Special Collections Department
403 Parks Library
Iowa State University
Ames, IA 50011-2140

RS 21/7/213
F. Gale McClean (1895-1981)
Papers, 1971

Descriptive summary


McClean, F. Gale (1895-1981)






0.21 linear feet (1 half-document box)

collection number:

RS 21/7/213


University Archives, Special Collections Department, Iowa State University.


Administrative information


Open for research

publication rights:

Consult Head, Special Collections Department

preferred citation:

F. Gale McClean Papers, RS 21/7/213, Special Collections Department, Iowa State University Library.


Biographical note

F. Gale McClean was born on February 10, 1895, on a farm near Wilton Junction (Wilton), Muscatine County, Iowa. He graduated from the Two Year Course in Agriculture (1915) offered by Iowa State College (University). Following graduation he returned to the family farm.

McClean was an early member of the Farm Bureau and served as Secretary for the Muscatine Farm Bureau during the Iowa Cow War. He was a supervisor of the Farm Debt Adjustment Program in 27 eastern Iowa counties during the 1930s. He was a member of the Grange, Masonic bodies, and Eastern Star. McClean was twice a candidate for Iowa Secretary of Agriculture (1948, 1950).

McClean married Martha Reinemund on June 22, 1921. Together they had six children. Gale McClean died on September 3, 1981.


Collection description

This collection (1971) consists of a typed transcript of McClean's recollections of the events that took place in Cedar County, Iowa, surrounding the Iowa Cow War of 1931. He describes the confrontation on September 21, 1931, that took place at the J. W. "Jake" Lenker farm between farmers and state deputies. The deputies, trying to secure safe passage for the state veterinarian to check the cattle for bovine tuberculosis, were met by farmers angry with the compulsory testing and forced to retreat. Iowa Governor Dan Turner eventually had to call in the national guard to enforce the law.

McClean describes how the Bovine Tuberculosis Law of 1923, the poor economic state of farming at the time, and the financial losses farmers faced due to condemned cattle all contributed to the buildup of the confrontation. He lists the primary agitators and state officials involved in the events such as Norman Baker, Paul Moore, William Butterbrodt, Governor Dan Turner, and State Veterinarian Dr. Peter Malcolm. He briefly describes the series of events as protests spilled from Cedar County into Henry, Des Moines, and Lee counties.

To help him flesh out his story of the Cow War, McClean admits he is using an article in the April-May issue of The Iowan (call no. F616 Io75) as a reference and often times quotes directly from the article. Although many parts of this memoir appear to be directly from that article, he does include his opinion on events and recalls interactions he had with opponents of the testing. The collection does not include the original audiotape recording.


Container list







Transcript: "The Cedar County Cow War of 1931"