Saturday, August 6, 2011

The Ilion: A Grand Entrance


This photograph from the Lucas County Historical Society collection is date-stamped Jan. 5, 1955, but the name of the photographer is not given.

How many, I wonder, passed through the Ilion’s grand front doors during their 75 years? Thousands? Probably. Smith H. and Annie Mallory and their daughter and son-in-law, Deming and Jessie Thayer, were lavish entertainers and the house was designed to accommodate a crowd.

About 70 guests passed through these doors for the June 9, 1886, wedding of Jessie and Deming.

In more somber times, Deming coffin would have been carried into and out of the house through these doors for private funeral services in the drawing room after his 1898 suicide; and Smith Mallory himself would have exited here feet-first five years later, during 1903, before his funeral at St. Andrew’s Church.

This was the formal entrance. On everyday occasions, the family probably used a side door opening from the east into what, before it was removed to enlarge the southeast parlor, was a cross-hall that included a narrow secondary staircase. A third staircase, for servants, was located in the kitchen wing. Another set of stairs climbed the tower to an observation room at the top.

My guess is that these doors were hung sometime during 1880, after construction of the house had passed the point that risk to their leaded glass panels had been substantially decreased.

Work on the house, which began during the spring of 1879, moved slowly because the Ilion’s walls, both exterior and interior, were of brick. This was not a masonry shell around a frame interior. The walls rose slowly, as a unit, and by July of 1879 had reached the top of the front doorframe.

Consider the craftsmanship of the frame --- cut stone embedded in brick; and the elaborate lintel.

That lintel caused at least one near disaster. The Patriot of July 30, 1879, reported: “In raising the central arch of cut stone over the main entrance to Mr. Mallory’s new residence in the northwest part of town, on Monday week, the rope to the hoisting apparatus broke, the stone falling through into the basement, breaking several joists of the lower floor.”

There were no serious injuries, although the broken rope whipped around, bruising one of the workmen. The lintel seems to have suffered no significant damage.

Originally, these doors were not sheltered, but opened directly from the base of the Ilion tower onto a platform porch, then a set of steps to ground level. This would not have been especially convenient during inclement weather and the earliest photo of the house shows a canvas canopy rigged to provide some shelter.

Modifications to the house in 1896, to modernize it, increase convenience and facilitate entertaining, included installation of broad new porches along the south and west fronts of the house. When this project was complete, shelter stretched 30 feet straight south from these doors over porch, new steps and a porte-cochere.

Guests now could exit their carriages, climb steps and enter the house under shelter.

When those porches were added, however, a “beautiful stained glass window with art medallions, made in Berlin” was removed from the transom above the doubled doors and replaced by clear glass to allow more light into the foyer at the tower base.

During its long period of sleep from 1909 until 1949, those new porches began to collapse in part because they were not anchored to the house, and use of the front doors became problematic. Few of the farmhand tenants who occupied parts of the house during those years had need of a grand entrance anyway. Most centered their lives on the home’s large kitchen.

When Otto Brown restored the home during the early 1950s, he repaired the porches and made the front doors accessible again.

They opened for the last time to party-goers on April 13, 1955, when Chariton Rotarians brought the old house to life again briefly.

Hundreds, if not thousands, passed through them during an open house on April 17, then they were closed a final time, removed as the Ilion was torn down and sold to an unknown buyer as salvage. If any of the lintel survived, it, too, has vanished.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Deming: Cape Cod to Colombia

By Frank D. Myers, All rights reserved.


This poor-quality photo, lifted from an 1890s group shot, shows Deming Jarves Thayer and his wife, Jessie (Mallory) Thayer.

Deming Jarves Thayer, who by marriage became the fourth member of Chariton’s tightly-knit Mallory family, remains its most enigmatic figure.

He was born Oct. 3, 1852, on Cape Cod to Harlow Hooker Thayer and his wife, nee Mary P. Nye, according to William Ogden Wheeler’s massive “The Ogden Family in America,” published in Philadelphia in 1907. Annie (Ogden) Mallory’s lineage was included in this volume and it seems likely that either she or Jessie provided the information about Deming that appears on page 399.

Harlow Thayer, although well connected, was not a prominent man, so records of him are scarce and scattered. But George Adams’ “The Massachusetts Business Directory for the Year 1856,” published in Boston, does list Harlow H. Thayer as a lumber dealer in Sandwich in that year, when Deming would have been 4 years old.

Harlow had been named after an uncle, Harlow Hooker, married to Betsey Thayer. Harlow's parents were Solomon Alden Thayer, Betsey’s brother, and Abby (Stutson) Thayer. As might be expected, Solomon Alden Thayer was descended from John Alden.

