Cal Loy’s Kindness, Rewarded to Widow Effie

Effie (Mitchell) Loy’s late husband George Carroll (“Cal”) Loy (26 March 1870 Page Co., IA–18 April 1907 Page Co., IA) was third cousin to my grandmother’s grandfather. Cal’s father Jacob Loy, Jr. (known as “Uncle Jake” to the community) had, during various times in his life, held county, township, and town offices for the community, including Sheriff of Page County, pioneer druggist of Lincoln Township, and was the first Postmaster of the Yorktown post office. Jacob Jr. was son of Jacob Loy, son of George Loy, son of Martin Loy (to America 1741).

The time: early November, 1907. The place: Coin, Lincoln Township, Page County, Iowa. Widow Effie Loy, not yet 36 years old and left alone raising three daughters under age 11, curiously studied the stamped envelope of the mysterious letter she had just received. It was addressed to her husband George Carroll Loy, known locally as “Cal,” whose death occurred nearly seven months prior. And the letter was postmarked Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada! Whom had her husband known in Canada??

A letter from that far away? The most distant letter she might have expected was from Cal’s eldest sibling, Laura Jeanette (Loy) Andersen out in Weld County, Colorado. Or from Cal’s widowed mother Mary Ann (Reasoner) Loy in Blaine County, Oklahoma. But Canada?

By this time, most of Cal’s surviving family members were in Oklahoma. Before his marriage, Cal, himself, had spent the summer in Oklahoma in 1893. After selling their Nodaway Township, Page County, Iowa farm, in October 1894 Cal’s parents Jacob and Mary traveled by train to Oklahoma to check out the land there. That following January, on the 16th, they held what would today be known as a “huge yard sale” to sell items they weren’t taking with them. A large crowd attended the sale, likely coming as much for goodbyes or Oklahoma curiosity, or gossip news, as they would for getting a bargain purchase. Later, on Wednesday the 23rd and Thursday morning the 24th, Jacob, Mary, and their children packed their remaining belongings onto train cars at the Page Center depot. As the day wore on, that Thursday, they boarded the train pulling those cars to their new home in Blaine County, Oklahoma.

That month Cal’s married sister Laura came by train from Colorado to Iowa to be with her family during their move, likely helping with their “yard sale.” Newspaper accounts only mention her visit. So it’s likely she left two-year-old Nellie Margaret Andersen and seven-month-old son Arthur Loy Andersen in Colorado with their father Anton Andersen. At this time, Laura would have been about three months along with her next child, Karl Quentin Andersen, born that following July.

Cal’s younger brother Riley Hubert Loy, not yet 22, was recovering after a sudden illness on the 9th of “neuralgia with other ailments.” He was well enough by Saturday the 19th to accompany Laura back to Colorado. It was anticipated he would stay with her and her family all summer. Their older brothers John Gurley (“Gurley”) Loy and Charles Loy had lived in Colorado by 1889 but returned to Iowa; both moved to Blaine County, Oklahoma around the time their parents did. While the rest of the family was moving West, Beecher Stanley (“Beech”) Loy, born just before Cal, stayed in Iowa, having just been reappointed Constable for Yorktown. He and Cal were going into partnership to run a meat market. (Meanwhile, Beech’s baby daughter Mabel Irene Loy, having turned one year old the previous October, had been very ill with la grippe but improving by the 11th. Sadly, she died less than four weeks later.) The rest of Cal’s siblings accompanied their parents to Oklahoma: older brother Frank Ulysses Loy, and younger siblings Clyde Victor Loy and Nellie Loy.

The two years prior and during the year of Cal’s death were difficult for his father’s family. In May 1905, Riley was killed by a premature blast while working with powder at the Shurtloff mine in Victor, Teller Co., CO. Then, 11 months later, Cal’s father Jacob died in Oklahoma. Then, 12 months after that, Cal died from a worsening appendicitis attack. His brother Beecher (who, by then, had moved with his family to Oklahoma) came to Iowa for the funeral. Eight months later, Beecher died in Oklahoma.

Effie opened the foreign envelope and read the letter inside. The scribe was a Mr. W. G. Gordon, master of the steamship Neptune. He was giving notice of the death and sea burial of one Edward Jackson. What did this have to do with her husband? She read further…Mr. Jackson had been on this ship from Jucaro, Cuba to Halifax, Nova Scotia. Knowing he was dying, he began making his last requests, instructing that a certain sum of money from his “ample fortune” be given to a man who had done him a great favor in his lifetime. That man was Cal, although Jackson had not known he recently died. Effie could not recall her husband ever mentioning this Mr. Jackson, nor have knowledge of what good deed he might have done for this stranger. But it must have been noteworthy, as Mr. Jackson wanted Cal to have $3,000; equivalent to $80,708 today in USD. (If I’m not mistaken, at that time the Canadian dollar was the same value as USD.)

Effie replied to Mr. Gordon’s letter, explaining that her husband had passed away months prior. She and their three daughters Irma Fracele Loy (going on 11), Neva Pauline Loy (going on 8), and Verna Faye Loy (age 6) were his sole heirs. In response, Mr. Jackson’s estate administrator (his brother Charles J. Jackson of Summerside, Prince Edward Island, Canada) replied, asking for certified proof of the appointment of the administrator for Cal’s estate, so that the money could be forwarded to it. As of the 29 November article, Effie had submitted the requested proof and the family was waiting in anticipation for the sum to be forwarded to Cal’s estate.

This story is based on accounts in the following Clarinda, IA newspapers:
Friday, 6 October 1893 The Clarinda Herald, pg. 1
Friday, 26 October 1894 The Clarinda Herald, pg. 3
Friday, 11 January 1895 The Clarinda Herald, pg. 1
Friday, 18 January 1895 The Clarinda Journal, pg. 4
Thursday, 24 January 1895 The Page County Democrat, pg. 8
Friday, 25 January 1895 The Clarinda Herald, pg. 1
Friday, 12 May 1905 The Clarinda Herald, pg. 5
Friday, 19 May 1905 The Clarinda Journal, pg. 6
Friday, 17 April 1906 The Clarinda Herald, pg. 4
Friday, 19 April 1907 The Clarinda Herald, pg. 8
Thursday, 25 April 1907 The Page County Democrat, pg. 8
Friday, 26 April 1907 The Clarinda Herald, pg. 8
Friday, 29 November 1907 The Clarinda Journal, pg. 7

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