Donated by Elaine (Van Horn) Swan

My mother was Gladys Van Horn born 1898 in Des Moines, Iowa. Her father
was Dr. U.S.Grant Van Horn and her mother Nevada (Hardenbrook) Van Horn.
When she was about ten her dad bought a hotel there with a store and she
left a journal with two stories about her stay in Rippey, Iowa. You are
welcome to use these stories as you want. I have attatched photos. My mom
died Nov 20,1995 in Marysville,Wa.

Best Wishes,

Elaine Swan

She wrote the following:

Fight With Jennie Shipley
" When I was 11 or 12 years old we moved from Des Moines to Rippey,
Iowa where my my Aunt Mollie (wife of Willis Morain) lived there. She was
not well so mother begged father to move to Rippey and my dad bought the
only grocery store in town and added a jewelry and optical store by it. I
did not want to leave Des Moines and my friends but we did what we were told
to do. Bell Day returned to her home. We were shampooed, bathed, dressed
with new clothes before leaving. My hair was brushed into long curls down my
shoulders and It had a light blue ribbon tied on my curls. I wore white,
long stockings, a white trimmed dress with a blue sash. I wore a new pair
of the cutest baby-doll patent slippers. I remember this well, as I was so
proud of my new clothes. Anyway we got off the train at Rippey to walk to
the store where father was. I guess every girl in town was at the depot to
meet the train. As we started to walk up the sidewalk, the girls got behind
me calling me "city kid", pulling my hair, kicking dirt on me. Mother
said, " Ignore them. You don't fight girls. Just keep walking". I got too
much and that last kick did it. I turned toward the overgrown girl and I
said, "Meet me in the alley back of the store. As soon as we can change, we
will talk it out." I changed, tied my hair up with a towel, and while
mother was enjoying seeing father and Aunt Mollie, I went to talk it over.
As I got outside, Jenny Shipley, the big girl who was the doctor's
daughter and my age, but bigger by far, gave me a kick and seemed to want
to show off in front of the other girls. I some how let her have it good. I
pulled her hair so hard and she went down. As I punched her in the nose she
begged me to quit it. Someone must have seen us and took us both by the
arms and asked us to be friends. Somehow Jenny must of liked me, as we were
like sisters. Everywhere Jenny was I was, so this is one friend I can never
While living here a short time, my mother and her sister, Mollie spent
every day together. They were so close and I know how my father missed Des
Moines, but he never complained.
Rippey is a small town a flat prarie town. That winter was bad, one
blizzard after another. On waking up that morning the house felt warmer
than usual. Our bldg was buried in in snow to the roof. We had to dig a
tunnel to the shed to get coal and wood in. We were warned of snow coming
so Mollie's famlies moved in with us, along with many church friends. We had
lots of food, as we had the only grocery store. Downstairs, at night father
would make good hot, fresh oyster soup for all of us. We were lucky, as so
many suffered through this winter, here."

When spring finally came the word of small pox epidemic. Wesley came
down sick first, then everyone else caught it. Dr.Shipley left town with
his family, scared to death. Here we were with no doctor, everyone was so
sick, big sores, all over them. They were as red as fire. Father had the
smallpox the year before. So he got hold of Dr.Lovejoy someway and he came
and quarantined the store as well as our own place. I never will forget how
he looked coming in the back door wearing a long black rubber raincoat,
rubber boots and cap, all black mask and gloves. He looked at them, left
medicine, and told father what to do. I helped the girls with medicine and
helped sponge their bodies of fever as best I could, as I was only 9 years
old. After 2 months they got well but so weak. I never got it. The doctor
was determined for me to get it as he did not want to take off the
quarantine sign down and I turned loose and came down with it. Each day he
looked my body over for a pimple. I got so tired of being locked in so one
day I crawled out the window onto the front porch looking down and I shook
the throw rugs and it was great fun to see the people run for their life
for fear a germ would fall on them. Next day here comes Dr.Lovejoy he filed
the bathtub with hot water and put black medicine in it it stunk like a
skunk. He made me strip off, my mother watching, and laid me down in it. I
really got my babtism from the devil and my body turned red. Then he put a
large black rock around my neck to wear. It was called an assphhidia bag
to keep me free of germs. Then the sign came down. I was free at last For
awhile no one wanted to play with me but soon I was one of the kids in
Gladys Van Horn

Gladys, age  5

Gladys Marie Van Horn, Age 5

Van Horn Store

The Van Horn Store

US Grant Van Horn

US Grant Van Horn, 1890's