Cerro Gordo County Iowa
Part of the IaGenWeb Project



WHEELER, J.H. Vol. II. Pp. 520-22. Lewis Pub. Co. Chicago. 1910


Cerro Gordo has represented the home of William H. Hathorn from the time of his infancy and he is a member of one of the well known and highly esteemed families of this county, where his father took up his abode in the year 1879, and during the intervening years the name has stood not less significant of loyal and worthy citizensliip than it has of splendid mechanical ability. He whose name initiates this article is secretary and treasurer of the Hathorn Automobile Company, of Mason City, and his elder brother, Charles E., is president of the company, of which they also constitute the board of directors. A brief sketch of the concern appears on other pages of this work, as does also a review of the career of the president of the company.

William Henry Hathorn was born in Rock county, Wisconsin, on the 30th of January, 1881, and was an infant at the time of the family removal to the former home in Cerro Gordo county. Iowa. He is a son of Henry W. and Emma L. (Jones) Hathorn, the former of whom was born in Rock county, Wisconsin, in 1856, and the latter in Ohio, their marriage having been solemnized in Wisconsin, to which state the parents of Mrs. Hathorn removed when she was a child. Henry W. Hathorn was reared and educated in his native state, and there he learned the trades of both carpenter and blacksmith. In 1879 he removed with his family to Cerro Gordo county, Iowa, making the overland trip with a team and covered wagon, and he located a short distance north of Clear Lake, where he erected a blacksmith shop, which served as the family abiding place until the completion of the regular dwelling house. Henry W. Hathorn successfully conducted his shop and also operated his farm, but finally he returned to Janesville, Wisconsin, in which city the subject of this sketch was born. In 1882 the family returned from Wisconsin to the home farm near Clear Lake, and there the father continued to reside until 1890, when he took up his residence in Mason City, where he founded and conducted a successful business, under the title of the Hathorn Foundry & Machine Company. With this substantial enterprise he continued to be actively identified until 1904, and it is now conducted under the title of the Vulcan Iron Works. In the year last mentioned Mr. Hathorn disposed of the business and removed to Grinnell, this state, whence he later went to the city of Chicago, and finally he removed from the great western metropolis to Rochester, New York, where he and his wife now maintain their home. There he is engaged in the manufacturing of a trip-hammer that was invented and patented by him and that has found a ready demand not only throughout the United States but also in foreign countries, owing to its superiority over the types formerly used. He has fine mechanical and inventive ability, and among a number of his valuable inventions may be mentioned a loop and strap for felt boots and the "Jumbo" windmill. His present industrial enterprise is conducted upon an extensive scale and is proving a splendid success.

Henry W. Hathorn is a Republican in his political allegiance, is affiliated with the Modern Woodmen of America, and both he and his wife are zealous members of the Baptist church, in which he was, for a number of years, superintendent of the Sunday school at Clear Lake, this county. Besides the two sons individually mentioned in this work there are two other sons and two daughters Oliver L., who is identified with business interests in Mason City; Frank O., who is associated with his father's business in Rochester, New York; Cora G., who is a student in Rochester University; and Rose H., who is attending the public schools in Rochester.

William H. Hathorn gained his early education in the public schools of Cerro Gordo county, and his special aptitude as a youth is shown in that when but fourteen years of age he learned stenography and bookkeeping, in both of which lines he became proficient. Prom 1895 to 1897. inclusive, he was employed as stenographer and clerk in the law office of Cliggitt & Rule, of Mason City, after which he attended school here for a period of eight months, within which he covered two and one-half years of high school work. After leaving school he secured a position in the office of the construction engineer of the Chicago & Northwestern Railroad, in which connection he was employed about eight months, during the construction of the line from Belle Plaine, Iowa, to Blue Earth, IMinnesota. He next assumed charge of the office business of the Hathorn Foundry & Machine Company, in Mason City, and he continued to serve in this capacity until his father sold the business in 1904. Thereafter he was assistant manager of the Bickel Produce Company, of Mason City, until the spring of the following year, when he returned to the law office of Cliggitt, Rule & Keeler, where he remained until September, 1906, when he became associated with his brother Charles E. in the organization and incorporation of the Hathorn Automobile Company, concerning which adequate mention is made elsewhere in this volume. Mr. Hathorn is known as one of the wide-awake and progressive young business men of Mason City, and in his character and activities he is well upholding the high prestige of the name which he bears. He is a Republican in his political proclivities, is affiliated with the local organizations of the Knights of Pythias and Modern Woodmen of America, and both he and his wife hold membership in the Baptist church.

On the 16th of June, 1903, Mr. Hathorn was united in marriage to Miss Daisy I. Brown, who was born and reared in Cerro Gordo county and who is a daughter of Andrew C. Brown, a representative horse dealer of this county, where his father, the late John G. Brown, took up his residence in the early pioneer epoch. Mr. and Mrs. Hathorn have one son, William Brown Hathorn, who was born on the 1st of January, 1910, and who thus proved a royal and welcome New Year's guest in the pleasant home.

Hathorn Foundry Ad
, 1905
Hathorn Garage
, ca. 1919-20

Click on either caption or thumbnail photograph to view an enlargement;
click on your browser 'back' button to return to this page.

NOTE: From the Globe-Gazette, December of 1919: Hathorn Auto Co. has moved into their new quarters in the Federal Bldg., Fourth Street.

From the Globe-Gazette, date unknown: Chas. Hathorn of Hathorn Garage, 5th St., has disposed his interest to his brother, W. H. Hathorn.

Transcription and note by Sharon R. Becker, February of 2014



  • Return to Biography Index Page

  • Return to Cerro Gordo Home Page


    © Copyright 1996-
    Cerro Gordo Co. IAGenWeb Project
    All rights Reserved.