Honoring Pilgrim Chapter NSDAR Charter
Charter Granted February 19, 1898
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
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.
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
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.