Fayette County IAGenWeb  

Join Our Team


Past and Present of Fayette County Iowa, 1910

Author: G. Blessin


B. F. Bowen & Company, Indianapolis, Indiana

Vol. II Biographical Index

Page 1340


William E. Donat

One of Harlan township’s well known and highly respected farmers whose success has been achieved by persistency and good management is William E. Donat, who was born in Noble county, Indiana, February 2, 1856. When a boy he came to Fayette county, Iowa, where he received his education in the common schools and one term in the Upper Iowa University at Fayette. He is the son of Elias P. and Lydia A. (Taylor) Donat. They were natives of Ohio and when children moved with their parents to Noble county, Indiana.

The father was born April 18, 1830, and the mother was born July 13, 1834. They were married in Indiana in 1853 and lived there about four years, when, in the fall of 1857, they drove overland to Fayette county, Iowa, and located in Harlan township where he bought a farm of fifty acres in section 4; he later added to this until he owned one hundred and eighty-two acres, but later sold twenty acres. He remained on this farm until his death, June 19, 1880. Politically, he was a Republican, and a member of the United Brethren church, in which he was class leader for a number of years. He was an active participant in church affairs.

 Mrs. Donat, who is still living, has made her home in Toledo, Iowa, for a number of years. Mr. and Mrs. Elias P. Donat were the parents of six children, two of whom died in infancy; those living are: William E., of this review; Lecta E. is the wife of H. M. Baldwin, of Toledo, Iowa; Etta E. resides with her mother in Toledo, Iowa; Walter S. is professor of Latin and Greek in Winona College, at Winona, Indiana. William E. Donat, of this review, has always lived on the home farm with the exception of two years that he rented nearby farms, living one year on each place, both on account of sickness. After his father’s death he began buying the interests of the other heirs and now owns the entire farm. He carries on general farming and dairying very successfully. He has a very attractive home and his place is well kept. Politically he is a Republican and he is a member of the United Brethren church, having held the office of steward and trustee in the local congregation, and also Sunday school superintendent. On December 12, 1888, Mr. DONAT married Adel May WATENPAUGH, who was born in Bremer county, Iowa, May 3, 1865. She was the daughter of George and Florenda B. (CRANDALL) WATENPAUGH, both natives of Chautauqua county, New York, the father born of German parentage, September, 1818, and the mother born July, 1829. They were married in New York about 1849 and they made their home there until 1853, Mr. WATENPAUGH following the trade of tanner and shoemaker. They moved to Iowa in 1853, shipping their goods to Rockford, Illinois, and from there drove overland to Fayette county, Iowa, locating in Pleasant Valley township, where he took up a homestead of one hundred and sixty acres and lived there until 1865, when he moved to Tripoli, Bremer county, Iowa, and at the end of three years returned to Fayette county, locating in Pleasant Valley township and remained there three years. After that time he lived in several townships in Fayette county, usually two or three years in each place. In 1899 he retired from active farm life and moved to Maynard, where he made his home until his death, January 9, 1904. Politically, he was a Republican, and he held several minor township offices, but he preferred quiet home life. As an active member of the Methodist Episcopal church, he held the offices of trustee, class leader and Sunday school superintendent. Mrs. Watenpaugh was also an active and zealous worker in the Methodist church. They were the parents of eight Children, an equal number of sons and daughters, namely; Orlando resides in Hecla, South Dakota; Ellen A. is the wife of John Beckner, of Maynard, Iowa; John E. lives in Harlan township; Eva resides with her brother Delos in California; Olive is the wife of Sim Talkington, of Los Angeles, California; Della M. is the wife of William E. Donat, of this review; Willie is deceased; Mrs. Watenpaugh died on June 28, 1902. To Mr. and Mrs. Donat five children have been born, two dying in infancy; those living are Wayne E., born October 20, 1890; Mildred M., born January 18, 1899; Marion R., born April 6, 1900.

~transcribed by Kathy Moore

back to Fayette Home