- Iowa?s Oldest Woman Buried Monday in Tabor Cemetery
Nearing 107, Had Witnessed Most of Nation?s Growth
Nancy Jane Hurst, the daughter of George and Cynthia Neese, was born in Hendricks county, Indiana, on June 22, 1831, and departed this life at her home in Hastings January 29, 1938, at the age of 106 years, 7 months, and 7 days.
Mrs. Hurst, the eldest of five children in her parents? family, was married to Levi Hurst at her Indiana home at the age of 19, and two years later, with other Hoosier families, they came in a covered wagon, drawn by oxen, to Appanoose county, Iowa, taking up life on the new frontier. In 1865 they again loaded up their wagons and same still farther west, to Fremont county. This was just at the close of the civil war, and when they stopped at Red Oak, on account of the illness of a little daughter, they heard the shocking news of the assassination of President Lincoln. The little child died, and was buried at Red Oak. Upon reaching Fremont county, the family settled on a farm six miles southeast of Tabor. Here they broke the virgin sod, cleared the land, and tilled the soil until the husband and father was taken in 1873. They kept in step with the march of progress that was going on about them, and after the loss of her husband Mrs. Hurst continued on the farm where she reared her seven children to honorable manhood and womanhood. The long hours of hard work which she experienced while caring for her children and managing the farm were severe and tiring, but the pioneer spirit still prevailed, and it was only when her family had all gone from home that she gave up the management of the farm and moved to town.
Shadows interrupted the sunshine of her life when, on by one, four young children were called to the great beyond. In later years four others departed from this life, Mrs. Rachel Irwin, John Hurst, Rev. Frank Hurst, Mrs. Ella Henderson.
The husband, Levi Hurst, was known during his lifetimeas a godly man, and was a preacher in the Christian church, holding usual Sunday service at a schoolhouse near their home. After the husband?s death, when Holiness services were begun in the Mt. Zion neighborhood, Mrs. Hurst became a member of that group of devout people. In 1912, at the age of 81, Mrs. Hurst moved to Tabor, and for several years made her home with her sons, John and Frank. Later she lived in the home of her daughter, Mrs. Jane Benedict, where she peacefully breathed her last early Saturday morning, having attained the distinction of being one of the oldest, if not the oldest, person living in the state of Iowa.
Mrs. Hurst is survived by three living children, Mrs. Cynthia Verbeck, Sidney, Mrs. Jane Benedict of Hastings, Jesse Fred Hurst of Doniphan, Nebraska; 37 grandchildren, 106 great-grandchildren, 28 great-great-grandchildren, and 28 descendents of the fifth generation.
Before Mrs. Hurst?s eyes, dimming toward the end of her life, and passed a panorama of world events, many so long past that they are yellowing in the pages of most histories.
She saw the United States rise from a young and uncertain nation to a mighty democracy, she saw the transition from the candlelight era to the electric, and witnessed the development of transportation from the ox cart to the 250 mile an hour luxury airliners.
Andrew Jackson was president of the United States. Louis Philippe was on the throne of France when Mrs. Hurst was born in 1831, the year William Lloyd Garrison founded the Liberator at Boston to fan flames of the slavery question that was to lead to disunion.
The new democracy was interesting itself in reform of oppression and inhumanities, in putting an end to cruel punishments like branding, flogging and cropping of ears, when she was a child. The first railroad train in America had drawn a string of cars at 15 miles an hour over the Baltimore and Ohio the year before her birth. Over the breakfast table on the Indiana farm of her girlhood, she heard her father talk of questions of abolition, industrial unrest, immigration, the whigs, wildcat banking, railroad building, prosperity and panic.
Nebraska was part of the Louisiana purchase territory in the year 1850 when she married Louis Hurst, as a girl of 19. Senator A. C. Dodge of Council Bluffs was about to introduce a bill for the organization of Nebraska. She was a young mother when the republican party was launched at Ripon, Wisconsin, and when the call to arms for the civil war was sounded.
Land was so cheap that it was nearly valueless when she reached Iowa. Good land was worth only $1.25 an acre and she and her husband bought only 40 acres, just enough to supply their needs, for there was no medium to transport the excess profitably.
She watched and read with interest the expansion of the west and the building of the Union Pacific, and died in possession of the farm which she and her husband bought when the west was young.
She lived to enjoy automobiles and marvel at Iowa?s good roads, and died cherishing an unfilled desire to fly in an airplane.
Among the relatives and friends who attended funeral services at Tabor Monday afternoon were her daughter, Mrs. Cynthia Verbeck, Walter and Clarence Verbeck, Mrs. Murl Otte and Mrs. Sidney Reade and their families; Mr. and Mrs. Nova Lehr, Mrs. Lula Hume, Mrs. Ida Thomas, Mrs. Cleon Forseth, Mrs. George Moseley, Miss Florence McKean.
Hurst, Nancy 7397082
b. 1831 d. 1938 Mount Zion Cemetery