“Times in Marysville 1860-1902” goes on sale this week, and the author, Sarah Koester Morrison, will be here to help with distribution and for a book signing from 4 to 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 12, at the Koester House Museum & Gardens.
The booklet chronicles Marysville’s earliest days, when Charles F. Koester, at age 19, arrived with his parents, his sister and her family to take up residence in a rough and tumble frontier town, once one of the farthest reaches of civilization for wagon trains and settlers going west.
C.F. Koester quickly became involved in development that ultimately transformed an 1860s settlement of a few small, rough, wooden cabins into a beautiful city of the 1890s, when it was called by some the Queen City of the Big Blue.
For “Times in Marysville,” Morrison draws heavily from Koester’s diaries, journals, papers and photographs and offers his personal account of the period.
“His early years,” she said, “were so difficult, and life in the early days in Marysville so hard, Charles never ceased to be grateful and absolutely delighted with even the most rudimentary of improvements.”
“His observations transport the reader and give an intimate sense of what it must have been like to live during the period,” she said.
The booklet will be on sale at the museum, the Marshall County Historical Society’s research library in the Historic Courthouse, the Marysville Chamber of Commerce office and at more than 20 other local attractions and businesses.
The booklet, which sells for $10, was published by the Koester House Museum Foundation, and proceeds will benefit the museum and gardens.
“Times in Marysville” contains more than 30 photographs from the Koester House Museum and family collections. Some have not been published previously.
Morrison lives in Lakeville, Conn., with her husband, Tom, an attorney who works in New York City. Their son, Charles Helvering Morrison, lives in Washington, D.C.
Family ties that brought Morrison to Marysville frequently during her childhood and into the 1960s planted the seeds that prompted her in recent years to spend countless hours studying the diaries, journals and other writings of her great-grandfather.
It was the wonderful times in Marysville with family that filled her childhood with indelible memories, she said, and continue to draw her back.
The booklet tells much about Marysville’s earliest days and formative years. Also available are three booklets authored previously by Morrison.
She earned a degree in architectural interior design at Northwestern University in 1969, and after a stint with ArtNews Magazine, joined an investment banking firm in New York, where she spent the next 12 years. She was a stay-at-home mom active in school, scouting, church and other activities as her son was growing up and has since spent much of her time in volunteer work while designing and overseeing construction of the Morrisons’ retirement home in Lakeville.
During the past few years, she has made numerous trips to Marysville and become actively involved with the Koester House Museum & Gardens and local efforts to bring the property back to its early-day place in the heart of the community.
Among her reasons for writing “Times in Marysville,” Morrison said, is her hope that residents will come to understand and appreciate more about their city and strengthen their connections to the numerous historic sites that make up the unique character of the community.
“I think telling stories about the Koester family is a wonderful way to connect people to the museum,” she said. “I would want residents to feel like they are coming home when they come to the Koester house, after all, it belongs to them.”
Telling stories about one German immigrant family and their trials and triumphs is a way to stir up interest in others to find out more about their family histories, she said.
She noted that there is a great resource right in the community in the Marshall County Historical Society, which makes its research library available to help with genealogical investigations.
“It is my hope,” she said, “that residents knowing more about their city’s beginnings will have a renewed sense of pride about Marysville and will want to become better stewards of their city’s treasures in the future.
“Once historic sites are destroyed, the city loses more than the building or whatever is taken away, it loses a piece of its very self.”
Courtesy of Sally Gray of the Marysville Advocate