Abby (Stutson) Thayer was widowed quite young and seems to have bounced around a bit, although she never remarried. Fortunately for the Thayer fortunes, her sister, Anna Smith Stutson, married well --- to Deming Jarves, the source of Deming Jarves Thayer’s name.

Deming Jarves, a wealthy Boston resident and former agent of the New England Glass Co., founded the Boston & Sandwich Glass Co. at Sandwich with two partners in 1825. The operation he developed there as principal owner and manager became known worldwide for its pressed-glass innovations and the quality of its products. It also became widely known for its benign treatment of company craftsmen and their families.

Perhaps at the behest of Anna (Stutson) Jarves, several members of her family came to Sandwich to live and/or work, including her sister, Abby Thayer, and nephew, Harlow Hooker Thayer. The lumber operation Harlow acquired and operated had been founded by Deming Jarves as part of the Sandwich glass operation.

So it must have seemed honorable (and perhaps useful) to Harlow H. and Mary Thayer to name their firstborn in honor of his great-uncle in 1852.

Online tombstone inscriptions from Sandwich Mount Hope Cemetery show that Mary P. Thayer, wife of Harlow H. and mother of Deming, died June 28, 1859, at the age of 34, when Deming was 6 years old.

That death probably caused Harlow to break up his home at Sandwich and move to Boston, where he was enumerated in the 1860 census at age 35 as a coal weigher living at the Tri-Mountain House hotel. I have found no sign of Deming in the 1860 census, but it seems likely he was living with relatives.

Harlow’s mother and Deming’s Grandmother, Abby S. Thayer, was living as a boarder in Sandwhich when the 1860 census was taken, then died seven years later and was buried, too, in Mount Hope.

There are some indications that Harlow Thayer remarried as his second wife a woman named Susan, had two additional children, Ephraim H. and Josephine, and lived in Boston until his death during 1892. His professions as listed in various census and city directory entries range from surveyor to horse car operator. The degree of his involvement in the life of his son, Deming, is unknown.

By 1865, when Deming enrolled at age 13 in the Lawrence Academy, his residence was given as Groton, where the academy is located. The duration of his time as a student there isn’t known, but he probably graduated four years later. His obituary identifies him as a graduate of “Girton Academy,” most likely intended to be Lawrence Academy at Groton.

In the fall of 1869, Deming enrolled at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, then located in Boston. He seems to have spent the academic year 1869-70 there.

During 1870, Deming applied to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y., but apparently was not admitted. It seems likely that he began working then as a civil engineer.

Deming’s 1898 obituary states that early in his career he “was connected with engineering work in the building of some of the branches of the Burlington road,” suggesting that he came west to work in Illinois or Iowa or both. It is entirely possible the he first encountered Smith H. Mallory at that time.

His next appearance in public records, however, is in Central and South America as a full-fledged civil engineer during the later 1870s.

During November of 1877, age 25, he was identified by Francisco Javier Cisneros, a civil engineer, Latin America railroad pioneer and Cuban revolutionary, as his assistant on the Colombian Cauca Railway project.

That daring 85-mile project was designed to connect Buenaventura, Colombia, on the Pacific coast, with the inland Cauca River valley. Work on the project began in 1878 with Deming as resident engineer on the first section of the line, from Buenaventura to Juntas.

Deming may have joined the staff of the exiled Cuban some years earlier in the United States, where Cisneros had opened an engineering firm after permanent exile from his homeland.

Extant arrival records for the Port of New York show that Deming landed there on the ship Colon from Aspinwall, Panama, on the 18th of October 1876, perhaps returning to the United States between projects.

Another arrival in New York from Panama, this time aboard the City of Para, occurred on Oct. 18, 1882.

Deming was carried from 1881-83 in congressional records as a commercial agent attached to the U.S. Consulate in Buenaventura, suggesting that his employment on Colombian projects lasted several years, perhaps from the mid-1870s until 1883.

Beginning in late 1883 and continuing into 1884, Deming was working as an engineer for James B. Eads' Tehuantepec Ship Railway project, a proposed alternative to the Panama Canal that would have moved fully loaded ships from Atlantic to Pacific oceans by rail. From January until July of 1884, he supervised field engineering crews along the proposed route.

But about 1885, Deming returned for good to the United States, highly qualified to rejoin the rush to build new rail lines westward from the Missouri River and beyond.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Jessie: The Early Years, 1863-85


Jessie Ogden Mallory

Jessie Ogden Mallory, photographed as a young adult, appears serene and lovely, exquisitely dressed with brown hair upswept, looking directly into the camera with large and intelligent eyes framed by spectacles. She looks as you’d expect a privileged, accomplished and widely-traveled young woman to look during the last quarter of the 19th century.

