Transcribed by Pamela Wagler from: Biographical Review of Des Moines County, Iowa: Containing Biographical and Genealogical Sketches of Many of the Prominent Citizens of To-day and Also of the Past, Hobart Publishing Company, Chicago, 1905.


John H. Ewinger, one of the leading representatives of the plumbing, heating, and gas-fitting business in Burlington, with a patronage which has caused him to extend his labors into many cities of this State, was born Feb. 28, 1861, in Burlington, and throughout his entire life has made his home here. His father, Henry Ewinger, was a native of Germany, and was a machinist by trade. Coming to the New World he was employed for many years as stationary engineer in the Putnam mill of Burlington, and in 1872, resigning his position, he purchased a half interest in the plumbing business of John Conrad, with whom he remained for about four years. The partnership was then dissolved, and Mr. Ewinger established a business of his own, which he conducted for about twenty years, with excellent success. He died about 1898 – one of the respected business men of the city, whose success has been worthily won, and who had also gained the trust and good-will of those with whom he came in contact.

His wife, who bore the maiden name of Mary Burg, was a sister of John Burg, a leading wagon-maker of Iowa. She died in 1896, being survived by eight of their nine children, while six are yet living; Sarah, the wife of George Reif, a resident farmer of Des Moines county; Ricke, who is the wife of Christ Ebert, who is engaged in cigar-making in Burlington; John H.; Lydia, the wife of Robert Dixon, of Fort Madison; William, who is engaged in the plumbing business in this city; and Emma, the wife of Karl Kurle, who conducts a harness business in Dallas, Ill. After losing his first wife, Henry Ewinger married Mrs. Mary Wedertz, who survived him, and died in the year 1903.

John H. Ewinger pursued his education in the public school on North Hill, and after finishing his more specifically literary education, he began learning the plumber's trade under the direction of his father, with whom he remained for three years, when he went to Chicago, in 1881, and completed his trade in the plumbing establishment of E. Baggett. Returning to Burlington in 1883, he again entered his father's employ. The business was incorporated in 1898, as Henry Ewinger Plumbing Company, with Henry Ewinger as president; W. O. Ewinger, vice-president; and J. H. Ewinger, secretary and treasurer. Following the father's death, the brothers remained in business together until 1900, and then dissolved the partnership.

John H. Ewinger then began business alone at 320 North Fourth Street, where he has since been located. He controls an extensive business in plumbing, heating, and gas-fitting, and also deals in pumps and engineering supplies. He employs eight plumbers, and has done the work in his line in the Odd Fellows' Building, Tama Building, Iowa State Bank Building, German-American Bank Building, Parsons Block, Sterns Block, Masonic Temple, and in the residences of W. B. Foster, Andrew Dehner, R. M. Green, and many others, and also in St. Francis Hospital. He also took the contract for the plumbing, heating, and gas-fitting in the Louisa county poorhouse, five residences in Fontanelle, Iowa, residences in Dixon and Dallas City, Ill.; Unionville, Mo.; Fort Madison, Mount Pleasant, New London, Danville, Middletown, Wapello, and Columbus Junction, Iowa; and Cairo, Ill. His business has constantly grown and is of an important character, for he has been called to do work in his line in many important buildings. His own practical knowledge of the trade well qualifies him to superintend the labor of others, and his business career has been attended with a gratifying measure of success. He is a member of the Iowa State and National Plumbers' Associations.

Mr. Ewinger was married in March, 1885, to Miss Ursula Johanna, a daughter of Andrew Johanna, whose wife, in her maidenhood was Miss Johanna. They were natives of Switzerland and were married in that country. They came to America with their family in 1871 and located on a farm, the father now making his home on a farm south of the city. Unto Mr. and Mrs. Ewinger were born four children, but the second, Henry Andrew, died at the age of six months. The others are Elsie Kate, Flossie Ursula, and Fred Wesley. The family home, in the Irvin Addition, stands on Prospect Hill at the foot of Miller Street, near the Cascades. There Mr. Ewinger has twelve acres of ground, on which is an attractive frame residence, which was erected in 1900. Here he has much fruit – apples, grapes, peaches, and pears, and he makes fifty barrels of wine per year. In addition to this property Mr. Ewinger owns two dwellings in Sweny's Addition, one built in 1886, and the other in 1892, and these he rents.

Mr. Ewinger holds membership with Blackhawk Camp, No. 33, Woodmen of the World, and with the Cascade Boating Association. He gives his political support to the Democratic party, and is a member of the Lutheran church. He is quick of apprehension, and intricate business affairs he comprehends most readily, while in his active career he has won the success which is the just reward of meritorious, honorable effort which commands the respect and admiration of all.

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