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Delaware County, Iowa


 Biography Directory


DeWitt C. Oehler

Lawyer, Furniture Business & Undertaker




     DeWitt C. Oehler for a time practiced law in this state but for several years has given his time and energy to the conduct of his furniture and undertaking business in Hopkinton. He was born April 2, 1878, in North Fork township, this county, a son of Henry and Elnora A. (Stoner) Oehler. The paternal grandfather, Ambrose Oehler, went from Cincinnati, Ohio, to Dubuque county, this state, in 1838 and in 1872 came to this county. He was twice married and had two children by his first marriage. His second wife was in her maidenhood Maria Kiene and about 1847 emigrated to Dubuque county from Switzerland. To their marriage were born eight children, all of whom are living with the exception of a son, William, who died in 1914. The others are as follows, George, Richard, Henry, Paul, Theresa, Helena and Elizabeth. The mother of the subject of this review was a daughter of Henry Stoner, a native of Pennsylvania, who removed to Indiana in the early history of the state and in 1852 came to Delaware county. His wife was in her maidenhood Miss Permilia McChristy. Her parents were of Scotch-Irish descent and were residents of Ohio. Mr. and Mrs. Stoner brought their family from Indiana to this county in prairie schooners, being a part of a caravan of emigrants who made the journey together in order to adequately protect themselves from hostile Indians, wolves and other dangers of the long trip. All of the grandparents of Mr. Oehler of this review have gone to their reward.

    Henry and Elnora Oehler became the parents of three children. Ambrose Henry, whose birth occurred October 9, 1876, married Nellie Sperring, a native of Delaware county, and they reside in Thompson, Winnebago county, Iowa. He is farming and is also engaged in the grain elevator business, his sons doing most of the work upon the farm. DeWitt C. is the second child in order of birth. Addie Luella, born January 26, 1880, married Elmer E. Lux, a farmer of Delhi township.

     DeWitt C. Oehler attended the common schools and later high school, from which he was graduated in 1895. During the succeeding academic year he took a course at Lenox College and then for a time worked in his father's office at Dyersville, Dubuque county, and in this way became acquainted with the insurance and loan business. He remained in that place for three years, after which he went to Dixon, Illinois, where he matriculated in the Northern Illinois College of Law and took a two years' course, being graduated from that institution in 1902. He continued his study, however, taking a post graduate course of one year, after which, in 1903, he was admitted to the Iowa bar by the supreme court at Des Moines. He engaged in the practice of his profession in Dyersville and Thompson until 1908 and in that year came to Hopkinton on a visit to his father in law, A. F. Kirkwood.

    The latter took sick during the visit and Mr. Oehler consented to take charge of his furniture and undertaking business. After the death of Mr. Kirkwood the subject of this review was asked by the family to settle up the estate and this occupied him for a year. In the meantime he disposed of his law business and purchased the furniture and undertaking business lately conducted by his father in law. He has since concentrated his energies upon the management and development of his business and has proven very successful. He carries a large stock of high grade furniture and his patronage represents not only the town of Hopkinton but the adjacent territory. In addition to his furniture business he carries a full line of caskets and all goods needed for the proper observance of the last rites for the dead and not only does he give highly efficient service as an undertaker, but he performs his work with that quiet courtesy and unobtrusive recognition of sorrow which is always sincerely appreciated in the hour of bereavement. Mr. Oehler also owns the Kirkwood home, which he purchased after the death of his mother in law, and he has since resided there.

     On the 5th of June, 1907, he was married to Miss Agnes G. Kirkwood, who was born January 14, 1877. After graduating from the local high school she studied at Lenox College and is one of the charming and well educated women of Hopkinton.

     Mr. Oehler is independent in politics and takes an active interest in local public affairs. In 1912 he was elected mayor of Hopkinton and served a term of two years, during which electric lighting was introduced into the town. This system has proven a great improvement over previous methods and a number of other advanced steps in municipal affairs were taken during Mr. Oehler's efficient administration. Since coming to Hopkinton he has thoroughly identified himself with all movements that make for the social and moral as well as civic development of the town and has won for himself many stanch friends.



~ source: History of Delaware County, Iowa and its People, Illustrated, Volume II. The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1914, Chicago. Page 473-474.  Call Number 977.7385 H2m; LDS microfilm #934937.

~transcribed and contributed by Constance Diamond for Delaware County IAGenWeb


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