Edgar and Margaret Stanton
Margaret MacDonald married Edgar
Williams Stanton on February 22, 1877. Edgar Stanton was then an
Assistant Professor in charge of the Mathematics Department and
Secretary to the College Board of Trustees. Through the years he would
serve Iowa State as Secretary of the College, Dean of the Junior
College, Vice President, and four times as Acting President.
Edgar Stanton, 1885
Their marriage came as a surprise to
some in the community. Mary B. Welch, a fellow faculty member and wife
of Iowa State’s first president, Adonijah B. Welch said when she learned
Mr. Welch was brighter than I. He
guessed at once who it was when Mr. Stanton told him he was thinking of
being married this winter…Before Mr. Stanton told Mr. Welch I said, ‘Mr.
Stanton, is Miss MacDonald going to be married this winter? Mr. Stalker
told Miss Locke she was but I do not believe it.’ Mr. Stanton replied
so quickly, ‘Mr. Stalker didn’t say anything to me about it.’ ‘Well,’ I
replied, ‘it must be to you or Mr. Lee or to Mr. Stalker himself. She
will make someone a mighty good wife.
All the students and many of the single
faculty members lived in Old Main during the early years. The Stantons
continued to live in the building until 1879, when The Maples became
available. The Maples, located on the current site of Music Hall, was
one of several faculty dwellings then located on campus. Margaret
Stanton continued to teach through Fall Semester of 1878, then submitted
her resignation effective March 1, 1879.
Old Main, ca.
The Maples, 1923
The Stanton home was a center for campus
social life. Returning alumni, members of the Board of Trustees, and
other friends of the college were frequent guests. Soon The Maples also
housed a growing family: Edwin MacDonald (Don), born in 1879; Roger
Williams, born in 1882, who died in infancy; Margaret Beaumont, born in
1883; and Edgar Williams Jr., born in 1887.
Margaret, Don, and Margaret
Beaumont Stanton, 1887
Edgar Williams Stanton Jr.,
During these early days of Iowa State,
the campus was still somewhat remote from the city of Ames. College
faculty and staff and their children frequently socialized together.
One annual tradition was a large July 4th picnic held on the
Central Campus. On July 4th of 1895, Margaret Stanton
prepared food for her family to take to the picnic, but did not feel
well enough to attend. Her condition grew worse, and she died on
Thursday, July 25, 1895.
Edgar Stanton married again on December
21, 1899. His second wife, Julia Ann Wentch, was an 1888 graduate of
Iowa State who taught in the Mathematics Department. According to
Stanton’s daughter Margaret, “In his second marriage Mr. Stanton found
the same strong helpful, unselfish companionship. She, too, was devoted
to the institution.” Edgar and Julia Stanton had one daughter, Barbara.
Julia and Barbara Stanton, 1905
Stanton Family Christmas, 1919
Edgar Williams Stanton passed away
September 12, 1920 at a sanitarium in Canandaigua, New York. He was in
New York under the care of his son, Don, who was a surgeon in
Schenectady. Like many others on the campus, Dr. Stanton had succumbed
to Spanish influenza during the 1918 epidemic. His recovery from the
illness had been difficult. He also suffered from complications of
Dr. Stanton laid in state in Beardshear
Hall from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. on September 16. The funeral was held
on the grounds of his home, The Gables, with more than 1,000 people in
attendance. He was laid to rest next to Margaret in the college
cemetery at sunset that evening.
Stanton Family Memorial, University Cemetery,
In his will, Edgar Stanton provided
bequests to his family and then requested that the residue of the estate
be given to Iowa State to provide a memorial in his name. Julia Stanton
and the four children decided to provide the college with the money to
add 26 additional bells in the Carillon, to then be known as the Edgar
W. and Margaret MacDonald Stanton Memorial Carillon. These bells were
also ordered from the Taylor Bell Foundry, and were hung in the
Campanile in August of 1929. A dedication concert was played October 6,
1929 by world-renowned carilloneur Anton Brees.
College Treasurer Herman Knapp with
the new bells in the Transportation Laboratory, August 1929.
Note the railroad tracks in the floor. This building, on part
of the site of today’s Hoover Hall, was used by the Mechanical
Engineering Department for automobile and locomotive testing.
There was a spur to the building from the Fort Dodge, Des Moines
and Southern Interurban line which ran through the campus.
Sadly, Julia Stanton never heard the
additional bells played. She died very suddenly of a heart attack
December 14, 1928, shortly after finalizing the arrangements for the new
bells. Her funeral was held December 18 in MacKay Auditorium, with
President Raymond Hughes presiding. She, too, rests in the college
cemetery, next to Edgar Stanton.