Transcribed by Teresa Kesterke 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.


William Henry Morehouse, in whose life record there is much that is worthy of the closest and most reverent emulation, and whose memory is dear to the large circle of friends who knew and honored him during his active life, was born Jan. 10, 1832, in Saratoga county, New York. Entering the public schools of his native State, he laid there the foundation of his education; but most of his youth and all the years of his early manhood were spent in the West, for in 1846 he removed to Illinois, locating in Kane county. It was in Kane county that he was united in marriage, in 1839, to Miss Minerva A. McArthur, and the same year he united with the Baptist church, a connection which he faithfully maintained until his death. In Illinois he engaged successfully in the pursuit of agriculture until 1861, when he went to Ottumwa, Iowa, to act as agent for the American Express Company, continuing in that position for some years. Later he went to Janesville, Bremer county, Iowa, and embarked in a mercantile enterprise, for which he was well fitted by his marked aptitude and ability for the conduct of practical affairs, which he possessed in a remarkable degree. The qualities of determination and self-reliance, which had stood him in such good stead during the earlier years of his independent career, now brought him success in this new venture, resulting in a prosperity that was in some sense commensurate with his merits, great as these were. Two years subsequent to the holding of the Centennial Exposition at Philadelphia, which Mr. and Mrs. Morehouse attended, they removed to Burlington, where they built a pleasant and commodious home at 523 South Garfield Avenue, still occupied as her residence by Mrs. Morehouse.

Although Mr. Morehouse always maintained a home in Burlington after removing to this city, and was intimately connected with the advancement of Burlington in many lines of progress, he was interested in many outside enterprises, notably the Bank of Brookings, at Brookings, S. Dak., which he established about the year 1883 with a paid-up capital of $30,000, he becoming president of the institution, and his brother, (George Morehouse, cashier. It may be said with truth that to his intelligent and careful supervision; and direction the bank principally owed its success, together with the vital force which his strong personality infused into the workings of all its departments; for he possessed the rare gift of being able to impart to his subordinates the effective and triumphant energy which so strongly marked his own career. He was also treasurer, cashier, and member of the board of directors of the Home Life Association, a company of which a brother of Mrs. Morehouse, M. C. McArthur, was for several years president.

The wife of our subject was born in Dryden, Tompkins county, N. Y., in 1837, and both her parents dying when she was yet quite young, she came West with her two brothers at the age of seventeen years, making her home in Kane county, Ill., where she was a teacher in the public schools until the time of her marriage. She is a woman of unusual ability, and despite advancing years she still retains that freshness and buoyancy of mind and spirit which are the invariable accompaniments of true culture. Mrs. Morehouse has one sister, Mrs. Lydia Repass, who makes her home with her, and who, with her husband, came to Burlington at about the same date as did Mr. and Mrs. Morehouse, the husband's death occurring in Burlington in 1878. One son, M. A. Repass, is a resident of Fremont, Nebr., while a granddaughter, Mrs. William Henry Plock, resides in this city. No children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Morehouse, but they early took under their care and reared Edwin M., son of the Reverend Doctor Hurd, of the Baptist church, giving him a father's and mother's affection and the advantage of a good education in public school and business college. He was for seven or eight years bookkeeper in a bank at Denver, Colo., and later became manager of the Overland Cotton Mills at Denver, but is now in charge of a banking institution in Arizona. He married Miss Zora Fink.

Too much cannot be said of the man whose life forms the subject of this review. Selfishness was a thing unknown to him, and his constant thought and care were occupied in doing good to others. Although a lifelong member of a political party, the Republican, and in a position to command much of its influence for his own benefit had he so desired, he never cared for the personal honor of public office, and largely devoted his life to Christian work, in and out of the church, carrying always in his heart the most absolute and trusting faith in the humble and self-sacrificing Christ, whom he sought to the best of his ability to make the criterion of his earthly existence. Pre-eminently religious, he was at the same time a patriotic citizen, a loyal-hearted friend, and a noble example of true manhood. His interest in church work was perennial, and he held the office of treasurer of the First Baptist church, was a member of its official board, and was a member of the building committee which erected the present magnificent structure. He was also one of the official board of the Baptist College of Burlington, in the welfare of which he was deeply interested. In his fraternal connection he was long an active member and worker in the Masonic order, in which his loss was deeply deplored. He died at the Homeopathic Hospital, Chicago, on Monday, June 17, 1901, and his funeral services were conducted at the home on Wednesday, June 19, by his old pastor, Rev. Euclid B. Rogers, of Springfield, Ill., the ceremonies being in charge of the Knights Templar, of which he was an honored member. Interment was in the Aspen Grove cemetery. Mr. Morehouse was above all else domestic in his preferences, devoting his spare time to his home and the companion of his joys and sorrows, and her memories of him remain as a precious and beautiful possession. To him belonged many sterling traits of character, and his high moral sense, his unfaltering integrity, and his broad sympathy won him unqualified confidence and the deepest regard of all. His kindly spirit and genial disposition brought him friends, and he had the happy faculty of drawing them closer to him as the years went by.

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