But privilege does not ensure happiness, and Jessie had her share of troubles during a relatively short life of 60 years.

Jessie was born on the 26th of September, 1863, in Naperville, Illinois, during a period when her father, Smith Henderson Mallory, was engineer on the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad from Chicago to Aurora, Illinois, headquartered in Chicago. Her mother was Annie Louise (Ogden) Mallory. Jessie would be their only child.

During 1867, when Jessie was four, the family moved to Chariton. They had camped comfortably in rented quarters in Ottumwa and Albia as the Burlington & Missouri River Railroad grade and tracks pushed west toward Lucas County with Jessie’s father as contractor for bridges on the line. The first train arrived in Chariton on July 4, 1867, but the Mallorys seem to have arrived a little earlier.

They moved into a new but modest story-and-a-half frame house on several lots at the south end of the block between North Grand and North Main streets where Chariton High School now is located. A barn was added to the property as well as an orchard and gardens.

Although Smith, Annie and their daughter would become Chariton’s informal first family, there is no indication that Jessie was raised in a manner that differed significantly from the way other children were in the small town planted on land that had passed from Meskwaki and Sauk ownership only 21 years earlier.

Their neighbors included several contemporaries of Smith and Annie who would become lifelong friends, most notably the McCormick sisters, Miss Maggie and Miss Emily, and Edward Ames Temple, who went on to found the Bankers Life Association, now Principal Financial Group.

The family traveled occasionally, most often to Batavia, Illinois, where most of the extended Mallory family lived, but elsewhere, too. The Chariton Patriot of Aug. 18, 1873, reported, for example, that the Mallorys and Miss Maggie McCormick “leave this week for Clear Lake, the new and popular resort of northern Iowa.”

A year later, Jessie, then almost 11, appeared in the offices of The Chariton Leader bearing a peach, an event considered significant enough to be reported upon.

“Miss Jessie Mallory,” the editor wrote on Sept. 12, 1874, “presented us the other day with a splendid, large sized free stone peach, which grew on her father’s lot in this city. Seven years ago she planted the seed that produced the tree that bore this peach, and informs us that the tree bore several of the same quality this year. If the proper care was taken of peach trees, this county could raise all of this excellent fruit that the people need for home consumption.”

Among the elaborate embroidery applied to Jessie’s 1923 obituary is the statement that she was “educated entirely abroad, chiefly in Germany.”

That is for the most part nonsense. Jessie was educated in Chariton’s public schools and was an 1879 graduate of Chariton High School — the same year construction of the family’s new home, the Ilion, began on Chariton’s north edge.

The Leader of June 7, 1879, reported that “last Friday evening the annual commencement of our city High School came off in the Opera Hall. A large crowd was in attendance, notwithstanding the threatening weather. There were ten pupils in the graduating class, consisting of Misses Lydia Hollinger, Lillian Brant, Clara Hollinger, Nellie McCormick, Helen A. Temple, Jessie Mallory, Bertha Martin and Jessie St. John; and Messrs. Charley Thorpe and B.H. Wilson.”

Jessie, not quite 16, apparently had not excelled academically since “the Salutatory was delivered by Lydia Hollinger and the Valedictory by Mr. Wilson.”

The Opera Hall, where commencement exercises were held, was in the Mallory Opera Block on the northwest corner of the square, the first major building project of Jessie’s father, completed during 1874. The high school at that time was located on the current site of Columbus elementary school in south Chariton.

During the spring of 1880, as work continued on their new home, the Mallorys embarked on a grand tour of Europe that, for Jessie and her mother, would last nearly a year. They were accompanied by Jessie’s first-cousin, Elinor Smith, of Batavia.

Jessie and Annie left Chariton by train on May 20, 1880, perhaps to visit family in upstate New York before proceeding to New York City. Smith followed on June 1 to meet his wife and daughter.

On June 5, the reunited family left New York City aboard the steamer Britannica of the White Star Line, arriving in England on June 13 after an eight-day journey.

After touring England, the Mallorys traveled slowly by train across Europe to Germany where Jessie, Elinor and Annie settled in. Smith sailed home from Liverpool on the 17th of July, arriving in Chariton late in the month.

In was during this period that Jessie received her “European education,” primarily it appears in music --- she was an accomplished musician before leaving Iowa and returned home more accomplished.

During early January of 1881, after spending the rest of 1880 supervising rail construction projects, Smith embarked again for Europe and joined his family in Germany. They continued the grand tour until early April, when they arrived in London. Smith, Annie, Jessie and Elinor sailed home aboard the Germanic, arriving in New York on April 25.

