Conservation-Bill Boswell By Kevin Williams, Grundy County Conservation Director
April 11, 2014
Last week, I promised a continuation of the story and research about snakes that I had been drawn into from Reinbeck Couriers of the 1950s. The stories also involved the State Game Warden at the time, Bill Boswell. Over the years, I have had people mention him and even asked if I had known him. I would reply that I had not but that he sounded like someone that I would have enjoyed meeting. So, with my curiosity sparked, I decided to set out on an internet search to see just what, if anything, I could find out about him. The first bit of info that I found was mention of a Bill Boswell, former Conservation Officer, who had served in Appanoose and then Grundy & Tama Counties. I found the next bit of information intriguing because the words Bill Boswell were included with mention of a wolverine. A wolverine??? It seems that on May 21, 1960, a female wolverine was shot dead by a Tama County farmer in his cornfield. No one quite knew how she ended up in central Iowa. However, one report said that this wolverine might have been transported into the state. Well obviously, as wolverines are native to places like northern Minnesota, Michigan, etc. So, whether an accidental wanderer or an unwilling transplant here, the fact remains that a wolverine was for a short or long time in these parts. The story ended with the mention that Boswell had the fur in his possession. Now I really wanted to know more about Bill if I could. I continued the search. Where had he gone in his career? I was surprised to learn in a copy of the 34thAnnual Proceedings of the Midwest Fish and Game Commissioners that by 1967 he was an Administrative Assistant to the Conservation Commission Director. Next, in 1969, there was an account of then Conservation Commission Director Fred Priewert seeking the elimination of the assistant director position. That position held by Bill Boswell. I was surprised to learn that back in 1969, there was Boswell’s position and also an assistant state conservation director and assistant to the conservation director. Sounds to me like a lot of chiefs back then. So, now I was on the hunt again. Where had Boswell gone from there? Under the state merit system at the time, he would have been eligible to take any position that he had previously held – that being a conservation officer. Then, I located his obituary. Bill Boswell passed away in 2010 at the age of 87. I learned from it that not only was he an assistant Director but for a time the acting Director of the Conservation Commission. So apparently, he was the acting Director just prior to the appointing of Priewert to that position and the subsequent loss of his job. Politics involved? Don’t know. As it turns out, Bill Boswell then took the position of first Director of Parks and Recreation for the City of Ankeny. He obtained grants and monies for large parks, was instrumental in building the city’s first swimming pool, and created many types of recreation for all people in that fast- growing community. Funny how it works sometimes. During the process of writing a newscolumn and chasing around leads, in the end I had learned so much more than I ever would have expected. I used everything from old newspaper archives to the internet search engines to gather the information. I never knew Bill Boswell but I have a feeling that I would have benefited from it.
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