Elias William Touet

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Elias William Touet


Elias Touet in 1862, at the age of 25

This history of Elias Touet was written by Marie White, of Clarke County Historical Society

Methodist Church moved

In 1893-94, Elias Touet purchased the Methodist Church building that had been on the northwest corner of Main and Cass streets and had it moved across the street to the northeast corner of Main and Cass. It took a week to move it across the street and it was not near or on a foundation for a time.

The building was large, rectangular in shape, with a good sized balcony across the back and on both sides of the house. The main floor of the auditorium seated possibly 500, the balcony 250.

It was sort of shoddy-looking and needed paint, rather gray-looking. It was the place of entertainment before silent movies. Architects Foster and Liebbe of Des Moines worked on a plan to construct the building into an opera house, building some on each end and constructing it on the most approved modern plan.

The stage was the entire width of the building minus one small set of steps at the north end leading up to the orchestra floor level. The scenery was mostly painted and lowered by ropes from above the stage.

There were only a few scenes, a garden, store fronts and houses. The curtain was a local masterpiece of art with a fancy gold border, while on the major portion were depicted names of local business firms. The curtain was new in 1894.

There were many road shows at the opera house. The high school at that time was quite small, so all high school plays, operettas, graduating exercises and other school programs were held there. Some of the leading figures of the acting world appeared behind the footlights and there were innumerable home talent shows and various public gatherings.

The came the silent movies. That sounded the death knell for the road shows. A new high school was built in 1918 with a large assembly room. It seemed the old opera house was no longer needed. The first regular motion picture show opened in a store room on the east side of Main Street north of the square at a nickel admission.

The opera house building was torn down in the 1930s


From the Osceola Sentinel, Thursday 17 January 1907

One of Osceola's most prominent citizens passes away after brief Illness

Elias Touet, Sr passed peacefully away at the home of his son, IA Touet, in this city, on 12 January 1907 at the age of 69 years, 2 months and 4 days.

The funeral services were held over the remains at the M P Church on Monday, 14 January at 2 o'clock, conducted by the Rev J C Nutt assisted by the Revs Moore and Edwards, after which interment was made in Maple Hill cemetery.

The deceased was born in the island of Jersey on 8 November 1837, and lived there until 12 years of age, when with his parents he moved to what is now the province of Quebec. There he grew to manhood and at 22 returned to his native isle and married Jane Elizabeth Thoreau, with whom he returned at once to Quebec, and there for nine years he engaged in the fisheries.

In 1867 he visited this section of the country and decided that it offered greater advantages and so, two years later, with his family, he came to Clarke county, where he engaged in contracting and building. In 1894 he retired with an ample competency.

On 19 May 1900, his wife, with whom he had lived for more than 40 years, passed away. It was a great blow to Mr Touet and, while his surroundings were pleasant and his children done all that human power could do to make his life happy, he was sad and lonely.

In early life he had joined the Wesleyan Methodist church in Canada and, since coming to Osceola, has been as active member of the MP church. His life was ever an exemplary one and he was highly esteemed by all who knew him.

He never ran for office, but never missed an election. He was an ardent Republican and was proud of his party affiliation. He was the father of four sons, two of whom died in infancy, the others being E W and I A Touet, of this place. There are six grandchildren and one brother in Victoria, BC of the immediate family to mourn his death. He lived almost his allotted three score and ten and found no excuse for regret when it came time for him to give up his stewardship and return to Him who placed him here.

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