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In 1933 when the church had closed again, many of the descendants of the original members were concerned for the care and upkeep of the cemetery. By 1939 they had taken it upon themselves to be sure that the grass would be mowed, the stones repaired, and oversee the ownership of the plots. Charles R. Hughes, grandson of T. R. Hughes, hosted many of these meetings as president of the Pleasant Grove Cemetery Society. Although the Society has also faded into the past, later generations and neighbors still help care for the cemetery. A new fence was installed in 2004 funded by donations from people scattered across the nation.

Pleasant Grove Cemetery

At the northeast corner of the Pleasant Grove Church stands a good sized stone with the Wilkinson name on it. This was placed by Ed Wilkinson of Ames in late May of 1896 in memory of their three children buried there. No cause of death is listed for the youngsters.

On page 323 is a list of those buried at Pleasant Grove compiled by Linda Hughes Meyers in 2010.
Pleasant Grove Natural Amphitheater

Adapted from the Nevada Paper of August of 1896:

Pleasant Grove Church had a natural place for the gathering of large congregations for special services- just a ways west and down the hill, along the Skunk River, was the mill pond and lower pool below the Mill Dam. Close to a thousand folks could be present at any one time.

“Rev. Fletcher Brown, President of the Simpson College of Indianola, delivered an interesting sermon at the M.E. Church on Sunday last, after which he attended to the baptism of members from the home free congregation at the river. There were fifteen in all baptized before the services were over with at the river. A very hard rain came up which served to scatter teams in every direction. The crowd at the river was estimated to be close to a thousand. They were here from all parts of the county.” Possibly a picture of this event on page 317.

Pleasant Grove School
Unfortunately, these youngsters and teacher are not identified in this circa 1910 shot of Pleasant Grove School. The students are on the south lawn. Ida Jacobs Honderd was in first grade and is kneeling in the front row. See also 173 & 255.
Above: This captivating photo, for a fan of Milford Twp history, reveals a few seconds time at Pleasant Grove School about the time of the First World War with a cast of unidentified people and an unidentified occasion. It is entertaining to create an accompanying story to fit the congenial scene. Pleasant Grove School had been built in either 1884 or 1885 for a cost of just under $700.

Some identification has been furnished for the photo on the right; Back; Mrs George W Sowers-Myrtle, Mrs Howard Sowers-Pearl, George W Sowers, Balus Howland, George R Sowers, Howard (Tom) Sowers. Front; Bernice Howland,Bernita Howland, Jeanette Sowers, Mrs Fred Hass- Della, Viola Hass, Mrs Balus Howland- Lena (Tallest lady), Dorothy Sowers, Mrs George R Sowers- Martha, Clare Sowers, Bertha Hass, Galen Sowers. Martha and George R Sowers were the parents of Clare, Jeanette, and Dorothy Sowers. The Howland twins, Bernice and Bernita, graduated from Milford in 1928.

Tom (Howard) Sowers, the man in the back row right, died at the age of about forty in Feb of 1920 of pneumonia following influenza. That would have probably been a year and a half or perhaps two and a half years after the picture above had been taken. The paper states that his son, Galen, seen here in front of Tom, was thirteen years of age at the death of his Father. Tom's real name was Howard and he lived one mile east and one mile north of Dayton's Park. This would have been in the very southwest corner of Sec 8. “Mr Sowers had been ill about a week. His son Galen became sick first, and then both Mr and Mrs Sowers became sick. A big, strong looking man, Tom Sowers' death comes as a great surprise and shock to his many friends” Tom's Dad, JW Sowers, had a family of eleven who lived to adulthood and ten of them were alive in 1920.

Martha and George R. Sowers lived for a number of years in the late thirties and forties in the southwest corner of Story City where there was a vacant lot immediately to the south of their home and it was a great place for pickup games of baseball.

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© 2012 Mark Christian
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