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Chapter Two: 

Heroes of Fairfield

We all have people we respect and look up to. “Heroes of Fairfield” delves into what it takes to be a true hero by bringing to life stories of ordinary citizens of the small town of Fairfield, Iowa who did extraordinary things to make a difference in their community and their world. In this second film in the Fairfield History Series, local and state historians, noted authors and local veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces uncover new information and stories about local heroes like U.S. Civil War heroine "Auntie" Mehitable Woods and the local members of Fairfield's “Underground Railroad” (UGRR), including a free black couple named James and Nancy Yancey. The local history team re-discover a first-hand account of a UGRR conductor named Christian Byrkit.

More about Heroes Of Fairfield


“The phenomenal research efforts of those associated with the film "Heroes of Fairfield" in conjunction with the Iowa Freedom Trail Project, show clearly that the Underground Railroad was indeed active in Fairfield and that substantial traffic came through Fairfield and on to points north and east from there.” 

- Dave Holmgren

Lead Researcher, Iowa Freedom Trail Project

"In total, over 1,500 people (mostly adults from the Jefferson County area) attended showings and interactive displays from several local partner museums that week.
 The level of audience engagement with the film was high.  Audible ooohs and aaahs from the audience were triggered by seeing a familiar face or place; easy laughter in the right places also was common.  When the film ended Dick and three of his colleagues took the stage and answered questions, which were numerous.  At the end of the Q&A session, many people remained in the theater foyer talking for half an hour after the film.  Clearly, the goal of boosting awareness and community pride had been achieved.”

- Dr. Jonathan Andelson,

Humanities Professor, Grinnell College and Humanities Advisor to "Heroes"

Behind the Scenes

Take a glimpse behind the scenes of Heroes of Fairfield. See some of our favorite moments researching and filming this movie.
This "teaser trailer" was released six months before the premiere of "Heroes of Fairfield" to promote local interest.



Robin Lim

Toba Pearl

Joanne Poole

Patia Henderson

James T. Salts

Michelle Manning

Bob Hougher

Jim Kennedy

Cheyenne Miller

Robert Brown

Mary Backstrom

Carroll Steinbeck

Lawrence Eyre

Rory Goff

Rev. Herb Shafer

Lowell Soike

Owen Muelder

Judy Ham

Peggy Miller

Leo Landis

Dave Helman

Ben Picard

“Big Ed” Pickard

Paul Gandy

Lanisha Cassell

Will Page

Mark Shafer

Historical Contributors

Lawrence Eyre

Doris Gilbert

Rory Goff

Rena Goff

Doug Hamilton

Dave Hellman

Dave Holmgren

Leo Landis

Jean Leeper

Cheyenne Miller

Rev. Herb Shafer

Mark Shafer

Lowell Soike

African American Museum of Iowa

Carnegie Historical Museum

Fairfield Public Library

Iowa Freedom Trails Project

Lewelling Quaker Museum

Maasdam Barns

State Historical Society of Iowa

The American Battlefield Trust

Underground Railroad Freedom Center at Knox College

University of Iowa

   - Museum of Natural History

   - Old Capitol Museum

   - Special Collections, State Historical Society of Iowa



Fairfield Media Center

Cafe Paradiso

Everybody’s Whole Foods

Fairfield Iowa Convention & Visitors Bureau

Ferguson Leaders Unlimited

Libertyville Savings Bank

Pilot Grove Savings Bank


Gene Copeland

John DeAngelis

Fred and Donalda Fredeen

Sally Denney Johnston

Ed and Vicki Malloy

Francis and Susan Thicke

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