Friday, August 24, 2018

Oa Lincoln (1883-1955)

Portrait from the May 25, 1950 Villisca Review.

   Certainly a candidate for having one of the shortest names on record, Oa Lincoln was a Missouri native who removed to Villisca, Iowa late in his life. Following his resettlement, Lincoln established business roots in the community and in 1950 was elected as that city's mayor for one term. Villisca is perhaps best known to true crime buffs as the town in which an ax murder occurred in 1912 (a crime that claimed the lives of nine people) and is a city that has elected two oddly named mayors, of which Mr. Lincoln is one.
  The son of Henry M. and Susan Lincoln, Oa Lincoln was born in Mound City, Missouri on March 25, 1883, or 1885 (the former being listed on his 1917 draft registration card). One of seven children, the reasons as to why Lincoln was given the name "Oa" have been lost to history, but, as it turns out, he wasn't the only child in the Lincoln family with a curious name. Xa Lincoln (1890-1965), Oa's younger brother, also lucked into receiving a two-letter first name, equally as unexplainable as his brother's! 
   Early in his life Lincoln learned the trade of carpentry, continuing it all through his life. After marrying in February 1906 to Saphrona Ingels, Lincoln was employed by the International Harvester Co. and was a traveling salesman for that business. He was later a resident of Corning, Iowa, where he continued in their employ, and by 1937 had resettled in Villisca. Tragedy struck Lincoln in March 1937 with the death of his wife Sophrona, and in May of the following year remarried to her sister Myrtle, who survived him upon his death in 1955. 
  Following his establishing roots in Villisca, Oa Lincoln partnered with Wilbur Miller to form the International Harvester dealership in the city, being affiliated with the company until his retirement in 1947. After retiring, Lincoln returned to carpentry work "on a part-time basis" and entered Villisca political life, becoming the citizen's candidate for mayor in March 1950. On March 30 of that year, Lincoln won the election, besting incumbent mayor Lewis L. Kelseth by a vote of 367 to 294.

From the Villisca Review, April 6, 1950.

  Lincoln was sworn into office by outgoing mayor Klesath in April and during his two-year term took part in the city's annual poppy sale. Lincoln was defeated for reelection by the man whom he had beaten two years before, Lewis Klesath, and left office in April 1952. Lincoln continued to reside in Villisca after leaving office and in the winter of 1954-55 spent the cold months with his wife in Marana, Arizona. Oa Lincoln died in Marana in early January 1955 at age 70, succumbing to a heart attack. Following funeral arrangements in Villisca, his body was moved to Missouri for burial at the Hopkins Cemetery in Nodaway County.


Oa Lincoln's obituary from the January 20, 1955 Villisca Review.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks again for your research! I have, of course, heard of him, but thought it was O.A. Lincoln! Again, my husband knows where he lived, in a house he built that is still here in Villisca. Because of his friendship with Wilbur Miller, he may have been involved with the building of the "Green Lantern Cafe and Motel"

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