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BY MIKE AVITT
Posing for the picture are (left to right): Frank Sheldon, Zella Campbell, Bernice Moore, and Clare Allyn. Zella married Roy Swartz on May 6, 1925 and Bernice married John (Clem) Sheil on November 10, 1928.
Frank Sheldon was president of the Mount Ayr State Bank when this photo was taken. He had a long career with this bank, which had many names during his employment.
Frank’s father, Edgar Sheldon, settled in Tingley Township in 1855 and Frank was born October 3, 1866. Frank began his banking career at Mount Ayr Bank in July 1890, shortly before the construction of the new bank building located where the Mount Ayr Public Library is today. In 1895, Mr. Sheldon was wed to Miss Minnie Horne, daughter of Dr. William Horne. They had some adopted children.
Besides his banking career, Frank had a side business with Howard Tedford dealing in insurance and real estate. This business would continue to grow over the years as in 1913 when they bought the abstract business of Palmer & Holden.
Also in 1913, Sheldon bought the former Chautauqua grounds, also known as White’s Grove, and divided the land into lots. We now know these lots as Sheldon Heights (Shelway Drive). Frank had the first house built at 102 Shelway Drive in 1913.
As Mount Ayr Bank President, Frank reorganized the institution as Mount Ayr State Bank in 1915. The bank became a member of the Federal Reserve Bank in 1918.
The Great Depression of 1929 caused the federal government to merge Mount Ayr’s two banks, with the Mount Ayr State Bank absorbing the Iowa State Bank in April 1930. The Mount Ayr State Bank bought the Kellerton State Bank in March 1931. Mount Ayr’s only bank was reorganized again as Security State Bank in July 1937.
I believe Frank and Minnie retired to California about 1933 because the Sheldons sold their house to Carson Williams in 1934 and Frank sold his real estate, abstract, and insurance business to Clyde Lesan in 1938.
I know Frank Sheldon returned to Mount Ayr in 1950 to take part in a celebration at Dalbey’s Lumber Co. I. J. Dalbey was celebrating 50 years in the lumber and surely had the financial backing of one Frank Sheldon.
Mr. Sheldon also served as a Republican Representative for Ringgold County and served on the Iowa State Fair Board. Sheldon was one of Ringgold County’s wealthiest and most successful citizens.