Ad-Express and Daily Iowegian, Centerville, IA

Local News

June 20, 2014

A.C. history by Enfys McMurry

© 2014 Enfys McMurry All rights reserved.June 20, 1927: “Centerville Now Boasting Airplane” said the Iowegian headline on June 20 1927. It was a year before Centerville Airport was opened. Interest in aviation was surging. Lindbergh’s flight had provided huge excitement. A further stimulation came when a new nonstop distance record was set from New York to 80 miles southeast of Berlin and one of the two pilots was an Iowan: Clarence Chamberlain of Denison. Just days later to that achievement, Danley Benjamin, who worked at the Looten’s Bakery on the Square, bought the town’s first aircraft. It was a standard model but powered with a new eight-cylinder OX5 Curtiss engine. The wings of the aircraft were silver, the underbelly yellow, the fuselage dark blue. People watched him play hide-and-seek in the clouds above the Courthouse Square or chase another pilot, Leroy Bartholomew, the two cavorting over each one of the county’s towns. (302)

June 21, 1917: In early June of 1917, some 2,428 Appanoose men had registered for the draft. Forty four men refused to register at all. They were immigrant miners working at Thirty, Streepy, Shawville and Numa. They were arrested and placed in the county jail. They said, via an interpreter, that their Italian newspaper told them if they weren’t citizens they were exempt from the U.S. draft. Town rumors gave a different reason. They were all, it was said, from the northern provinces of Italy and all part of “a rabid socialist and anarchist cell” circulating seditious literature opposed to all government and all its officials. They appeared at the Courthouse and were sent to Ottumwa to appear before a federal grand jury. A special car of the Interurban took them to Mystic, then on to Ottumwa in the rear car of the Milwaukee Railroad Number 8. Together with their interpreter, John Azzolin, and Centerville’s Joe Milani — the agent for the Italian consul in Milwaukee (also Jim Milani’s cousin) — watched by hundreds and followed by 15 of their emotional mothers and wives, they marched from Ottumwa station, two or three abreast, up Market Street to Fourth and west to Court Street and jail. Within days they were transferred to jail in Des Moines. They returned to Centerville, deposited $50 each at the post office to buy a Liberty Bond — and then registered for the draft in the courthouse. Two still refused. Peter Azoo, an Armenian, and Louis Markeni, an Italian, chose prison terms. They served a year in Appanoose County Jail and were then escorted by federal agents to St. Louis and deported. (219-220)

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  • Band program The Centerville Summer Marching Band program will have a free performance at 6 p.m. Friday at Paul Johnson Field behind Lakeview Elementary.

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The Iowegian wants readers to think about the solicitation ordinance that will prevent groups or individuals from entering a roadway to solicit money. The Centerville City Council in June by a 5-0 vote passed the first reading of just such an ordinance. Public pressure and during a subsequent special meeting, the council voted 3-2 to table the ordinance. A second special meeting to discuss the solicitation ordinance is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 7 at City Hall. So, the question of the week is, "Do you or do you not support the ordinance to prevent solicitation of funds in city streets?"

A. I support the ordinance
B. I do not support the ordinance
C. Not sure
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