Tribute to Josina

    A grassy knoll overlooking the rolling Benton County countryside will be the scene for the rededication of a grave marker for one of the county's first ladies, Josina Van Metre.
    Ceremonies by the Daughters of the American Revolution and the Van Horne Centennial book committee will be held at 2 p.m. Sept. 14 at the Van Metre family cemetery, 1 1/2 miles west of the Blairstown-Van Horn corner on U.S. Highway 30. The public is invited to attend.
    The Van Metre family was part of the first wave of settlers who came to Union Township in Benton County in 1854.  Josina and her husband John came to Iowa from West Virginia and built a log cabin near Prairie Creek on the south side of the Cedar Rapids - Toledo stagecoach road now known as U.S. 30.  They called their 275 - acre timber areas "Pickaway."
    Van Metre was a circuit riding judge.  Their home was a haven for the poor and distressed and became a hospice for those traveling the stagecoach west.
    The Van Metres had nine sons and two daughters.
    The bronze marker on Josina's grave was originally unveiled by the Daughters of the American Revolution on Oct. 18, 1936.  Vandals demolished and made off with the marker about 10 years ago.  About five years ago the marker was found along a creek about 25 miles from the cemetery by conservation workers.
    Also to be honored in the ceremonies will be Capt. J.M. Van Metre, a Civil War veteran and son of Josina.  A white iron cross will be unveiled at his gravesite and a wreath will be laid.  A 21-gun salute will be staged by American Legion post from Keystone and Van Horne to honor his memory and that of his mother.  Josina's father served in the Revolutionary War.

Note: Josina and John were from West Virginia but moved to Pickaway County, Ohio before coming to Benton County, Iowa.

From the "Eastern Iowa Byway", Sept. 7, 1980.


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