The Mallorys returned to Chariton just in time to move into the now-complete Ilion. By this time, Smith Mallory’s increasing wealth and influence --- and his castle --- had cemented the family’s position in not only his hometown but across the Midwest.

The next five years would be filled, for Jessie, with socializing, travel  --- and romance, or so it would seem.


Monday, August 1, 2011

Jessie marries Deming Thayer


Jessie O. Mallory and Deming J. Thayer, a civil engineer and protégé of her father, were married on June 9, 1886, during a grand ceremony at the Ilion. She was 22 at the time and Deming, 33. The most complete account of the marriage was published in The Chariton Democrat, owned at the time by Jessie’s father, on June 10, 1886.

Nearly all of the guests were family members and associates of the Mallory family. No members of Deming’s family were present. Deming and Jessie never established an independent life. They continued to live with Smith H. and Annie Mallory at the Ilion until Deming’s death by suicide 12 years later, during 1898.

WEDDING BELLS
Thayer-Mallory

Married at Ilion, the home of the bride’s parents in Chariton, on Wednesday evening, June 9, 1886, Miss Jessie Ogden Mallory, only child of Mr. and Mrs. S. H. Mallory, to Mr. Deming J. Thayer, of Neponset, Massachusetts. Rt. Rev. William Stevens Perry, of Davenport, Bishop of the (Episcopal) Diocese of Iowa, performed the ceremony.

At eight o’clock about seventy guests, the majority of whom were relatives of the parties from abroad, had assembled in the parlor to witness the happy event. Of those from a distance were: Mrs. Jane Mallory, Mr. and Mrs. E.S. Smith, and their son Frank and daughters May and Jessie, Mr. and Mrs. W.M. Van Norwick and Mr. and Mrs. J.H. Van Northwick, all of Batavia, Ill.; Mr. Barnum Mallory, of St. Charles, Ill.; Mr. and Mrs. J.H. Harvey and their daughter Louise and son George, Mr. and Mrs. Richard Mallory, Colonel and Mrs. Swain, Mrs. G.G. Cooke, Miss Young, Mr. J.C. Turner, Mr. George Harvey, all of Chicago; Mr. and Mrs. W.H. Morehouse, Mr. and Mrs. W.F. Merrill and Miss Fessenden, of Burlington; Miss Florence Perry, of Albia; Rev. and Mrs. Wolcott and Miss McCormick, of Davenport; Clement Chase, Omaha; David Baum, Lincoln, Neb.; Miss Tuell, Lewistown, Ill.; Mrs. George C. Brownell, Frankfort, Kansas; Mr. and Mrs. Allen Mallory and their daughters Josie and Ruth, Creston; and Mr. and Mrs. A.D. Mallory, Lucas.

At half past eight the bride and groom, preceded by the bride’s parents, entered the parlor and took their positions beneath the canopy of beautiful foliage and flowers, from the center of which hung an immense bell of white roses. The bride was elegantly attired in rich cream satin en train, and the groom in full evening dress. Bishop Perry immediately proceeded with the beautiful and impressive marriage service of the Episcopal church, and the happy couple received the congratulations and earnest well-wishes of their friends, after which all partook of the wedding feast.

The house and grounds were tastefully decorated and illuminated, the weather was as delightful as could be asked, and all went merrily and happily.

The special Pullman cocah which brought the Illinois visitors yesterday noon, started homeward with them at midnight.

The bride and groom left on the night train for Southern Kansas where Mr. Thayer will immediately resume his duties as Chief Engineer of the E.M. & A.R.R. now building. Through pressed with the many duties of his busy position, he has learned that other duty: “Seek a good wife of thy God, for she is the best gift of his providence.”

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Mallory's Castle: Introduction

By Frank D. Myers, All rights reserved


The date stone once embedded high in the tower of Mallory's Castle, now on the grounds of the Lucas County Historical Society Museum.

When I was 9, the old house known as Mallory’s Castle --- named Ilion by its builder --- was torn down to clear the way for a housing development. It was the most elaborate house ever built in Lucas County, constructed by the most elaborate family ever to live here --- but stood for only 75 years.

Liability was not a major concern during 1955, so the owners felt free to throw open the doors of the old place one last time during April of that year so that everyone interested could tour it. We did, along with my dad’s cousin, Edwin Johnson, his wife, Betty, and their daughter, Martha. So did thousands of others.

Thieves --- also attracted by the publicity --- had made off with a chandelier or two and a few other fixtures beforehand, but that made very little difference, except to the owners.

