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BY MIKE AVITT
Last week I said A. Palmer handled the abstract books for Clyde Lesan Co. after Clint Allyn died in 1949. Well, maybe not.
I don’t know who did the abstract work during the 1950s. In fact, I don’t have much info about Clyde Lesan Co. during this time. But, in 1960, there were many changes. Clyde and Glenn Lesan retired and sold their interest in the firm to the other members. The business was now called W. B. Cunning Company. On September 1, 1960, W. B. Cunning Co. bought the Mount Ayr Abstract Company from Arthur Palmer. Charles Lesan was brought into the company to handle the abstract books.
The changes continued with Burl Cunning’s son, Dan, becoming an employee on October 1, 1963. In 1967, Dan Cunning became a member of W. B. Cunning Co. This coincided with a major interior and exterior remodeling. An Open House was held at 100 S. Taylor on December 15, 1967 to show off the new remodeling. At this time, the business was made up of Burl Cunning, Helen Schardein, Bill French, Dan Cunning, Charles Lesan, and Ellen Prentis.
On October 7, 1970, Charles Lesan passed away sitting at his desk. Three years later, the company would split.
January 1, 1973 saw two firms emerge from the previous business. W. B. Cunning Co., consisting of Burl and Dan Cunning, relocated to 112 W. Madison and would deal in farm management (Dan’s major at ISU), real estate, and insurance. Bill French and Helen Schardein established French & Schardein at the old stand. Their business served the abstract, real estate, and insurance interests of their customers.
Joel McClure joined W. B. Cunning Co. in July 1973. In 1975, Burl Cunning retired, selling his interest in the company to Joel McClure and Dan Cunning.
Other changes in Mount Ayr’s financial businesses included the construction of a new bank building for Security State Bank in 1968-69. Also, the appearance of Production Credit Association in 1976. In 1970, Shafer Insurance moved to the old Sandwich Shop building at 100 E. Madison, and, in 1973, Joe Jackson joined the Frank Clarke Insurance Agency.
Mount Ayr had survived with only one bank since 1930, but the 1980s would see the establishment of two more banks, despite the Farm Crisis. There would also be changes in real estate, insurance, and abstract businesses. Tune in next week for that.