Pioneer Recollections - Knights of Pythias

The Odebolt Chronicle
VOLUME FORTY, Number 9, MARCH 31, 1927

Pioneer Days


Knights of Pythias

It has been truly said "truth is sometimes stranger than fiction" and in this particular it holds good when one reads the sketches of the various pioneers, which appear in The Chronicle from week to week, containing as they do so many thrilling incidents of the early days.

There are however many more of those stories to come, in which the sturdy pioneer and his doings, sayings and thinkings will be set forth in interesting fashion, and make rich reading. In order that none of these pioneers be overlooked The Chronicle requests that those who have not yet been the subject of a sketch in its columns to send in their names, so that an appointment can be made with them, either at their home or at this office at a convenient time. While some may feel reluctant to do this they should bear in mind that by acquiescing they are contributing to the history and annals of Odebolt as well as Sac county.

This week a departure is being made in this column and the feature is that of the Knights of Pythias band of years ago. It was one of the leading musical aggregations of, not alone this vicinity, but of the entire state and brought much credit to Odebolt and placed this town securely upon the Iowa map. On page four of the paper will be found a picture of this famous band with the names of the members underneath.

The band gained a state-wide reputationů[illegible] in demand. In 1898 it was selected by the state to play at the state fair in Des Moines and when the Firemen's tournament was held at Missouri Valley it captured first prize in band competition. At this tournament the band made its last public appearances, sickness causing its disbandment a little later on.

Of the eighteen members, six are now dead, Lou Starkey, who was considered the best cornet player in the state; John Mengis, leader of the band; Joe Mengis, Henry Bieser, Walter Mengis and Charles Jacobs.

Of the members still living John Bieser is at Sugar City, Colo., Fred Bieser divides his time between Odebolt and Omaha, Nebr., Ralph Graham lives in Los Angeles, Calif., Will Sutton is supposed to be at Hawarden, Albert Jacobe is a resident of Sterling, Colo., Oscar Mengis at Byers, Colo., Charles Hartman at Nevada. R. Brynteson is senior member of the firm of Brynteson & Johnston, Odebolt, Joe Hartman is at Lake View while Chas. Lindquist is in Omaha, Neb. Mike Leytern was not a member of the band, but frequently helped the boys out and lives at Cascade. The particular stars, as well as soloists of the band were Lou Starkey, Walter Mengis and Joe Hartman.

Many of the older residents will recall with great pleasure the music furnished by this talented aggregation and regret that Odebolt has not today a successor to it.

1890skpband.jpg (95574 bytes)
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Odebolt Knights of Pythias, 1894
Pictured: John Mengis, Ed Hartman, John Bieser, Albert Jacobe, Kipler, Ralph Graham, Charles Hartman, Oscar Mengis, Fred Bieser, B. Brynteson, Henry Bieser, Lou Starkey, Chas. Lindquist. 
(from "Fifty Years of Progress", The Odebolt Chronicle, Vol. 51, No. 31, August 25, 1938)

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