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Bernice Fern Burgess Kendig
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Birth: Apr. 23, 1903
Polk County
Iowa, USA
Death: May 14, 2002
Polk County
Iowa, USA

Near Madrid She Created Pioneer Village by Herb Owens
Madrid, IA-Timberlane Village Museum has been established by Mrs. Roscoe Kendig in a wooded, off-the road natural park on the Kendig farm 2 miles south and 2 1/2 miles east of here.
Mrs. Kendig, who has been making apple, nut, clothespin and molded plastic dolls for some years - 40 last winter - has converted old farm sheds into a church, an heirloom room, a school, a museum and a tool barn. It makes quite a pioneer village.
The little red schoolhouse, large enough for half a dozen salvaged desks, has an 1880 setting, with several original McGuffey's Readers, a potbellied stove, a 76-year-old flag and an antique dictionary. Mrs. Kendig still is planning the teacher's desk; and she already has a handbell to set on it.
The Timberlane church, which has a spire, contains stained-glass windows, altar rail and pulpit salvaged from an Iowa Center church that was being razed. The pews, built by Mrs. Kendig, will seat 12 persons. There's an antique dulcimer that once graced the home of Mrs. Kendig's great-grandparents.
Thimbles, Cravat Pins
The museum - which houses Mrs. Kendig's own dolls and many she has collected, like one she purchased for 15 cents and now values at $65-has a piece quilt made by her father. There are collections of thimbles (85) and political campaign buttons.
There is a collection of men's cravat pins and another of medals and early commercial advertisement lapel buttons.
Mrs. Kendig has scoured the woods and fields of the 120-acre farm for weathered wood specimens, which also are on display. There are a dozen types of flat-irons.
The pioneer heirloom room, originally the coal and cob house close to the farm home, has an antique bed on which is a spread made from the beginning by Mrs. Kendig's grandparents.
They clipped wool from their sheep, combed and spun it, dyed and wove it. It is an exceptional example of pioneer creative-and artistic-ability.
Franklin Stove
The room also houses a Franklin stove, walnut pie cupboard, upright churn, antique wooden washing machine, and a fragrant old spice cabinet. On a table is a 1906 copy of the Des Moines Register and Leader, headlining the San Francisco earthquake.
Mrs. Kendig's antique tool shed is surrounded by old wagon wheels, split-rail fence, doubletrees, grindstone, iron kettle and old farm implements.
Inside there is a lard press, a flour bin with sifter attached, buggy lanterns, jugs, an old army saddle and two cedar paving blocks from Des Moines' first pavement.
Born Bernice Burgess near Elkhart, Mrs. Kendig lived in a Colorado homestead cabin in childhood-a cabin destroyed by a prairie fire from which she was rescued.
Her husband, who has rented out tillable acres on the farm and works in the Lehman Hatchery here, also was reared at Elkhart.
Skilled With Tools
Mrs. Kendig, skilled with hammer and saw, has played a vital part in remodeling and modernizing the farmhouse since the Kendigs purchased the farm 17 years ago. She has done most of the physical labor in setting up her pioneer village, too.
The Kendigs have two daughters, Mrs. Janet Broder of Waterman, Ill., and Mrs. Karolyn Lehman, wife of the Madrid hatchery operator. There are five grandchildren.
Mrs. Kendig has entertained a number of club groups who have come to see her pioneer display. Hoping to have the project pay for itself, she now is planning to charge a small admission fee.
"My latest project is almost ready," she said. "It will be a recorder setup which will pipe music into the buildings."
Big Creek News, Thursday, October 14, 1976
Mrs. Kendig Continues Family Woodcarving Craft
Mrs. Roscoe Kendig, a longtime Madrid area resident, now living in Elkhart, keeps her spare-time occupied with many different hobbies.
One of her favorites is wood-carving. Woodcarving is something that has been in Mrs. Kendig's family for a long time. Her father constructed houses, which are still standing today in Elkhart, and he also built pieces of furniture in his workshop. She recalled spending many hours in her father's shop observing and helping him when she could.
The only tools needed for this unique hobby are a heavy knife and a block of balsa wood. She uses balsa because it's easier to cut as well as peeling very easily. Mrs. Kendig also has used pine and walnut to make different kinds of statuettes. She seldom uses walnut because it is so hard to cut.
Some of her woodcarvings include a set of bells, animal figurines, head statues and a life-like head bust of Brahams, that she later turned into a music box. "Doing larger pieces of work are simpler because there seldom is need for minute or exact detailing," she said.
