Edward Simon Denslow
(1885 - 1977)
Edward Simon Denslow was born on the 30th day of May, 1885 in Le Mars, Iowa. He was the fifth child born into an Iowa farm family. At birth he had three older brothers: 7 year old Ralph (b.1877), 5 year old Preston (b. 1879) and 4 year old Adelbert (b.1880). Edward also had one older sister, two year old Helen (b. 1883).
Edward's father was a New Yorker that followed his dreams West where opportunity seemed abundant. In Iowa he met Leona Alice Todd who he married around 1875. They settled in Le Mars, Plymouth County, Iowa. The county of Plymouth was organized in 1853 and started with two townships.
Le Mars attributes its cultural and social growth to the English, Irish, Scottish and Welch, while its industrialization can be mostly affiliated with the German and Dutch. The history of Le Mars dates back as early as the 1850s when white settlers arrived to the region now known as Plymouth County.
The story of the English colony begins in Philadelphia in 1876. William B. Close, an Oxford University student, and Daniel Paullin, a land agent who was promoting land sales in Illinois and Iowa, used to converse about the opportunities held in Iowa.
Inspired by Paullin's idea, Close and his three brothers organized the "Iowa Land Company." The Close family was well connected socially and financially in England and managed to secure a sound financing for their venture. The Closes encouraged upper-class Englishmen to join the colony and mature Brits came to buy farms and ranches and set up banks and other businesses. Young Englishmen, especially the "second sons" of elite families were encouraged to travel to Le Mars to learn the business of farm management.
Some of the older men took responsibility for the housing and training of these young pupils or "pups", as they became known. One pup named Jack Wakefield was known for riding his horse into the famous "House of Lords" tavern demanding to be served in "true western" style - upon horseback.
In the late 1800s, in the peak of Le Mars' "hey-day", the community was one of the most well known cities, along with Chicago, New York and St. Louis, as one of the most popular American vacation destinations.
The pups inevitably got into rumbles with the young American males. Pups did not seem to take farm management very seriously and were sometimes known to have unhitched plow horses for informal racing and betting. Polo, golf, steeple chasing, toboggan sledding and riding to the hounds were other popular sporting events of the Le Mars Brits.
On July 1, 1887 young Edward was no longer the youngest member of the family. Brother Warren H. Denslow was born in Le Mars, Plymouth, Iowa. However, that blessing was offset by the death of his older brother Preston.
In the United States census of 1890, Le Mars was listed as the 4th fastest growing city in the state. Within two decades the tiny town had grown to a city of 4,000 residents. The Denslows participated in that growth yet again with the arrival of Leona A. Denslow, b. February 1890 in Le Mars, Plymouth, Iowa.
The family moved about 30 miles north to Sioux Falls, South Dakota in the early 1890's. They had two more sons, both born in Sioux Falls: Eugene (b.1894) and Harvey (b.1896).
Edward's father, Ezekiel, died at the young age of 46 on September 2, 1897 in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Edward was only twelve years old.
Edward grew up quickly. In Sioux Falls he met and married Gaynel Melissa Blue. The marriage occurred about 1904, when Edward was 17 and Gaynel only 16.
On July 8, 1905 they were blessed with a daughter, Ruth Eva Denslow. And a second daughter, Cecil Rose Denslow on January 27, 1907. Shortly after Cecil's birth the Denslow's again turned westward for new opportunity. In 1910 Edward, Gaynel (who went by the nickname 'Gypsy') and their two daughters are in Wibaugh, Dawson County, Montana, with their cousin Charley Aldrich. The marriage does not work out and the family breaks up. By 1918 Edward is in Seattle, Washington. Gypsy and the two daughters are in Los Angeles, California. Both of the daughters were placed in an orphanage.
On September 12, 1918 Edward signed up for WWI draft. He was now 33 years old, medium height and build, blue eyes with light brown hair. He worked as a plumber for the E.J. Stebbens Company in Seattle. His nearest relative was listed as Mrs. J. E. Blair, Monrovia, California (his mother, Alice Leona Todd, married James E. Blair after the death of Edwards Father Ezekiel Lewellyn Denslow).
During the next two years Edward marries an English woman, Edith E. (maiden name unknown). They settled in Richmond, Snohomish, Washington. Edward now had his own plumbing business. They lived in Snohomish for the next 57 years until Edwards death on August 30, 1977. Edward lived 92 years.
Edith died less than two years later on August 22, 1979. Edith lived about 87 years.