One-Armed Town Marshal Is Busy Man at Edgewood (1952)

By Irene Gleason, Gazette Correspondent   (Printed in the Cedar Rapids Gazette 1952)

EDGEWOOD —As town marshal here, Francis Schultz has many duties other than law enforcement.  He cuts the grass in the town park, shovels snow from sidewalks and crossings, digs ditches and puts in city water lines, drives the tractor and road grader, maintains the town pump, serves as custodian of town tools and acts as a traffic policeman.

He has only one arm. He lost his left arm in a corn shredder accident many years ago.

Today there are very few things a man with both arms can do which Schultz cannot do. For other amputees–particularly the young veterans coming back from overseas– he has a message of hope:

“It will never be easy, and don’t let anyone try to tell you it will be. But if you grit your teeth and try, you will find that you can do almost anything the rest of them do with two arms.

“You will spend a lot of wakeful nights worrying about the future, but just remember I made a living for three motherless daughters and gave them a high school education without a cent of help from anyone; and I did it during the toughest years of the depression.”

Mrs. Schultz died a few years after they came to Edgewood with their three daughters. That was after he had lost his arm.

At first, before his wife died, Schultz worked where and when he could find a job. Each day he became more adept at using his one arm. Much of his work then was for the town—driving a team and helping out when needed.

At the time of his wife’s death, his oldest daughter was 10. It was a situation to daunt a man not possessed of a physical handicap.  Schultz says: “It wasn’t easy. I spent many a night wondering if and how I could make a living and provide for their (the three daughters) needs.”  Schultz was hired as a fulltime marshal and maintenance man after he had gradually taken over more and more of the town’s chores. As the years passed, his oldest daughter, Elda, assumed much of the care of her two younger sisters.

Then tragedy struck again. Elda died.

His other daughters are Alberta, now Mrs. Fred Rheinhart of Dubuque, and Wilma, now Mrs. Joe Madlom of Edgewood.  When Wilma was married, Schultz gave up his house and moved into a furnished room in a private home. That was 16 years ago. He has lived in various private homes since.

Sometimes he has help with his town duties, but more often he does the work alone.

He never carries a gun—says he had one once, but somebody stole it. He says the gun was so unnecessary that he didn’t miss it until several months after it was stolen.

His regard for billy clubs is equally unenthusiastic. He never has carried one.

The marshal is a peaceful man —and a hard worker.