Meredith, Mrs. O. C.

A photograph of Delia B. Meredith’s house at 602 1st Ave. E., Newton, Iowa, taken in 2016.Source: Sue Smith
A photograph of Delia B. Meredith’s house at 602 1st Ave. E., Newton, Iowa, taken in 2016.Source: Sue Smith

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mrs. Delia B. Meredith

Mrs. O. C. Meredith was a member of the Newton Public Library board of trustees from the time of its organization in 1896 to 1919.[1] Born Delia B. Brown in Scott County, Iowa, on June 15, 1855, she was the daughter of John D. and Elizabeth (Foster) Brown.[2] She came to Jasper County when a young woman,[3] and taught in the country schools and later the primary grade in the Newton Schools.[4] On March 16, 1887, she married Newton attorney Oliver C. Meredith (1847-1917).[5] In 1900, the Merediths built a new two-story, 12-room house with “a variety of character-defining features” (e. g., wraparound porch, tower, and complex roofline) at 526 E. Main St. (now 602 1st Ave. E.).[6] Mrs. Meredith was a member of the Congregational Church, and was an active club woman.[7] She was the first Worthy Matron of Newton Chapter No. 100, Order of the Eastern Star (1891-1893)[8], and was the past Worthy Grand Matron of the Iowa Grand Chapter of the Eastern Star (1897-1898).[9] She was also a member of Chapter AO of P. E. O.[10] Mrs. Meredith spent the last eight years of her life in Portland, Oregon making her home with her daughter, Ora Bess (Mrs. H. A.) Seeberger.[11] She had been in failing health for the previous three years.[12] She died at a Portland hospital on April 28, 1944 following a stroke which she had suffered recently.[13] Burial was in Newton Union Cemetery.[14]

-Larry Ray Hurto

 

[1] 1896-1957 Library Trustees, Newton Public Library History. https://cdm16179.contentdm.oclc.org/digital/collection/p16179coll1/search/searchterm/library%20trustees/field/subjec/mode/exact/conn/and/order/title/ad/asc.

[2] The Newton Daily News, April 28, 1944. Her grave marker gives 1858 as the birth year. https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/44738806/delia-meredith.

[3] U. S. Census of 1870, Jasper County, Iowa, Malaka Township, Newton post office, p. 12, family 74, household of John D. Brown. Her name was recorded in this census as Delia A. Brown.

[4] The Newton Daily News, April 28, 1944.

[5] The Newton Journal, March 23, 1887. It was the second marriage for both. On July 8, 1880, Delia had been married to William S. Hart, also an attorney. Ibid., July 8, 1880 and July 15, 1880. The 1885 census showed her as widowed. Ancestry.com. Iowa, U.S., State Census Collection, 1836-1925 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2007. Interestingly, there is no mention of a prior marriage in Mrs. Meredith’s obituary in the Daily News, and the account of Meredith in Gen. James B. Weaver, ed., Past and Present of Jasper County, Iowa, Vol. II (Indianapolis, IN: B. F. Bowen & Company, 1912), says “he was united with Delia B. Brown,” as if she had never been Mrs. Hart, erroneously giving the date of their marriage as March 18, 1886 (p. 782). Meredith’s law partner at the time of the marriage was E. C. Ogg, who later served as a member of the Newton Library board with Mrs. Meredith. 1896-1957 Library Trustees, Newton Public Library History.

[6] The Newton Journal, January 2, 1901. On March 1, 1919, Mrs. Meredith sold the property to John and Grace Tiedje following the death of her husband in an automobile accident. Nanette Brock, “Meredith House,” in Jasper County Writers, Inc., Heritage Tour of Jasper County, Vol. II (Newton, IA: News Printing Company, Publishers, 1982), pp. 108-109; https://www.newtongov.org/DocumentCenter/View/5292/602-1st-Ave-E_OC-and-Delia-Meredith-House-50-00656. The residence is now part of Newton’s First Avenue East Residential Historic District that was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2020. Newton News, March 5, 2021 and April 16, 2021.

[7] The Newton Daily News, April 28, 1944. Mrs. Meredith was also a teacher in the church’s Sunday School. Past and Present of Jasper County, Iowa, p. 782.

[8] The Newton Daily News, April 28, 1944.

[9] Email, April 20, 2021, from Mrs. Nancy J. Ramthun, Grand Secretary, PGM, Grand Chapter of Iowa Order of the Eastern Star.

[10] The Newton Daily News, April 28, 1944.

[11] Ibid.

[12] Ibid.

[13] Ibid.

[14] Jasper County Genealogical Society, comp., Jasper County, Iowa, Cemeteries: Newton Union Cemetery, Blocks 8, 9, 10, 11, and 12 (Des Moines: Iowa Genealogical Society, 1994), p. 481.