I remember the tour distinctly, but as it turned out remembered very little else about the building accurately. I’ve been interested in the house and, to a lesser extent the family, ever since.

Smith H. Mallory and his wife, Annie, along with their daughter, Jessie, arrived in Chariton during 1867 with the first trains. He had just begun to build a fortune constructing rail lines and bridges, enriched as all rail entrepreneurs were at that time by vast public subsidies, mostly in land.

Mallory left no stone unturned to earn a buck. Rail revenue poured in until his death in 1903, but he also built one of southern Iowa’s most powerful banks, became the region’s most innovative agriculturalist on his 1,000-acre Brook Farm and had a financial finger in virtually every other county enterprise --- from manufacturing plows to mining elusive gold and silver (in Arizona).


Mallory's Castle as it looked originally.

Mallory’s Castle was built 1879-81 to a probable design by Des Moines architect William Foster. It was not grand in the sense that Terrace Hill, now the Iowa governor’s mansion, is grand --- but it was grand enough. In fact, it became legendary.

The view from the southeast was most pleasing. From the southwest it looked clumsy and slightly out of whack. It’s tower dominated the horizon, as the Mallorys dominated Chariton’s business and, among those with aspirations at least, social life.

Mallory’s legacy seemed assured when he died during 1903 of stomach cancer and was buried in the Chariton Cemetery near a family tombstone that rivaled his house and his church (St. Andrew’s Episcopal) in triumphalist splendor.

But then it all came tumbling down during 1907 when the suicide by morphine of trusted Mallory associate and First National Bank manager Frank Crocker revealed that he had gutted and dissipated bank assets. It was Lucas County’s greatest financial calamity until the Great Depression.

In the aftermath, all Mallory assets in Lucas County were turned over to the government to cover bank losses after a long and bitter court fight involving the widow, Annie, and daughter, Jessie. The women fled to Florida, taking the Ilion’s contents with them --- along with Jessie’s still-substantial fortune, sheltered from creditors. Lucas County and the Mallorys did not part friends.


Part of the shattered "Ilion" name stone originally embedded above the front door of Mallory's Castle, moved to the gable end of the porte-cochere in the 1890s and now on the grounds of the Lucas County Historical Society museum.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

The Mallory Chronology

Compiled By Frank D. Myers, All rights reserved.


Smith Henderson Mallory

Glance up at the courthouse clock the next time you're on the square in Chariton and think briefly of Smith Henderson Mallory, whose gift to the people of Lucas County it was during 1894. He was the richest man Lucas County ever has seen, if his assets are counted in 21st Century terms; his mansion and its grounds, the Ilion, southern Iowa's grandest home. Entrepreneur and benefactor, he was the stuff of which legends are made.

But the Gods often are not kind to those they seem initially to bless. Denied descendants, no family remains to sing his praise. A significant portion of his fortune was dissipated when four years after his death a trusted protégé's embezzlement brought down the family bank, First National, in Lucas County's greatest financial calamity. His wife and daughter fled to Florida. Some years later, they removed his body and monument from the Chariton Cemetery and took those to Florida as well. His opera house burned, his mansion was demolished and his church, St. Andrew's, fell.

As passed the Mallorys, so passed the old families of Chariton who were their friends and may have aspired to be their social equals: the Copelands, the Temples, the Stantons, the Oppenheimers and many more. With them, went many memories.

The Mallory's legacy, such as it is, now is in the hands of those who remain.

1835: Smith Henderson Mallory is born on 2 December at Croton Mills, about 4 miles east of Penn Yan, Yates County, N.Y., southeast of Rochester. His father is Smith Legg Mallory and his mother, Jane (Henderson) Mallory. Smith is the eldest of six children. His younger siblings are Jane M. Mallory (marries Edward S. Smith), Allen Mallory (marries Margaret Ellen Durfee), Meredith Mallory (dies young), Eleanor A. Mallory (marries John H. Harvey) and Albert Douglas “Bert” Mallory, 25 years younger than Smith (marries 1st at Chariton Susie Kubitshek and after their divorce 2nd Frances Bolton Hazen). Smith is educated at Penn Yan and at John W. Irwin's academy in Danbury, Conn.

1850: At age 14, Smith H. Mallory heads west to Batavia, Kane County, Ill. (just west of Chicago), where his paternal grandfather, Meredith Mallory, and an uncle, John Van Nortwick (who had married Smith Legg Mallory’s sister, Patty Maria Mallory), had settled during 1843. Van Nortwick was chief engineer in construction of the Galena & Chicago Union Railroad. Smith H. Mallory’s parents and siblings join their extended family at Batavia ca. 1852.

