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Fayette County, Iowa
Past and Present of Fayette County Iowa, 1910
Author: G. Blessin
B. F. Bowen & Company, Indianapolis, Indiana
Vol. I, Biographical Sketches
Milton O. Musser
Holding worthy prestige among the representative business men of West Union and distinctively the leading merchant of the city, the subject of this sketch has made his influence felt in business circles and, though comparatively a young man, he has already forged to the front as a leader in all that makes for the general welfare of the community. Milton O. Musser is a native of the grand old Keystone state, which has furnished the West with so many men of ability and sterling worth, being the youngest of seven children, whose parents, Daniel A. and Lydia Schneffler Musser, were also born and reared in that commonwealth. Daniel A. Musser, who first saw the light of day in Center county, Pennsylvania, was by occupation a farmer and miller, owning at one time two flouring-mills and sawmills; he also dealt very largely in lumber, grain and coal, besides manufacturing cement on quite an extensive scale. In addition to the above interests, he purchased from time to time large tracts of unimproved land, the timber from which he manufactured into lumber, this with his other enterprises proving remunerative and making him one of the wealthy men of the county. He was much more than ordinarily energetic and successful and everything to which he turned his attention appeared to prosper. A man of affairs and public spirited in all the term implies, he took an active interest in political matters and was twice honored by being elected treasurer of Center county, besides filling various other positions of honor and trust. He departed this life on June 30, 1880, leaving a widow and five children to mourn his loss, the names of the latter being F. Pierce Musser, editor and proprietor of the Journal, published at Milheim, Pennsylvania; Juniata, wife of A. Walter, cashier of the Milheim Banking Company; Mrs. T. R. Stamm, of West Union, Iowa (see sketch) ; H. Clymer, a traveling salesman living at Waterloo, this state, and Milton O., subject of this sketch.
Milton O. Musser was born in February, 1870, at Milheim, Center county, Pennsylvania, and spent his childhood and youth in his native town, receiving his educational discipline in the schools of the same. At the age of thirteen he began his business career as bookkeeper with the Milheim Banking Company, a position he filled with ability and credit for a period of five years, when he resigned with the object in view of improving his fortune in the west. Coming to West Union, Iowa, in 1890, he entered the employ of his brother-in-law, T. R. Stamm, with whom he remained three years, at the expiration of which time he and his brother, H. C. Musser, purchased the only exclusive shoe business in the city which they conducted as partners during the six years ensuing.
Disposing of his interest in the business to his brother at the end of the time indicated, Mr. Musser bought the dry goods store of T. R. Stamm, of which he is still proprietor and which, as stated in a preceding paragraph, is the largest establishment of the kind in the city and second to few in the northeastern part of the state. The building in which this extensive and rapidly growing business is conducted is one hundred and ten by twenty-five feet in area, with basement under the entire floor, the various departments being thoroughly equipped with modern conveniences and especially adapted to the end which they are intended to subserve. Mr. Musser handles full lines of everything demanded in the dry goods trade, also complete stocks of ladies' cloaks and other wearing apparel, men's clothing, boots, shoes and furnishing goods. notions, etc., all carefully selected and calculated to satisfy the most critical and exacting. The services of five clerks are required to meet the demands of the numerous patrons and the business, quite extensive when the present proprietor took charge, has greatly increased under his efficient management, not the least of his success being his efforts to please and the true courtesy which he manifests not only in his relations with customers, but at all times and under all circumstances.
Mr. Musser possesses business ability of a high order, which he displays in buying as well as in selling, and being satisfied with legitimate gains he has never ventured into any kind of speculation or adopted schemes which, however attractive, never appealed to his sense of justice. He has pursued a straightforward, honorable course, treating all who patronize him with impartial fairness and ever keeping in view the reciprocity of interests which must obtain between tradesman and patron if true success is to be attained. Since coming to West Union he has won a warm place in the hearts of the people of the community and his continued advancement in their good graces attest the confidence with which he is regarded by the public.
Mr. Musser was married in the month of April, 1892, to Ella G. Finch daughter of Benoni W. and Mary E. Butler Finch, the families of both parents being among the early settlers of Fayette county. Mr. Finch died in 1909, leaving a widow who is still living and three children, viz: Gilbert B., of Oklahoma City; Margaret, now Mrs. Earl Branch, of West Union, and the wife of the subject. The marriage of Mr. and Mrs. Musser has been blessed with one son, Paul, who was born May 30, 1903. In his political views Mr. Musser is a Republican and his fraternal relations are represented by the order of Royal Neighbors, a secret society founded upon the principles of mutual protection, the cultivation of the social instinct and life insurance, his wife being a member of the same order.
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