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Your Link to the Past

Your Link to the Past

Micheaux, Oscar

was an African American novelist and filmmaker. Over the course of his life, his travels took him from Southern Illinois to the West, South America, and Europe. His work and art also brought him to live in Sioux City in the West 7th Street neighborhood. Today he is recognized as a pioneering filmmaker, but also as a man ahead of his time.


oscarmicheaux1Micheaux was born in Metropolis, Illinois on 2 January 1884 to a family of farmers. At a young age he helped his family as a farm hand. While he was still a teenager he left his family to work in car manufacturing plant in Carbondale, Illinois. After many jobs that did not satisfy his desire to create art, Micheaux decided to homestead in South Dakota. Part of his decision to move west was his belief that the only independent future for the Black man laid on the Western Frontier.


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Safford, Mary Augusta

marysafford2Mary Augusta Safford was a very important woman in the Unitarian Church. Throughout her life she was instrumental in the establishment and growth of Unitarian churches across the American West in the late nineteenth century. She was the central figure in a group of women Unitarian Ministers called the “Iowa Sisterhood” that founded congregations in Iowa, Illinois, Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota. In Sioux City she ministered at the First Unitarian Church from 1885 to 1899.

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Darling, J.N. “Ding”

DingDarling1Jay Norwood “Ding” Darling was a well-known political cartoonist. His cartoons were printed in almost 150 papers across the United States. All were drawn before television and some before radio when newspapers were the most important form of communication. Darling drew through two World Wars and the terms of seven presidents. He drew during many important events in the 20th century, including the Great Depression, prohibition and the labor movement. Throughout his life, Darling was also a huge supporter of natural conservation.

Darling was born in Michigan in 1876 at the same time as the United States’ centennial. His family moved to Sioux City in 1885 when his father, Marcellus Darling, accepted a position as a minister at First Congregational Church. Some of Darling’s best memories came from his childhood in Sioux City. He loved the tall grass fields in South Dakota where he and his brother played. Darling sat on the banks of the Missouri and Big Sioux Rivers listening to the sounds of nature on summer nights. It was in the prairies around Sioux City that Darling discovered his love of nature.

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Henderson, Gertrude Brown

gertrudehenderson1Gertrude Brown Henderson was a curator at the Sioux City Public Museum, but more than that, she was a historian and writer of early Sioux City history. Her stories about the first decades of the region’s history surely inspired many future amateur historians to further their own studies in Sioux City’s past.

Gertrude was born on 25 August 1883 in Indianola, Iowa to Oswell Chase and Jennie Hamilton Brown. Because her father was an early pioneer of Indianola, he likely inspired her to pursue history. Gertrude’s love of knowledge took her Simpson College where she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Science degree in 1904. 

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Short, Wallace Mertin

Wallace Mertin Short was born in 1866 on a small farm three miles east of College Springs, Iowa.  As part of a farm family, he attended school only when he wasn’t needed for work on the farm, which was generally only four months out of the year.  When Wallace Short was twenty-one he enrolled in college in Beloit, Wisconsin.  In 1896, at age 30 Short graduated from Yale, married his fiancée May Morse, and became a Congregational Minister.  Short accepted his first pastoral calling in Evansville, Wisconsin.  He was a minister in Evansville between 1896 and 1903.  Eventually Mr. Short would accept a pastorate at the Beacon Hill Church in Kansas City, Missouri.


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