Crawford County, Iowa, IAGenWeb


E. E. Newkirk

E. E. Newkirk, who is now acting as manager of the Neola Elevator Company with elevators at Kenwood, Paradise township, has by a series of progressive steps worked his way upwards in the business world from a humble position, his record indicating clearly the force of industry, energy and perseverance.

A native of Pennsylvania, he was born on the 11th of September, 1862, a son of William and Elizabeth (Huggans) Newkirk. The family came to the United States from Holland, the name originally being Van Newkirk. William Newkirk, who was also born in the Keystone state, was there reared and married, and continued to make it his place of residence until the outbreak of the Civil war, when he offered his services to his country as a defender of the Union cause.

He enlisted as a soldier in the Seventh Pennsylvania Reserves and gave up his life at the engagement of Gaines Mills, before Richmond, at which time the regiment had been forced to retreat. During the battle he was twice wounded and was urged by his comrades to go to the rear. This, however, he refused to do retaining his place at the front, and while thus talking and reloading his gun he was again struck by a shell which terribly mutilated his body.

It was then that the company was forced to retreat, and two comrades started to carry him back with them, an almost impossible task, owing to the nature of his wound and the fact that he was a large man. Realizing that he would die, anyway, he begged them to leave him, and he was last seen crawling toward a spring from which he was trying to get a drink. Nothing has ever been heard as to the place of his burial. His widow, who was also born and reared in Pennsylvania, still survives and yet makes her home in that state.

Their family consisted of six children, as follows: John, a resident of Elizabethville, Pennsylvania; one who died in infancy; William, whose whereabouts are unknown; Perry, of Amorita, Oklahoma; Joel, of Montclair, New Jersey; and E. E., of this review.

The last named when but five years of age was sent to the Soldiers' Orphans' Home at Loysville, Pennsylvania, and there remained until sixteen years old, during which period he received a good education. He then went to Newport and was a pupil in the town school there for a short time, after which he went to York, Pennsylvania, to learn the blacksmith's trade, serving an apprenticeship of six months, at the end of which time he returned to Newport and for a season was engaged in boating on the canal.

He next sawed wood for the railroad company, being thus employed until the 16th of February, 1880, when, imbued with a desire to test the opportunities of the west, he made his way to Illinois and worked on a farm in Bureau county until 1883. In that year Mr. Newkirk came to Iowa and for two years was a resident of Carroll county, after which he loaded his effects into a wagon and came to Crawford county, arriving here on the 1st of March, 1885.

He first located in Union township, where for one year he engaged in breaking prairie, and then for three years he carried on farming on rented property. Finally, by reason of the strict economy, which he practiced at all times, and the close application, with which he applied himself to the work at hand, he was able to save sufficient capital with which to purchase a farm of his own, thus establishing himself independently in the business world. His first purchase consisted of a tract of eighty acres just west of the town of Kenwood in Paradise township, to which he has since added an adjoining farm of eighty acres.

The ground had already been broken but had not been developed to any great extent, and after taking up his abode thereon Mr. Newkirk devoted his energies to its further cultivation. He put many improvements upon the place, erected good buildings and installed modern machinery, and today the farm is a most productive and valuable property. He engaged in general farming with most gratifying success until about three years ago, when he came to Kenwood to take charge of the elevator at this place owned by the Neola Elevator Company. In this capacity he is also proving most successful, bringing to bear in the discharge of his duties the same spirit of energy, determination and close application which had characterized his steady advance through the preceding years.

Mr. Newkirk laid the foundation for a happy home life of his own through his marriage, on the 14th of December, 1884, to Miss Euphemia McDonald, a native of Pennsylvania. They attend the Methodist Episcopal church and are popular with a large circle of friends, acquaintances and neighbors. Mr. Newkirk gives his support at the polls to the republican party but takes no active part in politics, preferring to concentrate his attention entirely upon his business interests, in the management of which he is proving himself most capable and successful. Since his arrival in Kenwood he has become known to his fellow townsmen as a desirable and valued citizen, his business methods and personal traits of character commanding their respect, confidence and good-will.

Source: History of Crawford County, Iowa. Vol. II. Chicago: The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., 1911.