Retired railroad worker Elwood Gage was the lone holdout when the farm town of Donnan, incorporated nearly 70 years ago, officially lost its name Friday.
"I kind of liked it as a town," said Gage, 62, who alone among its seven residents voted against disfranchisement. "I'm going to just keep using Donnan as a mailing address until they tell me to quit."His wife, Margaret, agreed it was a sad day but said the burden of running a municipality over the years had become too bothersome when there was next to nobody to do it.
"We moved here in 1958, raised our family here and three of our six children were born here," she said. "There's been a lot of good memories."
Donnan lies west of the Mississippi Valley in gently rolling farmland about 10 miles southwest of West Union. Located at an intersection of county roads, it was founded as Donnan Junction in 1878 and incorporated in 1922.
Its population rose to 51 in 1940 but steadily declined thereafter.
In the spring before the Gages moved in, the school closed. Since then, everything else has closed, including the post office. The only municipal service was a single street light.
"Everything's paid up, except for the electricity for the street light from March 6 to the 15th, but that'll be only around $4," said Mayor Matt Porter.
After paying all its bills as required of towns that choose to disband, Donnan will have $50.66 left, Porter said. That money will be given to the county, which will officially administer the community.
Porter said there was $1,200 in the town treasury, much of which is being donated to such causes as the Fayette County Historical Society and the fire departments at Hawkeye and West Union. The nearby town of Randalia will get $100 to help it renovate a meeting hall, he said.
"I'm kind of glad it's over with," said Porter, a retired farmer and mayor for 35 years. "A reporter from New York who called me recently about our disincorporating asked where all our people went.
"I told him that most of them grew up and went to the cities and the rest of us will just go to the cemeteries."