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, 218-20.

Transcribed by Mary Alice Schwanke and Cyndi Vertrees

Biography of  William J. Minard

William J. Minard is successfully following farming on eighty acres of land situated on section 9, Maple Valley township, which he owns, and he also operates an adjoining tract of eighty acres belonging to a sister. He came to Buena Vista county in 1878 when much of the land was still unimproved and undeveloped and has seen the county grow into one of the rich agricultural districts of the state.

Mr. Minard was born in Ulster county, New York, January 12, 1852, a son of James Minard, who was born in the same county, November 12, 1825. In the paternal line the family comes of French ancestry and representatives of the name served in the Revolutionary war. The father was reared in Ulster county and was there married to Miss Sarah J. Turpening, who was likewise a native of that county. They there remained until after the birth of their two eldest children, when, in 1856, Mr. Minard removed with his family to La Salle county, Illinois, and purchased a farm of eighty acres, which he cleared and developed, and later added one hundred and twenty acres more. Five more children were added to the household in La Salle county, and there he reared his family, and engaged in general farming pursuits. He eventually came to Buena Vista county and invested in land for his children. He then returned to the Prairie state and opened a mercantile enterprise in Leland, conducting the same for three years. On the expiration of that period, however, he returned to his farm but later sold his farm property and took up his abode in Aurora, Illinois, where he spent his remaining years, his death there occurring in 1901, when he had reached the age of seventy-six years. His widow still survives and yet makes her home in that city. Of her family of seven children, two sons and two daughters survive, namely: William J., of this review; Edward J., who is engaged in merchandising in Aurora; Mrs. J. H. Husk, who makes her home in Shabbona, Illinois; and Mrs. T. R. Davis, a resident of Aurora.

William J. Minard was educated in the public schools of Leland and was a little lad of four years when the family removed from the Empire state to La Salle county, Illinois. After completing his studies he returned to the home farm and there remained until the father engaged in merchandising in Leland, when the son assisted him in the store for three years.

It was while making his home in that city that Mr. Minard was married on the 17th of March, 1875, the lady of his choice being Miss Eva B. Hecox, who was born in Utica, New York, but was taken to Illinois when but two years of age. She was a daughter of Levi Hecox, one of the early settlers of Illinois. Following their marriage the young couple located on his father's farm, which he operated for one year, while during the succeeding two years Mr. Minard operated the Hecox farm. He then removed to Buena Vista county and located on his present farm, this comprising eighty acres situated on section 9, Maple Valley township. Mr. Minard spent fifteen hundred dollars in tiling his land, so that it has been made very rich and arable. He has fenced the fields with woven and barbed wire, has built a fine modern residence, surrounded by a nice lawn and shade trees, and everything about the place is kept neat, presenting a thrifty appearance. Mr. Minard is one of the largest stockholders in the Farmers Elevator at Alta, and was one of the chief organizers of the Farmers Mutual Insurance Company and of the Fair Association, owning stock in both organizations.

As above stated Mr. Minard was married in 1875 to Miss Eva B. Hecox, whose death occurred about five years later, the date being May 17, 1880. She was the mother of two daughters: Nettie E., the wife of E. S. Judd, interested in the Yeoman Insurance Company of Billings, Montana; and Mabel E., who is well educated and is now a teacher in the Aurora high school. Mr. Minard was married a second time, this union being with Josephine M. Benson, the marriage being celebrated February 23, 1889. Mrs. Minard was born in Buena Vista county, and by her marriage has become the mother of four children: Maud E., Warren L., Leland J. and Alice.

In his political views Mr. Minard is independent, voting for the men whom he deems best qualified for office, regardless of party ties. He has served as township assessor for two years, while for twelve years, or from March, 1896, he has kept a record of the rainfall in the state and the United States, and has also been crop reporter of Maple Valley township for the state and the United States. Fraternally he is a Mason, belonging to the blue lodge at Alta, while both he and his wife are members of the Eastern Star. He is a man of excellent business capacity and sound judgment and the success which he today enjoys is well merited, for it is the result of his own well directed labors and careful management.