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BY MIKE AVITT
It’s 2023. Mount Ayr is less than two years away from its sesquicentennial (150th anniversary).
I’m often asked when Mount Ayr was established. It was established in 1855 with the opening of the Mount Ayr Post Office. But it wasn’t incorporated until 1875. Mount celebrated its centennial in 1975, one hundred years after it was incorporated. Had Mount Ayr celebrated in 1955, that would have coincided with the Ringgold County Centennial. Let’s look at what other Ringgold County towns call their birth year.
Kellerton was established in 1879 with the opening of their post office and the coming of the railroad. They incorporated in 1881 and held their centennial in 1981.
The Redding Post Office opened in 1855, miles north of present-day Redding. In 1875, “old” Redding was established northeast of Redding’s current location. “New” Redding was platted in 1880 with the coming of the railroad and they incorporated in 1882. Their centennial was in 1982.
Tingley, Wirt (Ellston), and Beaconsfield were all on the Humeston & Shenandoah Railroad which was surveyed in 1881. The rails came in 1882, giving life to these three new towns. Wirt incorporated in 1894 and Beaconsfield in 1900, but both celebrated their centennial in 1981.
The Tingley Post Office had been in operation for about 15 years when George Swain was appointed postmaster in February of 1882. The post office had previously been located at the farm home of Edgar Sheldon. I’m guessing Tingley incorporated in 1883 because they celebrated 100 years in 1983.
The Chicago Great Western laid their rails through Ringgold County in 1887. Shannon City, Knowlton, Diagonal, Benton, Maloy, and Blockton were created because of this line.
Benton calls 1887 their birth year even though the Bloomington Post Office didn’t change its name to Benton until 1890. Train service began on this line in 1888.
Goshen, which was on the Humeston & Shenadoah, moved to present-day Diagonal in 1889 to be at the crossing of the H & S and the CGW. This created the new town of Diagonal. Diagonal was incorporated in 1896 and celebrated their centennial in 1988.
I’m finding out Maloy was a village years before the rails got there in 1887. The hamlet went by the names of Maloy (named after David Maloy), Foxtown, and Delphi where Mike Rush had established the Delphi Post Office in 1877. Rush sold out to John Fox in 1880 and moved to Delphos. Maloy celebrated their centennial in 1987.
Delphos was platted in 1880 and this vicinity was known as Borneo. Mike Rush is credited in the Ringgold Record newspaper as being the man responsible for getting the Borneo’s Post Office name changed to Delphos in October 1880. Delphos celebrated their 100th birthday in 1980.
So some of the towns celebrated when they were established, some when they were incorporated, and some when the idea was conceived.
I’m guessing Mount Ayr’s sesquicentennial will be held in conjunction with Ayr Days but we can still party like it’s 1855!