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Erie Cemetery History Project

Lawrence Perkins (1894-1971)
Maude (Keiber) Perkins (1894-1975)

Lawrence Edwin Perkins was born Nov. 21, 1894, in Clinton, IA, the son of Clark and Lida (Klingensmith) Perkins. His parents lived in Clinton for four years and then moved to a farm near Lyndon. In 1900 they purchased a farm three miles north and east of Erie, an area called East Sandridge.

He attended country schools and was graduated from Eighth Grade. He then worked for area farmers until he was inducted into the Army in World War I. He served from June 25, 1918 to December 12, 1919. He was in a machine gun battalion.

When Mr. Perkins returned home, he took a civil service examination for rural letter carrier and passed with very high grades. On Feb. 23, 1920, he started carrying mail out of Erie Post office, and continued for 38 years.

On September 2, 1920, he was married to Maude Keiber in Prophetstown. (She was born Dec. 19, 1894.) The couple lived in Erie until 1967, when they moved to Prophetstown. They observed their 50th wedding anniversary on Sept. 2, 1970, at an open house at Pophetstown United Methodist Church, where they had transferred their membership from Erie.

Mr. Perkins was very active in civic affairs and the church. He always was proud to have been in the service of his country, and was one of a few men who purchased and fixed up the first building used by the Denton-Schreiner American Legion Post. The Post was named for Keith Denton, the fist serviceman killed in action in World War I, and Gail Schreiner, the first serviceman killed in action in World War II. He also was one of the founders of the "Flander's Field" at Erie Cemetery. Each winter he would take up the wooden crosses, paint and repair them if necessary, and replace them so they would be fresh for spring. He never forgot those who gave their lives.

Mr. Perkins' daughter, Arlene McNeill, writes "Several years he would play Santa Claus for the town, passing out candy and listening to children telling their Christmas lists. He loved to do this. I can remember taking my then two children, Kent and Sandy, to Erie to see Santa, and they never knew, for a long time, that it was their Grandpa."

Maude Perkins was a wonderful cook and loved to bake. She was very active in the American Legion Auxiliary and for many years was in charge of "Poppy Day," when donations are taken in exchange for poppies.

Mr. and Mrs. Perkins had two daughters, Joyce Marie (Perkins) Briggs and Arlene Elizabeth (Perkins) McNeill. There were five grandchildren, Jean Marie (Briggs) Haverback, Trent Ivan Briggs, Kent Douglas McNeill, Sandra Kay (McNeill) Behrens and Brian John McNeill.

(Information from Arlene McNeill)