Buena Vista County, IA
USGenWeb Project

Extracted from:  Wegerslev, C. H. and Thomas Walpole. 
 Past and Present of Buena Vista County, Iowa
Chicago:  S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., 1909, p. 300-01.

Transcribed by Mary Alice Schwanke and Cyndi Vertrees

Biography of  Alfred R. Biddle

Alfred R. Biddle is now proprietor of the Columbia Hotel and has become very popular, both in his capacity as host and traveling salesman, for he was upon the road for several years prior to entering upon his present business connection.  His birth occurred in Fleming county. Kentucky, in 1850, he being the sixth in order of birth in a family of seven children, whose parents were Steven and Elizabeth (Shockey) Biddle, who were likewise natives of Fleming county.  The father, who was born in 1813, was of English lineage, while the mother was of German extraction.  His time and energies were devoted to general mercantile pursuits, in which he was quite successful, and in 1865 he removed from Kentucky to Mason County, Illinois, where he continuously carried on farming until his death.  He held membership with the Baptist church and gave his political allegiance to the whig party until its dissolution, when he .joined the ranks of the new republican party and continued to follow its banner until his demise.  He passed away in 1880, having long survived his wife, who died in 1854.  She too was a loyal member of the Baptist church.


As a farmer boy, Alfred R. Biddle spent the days of his boyhood and youth and attended the country .schools.  He was identified with the work of the fields in Illinois until 1880, and in the spring of 1881 he came to Iowa, settling in Storm Lake, where he engaged in the machinery business.  He was afterward upon the road for about ten years as a machinery salesman, and in that connection gained a wide and favorable acquaintance.  When he left the road he became the proprietor and host of the Columbia Hotel, and is still conducting the establishment, which he has made a popular hostelry.


In 1876 Mr. Biddle was married to Miss Lillie J. Jones, who was born in Illinois and died in 1888, at the age of thirty-five years, leaving three children:  Bertha F., the wife of Curtis Bethard, of Storm Lake, who is pilot on the steamer running to the Casino; and Eva .M., and Ethel P., both now deceased.  In March, 1893, Mr. Biddle was again married, his second union being with Lyda E. Hancock.  Her death occurred in November, 1906.


There was one child of this marriage, Jennie Mabel, born in 1894.


Mr. Biddle is a member of the Baptist church and of the Odd Fellows society.  He exercises his right of franchise in support of the men and measures of the democratic party and has done effective work for the city's substantial improvement in his faithful service as alderman for the past fifteen years.  He was elected chief of the Storm Lake Fire Department in 1882 and has since acted in that capacity, being perhaps, today the oldest fire chief in point of continuous service in the United States.  What he has done in behalf of the city has been for its good and upbuilding and his labors have been eminently practical and helpful.  He has a wide acquaintance in the community and among the traveling public, and a genial disposition and cordial address are qualities which have won him popularity and high regard.