The Family Letter Blog

Connecting Generations


1 Comment

Kingsbury Family Mecca – Osage Iowa

A week from tomorrow I’ll be making my first visit to Osage, Iowa. I don’t travel much for business anymore but once a year there is a national meeting of Land Trusts and this year it is in Minneapolis, Minnesota. It starts on Thursday October 27th but when I realized how close Minneapolis is to Iowa, I planned an extra day to visit the Kingsbury family mecca. I’ve always thought of Iowa as a square state somewhere in the middle of the country, but I never knew that Osage was in northern Iowa and just a two hour drive from Minneapolis.

I’d love to hear from relatives who’ve made the visit. It seems the key landmark – the Administrative Building of Cedar Valley Seminary – founded by our ancestor Reverend Alva Bush in the late 1860s  – is no longer the site of the Mitchell County Historical Society. In fact, the building may not even be open since its recent move to a new location.Check it out!

But I am excited just to visit the hometown of one of the two most influential people in my life. I was blessed to be extremely close to my father’s father – Joseph Bush Kingsbury and my mother’s mother – Alice Louise Powell (my Nana).  It was the perfect combination – a college professor who spent many years in foreign service and fueled my intellectual curiosity and academic pursuits and a strong Southern woman who instilled my love of home, family and cooking.  I am so happy to be the product of two people of such seemingly different backgrounds. Yet the ways in which my two very different grandparents were the same – are striking.

My grandmother, who was forced to quit school after ninth grade to help support her family during the Depression and my grandfather who earned his PhD in Political Science from the University of Chicago just a few years earlier, were great admirers of each other. So I am the product of two very different worlds and grateful for both. My grandmother’s motto was – “A day when you don’t learn something is a day wasted” and despite her 9th grade education and my law degree – I can count on one hand the number of times I was ever able to beat her in a game of Scrabble.

But, as usual, I digress. Next Wednesday, October 26th, I’ll be taking a day trip to Osage, Iowa so I’m hoping to hear from any relatives who’ve made the trek before me of what I should try to see/do in the short time I’m there. I’m spending the night at a bed and breakfast on Main Street in Osage – the City of Maples. It should be a great time for a visit.