31 Hiawatha and the Davis Memorial


Rows & Rolls

Got out early for the 40 mile ride through smaller rolling hills. Same Ag land with lots of corn and soy beans. Clouds have gathered and it was much cooler. Stopped for a cold drinks and talked with Emil, a guy originally from Croatia who lived in Seattle and retired form Boeing. He lives in Missouri now. Tried and liked MacDonald’s Chicken Salad for lunch in Hiawatha then cycled out to the Cemetery to visit the famous Davis Monument. 

Interesting story of John Davis. He came to Hiawatha in 1879 as an orphan and went to work for the Hart Family. They were outraged when their daughter Sarah Elizabeth married John. They disinheritied them. The family was further incensed when after working hard John bought the two best quarters sections of land in the county. and became extremely wealthy. Sarah died at age 70, John had no heirs and wouldn’t leave his money to her family. So, he began building the monument. People in Hiawatha were incensed, when they asked him to build a swimming pool or community center and he refused. Reporter Ernie Pyle interviewed John Davis in the late 1930s. He said, “The people here hate me but it was my money and I spent it the way I pleased.” The monument has become the biggest tourist attraction in Hiawatha.

Young John & Sarah


Old John & Sarah

There is another attraction just across the road from the cemetery, an Agricultural Museum. The buildings were closed but we did enjoy a wonderful windmill display. These once water workhorses are now relgated to scrap heaps, replaced like horses with horse power.

Windmill Display

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