knew Ella as a devoted member of the church and of Trinity Guild. "I can see her now, with quaint hats," Sarah said. Ella served Pilgrim Chapter as regent from 1898-1901. During this time, she was a delegate to the National DAR Conference in Washington, D.C. She was elected again from 1903-1906 and 1907-1911. Her DAR papers were approved June 4, 1896. She died September 4, 1925.

Ella Jayne Lindsay was the wife of John G. Lindsay, who owned the Crescent Fence Co., a feed mill at 28 E. Burlington and an Iowa City plumbing shop. Ella's father, John Jayne, built and gave to his daughter and her husband the house at 935 E. College Street as a wedding present. Gertrude Jayne, a member of Pilgrim Chapter, NSDAR, knew her aunt as an accomplished pianist who played at many Iowa City affairs and who, with friends, entertained the shut-ins and the sick. She could have qualified, Gertrude says, for a "best dressed list" had there been one in town at that time. Ella's father came to Johnson County in 1840. He was buying land in Graham township believed to be 1,000 acres, according to the History of Johnson County. He was noted for his Jayne patent combination truss bridges, which were used in Johnson County and elsewhere. His shop was located on Gilbert Street. In 1866 he married Laura O. Bird of Woodstock, Illinois. Ella's DAR papers were approved on October 7, 1897. She and her husband moved to Chicago in 1916.

Elizabeth Gardiner Cox, wife of Arthur J. Cox, was one of Iowa City's well-loved women. The family home at 104 E. Market Street was built in 1856. It was purchased in 1865 by Arthur's father, Thomas Jefferson Cox, a federal land agent and associate of Samuel J. Kirkwood. In this handsome house filled with beautiful furniture and silver, scores of social and civic affairs were held over the years. Elizabeth Cox is noted as "entered' in the Pilgrim Chapter records on January 3, 1895, as a founding member. She had also been a founding member of the Clinton Chapter, NSDAR, second oldest chapter in the state, according to Sarah Cox-Rigler. "Her sister Jeanette and her grandmother, then an old woman, were also charter members of the Clinton Chapter, NSDAR." The centennial birthday of the Cox home was celebrated in 1956 at a widely-attended reception. In 1964, the house was demolished, and the land put to new use.

Martha A. Ward Marshall attended the Nopa Department of the University and became an Iowa City school teacher. She married William Marshall, a native of Scotland, who had dealt in real estate as well as having a grocery store. The 1901 city directory shows that he had a hard and soft coal business as well. He and his wife lived at 22 E. Jefferson Street. Mr. Marshall died in 1906 and Martha Ann on April 7, 1915. Her DAR papers were approved on October 7, 1897. She was a descendant of Jonathan Ward.

Adella Shrader Carder, wife of Dr. John B. Carder of 706 E. College Street, was the daughter of the distinguished Iowa City physician, Dr. John Clinton Shrader. He was the son of Eliza Melvin Shrader, the "Real Daughter" of Pilgrim Chapter. Adella joined Pilgrim Chapter, NSDAR, on January 6, 1898, and she served as its first vice regent. She died on April 24, 1899.

Kate Shrader Palmer was the daughter of Pilgrim Chapter, "Real Daughter," Eliza Ann (Melvin) Shrader. She married David F. Palmer, the son of Philip and Janet (Taylor) Palmer. They were both natives of Scotland, and he farmed and raised stock near Solon. The 1899 City Directory lists Kate Palmer as a widow and living at 912 Bowery Street; in 1901 at 903 E. Market Street; and in 1905 at 222 Lucas Street, where her mother died on March 1 of that year. In 1911, she moved to 1027 E. College Street. Joining Pilgrim Chapter, NSDAR, on January 6, 1898, she became its first historian. Her death occurred on November 2, 1918.

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Last Updated 17 August 2017
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