1851: During June, Smith finds a job as clerk in a store owned by P.J. Burchell at St. Charles, Ill. Dissatisfied as a clerk, Smith finds a job as axman with George W. Waite, first assistant engineer of the Galena & Chicago Union Railroad, in his corps of engineers; and in August, when Waite is selected to make surveys for the Aurora branch extension of the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy, Smith is promoted to rodman. After the completion of that road to Burlington, he is appointed engineer.

1857: Smith resigns his railroad position and goes into the real estate business at Fairfield, Iowa — just as the real estate boom of 1856 is collapsing, the first of only two known major Mallory business failures.


Annie Louise Ogden Mallory

1858: On 22 March, Smith marries Annie Louise Ogden, daughter of Mordecai Ogden, at Penn Yan, New York, and they return to Fairfield where he is appointed resident engineer of the Fairfield division of the Burlington and Missouri River Railroad, then being constructed between Rome and Ottumwa. Upon completion of track across the Fairfield division, he is named roadmaster on 1 December and the newlyweds move to Burlington.

1861: In the spring, Smith resigns as roadmaster of the Burlington and Missouri to take charge of the location and construction of the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad between Aurora, Ill., and Chicago. Headquarters are in Chicago and he and Annie move to that vicinity.


Jessie Ogden Mallory, born 26 September 1863

1863: On 26 September, Jessie Ogden Mallory, the only child of Smith Henderson and Annie (Ogden) Mallory, is born at Naperville, Ill.

1865: Stricken with "oil fever," Smith travels to Pennsylvania to engage in the oil business, but gives that up quickly (his second and final major business failure) and returns to Iowa in the fall; wins the contract for construction of bridges from Ottumwa to Chariton on the Burlington & Missouri River Railroad, then all the bridges on the main line to Plattsmouth, Nebraska, and then on the Nebraska City branch of the same road. This lays the foundation for his fortune. The Mallory family apparently lives in Ottumwa during this period.

Upon completion of the road to Plattsmouth, Smith H. Mallory is named assistant superintendent, then chief engineer of the road, a position he holds until 1873.


The first Mallory home in Chariton in 1869.

1867: Smith, Annie and Jessie Mallory move to Chariton and begin purchasing property, principally town lots. They purchase or commission a relatively modest house at the current site of Chariton High School along North Grand Street that will remain their home for about 14 years.

On 13 June, Smith is elected to the first vestry upon organization of St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church; baptized with wife, Annie, and others on 29 March 1868; and confirmed 2 April 1868 (the congregation's first confirmation class). St Andrew’s will remain a focus of his life until death.

1870: When the 1870 census enumerator calls at the Mallory home in Chariton on 1 September he finds its occupants to be Smith, Annie and Jessie as well as Lissie Smith, a servant, and Matthew Mildern, a laborer. Smith H. Mallory reports that he owns real estate valued at $81,550 and personal property valued at $88,350, making him in all likelihood the richest man in Lucas County and one of the richest in southern Iowa.

Also during 1870, Smith H. Mallory purchases controlling interest in the banking house of Lyman Cook & Co. and reorganizes it as the First National Bank of Chariton with himself as president, Joseph Braden as vice-president and Edward Ames Temple (who goes on to found the Bankers Life Association, now Principal Financial Group) as cashier. The Mallory family will control the bank until 1907, when it fails after Frank R. Crocker (who succeeds Temple as cashier during 1884) misappropriates a majority of its funds.

1871: Smith H. Mallory is named chief engineer of the Burlington and Missouri Railroad.

1872: Smith H. Mallory commissions his first major construction project in Chariton, the Mallory Opera Bock on the northwest corner of the square. Probably designed by rising Des Moines architect William Foster, it features four storefronts on its first floor with the opera house itself above and behind. It will remain Chariton’s major entertainment venue for more than 30 years.

1873: Smith H. Mallory resigns as chief engineer of the Burlington and Missouri and organizes with John Fitzgerald of Nebraska and Martin Flynn of Des Moines the railroad construction firm of Fitzgerald, Mallory & Flynn. This firm engages in construction work for the Cincinnati Southern Railroad, the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe in Colorado and the Burlington and Missouri River Railroad across Nebraska.

1874: Smith H. Mallory commissions plans for a mansion, carrying an estimated cost in excess of $25,000, perhaps from William Foster. He has not yet selected a site, but is thinking of building it on farm land he has been acquiring on Chariton’s north city limits.

1875: After his election as president of the Iowa Centennial Commission, Smith H. Mallory resigns because of the increasing load of his business obligations.

