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MEMORIES IN FOCUS:   A tragic story of faith, Hope, and Charity

Education long has been a priority in Marion, even in the 1860s, when the town was a rough-and-tumble outpost on the bleeding edge of the frontier.

Among the earlier heroines of the county was Hannah Ann Rook, who moved here from Ohio in 1865 at age 22.

Two years later, she served as a teacher during the second year of the city’s first school, a log cabin school built for that purpose a year earlier across the street from her family’s home.

Enrollment eventually totaled 36 students, including pupils from surrounding counties and as far away as Fort Dodge and settlements in Texas.

The cabin soon afterward was replaced by a dual-purpose building, with classrooms on the first floor, county offices on the second, and a large fence around the outside to protect against raids by bands of Native Americans, whose population in the county far exceeded that of white settlers.

Hannah taught for only about a year before marrying another pioneer, George C. Coble, in 1868, and becoming a full-time wife and mother.

“She was a good woman,” the Record wrote at the time. “In the home circle, her good judgment, her careful planning of domestic interests, her patience, and her love filled the full measure of a wife and mother’s difficult duties as few women can fill them.”

She might have gone down in Marion lore as one of its pioneer heroines had she not fallen victim at age 36 to something that claimed the lives of many women and children in that era — complications of childbirth.

After giving birth to two other children, she and her husband had twin daughters, Charity and Hope, born in August 1879.

Less than a month later, mother and children were in declining health.

“Believing that she would not get well,” the Record reported on Sept. 5, 1879, “she expressed to her husband on Wednesday complete resignation to the will of her Heavenly Father. On Sunday morning, just as the Sabbath school bell was ringing for the morning service, the spirit of Mrs. Hannah Ann Coble, wife of Mr. George C. Coble, took its flight.”

Attesting to her popularity in the community, the Record noted: “Being widely known and esteemed, her remains were followed to the grave by a very large cortege of sorrowing friends.”

Two issues later, it added this brief epitaph: “The infant twins left by the late Mrs. G.C. Coble have both joined her in the spirit world.”

Hannah, Hope, and Charity all are buried in Marion Cemetery.

Last modified Oct. 11, 2018

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