June 25, 2021


In April of 1854 Lorenzo Dow Fowler and his wife Joanna, children Philip and Laura, came to Osceola from Ohio.

At that time the eastern states were becoming more crowded and many of the people wanted to move west. There were few people living in Iowa at that time, and Fowler could buy land for a farm at a very low price.

Lorenzo purchased 300 acres of land in Clarke County for $1.25 an acre. Satisfied with his land he went into Osceola and bought the hotel which was two log houses from John Sherer. With a home and a farm in his own name Lorenzo and his family could move to Osceola. Taking a couple of teams of oxen hitched to two big covered wagons he brought his family and goods to Osceola.

Mr. Fowler was helping saw logs at a saw mill in Osceola for building a new frame hotel when he was accidentally killed August of 1854. He was engaged in moving a slab and a wrong step caused him to be thrown against a saw causing his death almost instantly, leaving son Philip as the oldest male in the family.

Philip attended public schools and in 1864 enlisted in Company H-46th Iowa. He contracted malaria and was sent home to recover. He worked in the Clerk’s office, farmed and married in 1871.

Mary, one of Philip Fowler’s six children, married Edward Gilpin Banta, the son of John V. and Lydia Gilpin Banta in 1908. They had two daughters, Ruth and Helen. Edward was an abstractor with his father in Banta Abstract. Lydia was actively engaged in the real estate, abstract and banking business of the family, truly a ‘modern working woman’. Upon Lydia’s death, Edward, Mary and Ruth moved into the Banta house with John. Three generations of the Banta family occupied the house for over 80 years.

Marie White

My name is Marie (my maiden name was Gardner) White, I have always lived in Clarke County. Married to Bob White, daughter and son in law and 2 grandchildren. Son passed away in 2017. Graduated from Clarke in 1962. I have been a member of the Historical Society since 1971.