Oct 16

Gov. Branstad announces 5th project awarded from the Iowa History Fund 

dollars-moneyDES MOINES –  Gov. Branstad announced that the Abigail Adams Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution would be the 5th award recipient of private funds used to promote historical projects around Iowa.  Kristine Bartley, Regent of the Abigail Adams Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) joined Gov. Branstad in the announcement.

To date, the Iowa History Fund has provided funds to:

  • restore Gov. Samuel Merrill’s mausoleum in Woodland Cemetery in Des Moines;
  • construct a monument honoring the six Littleton brothers near Wapello;
  • assemble the Hugh Sidey Collection in Greenfield; and
  • repair gravesites at the 160 year old St. Wenceslaus Church Cemetery in Spillville.

This 5th Iowa History Fund award, in the amount of $10,000, is being granted to finalize the fundraising effort to install more than 300 unmarked baby graves in Woodland Cemetery in Des Moines.  The Iowa History Fund contribution will match other private contributions from Kurt Rasmussen, Suku Radia and Prairie Meadows to meet the organization’s overall goal of raising just under $27,000.

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Starting in 1848, 501 babies were buried in a special area of Woodland Cemetery.  At the time, most were given a number and a small wooden cross that eventually deteriorated.  In 2006, Gerald A. LaBlanc initiated a campaign to complete a headstone marker for each grave.  LaBlanc, now almost 90 years old, has been an educator, advocate, tour guide, fundraiser and spark plug for preservation, restoration and appreciation of the historic site.  He secured the funds for 196 of 501 headstones but was unable to complete the project alone.  Stepping up in service, the Abigail Adams Chapter DAR has taken the initiative to complete the project.

“I’m pleased that the Iowa History Fund board members approved $10,000 to the Abigail Adams Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution,” said Branstad.  “I want to thank our other private contributors, Kurt Rasmussen, Suku Radia and Prairie Meadows for completing the overall goal to ensure babies from our early Iowa pioneer ancestors have permanent grave markers.”


In December 2015Gov. Branstad established the Iowa History Fund as a nonprofit organization to promote Iowa history.  Gov. Branstad is an Iowa history buff whose regular reading includes the Iowa History Journal magazine and various works on historical Iowa figures and events. With a passion for Iowa history and a keen interest in giving back to the state that has given him the honor of ascending from a rural Iowa farm to the governorship, Gov. Branstad will work through the Iowa History Fund to identify and provide resources to efforts across the state of Iowa that preserve Iowa history for future generations.

To learn more on the Iowa History Fund, please visit www.iowahistoryfund.org.

As a 501(c)3 nonprofit, donations to The Governor Branstad Iowa History Fund are tax deductible. Gov. Branstad does not earn income from donations to the Iowa History Fund nor does he receive proceeds from the sale of the book, “Iowa’s Record Setting Governor The Terry Branstad Story.”

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