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BY MIKE AVITT
The former Iowa State Bank had new occupants by 1932. Before I continue, let’s go down in the basement.
In February 1915, an exterior entrance was built to the basement on the north side of Iowa State Bank at 100 S. Taylor. The basement would be used as a barber shop for the next four decades. This date also coincides with Mount Ayr’s water works system being complete, so I’m guessing the building was equipped with running water at this time.
I now believe F. E. Sheldon & Co. moved from 105 S. Fillmore to 100 S. Taylor in 1931. 100 S. Taylor had recently been vacated by Iowa State Bank. The upstairs had been occupied by Ringgold County Abstract Co. The last ad I see for this company was in the January 7, 1932 Record-News. I’m guessing Sheldon bought it.
I learned Clyde Lesan’s brother, Glenn, joined the firm about 1932. Glenn’s obituary said he retired in 1960 after serving in the farm management department for twenty-eight years. I also want to expound on Clinton DeWitt Allyn. He was named for his maternal grandfather, DeWitt Clinton Kinsell, who was a pioneer hardware dealer in Mount Ayr. Mr. Allyn’s father, George S. Allyn was co-founder of Mt. Ayr Bank (often called Allyn Bros. Bank because George’s brother John was a part owner) and was the one who hired F. E. Sheldon way back in 1890. Clint Allyn was an abstracter.
Now we jump to 1937, when Frank Sheldon retired and sold his interest in F. E. Sheldon Co. to the other stockholders. These would be Clyde Lesan, Glenn Lesan, Clint Allyn, and Burl Cunning. Mr. Sheldon was now free to concentrate his efforts on reorganizing the Mount Ayr State Bank. The reorganized bank opened its doors as Security State Bank on July 1, 1937. The fully retired Sheldon moved to California with his wife and his former business became the Clyde Lesan Company in May 1938.
The business grew again in 1945 with the addition of Helen (Thompson) Schardein. Post World War II was an explosion of commercial activity in Ringgold County. Farm loans, farm management, real estate, insurance, and abstracting keep the firm very busy.
William Havely French started work at Clyde Lesan Co. on September 1, 1948. Bill had graduated from Kellerton High School in 1948 and had no formal education before being hired. Helen Schardein had been hired as a secretary, but was a quick study and began to tutor Bill in the areas of abstract and real estate. At this time, Clyde and Glenn were handling the farm managements and real estate, Clint Allyn the abstracts, and Burl Cunning was in charge of insurance. Clinton Allyn passed away in 1949 and was replaced by A. Palmer.
In March 1946, Dr. Frank Landes moved his practice to the upstairs of the Clyde Lesan Company. Dr. Landes passed away in 1948. More next week.