1877: Although a Democrat in overwhelmingly Republican territory, Smith H. Mallory is elected to a single term as representative in the Iowa Legislature, its 17th General Assembly. Although he remains active in Democratic politics for the rest of his life and sporadically runs for office, he will not hold elective public office again.

1878: Smith H. Mallory is named president of the Chariton, Des Moines & Southern Railroad, formed to build north-south rail connections between Des Moines, Chariton and other points south. It is during this period, 1879, and along the railroad’s route, that he founds Milo, named for a town in his New York home county, Yates.


The Ilion as it appear soon after completion.

1879: Construction begins on the Mallory mansion on Chariton’s north edge. Construction of the house, formally named Ilion also for his native territory in New York but commonly known as Mallory’s Castle, will continue through 1880 and into 1881. William Foster most likely was the architect.

1880: With Henry Law, Smith H. Mallory commissions a new doublel-front brick buisiness building near the northeast corner of the Chariton square, immediately south of the Gibbon Building. The Mallory & Law Block was designed by William Foster of Des Moines and still stands.

On 5 June, Smith, Annie and Jessie Mallory, accompanied by his niece, Louise Smith, leave New York City aboard the Britannica to begin a grand tour of Europe. Smith returns to Iowa to attend to business during late July or early August, but the women remain in Europe.

1881: During January, Smith sails from New York City to rejoin his family, then in Germany. The family continues its grand tour, then returns to Iowa at mid-year and probably moves into the Ilion at that time.

Smith H. Mallory as vice-president and general manager assumes control of the Fulton County (Illinois) Narrow Gauge Railroad Co. and becomes its president and general manager in 1883, a position he holds until death.

1886: During April, Smith H. Mallory and his former partner, John Fitzgerald, organize the Fitzgerald & Mallory Construction Co. and Smith is elected president. That firm builds approximately 600 miles of railroad in Kansas and Colorado that subsequently becomes part of the Missouri Pacific system. This road is completed to Pueblo, Colo., 1 December 1887.


Jessie Ogden Mallory Thayer/O'Neal

On 9 June 1886, Jessie Ogden Mallory marries Deming Jarves Thayer, 33, a civil engineer and protégé of her father, during an 8 p.m. ceremony at the Ilion. Guests from the Chicago area arrive via an especially-commissioned private rail car. Although the newlyweds set out immediately for Kansas, where Deming is employed by Fitzgerald & Mallory, the Thayers never establish an independent life, always making their home at the Ilion with Jessie’s parents.

1888: Jessie (Mallory) Thayer gives birth on 3 February to a stillborn daughter, Louise Mallory Thayer, who is interred in the Stanton vault in the Chariton Cemetery.

1892: Smith H. Mallory is appointed to the Iowa Commission for the World’s Columbian Exposition (Chicago World’s Fair) of 1893 by then-Gov. Horace Boies, then elected chairman of its Executive Committee. He devotes substantial time and energy to organizing construction of the Iowa Building, even moving his family into a rented house in Chicago to ensure that everything will be in order for the fair’s May-October, 1893, run.

1894: Smith H. Mallory presents on 1 January to the people of Lucas County the Seth Thomas clock that still operates in the courthouse tower, then under construction. It begins running 22 May 1894. By some accounts, Smith acquires the clock when buildings erected for the Chicago World’s Fair are dismantled.

1898: Demming Thayer, 45, confined to the hospital for the insane at Mount Pleasant during late 1897 (possibly suffering from what we now would call clinical depression}, kills himself on 21 June in a sleeping car between St. Louis and Burlington while returning to Chariton from Eureka Springs, Ark., where he had undergone "water treatments." Funeral services are conducted 23 June at the Ilion and burial is made in the Chariton Cemetery.


St. Andrew's Episcopal Church

1900: The corner stone is placed 24 April for the new St. Andrew's Episcopal Church, designed by Philadelphia architect Isaac Pursell who was commissioned by Jessie Mallory Thayer. Cost: of the building is estimated at $23-26,000; first services are held 16 January 1901; and it is consecrated 31 August 1904 after it has been completed with a $10,000 bequest from Smith H. Mallory.


The Mallory cross, installed Chariton Cemetery; moved to Orlando, Florida.

 1903: Smith H. Mallory dies at 11:40 a.m. Thursday, 26 March, at the Ilion at age 68 of complications of stomach cancer. Funeral services are held at 2 p.m. Saturday, March 28, at St. Andrew's Episcopal Church and he is buried near his son-in-law, Deming J. Thayer, in the Chariton Cemetery. Soon thereafter, Jessie and Annie commission a massive Celtic cross to mark the Mallory/Thayer lot and it is installed between his grave and that of Deming J. Thayer in the far northwest corner of the cemetery.

