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Delaware County, Iowa


 Biography Directory

Fred William Doolittle




      Death often removes from our midst those whom we can ill afford to lose, men who through character and ability win a foremost place in business and social circles and who by public spirit and cooperation aid in upholding the legal and moral status of the community in which they reside. Such was the record of Fred William Doolittle, a man whose circle of friends was almost coextensive with the circle of his acquaintance and who in banking circles bore an unassailable reputation for business integrity as well as enterprise.   

     Mr. Doolittle was born July 8, 1854, in Delhi, Iowa, a son of Frederick Benjamin and Anne (Comber) Doolittle, of whom extended mention is made in the above sketch. His ancestry is traced back through several generations to Abraham and Hepzibah (Tyler) Doolittle and the line comes down through Benjamin and Hannah (Kilburn) Doolittle and William and Polly Anne (Hubbell) Doolittle to the parents of F. W. Doolittle. The father, Judge F. B, Doolittle, was prominently identified with railroad building, with banking and with real estate dealing and left the indelible impress of his individuality upon the history of the county's development and progress.

     In the public schools of his native city Fred W. Doolittle pursued his early education, which was supplemented by study in the State University of Iowa. After completing his education he traveled some and was associated with his father at Delhi but took up no fixed occupation until 1880 when he entered the Hopkinton Exchange Bank. He secured a practical banking training here and in 1884, in partnership with his father, secured control of the institution and it became known as Doolittle & Son, and was later incorporated as the Hopkinton State Bank. Judge Doolittle was made president of the institution, with F. W. Doolittle as the cashier and active manager, attending to all the details of the business, for his father resided in Delhi. F. W. Doolittle thoroughly acquainted himself with every phase of the banking business and the wise policy which he inaugurated at the outset has since been pursued, making the institution one of the strong financial concerns of Iowa. He was ever courteous to the patrons of the bank, extended favors whenever possible and maintained an even balance between conservatism and progressiveness, so that while the bank advanced and contributed to the business success of the county, the interests of depositors were always most carefully safeguarded. Mr. Doolittle was considered a most reliable, energetic and capable business man, displaying sound judgment and keen sagacity, and the success of the Hopkinton State Bank is undoubtedly due in very large measure to his efforts. He continued as the active manager until his death, which occurred at Hopkinton on the 9th of July, 1892. His widow still remains as vice president of the bank.
     On the 31st of May, 1882, at Manchester, Iowa, Mr. Doolittle was joined in wedlock to Miss Mary Russell, her father being the Rev. Daniel Russell, a pioneer home missionary of the Presbyterian church in Iowa. To them were born three sons, namely: Frederick William, who wedded Miss Madeleine Steele, of Denver, Colorado; Russell Comber; and Lawrence Harger. Frederick is a graduate of Lenox College, Princeton University and the University of Colorado. He is now located in New York as director of the bureau of fare research of the American Electric Railway Association. The second son, Russell, is a graduate of Princeton University and Rush Medical College. He is house physician at The Retreat, the sanitarium conducted by his uncle in Des Moines. Lawrence is attending school at Madison, Wisconsin, where he is taking the civil engineering course.

      In his political views Mr. Doolittle was a stalwart republican, thoroughly versed on the questions and issues of the day and inflexible in his support of party principles, yet never an aspirant for office. He belonged to the Masonic fraternity and held membership in the Presbyterian church of Hopkinton, in the work of which he took an active part, serving as a member of the board of deacons and trustees. He thoroughly enjoyed home life and took great pleasure in the society of his family and friends. He was always courteous, kindly and affable and those who knew him personally had for him warm regard. A man of great natural ability, his success in business from the beginning of his residence in Hopkinton was uniform and rapid. He ever supported those interests which are calculated to uplift and benefit humanity and his life was exemplary in all respects, his high moral worth being deserving of the highest commendation.


~ source: History of Delaware County, Iowa and its People, Illustrated, Volume II. The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1914, Chicago. Page 34-36.  Call Number 977.7385 H2m; LDS microfilm #934937.

~transcribed and contributed by Constance Diamond for Delaware County IAGenWeb


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