My campground in Lake Ahquabi State Park, Iowa was a few miles from Lacona, Milo, Green Plain, Newbern and Ackworth.
These places were all familiar to my Quaker great-great grandparents, Ann and Henry Way. They lived here and were active in The Society of Friends (Quakers) during the 1860’s.
The Warren County Genealogical Society mentions Henry Way as pastor of the church in Ackworth for a time. Pastors were not paid, so I imagine Henry farmed or hired himself out for odd jobs during the week. Ann M. Way’s signature appears on a church document found in a history of Ackworth.
The Friends Church in Ackworth was established in 1852. Although the building is not the one that was there in Ann & Henry’s day, it continues the community and fellowship they knew 150 years ago.
I wondered what I could see in Ackworth that might have been there in the 1860’s. Ah… the cemetery. I found some early headstones dating back as far as 1855. Ann and Henry surely would have seen these, too.
In 1867, the Way family left Iowa and moved to Indiana. Ann kept a diary of the trip. A few years ago, two cousins and I used Ann’s hand-written diary to follow that same trip. http://annsdiary1867.blogspot.com
She writes about leaving from Green Plain and mentions a place called Newbern. In 2010, my cousins and I did not see either of these locations because we didn’t want to take our rented car on gravel roads. This time, however, I was in an SUV with all-wheel drive and set out to find them.
The library in Milo yielded a book with a photograph of an old school at Green Plain, but the school no longer exists.
Newbern, however, showed up on a Google search. At least Newbern cemetery was on the map. A gravel road took me out to a cemetery in the corn fields.
The mowers were there, and one old-timer told me how I could find Newbern, or what was left of it. Following his directions, I found a few scattered houses and a couple of very old buildings.
Driving back to the campground, I was satisfied that my eyes had seen the same rolling hills, far-reaching acres of green, and wooded areas that my ancestors knew.