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. 293-95.

Transcribed by Paul Nagy

Biography of  William A. Waterman

William A. Waterman is the oldest merchant of Newell.  While promoting individual success he has also advanced the general prosperity, being a public-spirited citizen who in various ways has displayed marked devotion to the general good.  Mr. Waterman was born in Rock county, Wisconsin, January 15, 1847, and is a .son of Hezekiah R. and Caroline P. (Rounds) Waterman, the former a native of Connecticut and the latter of Bridgeton, Maine.  His father, Joseph Waterman, was a native of Providence, Rhode Island, where he engaged in the manufacture of cotton goods.  He died at an advanced age, while his wife had passed the ninetieth milestone on life's journey when called to her final rest.  They had five children:  Andrew, Hezekiah, Joseph, George and Abigail.  The mother of William A. Waterman was a daughter of George and Rebecca (Prentiss) Rounds.  The father of Rebecca (Prentiss) Rounds was Samuel Prentiss, a native of Cambridge, Massachusetts, and a graduate of Harvard College of the class of 1771.  He married and settled in Cambridge, but not long after moved to Gorham and was that town's first postmaster.  George Rounds was a native of Maine and of Scotch descent.  He followed the occupation of farming as a life work and died in middle life, but his wife was more than ninety years of age at the time she passed away.  They had several children, including Caroline P. Rounds, who became the mother of our subject.  Our subject's maternal grandmother was a half-sister of George L., George D. and Sargeant Prentiss.  The last named was a celebrated lawyer, who had the distinction of being the greatest attorney living south of the Mason & Dixon line in his time.  George D. Prentiss founded the Louisville Courier Journal and is the author of the Closing Year, and George L. was a famous preacher of New York and a friend of Henry Ward Beecher.  The grandmother was also related to the William Deering family.


Hezekiah Waterman also followed general farming and in the year 1833 left New England for the middle west.  He settled in Wisconsin and in 1837 took up his abode at Milton, Rock county, that state, where he purchased and improved a farm, becoming owner of two hundred acres.  He held various town offices and was a worthy and influential citizen of his community.  His first wife was a Miss Johnson and they had one son, Henry, who now resides in Janesville, Wisconsin.  Following her death he wedded Caroline P. Rounds, and William A. Waterman was the only child of that union.  The death of the father occurred in Milton, August 11, 1884, at the age of seventy-three years.


Upon the home farm in Rock county, Wisconsin, William A. Waterman was reared, attending the district schools in the fall and winter months, while later he became a student in Milton College.  He was also trained to habits of industry, economy and thrift upon the home farm and remained with his parents until he had attained his majority.  He was a young man of twenty-four years when in 1871 he came to Newell, Iowa, erected a store building and engaged in general merchandising, in which he continued for a few years.  He then began dealing in grain, live-stock and machinery, carrying on business in those lines for a few years but for the past quarter of a century he has been connected with the hardware trade and now has a well appointed store.  There is today no merchant in Newell who antedates his arrival here and with the commercial development of the town he has been closely associated and at all times has held to a high standard of commercial ethics.


On the 17th of January, 1872, Mr. Waterman was married to .Miss Eliza W. Burrows, a daughter of Stephen and Martha (Root) Burrows.  Her paternal grandfather was a native of New York and in that state Stephen Burrows was also born, while his wife was a native of Virginia.  She was a daughter of Ammon Root, who was born in the Old Dominion, followed the occupation of farming and served his country as a soldier in the war of 1812.  He died on Monday night, December 25, 1891, at the close of his hundredth Christmas day.  Mr. and Mrs. Stephen Burrows became early residents of Rock county, Wisconsin.  It was he who invented the first boring machine for boring rifles, which was placed in use by Remington Brothers.  He originated the idea which made possible' the patenting of the cotton gin by Whitney, the harvester by Marsh brothers, the clover huller, and many other epoch-making machines.  Mr. Burrows' inventive genius was displayed in many other ways which have contributed materially to the industrial and commercial development of the country.  He died at Whitewater, Wisconsin, July 18, 1880.  His family numbered eight children: De Ette, Ellen, Alvin D., Eliza W., Clara, Edward, Alice M. and Francis.


Unto Mr. and Mrs. Waterman were born five children:  Alice C., the wife of L. E. Hoyne, a resident of Rolfe, Iowa; Inez D., the wife of L. E. Bladine, a resident of Marathon, Iowa, by whom she has one son, John Burrows Bladine; Jay Herbert, who is a partner with his father in the hardware business, is married and has one daughter, Marion; Glen B., who is a practicing dentist at Peterson, Iowa; and Charles R., who is a student in the Iowa State College, at Ames, Iowa.


Mr. and Mrs. Waterman are members of the Congregational church.  He belongs to Newell Lodge, No. 2:52, I. O. O. F. and also to the .Modern Woodman camp.  His political allegiance is given to the democracy and his standing in the community is indicated by the fact that he has continuously served as a member of the city council since its organization.  He has also for many years been a member of the school board, serving a part of the time as its president and has been both school clerk and city clerk.  He regards a public office as a public trust and his loyalty in official positions stands as an unquestioned fact in his career.  He has labored effectively and earnestly for the welfare of the community, realizing fully the obligations and responsibilities of citizenship, and at the same time he has conducted a successful business enterprise which makes him a representative and valued resident of Newell.