Elmer L. Shira, who is superintendent of the Decatur County Home, has proved very efficient in his difficult
position, at once safeguarding the interests of the county and making it as comfortable as possible for those who
are living in the home. His birth occurred in Grant county, Indiana, September 15, 1865, and he is a son of Lyman
W. and Christina (Barley) Shira, natives respectively of Ohio and of Pennsylvania. Both were born of Pennsylvania-Dutch
stock. On removing westward they first settled in Indiana, but in 1876 went to Arkansas, where the father passed
away. The mother is still living and resides in Los Angeles, California.
Elmer L. Shira attended the district schools in the Hoosier state. He assisted his father until he was sixteen
years of age and then began working out as a hired hand, so continuing for nine years, after which he came to Decatur
county, Iowa, and located in Eden township, where from 1890 to 1900 he was engaged in railroad construction work,
furnishing repair supplies for the Des Moines, Kansas City and the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railways on
their lines through Decatur county. From 1896 to 1900 Mr. Shira also devoted some time to agricultural pursuits.
In 1900 he was elected superintendent of the Decatur County Home, which is located on sections 13, 14 and 15, Eden
township, and comprises two hundred and forty acres of fine land. One hundred and ten acres is under cultivation
and the remainder is in pasture. Mr. Shin grows excellent crops of grain and also raises cattle and hogs of a good
grade, and has so managed the affairs of the home as to save the county a considerable sum of money annually. Almost
all of the provisions used at the home are raised upon the farm and the work is well systematized. At the present
time there are twenty eight people living at the home and their comfort is carefully considered. Mrs. Shira is
matron and under her management the domestic work of the institution is done quietly and efficiently. Since Mr.
Shira took charge of the home many important improvements have been made. In 1914 an addition to the main building
was put up at a cost of four thousand dollars, and with the exception of the horse barn, all of the outbuildings
have been erected since 1900. Everything about the home is in an excellent condition and his services and those
of his wife give complete satisfaction.
Mr. Shira was married November 16, 1890, to Miss May Smith, a daughter of Asa and Sarah (Boswell) Smith, both natives
of Iowa. They are now living near McFall, Missouri, where the father is engaged in farming. Mr. and Mrs. Shira
have one daughter, Winnie, who was born March 12, 1894. After completing the high school course in Leon by graduation
with the class of 1911 she took a collegiate course of study at the Iowa State Teachers' College at Cedar Falls,
and is now teaching school in district No. 1, Eden township.
Mr. Shira is a republican and takes an active part in the work of the party. Fraternally he is identified with
the blue lodge and Royal Arch chapter of the Masonic order, the Knights of Pythias and the Modern Woodmen of America,
all of Leon. He takes much interest in everything relating to the progress of his community and is especially concerned
for the welfare of the public schools, realizing their paramount importance in a democratic system of government.
For three years he served as school director of district No. 3, Woodland township, and proved efficient and aggressive
in that capacity. His wife and daughter are both members of the Church of Christ of Eden township. He is well known
in Decatur county and his ability and integrity are both universally recognized.
History of Decatur County, Iowa
And its People
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co.
Decatur County, IA
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