Microfilming LS native’s journals

The notebooks on which Lime Springs native Joshua Williams wrote his journals are deteriorating and need to be preserved. This journal is No. 84 and dated 1943, which is a great year, since the Lime Springs Herald was not printed during publisher Carl Cassidy’s years in the war.

History from Lime Springs is going to be preserved on microfilm thanks to help from the Howard-Winneshiek Genealogy Society. Over 60 years of journals kept by Joshua Williams, a native of Lime Springs, will soon be available locally.

Williams was born near Saratoga December 1, 1878 and graduated from Lime Springs High School in 1897. He went away to Upper Iowa University and became a teacher but never forgot his hometown and returned often. He moved several times and was a man of the world; but in all his travels one thing was a constant—writing in his diary, which soon became plural.

He started his journal in October 1897 and continued up until near his death on April 4, 1964.

Inside those pages, volume after volume contain information on Lime Springs history, church happenings, goings on in Great Falls, Mont. where he moved after graduation, weather and national politics.

From October 11, 1896, Book No. 1: Sunday, Rev. Joseph preaches his last sermon in the Welsh Church. Rev. Garlock, the Evangelist comes to town. Two converts.

October 23, 1896: Friday, Father was out on the farm. Born to Mr. and Mrs. J.G. Roberts a daughter, fire at Cresco destroys five buildings.

Phyllis Stevenson recalls Williams, “Joshua was definitely the champion of Lime Springs High School. It was his heart and soul.” That fact is evident in learning that he was instrumental in getting several all-school reunions organized over the years.

When he passed away, on April 4, 1964, his diaries were given to the Iowa Historical Society and take up over two shelves in their storage room!

The local genealogy society was recently contacted by the state. Jody Dean explained the diaries were starting to deteriorate and needed to be preserved. The diaries were written on inexpensive school tablets which cannot stand the test of time.

These very valuable historical and genealogical documents will be preserved almost forever by the microfilming of his diaries. After the diaries are microfilmed, they will be housed in the Cresco Public Library, and can be accessed by the reader/printer there.

The H-W Genealogy Society has already begun its attempt to raise the money in order to proceed with this project in the way of writing grants of various kinds. They are already recipients of some help from the Travel and Tourism grant, Howard County Community Foundation grant and the Grace Hughes Foundation grant.

Others who are very interested in this project are two Welsh Societies in the Midwest. The H-W Genealogy Society was encouraged that it was a worthy cause by two different members who were also willing to help fund the project. It has entered into Phase I, hoping to get half the diaries microfilmed this year.

The Society is willing to provide more information about this gentleman and why these need to be preserved, in the way of speaking to a group about this project, or just visiting over the phone or in person. An appointment can be made by calling Jody Dean at 563-547-5996.

Donna Ihns says, “Joshua was devoted to the town and interested in preserving its history.” Even in death, Joshua Williams is keeping Lime Springs in the limelight


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