Evans: The Amish have some lessons for us

The man who answered the door at a farm house west of Bloomfield one afternoon in the early 1970s was an imposing figure, even without that thick beard on his chin.Gideon Yutzy was a member of the Old Order Amish religion. He was the patriarch of a family that moved into the countryside west of my hometown several months earlier.That was 50 years ago. The arrival of the Yutzys began an Amish settlement that has grown to about 1,800 people today, making Davis County one of the largest enclaves of Amish in Iowa.I was there at Yutzy’s front door to interview him. I wanted to ask about the legal issues surrounding attempts by state and local governments in the Midwest to force Amish children to be educated beyond the eighth grade.In 1965, the issue boiled over near Hazleton in Buchanan County. A front-page photo in The Des Moines Register showed the nation what happened when government officials arrived at a one-room Amish school and tried to take the children to a public school.Little Amish boys and girls scattered like rabbits into a cornfield.

Evans: Norm and Dolly are two peas in a pod

It is hard to imagine Norman Borlaug ever joining in singing “Jolene” or “9 to 5.”

I can’t picture him harmonizing in a heart-tugging rendition of “I Will Always Love You.”

This is not a knock against this kid from Cresco, Iowa. He excelled in other ways — like saving upwards of 1 billion people from starvation through the revolutionary plant-breeding work he did in the decades after World War II. Borlaug developed new high-yield, disease-resistant varieties of wheat, maize and rice that are still feeding people around the globe today. He also established the World Food Prize 35 years ago to honor people who devote themselves to trying to rid the world of the scourge of hunger. A bronze statue of the late scientist stands in Statuary Hall inside the U.S. Capitol.

Iowa Gold Seekers Headed For The Dakota Black Hills in 1874. What Did They Find?

For about $100 a man could secure all the necessary articles he needed in Sioux City, Iowa, to outfit himself for a gold digging expedition to the Black Hills in 1874. Items included a rifle, revolver, flour, salt, ammunition, blankets, cooking utensils, a pick, shovel and gold pan. This was valuable information for a group of 26 men and one woman with her 10-year-old boy, who were preparing to make the trek into the Dakotas in search of riches. Charles Collins, editor of the Sioux City Times, was organizing the expedition, along with an experienced frontiersman named Thomas H. Russell. Eph Witcher and John Gordon were leading the group from Sioux City to the Black Hills.

New Ideas From Iowa Get Big Military Test in 1870

A group of soldiers gathered at an artillery field on the grounds of Fort Monroe, Virginia, on Monday, Feb. 7, 1870. The U.S. government had authorized the Army to carry out the testing of a new product designed by an Iowa man.

Iowa’s 1880s Big “Beat ‘Em-all Barbed Wire Company” Patent Controversy

“A lot of fellows tried to drive the bull into the wires with him on it,” J.H. Harrington described an incident that had occurred at the Delaware County fair at Delhi in 1859. When a “somewhat intoxicated” fair goer hopped on a bull’s back and rode around a track enclosed by a strange looking fence, Harrington took notice.