Dolls are also a big favorite of Mrs. Kendig's so she also finds time to make a few of her own. One type she makes from wood and apples, an idea she acquired while vacationing in the Ozarks. She takes a medium sized apple and hangs it on a line over the furnace. The heat drives the moisture from the apple causing a shriveling and browning effect to occur. After about a week it is ready for use. This forms the head of the doll and it is applied to the wooden body which she carves. The finishing touches are the clothes which she also makes.
This year, Bernice and her sister took some of their homemade products to the Old Thresher's Reunion at Mount Pleasant on Labor Day. She reported that in a very short time all her dolls had been purchased. "I don't know how many times I explained how these were made, said Mrs. Kendig. "I thought everyone knew how they were made but I guess I was wrong."
Another favorite is the corn cob doll she makes from a long and short cob, yarn and corn shucks. A long corn cob is used for the body while a small cob places perpendicular to the end of the longer one is used to make the face.
Tightly woven corn shucks are added for the arms while rug yarn is used in making the hair. She then adds her own hand-made costumes and smaller finishing touches, completing a most unusual but uniquely attractive doll.
A final type of doll she makes is from a soap bottle and a plastic head. The plastic heads are purchased from a hobby shop in Des Moines. These heads snap on to the bottle and once more she adds homemade clothes as a finishing touch.
Mrs. Kendig also finds time to make a picture-like design called a permative. These were done in the late 19th and early 20th century when artists would travel through the country painting nature scenes they encountered. The artists would then seek shelter and lodging with some family in that area. In return for their housing, the painter would do an oil painting of the family.
She makes something like a permative, but it's also like a decallate plaque. She selects a landscape or scenic view and covers it with modpodge, a lacquer-like substance. The mod-podge is applied to the piece of board upon which the picture will be laid. A coat is added to the picture and a final layer to the entire wall hanging gives it a lasting quality and prevents it from fading.
"Adoughables", another original hobby of Mrs. Kendig's are made from a piece of driftwood and bread dough. The dough is placed on the board in any design and it is then baked in an oven. When the dough turns brown, the "adoughables" are done and ready for hanging.
Collecting thimbles is another hobby which Mrs. Kendig takes great pride in. These have been gathered throughout the years. A gift from her aunt, many years ago got her on her way. She not has an onyx thimble from Mexico; a leather and plastic thimble from Japan; a thimble from Korea and Italy and some are made out of plaster of paris and soap.
For many years, the Kendigs lived on a farm southwest of Madrid and it was here that her Timberlane Village was located. This she owned and operated for 14 years and was a replica of Iowa farm life at the turn of the century. Visitors came from all over the state to view the museum, church, loom house, store, school house and Grandma's house, all of which were made from unused brooder and hog houses on the farm. These buildings, except Grandma's house, were later sold to Margaret Keigley. This one was moved to Elkhart where many antique possessions are stores.
"Everyone needs a hobby to fill their spare time, and believe it or not," she concluded, "everyone possesses the ability to do something.
"Bernice Fern Burgess Kendig, 99, of Mill-Pond Health Care Center in Ankeny died there Tuesday of complications of hip surgery.
Services will be at 10 a.m. Tuesday at Elkhart Christian Church in Elkhart, of which she was a member.
Burial will be at White Oak Cemetery near there.
Mrs. Kendig was born near Elkhart and had lived there many years before moving to Ankeny. She also had lived in Madrid 25 years. She was a homemaker and a member of Elkhart Women's Club and Madrid Women's Club. She had been a 4-H Leader in Madrid and enjoyed spending time at Timberlane Farm near Madrid.
She is survived by two daughters, Karolyn McLain of St. Louis and Janet Broders of Barrington, Ill.; six grandchildren; and 11 great-grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her husband, Roscoe.
Friends may call from 6 to 8 p.m. Monday at Ankeny Funeral Home. Memorial contributions may be made to Hospice of Central Iowa.

Family links: 
  James Harvey Burgess (1881 - 1971)
  Othella Miriam Welch Burgess (1884 - 1965)
  Roscoe Harold Kendig (1900 - 1994)*
  Bernice Fern Burgess Kendig (1903 - 2002)
  Vernal May Burgess Higginbottom (1906 - 1994)*
  Naomi Ruth Burgess Risvold (1911 - 1993)*
  Dorus James Burgess (1919 - 2001)*
*Calculated relationship
White Oak Cemetery
White Oak
Polk County
Iowa, USA
Created by: Karolyn [Kendig] McLain
Record added: Feb 01, 2010
Find A Grave Memorial# 47401766
Bernice Fern <i>Burgess</i> Kendig
Added by: Karolyn [Kendig] McLain
Bernice Fern <i>Burgess</i> Kendig
Added by: Karolyn [Kendig] McLain
Bernice Fern <i>Burgess</i> Kendig
Added by: Karolyn [Kendig] McLain
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- Karolyn [Kendig] McLain
 Added: Feb. 23, 2010

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