“I have experienced the first real trial of my life. After a few days of suffering our little Hannah died of lung fever so we are left with one baby,” Keturah Belknap wrote in her diary in November 1843 of the death of her first child. But it would not be the last time she would endure similar pain. Three of her five children would die before reaching adulthood. Iowa History, a weekly column, appears at IowaWatch on Saturdays.
How did a small town Iowa woman earn the title “African Sheep Queen” in the early 1900s? By becoming owner of a 6,000-acre sheep ranch in Norvalspont, South Africa. Iowa History, a weekly column, appears at IowaWatch on Saturdays. Cheryl Mullenbach is the author of non-fiction books for young people. Her work has been recognized by International Literacy Association, American Library Association, National Council for Social Studies, and FDR Presidential Library and Museum.
“Let him stay there. Maybe he can catch his wife when she comes flying over the ropes,” Clara (Muscles) Mortensen issued that statement to the husband of her wrestling opponent Mildred Burke in a bout in Chattanooga, Tenn., in 1937. Mortensen was defending her five-year reign as women’s world wrestling champion, when she encountered Burke’s husband, Billy Wolfe, at ring-side shortly after being tossed out of the ring by Mildred. When Wolfe tried to block Mortensen’s way back to the ring, Mortensen fought back. “I jabbed him in the stomach with my elbow.
The fifth annual Celebrating a Free Press and Open Government Banquet, titled “Government Transparency: Now More Than Ever,” will feature White House correspondent Jennifer Jacobs as its guest speaker on Thursday, Oct. 5, in Des Moines. The banquet, at the Des Moines Marriott Downtown and hosted by the Iowa Center for Public Affairs Journalism — IowaWatch with the Iowa Freedom of Information Council and Iowa Newspaper Foundation, will follow a day of raising awareness about the importance of an open government and an unrestricted press to our democracy. The banquet will begin with a 5:30 p.m. reception, with serving beginning at 6:30 p.m.
Other events will include a public forum hosted by the Des Moines Register and Iowa Freedom of Information Council, titled, “Iowa’s Creeping Secrecy.” The forum will examine how each year brings more challenges that would erode Iowa’s long tradition of state and local government being open for scrutiny by the public. Speakers will explore this expanding secrecy – and arguments marshaled by various sides.