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. 451-52.

Transcribed by Paul Nagy

Biography of  A. L. Denio

It requires various interests to make up a composite fabric of business activity and commercial prosperity in any community.  Among the energetic, farsighted and successful business men who are factors in the growth and development of Alta is numbered A. L. Denio, who for the past ten years has successfully conducted a lumberyard at this point.  He has long lived in Iowa, for he became a resident of Cherokee county in 1876 and in 1882 took up his abode within the borders of Buena Vista county.  His birth occurred in St. Joseph county, Indiana. June 25, 1863, and his life has been characterized by the spirit of indomitable industry and progress which has marked the growth of the middle west.  His father, Charles C. Denio, was a native of Delaware county, New York, born in 1828.  There he was reared, but when gold was discovered in California he made his way to the Pacific coast, inspired by the hope of rapidly acquiring a fortune among the mines of that state.  While he did not gain wealth, he yet met with fair success and brought back a goodly sum when he returned by way of the Isthmus of Panama.  Soon afterward he located in St. Joseph county, Indiana, and for a time engaged in merchandising at Hamilton, while later he carried on business at New Carlisle.  He was married at that place to Miss Elizabeth Whitlock and continued his residence at New Carlisle until his life's labors were ended in death in 1873, when he was forty-five years of age.  His widow afterward became the wife of William P. Miller, who removed to Cherokee county, Iowa, and established a lumberyard at Aurelia, where he is still actively engaged in business.  There were two children of the mother's first marriage, the daughter being Jennie, the wife of W. H. Reynolds, of Orlando, Florida.


The son, A. L. Denio, was a lad of twelve years when he went with his mother and stepfather to Cherokee county.  His public-school course was supplemented by study in the academy at Manchester and by a two years' course in the University of Michigan.  After completing his education he went south, spending two years in Florida, and. upon his return to Iowa, settled in Alta, where he engaged in the lumber business for two years.  He then disposed of his yard and conducted a banking business in Webster City, Iowa, until 1887, being cashier of the Farmers National Bank there.  In 1899 he again came to Alta, where he purchased the lumberyard which he now owns.  He carries an extensive stock building materials of all kinds and his sale of lumber brings him a gratifying annual return, for he has secured an extensive patronage.  He gives close and unremitting attention to his business, knowing that care, foresight and diligence constitute a sure foundation upon which to build success.


In February, 1887, in Webster City, Mr. Denio was married to Miss Carrie S. Harris, who was reared and educated in Des Moines.  Unto them has been born one son, Charles Carroll, now a junior in the State University of Iowa.


On election days Mr. Denio deposits his ballot in support of the men and measures of the republican party.  He has never had ambition in the line of office seeking, although he once served as councilman.  He is interested, however, in the success of his party and has served as a delegate to its conventions.  For two years he has been actively connected with the Pair Association of Buena Vista county and for two years has been superintendent of speed at the Iowa State Fair, at Des Moines.  He belongs to the Masonic fraternity, holding membership in the lodge at Alta, the chapter at Webster City, the commandery at Cherokee and the .Mystic Shrine at Des Moines.  In the lodge he has filled various offices, was master for three terms and is now past master, while in the chapter he acted as high priest during his residence in Webster City.  He was likewise president of the Northwestern Iowa Association of Lumber Dealers for two years.  When he came to this city in his boyhood northwestern Iowa was but sparsely settled and much of the land was still uncultivated.  He has lived to see a wonderful transformation as the region has become peopled by those who have converted its district into a rich agricultural region, equipped with all of the modern improvements and advantages known to the older east.  He has at all times stood for general progress and his cooperation is never sought in vain when the purpose is to further the interests of Alta or the community at large.