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Dale Slingluff celebrates 103rd birthday

October 12, 2017
By Joyce Wiese - Chronicle Correspondent , Toledo Chronicle, Tama News-Herald

On Wednesday morning, October 4, Brad Crawford, owner of the Big T Maid-Rite restaurant in Toledo, was overtaken by a group coming to celebrate a local centenarians 103rd birthday, Dale Slingluff.

The first Wednesday of each month the Montour Breakfast Club meets at the Big T for breakfast at 8:30 a.m. Dale has been attending these breakfasts since they started in January 2000.

Some 60 Montourians turned up for breakfast, coming from South Dakota, Wyoming, Florida, Arizona and Minnesota. Iowa guests were from Iowa City, Waverly, Marshalltown, Grinnell, Gladbrook, Garwin, Vining, Tama, Toledo and Montour.

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State Representative Dean Fisher was among those helping Dale celebrate.

A short time after 9:00 a.m. Dale received a call from Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds. Reynolds called to wish Dale a happy birthday, since she could not be present due to earlier commitments.

Dale says his mail box has been overflowing the last few days with birthday cards, and today received many more.

Dale was born October 4, 1914, in a house south of Montour in Highland Township. At that time the Ford Model T was coming into being, the 1914 Royal Mail Chevrolet got its famous bow tie emblem. The H-model cars, popularly known as the Royal Mail roadster and Baby Grand touring car, were introduced that year. They would define Chevrolet as a brand with high-content, good looking cars that provided a lot of value. Buick had a 5-passenger touring car. Women had advanced to wearing ankle length dresses and fancy hats. Women had not yet gained the right to vote.

Some 33,000 Canadian troops departed Canada for Europe, the largest force to ever cross the Atlantic Ocean at the time. This was the beginning of the "Great War", later known as World War 1.

At this time the United States was in a neutral zone until 1917 when Germany had been attacking too many American Ships. Canada entered early hoping to help protect their mother country, England.

Some of the popular songs of that year were "Aba Daba Honeymoon", "Alexander's Rag Time Band", "By the Beautiful Sea", "He's a Devil in His Own Home Town", "It's a Long Way to Tipperary", "Love's Own Sweet Song", "The Merry Widow Waltz", "Missouri Waltz", and "Peg o' My Heart".

Shortly before the time the Civil War broke out and about the time the slavery question was at the hottest point in the United States, a very bright young man by the name of Charles Wesley Moffett came to the neighborhood that became known as Highland Township and found employment with the Manfull family, already living in the area. Moffett came from Kansas where he had been engaged in the raids of John Brown, the old friend of the Negro slave, helping them to escape from captivity to freedom. John Brown and his two sons and followers headed south to Harpers Ferry while Mr. Moffett was in Bristol, Ohio, at the time awaiting instructions from John Brown. Harpers Ferry became part of history and Charles made his way to Iowa to what later became known as Highland township.

Moffett soon became a very warm friend of the Manfull family and married their oldest daughter Emma. Charles and Emma were given the first 80 acres of farmland in Section 16 , Highland Township, Tama County, as a wedding present in 1860 by the Manfull family. Charles, better known as C.W., was the first to set a plow to the eighty acres of prairie sod. Planting as much corn and sowing enough oats to get them through the cold Iowa winter, each year a little more of the tough prairie ground was tilled. Livestock had to be protected from wolves, panthers and rattle snakes. During C.W.'s farming years he expanded the 80 acres to 320 acres.

C.W. built a house on the 80 acre area in 1879. The house still stands even though it is 148 years old. The house has had remodeling in different areas through the years as different families lived here. This was known as the "Moffett" house, the present address being 3674 Highway T47, Montour.

The first to live there was C.W. and Emma, then son Murry Sr. and wife Elva Slingluff Moffett, followed by Clyde and Verna Frantz Slingluff (Dale's parents). Clyde and Verna lived here from 1912 through 1936, when they moved to a farm on Section 15 in Highland Township. At this time Murray Jr. and Carrole Smith Moffett moved to this house, their children being born in the same room on the main floor as Dale and his brother and sisters were born.

During the time Clyde and Verna lived in the Moffett House their children Dale, Doris, Max and Margery were born.

The Slingluff children went to Highland Township No. 5 country school through the eighth grade. Dale then went to Gilman High School graduating from there.

Dale married Helen Hempy in 1943. Helen was born and raised north of Montour in Indian Village township, and taught in several one-room schools before and after she was married.

Dale and Heen started their marriage in the Slingluff house in Section 15. They soon were at work remodeling the house, and raising their two children, Terry and Barbara, until moving into Toledo in 1999.

Dale was a farmer for many years , and also became a dealer for Pioneer Seed Corn.

After moving to town Dale and Helen lived in the Columbian addition in Toledo, until Helen's health failed and she went to a nursing home for her remaining years. A while later Dale sold their house and moved into the apartments connected to the now Premier Estates of Toledo.

Dale is still active, drives, reads, watches television, visits with anyone and can relate to one hundred and more years of happenings. Dale is an example of a person with a positive attitude and concern for fellow man.



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