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Monument to John Crawford
The Crawford monument and burial is at the front of the Lima Cemetery, on the south half.
The above views being toward the east down the Volga valley towards Wadena, 4 miles away.
....One of the unique memorials is a life-size figure of a farm hand, John Crawford, who died in 1906 (born 1863). John had taken only enough money for a few simple needs during his lifetime, so the daughter of his employer put aside money he earned. After his death she was determined to use the accumulated wages for a monument. Libbie Harrison went to Barre, Vermont, to visit a recommended monument manufacturer. The granite chosen was ruined by the local sculptor, so the company then sent to Italy for a sculptor. Working from a negative of a snapshot taken of the John Crawford, the Italian artist completed the monument. When the tombstone arrived at the Lima depot, two wagons were fastened together, with heavy timbers laid across them, and pulled by four horses to transport the stone to the cemetery on the east edge of Lima. A worker from the factory accompanied the piece and stayed to assist in setting it up. The work was completed and the create removed in 1908 or 1909 (by Emily Swartz, long time Fayette area resident of the early/mid 1900's/BZ).
Taken from notes compiled by the late Elizabeth Oelberg
Dickinson, Fayette, Iowa and the late Merl Durfey.
Statue of Hired Man Done in Granite By Unknown Sculptor Beauty Spot at Lima.
The little village of Lima in Fayette county boasts one of the finest pieces
of sculptural art in the state of Iowa. It is in the form of a life-size statue
erected in the memory of a man noted for nothing more than his faithful execution
of the ordinary duties of a farm hand. The statue stands in the little cemetery on
the edge of town and is the likeness of Jim Crawford, a farm hand who lived in the
community several years ago.
An interesting history is connected with the statue, an authentic version of which is as follows:
For sixteen years Jim Crawford had worked faithfully on the farm of Crit
Harrison, a farmer living near Lima. One night he came home intoxicated. It wasn't
the first time and his employer took him to task. Crawford was told in a forceful
manner that any more drunkenness would not be tolerated, but that if he would reform,
his wages would be raised, for he had been a most valuable worker. This was in 1903.
Never Left Farm
Crawford took the talk to heart, and for two years faithfully did more than his
share of work, not even leaving the farm to go to town. When he died of tuber-
culosis in 1905, his two sisters living at Wadena insisted that he would have a
fine monumnet. They contributed a sum of money for the purpose and combined it
with the money that their brother, himself, had saved, together with a contribution
from Harrison. They gave the money to Lib Harrison, a sister of Crit, and asked her
to purchase a granite monument. The stipulations were that the monument was to be a
life-size likeness of Crawford in a favorite pose with his dog and gun. He had been
an ardent follower of the hunting sport in his leisure hours and his dog had been
his constant companion.
Accordingly Miss Harrison made a trip to the granite quarries of
but was told there that the project was impossible. Greatly disappointed but not
discouraged, she then went to a firm in Barre, Vermont, but was again informed that
the undertaking could not be accomplished.
She was about to come home when a stone worker, who had recently
come to Barre
from Boston told her that he believed that he could persuade the firm to try the
project. They did, with the result that the first block was broken in the attempt.
A second effort, however, was successful, a skilled sculptor from Italy being employed
to do the work.
The name of the Italian sculptor is not known to the people of the Lima community
but the statue is a work of real art. The only model available for the work was a
small Kodak picture which was sent for the artist's use by a friend in Dakota.
With only this meager portrait to guide him, the artist included such minute
details as a frayed shirt sleeve, two suspender straps fastened to one button, and
the smaller tendons in the dog's legs. The statue is such a striking resemblance to
the man that people who know him, immediately recognize it when they approach it.
The face of the monument carries two inscriptions. The one carved in granite is
simply the name of the man and the dates of his life. J. H. Crawford 1863-1905. The
other is a bronze tablet and is a quotation from a speech delivered before the United
States senate by former Senator George G. Vest of Missouri. The inscription is as
follows: " The One Absolutely Unselffish Friend That Man Can Have In This World Is
His Dog." The speech from which the quotation is taken was supposedly given as a plea
for consideration for some old soldier, relative to the loss, death or injury of his
Each year hundreds of people visit the little cemetery which
overlooks the Volga
river in a region of unsurpassing beauty. One man who was a natural lover of art,
said, "I have been in all the leading museums of Europe, but I would turn back to
look at that statue as often as at anything that I have ever seen."
A near disaster to the monument about the first of September of this year was
averted only by an act almost of Providence.
One section of a double tree in the cemetery was broken off by a
strong wind, and was blown with great velocity past the monument, barely missing
the statue and digging up the earth within a foot of its base. Many people have come
to recognize it as a masterpiece of sculpture and a great tribute to faithful labor.
Crawford Burials in Lima
Cemetery, Westfield Twp, Fayette Co, Iowa
Crawford George March 29 1827 February 09 1908 81 3 57 Co.A,43rd Wisc.Inf.Civil War
Crawford John Henry 1863 1905 42 3 57 Man and His Dog monument. Related to Greathead.
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All of my direct surnames were
very early pioneers into Fayette Co, generally in the mid 1850's. Growing
up in Fayette and trekking the hills, prairies, streams throughout the county
when the small villages and farms were so active and functional before the
1960's, the now lost history and memories of the pioneer generations and
lifestyles from 1840-1960 continue to hold my interests.
625 N. Section
Hannibal, MO 63401