The Ax Murder House in Villisca, Iowa where Josiah B. and Sara Moore and six children were murdered on June 10, 1912.
Debbie and I were at a craft show in Indianola on Saturday to sell our books and photography. It is the second of five craft shows we are attending this fall to sell our goods.
We’ve been attending and selling at craft shows for more than 15-years in places such as Clarinda in Southwest Iowa, the Quad Cities, Coralville, Des Moines and even Calamus, a small town in Clinton County.
We’ve met some of the most interesting people at craft shows.
I recall a couple years ago during our first year at the Clarinda Craft Carnival meeting two senior ladies, possibly in the early 80s, who grew up and attended high school in Villisca, home of the Ax Murder House.
Villisca is just more than 20-miles from Clarinda.
They shared a story about when they graduated high school. After graduation, the two sisters left Iowa to spend the summer working at a resort in Colorado. While introducing themselves to other staff, they said they were from Villisca, Iowa.
“That is where the Ax Murder House is,” one young fellow said.
“Ax murder,” they asked. What ax murder?”
Driving by the house gives me the creeps, so I can’t image growing up in Villisca and not knowing about the ax murders that took place on June 10, 1912. Somebody came into the house and killed Josiah B and Sara Moore and six children, which included the couple’s four children and two guest children. They were all brutally murdered with an ax or some type of blunt instrument.
The murders were never solved.
The ladies said that evening they called home and asked about the ax murders. Their parents said they didn’t talk about it because relatives of the slain still lived in town.
“We didn’t know,” one of the ladies said.
The other lady said, “I went to a dance there in high school and remember the ax over the door, but I never gave it any thought that it was where a murder happened.”
We have stopped at the Ax Murder House twice, but it has limited hours for tours and we missed it both times. However, groups can spend the night in the Ax Murder House for a sum of cash.
I wouldn’t mind taking a tour, but I have no desire to spend the night in a house where a murder happened. I don’t care if it was 111 years ago.
Craft show attendees are a different bunch. Some of them seem lost in thought while others are friendly and love to talk.
I like going around visiting and checking out what others have to offer. At Indianola, I stopped to check out a cosmetic booth. I don’t wear cosmetics, but the lady was smiling and was nice to visit with.
We talked about hand lotions and she proceeded to give me a touch of two different kinds, one after the other. The second round of lotion was so thick it reminded me of the grease used to pack wheel bearings.
My hands were so greasy that I made my way to the men’s room, where I promptly washed my hands. It took four rounds of soap to get the greasy goo off my hands.
It made for a fun laugh while sharing the story with Debbie.
A few years ago, we attended a craft show in Wapello along the banks of the Mississippi River. The most popular item of the day was the cinnamon rolls sold by the band boosters or some school group. People were walking around in a daze while eating cinnamon rolls and looking off into the Heavens. We didn’t sell too many books that day. I would be surprised if many vendors sold much.
On the flip side, last year at Clarinda, we had people buying from us as we packed up our table.
The goal is to give our books and photography exposure while enjoying time together doing something we love.
I encourage you to enjoy life, smile and when a bump comes along, keep on moving forward.
Have a great week and always remember that “Good Things are Happening,” every day.