Warren County Iowa Genealogical Society




    Charles MaxwellCharles Maxwell was well-known in Indianola in the early 1900s. He was born June 11, 1868 and passed away at his home in Indianola April 26, 1935. In our research library there is a simple, 8- page remembrance, including pictures, put together by his wife, Ruth Fortney Maxwell.

    Mr. Maxwell came to Indianola from Chariton. He was closely associated with the building program of Indianola and with the Harlan Lumber Company for 35 years, a charter member and the first president of the Rotary Club, and a Mason and member of Warren Lodge 53. His passion for flowers, trees and shrubs led to 18 years as a member of the city park board. The “Maxwell Gardens” were frequently visited and admired by friends.

    When he died in 1935 from heart attack, the Indianola Park Board had this to say, “His work is finished but the movement he began and fostered more than twenty years ago, when there were few to cooperate with him, has borne a rich harvest and one that will blossom and bear fruit as long as time goes on.

    The Indianola Herald described him as “a prominent citizen and business man and one who championed civic improvement in every phase probably more than any other. The idea he fostered… has become established and today the home or public building which is not landscaped is the exception rather than the rule.  Better than monuments erected in his memory or eulogies spoken of his life, is the enduring desire which he created in others, to make the beauty of nature with trees, shrubs and flowers a part of our homes.”

    Ruth Maxwell, his wife wrote this poem about her husband:

    Though memory of you seems to be so clear
    That you might come if I but spoke your name.Maxwell Gardens
    Yet remembrance and the fact are not the same.
    There are so many things that I hold dear
    Of what you did and loved when you were here:Maxwell Gardens 
    Your toiling in your garden till its fame
    Had spread and friends and even strangers came
    To view the beauty spot and the cheer
    It brought to all who saw, and shards like these:
    Your gestures when you talked and your ready smile;
    The way you dreaded winter’s chill in fall;
    Your love of growing things – the flowers, the trees;
    Your thoughtfulness and kindness all the while –
    Dear scattered fragments beside a high stone wall.


    Since the early days of Indianola there have been many active citizens who take their civic responsibilities seriously. Their names are forgotten but the results of their efforts are all around us and will be felt by many generations in the future.