Enfys McMurry, of Corydon, born in Wales, a well-known local educator, historian, author and public speaker, was the guest speaker at the 2013 Appanoose County Farm Bureau annual meeting attended by 85 people July 30 at the Faith United Methodist Church, Highway 5 south, Centerville.
McMurry’s new book, “Centerville: A Mid-American Saga,” is filled with information on the history of Appanoose County and Centerville from 1846 to World War II. She shared a brief amount of that history at the annual meeting.
McMurry said Appanoose County is a mini-America. Immigrants came here from over 40 countries. Topics she touched on were early development such as the county’s first courthouse in a log cabin, the Underground Railroad, the Civil War, the many coal mines in Appanoose County, World War I, prohibition, the highly sought-after wine produced in Appanoose County, the Ku Klux Klan, crime and violence, the importance of education, increased interest in alfalfa and the start of the Alfalfa Banquet held for many years in Appanoose County (sponsored by the Appanoose County Farm Bureau and the Centerville Association of Commerce, later the Chamber of Commerce), the Depression, unions versus the coal mine owners, falling prices for land and agricultural products, foreclosures, tuberculosis testing in cattle, the National Guard being called out due to unrest and violence, FDR, the Civilian Conservation Corps, the Agricultural Adjustment Administration, Henry A. Wallace, the extreme temperatures of 1936 and World War II.
Other speakers included President Dan Furlin Jr. who gave the welcome and introduced guests, staff, the board and spouses. Cal Rozenboom, District 8 director on the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation board, spoke on a number of topics, including news from the IFBF, the American Farm Bureau Federation and the farm bill.
Additional speakers included Mark McGill, who explained the policy development process and highlighted several issues. Dean Kaster provided more information on the Rural Improvement Zone issue. Policy resolutions were discussed, voted on, and approved by the members present. One of the adopted policy resolutions is: “We believe the Rural Improvement Zone’s (RIZ) authority to use and spend property tax revenue should have a sunset clause of 5 years.”