Adelaide M. Hill

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Mayor of New Sharon IA 1924-1928

ADELAIDE MARGRETTA WALLACE was born Aug. 13, 1861, daughter of Elem and Ellen (McKinnie) Wallace in Delaware Co, OH. She died in New Sharon, IA, on 26 Nov, 1938, and is now buried there in the Friends Cemetery. She came with her parents from Ohio to Iowa in 1869 in a covered wagon. On Feb. 16, 1881, Adelaide married Valdo Stanton Hill, son of George W and Charlotte (Stanton) Hill at his parent's home in Mahaska Co, Iowa. Valdo was born Feb. 11, 1858 near Marietta, Washington Co, OH and died Jan. 20, 1912 in Mahaska Co, IA. He is now buried in Friends Cemetery, New Sharon, IA. He came with his parents to Iowa in 1866. Adelaide and Valdo set up housekeeping on farms near his parents.

In the fall of 1885, Valdo and six bachelor relatives and friends from New Sharon got the pioneering spirit and each filed claims at McCook, NE for 160 acres of land in Chase Co, NE near each other. In the spring of 1886, the men loaded household goods, tools, supplies, horses, cows and farm machinery into box cars and traveled by train to Benkelmen. The trips from the railroad station to the claims were made in wagons. The men first prepared Valdo's dugout. Adelaide and three small children (4 and 2 years and 6 weeks), assisted by a brother-in-law, came by train a few weeks later. Although each man built a dugout or soddie for himself, Adelaide was cook for all. All work was done manually or with horsepower -- planting crops, gardens and trees; harvesting; erecting houses and farm buildings; digging wells; washing clothes; and baking. To accommodate his growing family, Valdo twice replaced his dugout -- first with a larger soddie and later with a cement block house. Crops were good for many years; then a series of natural disasters -- hail, hot winds, grasshoppers and drouth -- occurred for four years which ruined the crops. [Then there was no government assistance to help them.] Valdo's family returned to Iowa in 1896. [In previous years five of the seven men from New Sharon had moved elsewhere or returned to Iowa. Only one settled in Chase Co. permanently.]

Valdo's family made quite a procession on the trip back to New Sharon-- the parents, 8 children (from 13 to 1-1/2 years), 1 dog, 8 horses, 1 cow and two covered wagons loaded with machinery, furniture, trunks, clothing, 4-hole cookstove and a 10-gallon churn (filled with water). One wagon pulled a coop with 24 chickens on a buggy frame. The cow supplied milk and the chickens eggs. Adelaide baked bread and prepared meals each day; they slept in the wagons at night. It took about 6 weeks to make the journey, traveling about 25 miles per day and never on Sunday.

The 9th child was born about 4 months after their return to Iowa. Adelaide and Valdo had 11 children: 6 boys and 5 girls; they in turn had 26 children. Only two of the children were married before Valdo's death; some of the grandchildren were born after Adelaide's death. For several years, Valdo farmed his parent's farm until it was sold after his mother's death in 1904. [His father had died in 1888.] After 3 years on a rented farm, Valdo bought one in Mahaska, Co, in 1909. Left a widow in 1912, Adelaide continued to farm with the help of her sons.

In 1916 she sold the farm and moved to Ames, IA, with her three youngest children. There she took in roomers while her daughter attended Iowa State College on a tuition scholarship. She returned to New Sharon in 1921, bought a house, rented the upstairs and pieced, quilted and sold beautiful quilts -- all made by hand. She was very thrifty and a hard worker. Adelaide always took an active part in the affairs of the state and community wherever she lived.

New Sharon was home to a number of women in the women suffrage movement. Their vigorous campaigning for the vote and for progressive government led to an all-female city government. On Apr. 24, 1924, the New Sharon Star reported that "Entire Citizens Ticket won the city election which was quite spirited and brought out a good vote." The only issue really was women and anti-women but the women won out hands-down, electing the entire ticket with the exception of the treasurer [who ran unopposed]. Adelaide headed the ticket; she ran for mayor. After the new officers were sworn in, the paper reported "The new Council has started off splendidly so far and if they are undertaking duties of which they know little about because of lack of experience they nevertheless are intelligent people and learn rapidly and are worthy of the support of the people." The administration's main accomplishment was to have the dirt [sometimes mud] streets in New Sharon paved -- Main Street in 1926 and Market Street in 1927.

There were numerous civic improvements as well. In Nov 1929, a fire destroyed the Town Hall so few records of her administration remain. She was also active in the Women's Christian Temperance Union. Adelaide just