IAGenWeb Project - Clayton co.

John P. Eckart

John P. Eckart is a man whose initiative ability and progressive business policies have made him an influential figure in connection with the banking business and other lines of enterprise in his native village and county, and he has made a splendid record in connection with the development of the substantial business controlled by the Guttenberg State Bank, of which he was the virtual founder, as he was the promoter of its organization, in the year 1900, and has served as its efficient and popular cashier from the time of its incorporation to the present. Its original board of directors included also the following named and representative citizens: Henry Eckart, Thomas S. Ives, John Wolter, James E. Corlett, and Henry Brandt. The bank was incorporated with a capital stock of twenty-five thousand dollars, and its first executive corps. was as here noted: President, Thomas S. Ives; vice-president, John Wolter; cashier, John P. Eckart. For the accommodation of the new institution a substantial and modern building of two stories and basement was erected, and the same is owned and utilized by the bank with the second floor equipped and rented for office purposes. The personnel of the executive officers in the year 1916 is as here designated: President, Henry Eckart; vice-president, Thomas S. Ives; cashier, John P. Eckart; assistant cashier, Oscar B. Eckart. In addition to the president and vice-president the present directorate includes also Henry Brandt, F. X. Wollers and H. J. Overbeck. The administration of the affairs of the Guttenberg State Bank has been marked by circumspection and progressive policies, though its business has been directed at all times along careful and conservative lines. Its total deposits are now nearly $400,000, and its surplus fund is twelve thousand five hundred dollars. It is one of the substantial and well ordered financial institutions of Clayton county and its upbuilding reflects special credit and distinction upon its able and popular cashier.

John P. Eckart was born at Guttenberg, his present place of residence, and the date of his nativity was May 17, 1864. He is a son of Henry and Dorothea (Benecke) Eckart, both natives of Prussia, in which part of the great German Empire the father was born in Braunweiler Kunznacht and the mother in Seehausen, Kingdom of Saxony. . Henry Eckart was reared and educated in his native land, where he learned the trade of blacksmith, and in 1852 he immigrated to America. He remained in the State of New York for some time and on the 9th of April, 1856, he established his home at Guttenberg, Clayton county, Iowa, where he engaged in the work of his trade and established one of the pioneer blacksmith shops of the county. He assisted in the erection of the first bridge across the Mississippi river in this locality and he continued in the work of his trade for nearly half a century, his retirement from the same having occurred in 1892. He has long been one of the honored and influential citizens of Guttenberg, his integrity being as sturdy as the vocation which he long followed, and he has contributed his quota to the civic and material development and upbuildingof Clayton county, where his circle of friends is limited only by that of his acquaintances. Mr. Eckart is living virtually retired, though he is president of the Guttenberg State Bank. His political allegiance is given to the Republican party, he served as a member of the village council for a long period and was the resourceful and loyal mayor of Guttenberg for several terms. He is a zealous communicant of the Lutheran church, as was also his wife, who was summoned to eternal rest on the 10th of October, 1894. Of their children the eldest is Henry C., who is a representative citizen of Guttenberg; Ida remains with her venerable father in the pleasant home at Guttenberg; John P., the immediate subj ect of this review, was the next in order of birth; Augusta is the wife of Francis X. Wolter, of Guttenberg; Herman is a resident of Salt Lake City, Utah; Clara is the wife of Frederick J. Brezinsky, of Mankato, Minnesota; and Oscar B. is assistant cashier of the Guttenberg State Bank.

After making effective use of the advantages afforded in the public schools of his native village John P. Eckart completed a business college course. Under the direction of his father he gained facility in the work of the blacksmith trade, and he worked in his father's shop five years, after which he was employed as clerk in a mercantile establishment at Lemars, Plymouth county, until 1889. For two years thereafter he was a commercial traveling salesman for the house of Hood, Bonbright & Company, of Philadelphia, and he next passed about a year as salesman in a leading mercantile establishment in the city of St. Paul, Minnesota. He then returned to his native village, where he erected and placed in operation the Excelsior mill, in 1892. He continued in control of this industrial enterprise for the ensuing eighteen months and then engaged in the banking business at Brush Creek. Fifteen months later he sold his interest in this business and returned to Guttenberg, where he engaged in and developed a specially successful clothing business. In 1900 he organized the Guttenberg State Bank, to the executive affairs of which he has since given the major part of his time and attention, though he is serving also as treasurer of the Guttenberg Canning Company, in which he is one of the principal stockholders. Mr. Eckart is a staunch advocate of the cause of the Republican party and while he takes a lively interest in public affairs of a local order he has not sought official preferment, though he served several terms as township treasurer. As a progressive and public-spirited citizen Mr. Eckart assisted in the organization of the Upper Mississippi Improvement Society, of which important organization he is serving as treasurer. In 1906 he was concerned in the organization of the National River & Harbor Congress, in the city of Washington, and he has taken lively interest in the work of the organization. On the 31st of July, 1894, was solemnized the marriage of Mr. Eckart to Miss Linnie K. Bormann, daughter of August and Mena (Kottman) Bormann, of Elkader, this county. The four children of this union are: Olga D., who is the wife of Eugene Eberhard, of Guttenberg; and Una M., Ages G., and Ila H., who remain at the parental home.

source: History of Clayton County, Iowa; From The Earliest Historical Times Down to the Present; by Realto E. Price, Vol. II; pg. 101-102
-submitted by S. Ferrall


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