1904: The Mallory Opera Block and several buildings to its south burn in a late-night fire that is the most destructive Chariton’s square ever has experienced. Total property loss is estimated at $100,000.

1907: The suicide of Frank R. Crocker, cashier of First National Bank, at his home south of the square (now Fielding Funeral Home) is discovered early Thursday, 1 November, and the bank doors are locked. Examiners discover Crocker has misappropriated a majority of the bank's funds, it enters receivership and eventually is dissolved. Annie Mallory, bank president, Jessie (Mallory) Thayer, director, and their friend, Mary (Polly) Wolcott, are aboard ship en route to Egypt. Notified by cable at Naples, they begin the return trip to the United States immediately.The Mallorys arrive in Batavia, Ill., during early December and Jessie Thayer and her uncle, A.D. "Bert" Mallory, visit Chariton briefly to assess the financial damage, returning hurriedly to Batavia. Neither Jessie nor her mother will live in Chariton again, choosing to live instead in Orlando, Florida.

1909: After months of negotiations, lawsuits and threatened suits, Annie and Jessie Mallory agree during May to a settlement to resolve their liability in the First National Bank disaster. Annie agrees to turn over to the government all her Lucas County holdings, including the Ilion. The women also will make a cash payment of $26,700, bringing estimated value of the settlement to $126,700. The women have agreed to earlier, smaller cash settlements. Newspaper reports suggested the settlement left Annie Mallory without assets, but Jessie retained significant wealth.During September, professional movers arrive from Chicago to pack the contents of the Ilion and ship them to Jessie (Mallory) Thayer's home in Orlando.

During November, the Ilion and its land are sold by the First Naitonal Bank receiver to L.H. Busselle and William A. Eikenberry for $55,000. The estate will remain in their hands until both die during 1948.The mansion, parts of which are occupied sporadically by farm workers and others, enters a long sleep, gradually deteriorating but remaining structurally sound.

1914: Jessie (Mallory) Thayer marries Orlando businessman, socialite and local historian William R. O'Neal during October at her home, Three Pines, in Orlando. Jessie establishes a new life in Orlando, becoming actively involved in clubs, social activities and charitable organizations. The couple continue to live in Jessie's home for the balance of her life.

1920: Jessie (Mallory) Thayer/O'Neal returns to Chariton and on 9 June has her father's body disinterred and cremated. The ashes are taken to Florida for burial in Orlando's Greenwood Cemetery. The large Colorado red sandstone Celtic cross that had marked his grave in Chariton Cemetery is dismantled and shipped to Florida as well. Jessie leaves the bodies of her infant daughter and first husband, Deming J. Thayer, behind.

1923: Annie (Ogden) Mallory, 81, dies during March at the home of her daughter, Jessie (Mallory) Thayer/O’Neal, and is buried near her husband, Smith H. Mallory, in Orlando's Greenwood Cemetery.

Jessie (Mallory) Thayer/O'Neal dies on 16 November at age 60 after undergoing surgery at an Orlando hospital. She is buried in Orlando's Greenwood Cemetery, near her parents. With her death, the Smith H. Mallory family line has ended.

1948: Luther H. Busselle, 83, and William A. Eikenberry, 72, who have owned the Ilion and its related land for 40 years, die, Busselle on 12 October and Eikenberry, on 26 December. In order to settle their estates, it becomes necessary to sell the property.

1949: The Ilion and its related 940 acres of land are sold at public auction on 27 January to C. Otto Brown for $28,200 ($30 an acre). “Ott” Brown makes estensive repairs to the mansion — replacing its roof, repairng the sagging porches, etc. — in order to make it habitable. Families again move into the home.1

1954: Upon Ott Brown’s death, the Ilion and its land again enter probate. This time, it will not survive.

1955: The Brown family announces early in the year that the Ilion will be demolished and a housing development created on its grounds. The Chariton Rotary Club holds a grand party at the Ilion on 13 April and the Browns schedule a public open house at the old mansion for 17 April. Shortly thereafter, demolition begins. By August, only some of the walls remain and by fall, the grand old house has been reduced to a pile of brick and rubble. St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, now structurally unstable and in need of at least $100,000 to repair, is demolished, too.

Most physical traces of Smith H. Mallory and his family in Lucas County now have been obliterated. Exceptions include the clock in the courthouse tower, the Mallory & Law building on the east side of the square (virtually unrecognizable after it lost the ornate iron work that formed the top of its facade) and Mallory Drive in what sometimes is known as the Ilion Acres subdivision.