Ad-Express and Daily Iowegian, Centerville, IA

Local News

December 5, 2012

Definitive Appanoose County history lives on in new book by McMurry

CENTERVILLE — After 10.5 years in the making and spending between $30,000-$40,000, "Centerville: A Mid-American Saga," by Enfys McMurry, is now available to the public.

"Centerville: A Mid-American Saga," is a 752 page paperback released last week that documents history as lived by Centerville residents from the 1840s up to the end of World War II and the celebration of war veterans returning home.

The book's forward says "The history of Centerville, Iowa, has gifted us with a unique insight into the mid-American experience. Immigrants from more than 40 different counties created a community that was both melting pot and crucible — just like the nation at large. In this definitive history, Enfys McMurry captures both the particular feelings of Centerville's citizens and how they reflected and participated in the larger American story."

McMurry held a book signing at The Continental in Centerville Saturday afternoon where she talked in length about specific events in the book, what it feels like now that it's published and how she was moved by the sheer humanity people in Appanoose County have shown.

"I've learned that there are so many damn decent good people (in Appanoose County)," McMurry said. "They're just the salt of the Earth."

McMurry talked in length about Prohibition, civil rights, the Civil War and World War II.

"The 1920 Prohibition I think it was the most stupid law ever to come into place because it forced good, decent people to break the law," McMurry said, adding many European immigrants typically drank wine for dinner.

The emotion of reliving what one Appanoose County man experienced landing on Omaha Beach during World War II brought McMurry to tears.

She told the story of Ray Simmons, of Appanoose County. Simmons was one of the very first soldiers to land on Omaha Beach on June 6, 1944.

"He said, 'I was on the first wave of the first day on Omaha Beach," as told by Simmons to McMurry who related the story to those gathered for the book signing. '"Everybody was almost completely obliterated. I can't tell you to this day how I got across that beach but I did.'"

Simmons' job was to tend to the wounded on the beach by administrating sulfa and plasma.

One man was so badly wounded Simmons decided to move on to the next man. When Simmons came back to that first man, he found him alive and gave him medical treatment that saved his life.

In 1964 while in St. Louis a complete stranger approached Simmons and thanked him, McMurry said.

'"I know who you are," the man said to Simmons. "I'll never forget your face. You saved my life on Omaha Beach even through I was a German. I have moved to the United States. I am now an American citizen.'"

McMurry said she felt a bit of depression after she finished the book.

"I cried a bit because it was all over," McMurry said. "But now that it has come out and people are reacting, the exhilaration is so high that I can't imagine why anybody goes on drugs."

Almost 1/4 of the book are source notes, most of which information was taken from the various newspapers that operated in Centerville.

McMurry dedicated the book to Jesse M. Beck and Patsy Bunnell. Beck was the Iowegian editor from 1903 to 1945 and Bunnell helped with computer work.

McMurry is British and was born in Llwynypia, Wales. She taught for 23 years at Indian Hills Community College in Centerville.

The book is published by The History Press, www.historypress.net.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • Earth Day activities at Morgan E. Cline City Park Kids will get to learn about guerrilla gardening with seed bombs and making recycled art during Earth Day activities at the Morgan E. Cline City Park in Centerville on Saturday, April 26 from 9 a.m. to noon. Appanoose Ecovision is sponsoring the free

    April 23, 2014

  • Drug take back set for Saturday, April 26 On April 26 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. the Appanoose County sheriff and the Drug Enforcement Administration will give the public its eighth opportunity in three years to prevent pill abuse and theft by ridding their homes of potentially dangerous expired

    April 23, 2014

  • A.C. history by Enfys McMurry April 23, 1922: Seven days after its installation, WDAX joined with The Centerville Journal for a broadcast concert featuring all-local artists. More than 1,000 people packed 12th Street from Maple to the Square. They watched Jack Porter operating h

    April 23, 2014

  • 042314 CCC Meeting Photo 2 Council moves to vacate land The Centerville City Council at City Hall Monday voted to move forward with the process to vacate a tree-filled ravine located between North Fifth Street and West Maple Street, or Highway 2 that was originally platted to be a continuation of West Jac

    April 23, 2014 2 Photos

  • Blood drive seeks donors The next Centerville Community Blood Drive will be held Tuesday, May 6 from 12-6 p.m. at Grace Tabernacle Church, 914 N. Park St. in Centerville. Anyone interested in donating can schedule an appointment online at lifeservebloodcenter.org or by call

    April 23, 2014

  • Monthly immunization clinic is on Tuesday The regular monthly immunization clinic will be held Tuesday, April 29 from 1-4 p.m. by appointment only at the Appanoose County Public Health Office at 209 E. Jackson St. in Centerville. Childhood immunizations available include DTaP, Polio, MMR, Va

    April 23, 2014

  • Healthy Appanoose: Week 15 The 15th week of the Healthy Appanoose Challenges are printed below. The free program can be joined anytime throughout the year. Log in at the Centerville-Rathbun Lake Area Chamber of Commerce at www.centerville-ia.com to record challenges completed.

    April 22, 2014

  • Waterworks to proceed with project The Centerville Municipal Waterworks Board of Trustees during their March 27 meeting approved a resolution that orders bids, approves plans, specifications and form of contract for the 2013 water system improvements project associated with the street

    April 22, 2014

  • A.C. history by Enfys McMurry April 22, 1910: This was the day when the Interurban service between Centerville and Mystic began with a special dedication run. On board were the 165 bond subscribers in Centerville and Mystic who had made the Interurban possible. Among the group we

    April 22, 2014

  • Moravia mayor signs proclamation Moravia's mayor signed a proclamation at the Tuesday, April 8 City Council regular meeting declaring April as Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Mayor Irene Brooks talked about the many ways sexual assaults can affect people everywhere. The council made

    April 22, 2014

  • Audit exposes deficiencies The Centerville Municipal Waterworks had double-digit increases in both receipts and disbursements for the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2013, according to an audit released recently by Des Moines-based CPA firm Faller, Kincheloe & Co. PLC. The aud

    April 22, 2014

  • Open burn ban lifted Pursuant to Iowa code and at the request of Mike Lamb, representing each fire department having all or part of their fire districts within Appanoose County, the open burning ban for Appanoose County was lifted effective Monday, April 21 at 4 p.m. Op

    April 22, 2014

  • Morgan Cline In Memory of Morgan E. Cline

    In Memory of Morgan E. Cline
    August 26, 1932 to April 20, 2014
    Morgan Cline passed away peacefully in his home in New Jersey Easter morning. He will be remembered as a great and gracious man and will be greatly missed. More information will be shared as it is received.

    April 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Open burn ban lifted

    Pursuant to Iowa code and at the request of  Mike Lamb, representing each fire department having all or part of their fire districts within Appanoose County, the open burning ban for Appanoose County will be lifted effective today at 4 p.m.

    April 21, 2014

  • 042114 Family 25 years as business owners Today marks the 25 year anniversary of husband and wife Jerry and Cathy Whisler, of Centerville, becoming self-employed. Jerry called it kind of a fluke as he and Cathy became owners of a business they knew nothing about. That was in April of 1989 an

    April 21, 2014 1 Photo

Obituaries
Featured Ads
Poll

The Iowegian wants readers to think about rental permit fees. The Centerville City Council has conducted two working sessions and a third one is planned in order to get a feel for the public's appetite about raising rental permit fees from charging a landlord $25 every two years to charging a certain amount per rental unit per year. So, the question of the week is, "Are you in favor of Centerville increasing rental permit fees?"

A. I'm in favor.
B. I'm not in favor.
C. I'm not sure.
     View Results
Iowegian on Facebook