IAGenWeb Project

 Iowa History

       An IAGenWeb Special Project









For thirty-five years John Franklin Dalton has been an active figure in the affairs of Calhoun county, Iowa, for many years wielding a large and beneficent influence as a newspaper publisher, while as a private citizen his efforts have been consistently exerted for the upbuilding and development of his locality.  He was born at Wilmot, Kenosha county, Wisconsin, on the 22d of October, 1870, and comes of sterling Irish parentage.  In May, 1875, the Dalton family came to Calhoun county, settling on a farm just west of Pomeroy, where Mr. Dalton spent his boyhood and young manhood.  He received his education in the district school of his home neighborhood, and in the fall of 1889 began to teach school, following that occupation during three successive winter terms, working on the home farm between terms.

On July 5, 1892, Mr. Dalton began the editing and publishing of the Northwest Democrat, at Manson.  This paper was started April 1, 1891, by a small coterie of democrats, who possessed plenty of enthusiasm, but very little money.  As their money ran out their enthusiasm waned in corresponding ratio and the paper was taken over by T. B. Lemoine, an energetic democrat.  He then gave Mr. Dalton a half interest in the paper to run it for him during the Cleveland campaign.  Cleveland was elected and Mr. Lemoine was promised the post office, whereupon he sold the remaining interest in the paper to Mr. Dalton, who assumed entire ownership and control thereof on December 1, 1892.  Through his energetic business management, his able editorial work and his strong personality, he put the Democrat on its feet and published it successfully until Thanksgiving day, 1920, when he sold the paper to Tom D. Long, publisher of the Manson Journal.  Since then Mr. Dalton has been devoting his attention to the manufacture of calendars under the firm name of The Dalton Press, in the same building in which he has always been located in Manson, and has been eminently successful.

On October 12, 1892, Mr. Dalton was united in marriage to Miss Lillian E. Ford, and they are the parents of nine children, as follows:  John, of New York; Mary, at home; Alice and Charlotte, of Los Angeles, California; Mrs. Lillian M. Foley, of Manson; and Walter J., Florence C., Dorothy I. and Joseph A., who are at home.  Mr. Dalton has been a lifelong supporter of the democratic party and served as a member of the state central committee from 1906 to 1912, during the last four years of which period he was secretary of the committee.  He is a member of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks and the Knights of Columbus.  A man of broad views and well defined opinions, he has stood for all that is best in the life of the community, and by his own example and persistent efforts has been a factor in the prosperity of his city.  He enjoys a wide acquaintance throughout this section of the state and is regarded as one of Calhoun county's representative men.


Arthur Beebe Darling is a prominent figure in financial circles of northwestern Iowa as president of the Security National Bank of Sioux City.  A native of Waterville, New York, he was born on the 19th of December, 1873, his parents being Josiah Cook and Frances Lamercia (Beebe) Darling.  Following his graduation from Cazenovia Seminary of New York in 1891, he entered Wesleyan University of Middletown, Connecticut, from which he was graduated with the degree of Bachelor of Arts in 1895, while in the year 1901 Harvard University conferred upon him the degree of Master of Arts.

Becoming identified with educational interests, Mr. Darling was a teacher in Cazenovia Seminary of New York and in the Centenary Collegiate Institute of Hackettstown, New Jersey, until 1903.  During the three-year period between 1904 and 1907 he served as assistant cashier of the Redfield National Bank at Redfield, South Dakota, and during the succeeding six years engaged in the farm loan business there.  In 1913 he became officially connected with the Western National Bank of Mitchell, South Dakota, in the capacity of vice president, thus serving until 1918.  From 1915 until 1918 he also filled the office of secretary of the South Dakota Bankers' Association.  In the latter year Mr. Darling came to Iowa and assumed the vice presidency of the Security National Bank of Sioux City, continuing in that official capacity until 1923, since which time he has been at the head of the institution as its president.

On the 17th of February, 1909, Mr. Darling was married to Lonelle Stoddard Walker, of Georgetown, New York.  Their home is at 1614 Douglas street in Sioux City.

In politics Mr. Darling is a republican.  During the period of the World war he served on the executive committee of the American Red Cross, in the different Liberty Loan drives and as a four-minute man.  He formerly occupied the presidency of the Sioux City Chamber of Commerce and the Sioux City Clearing House Association.  Mr. Darling is a Methodist in religious faith, is a trustee of th Methodist Hospital and has membership in the Sioux City Country Club, the Sioux City Boat Club and the Rotary Club.  He also belongs to the Greek letter society Psi Upsilon and is a Knight Templar Mason who has likewise attained the thirty-second degree of the Scottish Rite.


Benjamin Davidson, of Sioux City, is the founder and president of the firm of Davidson Brothers Company, proprietors of Iowa's leading department store.  His rise to his present position of commercial prominence has been gradual.  Each forward step in his career has brought him a broader outlook and wider opportunities and of these he has taken advantage to the benefit not only of his personal fortune but of the city as well.  Moreover, the most envious cannot grudge him success, so honorably has it been won and so worthily used.  He ranks today among the leading merchants of the west, through a career such as might be coveted by anyone of his colleagues or contemporaries.

A native of Russia, he was born August 15, 1859, a son of Loeb and Cima (Davidow) Davidson.  Benjamin Davidson came to the United States in 1881, when a young man of twenty-two years, and in July, 1882, arrived in Sioux City, Iowa, with a cash capital of two dollars.  He began to peddle tinware at first, but later changed to dry goods, and he succeeded by gaining many friends and steady customers.  He managed to save by living most frugally, and by August, 1884, had acquired sufficient capital to enable him to purchase a stock of dry goods and open a small store near Jennings and Fourth streets, his stock being valued at about fifteen hundred dollars.  After conducting business at the original site for four weeks, his store being then eight by twenty feet, he sought larger quarters and moved to the corner of Fourth and Jackson streets, obtaining a floor space of twenty by forty feet.  Still his business continued to grow and after six months he removed to Fourth and Nebraska streets, occupying a room twenty-five by one hundred feet.  Thus, within seven months he was occupying ten times his original space.  A year later he added an adjoining room, fifty by one hundred feet, and two years later he leased the second floor of the building.  Still the business continued to grow.  This led him to look for other quarters and in 1890 he removed to Fourth and Pierce streets, where he occupied a building forty-two by one hundred and fifty feet.  This was the nucleus of his present establishment.  Through the five succeeding years he acquired five adjoining store rooms.  In 1898 he purchased property from the Stone estate and in 1900 erected a three-story brick building which was the beginning of the present mammoth establishment.  The DAvidson store is the largest and most complete department store in the United States for the size of the town.  The Davidson Brothers' store, owned by Benjamin, David and Abraham Davidson, covers two hundred thousand square feet.  This does not cover the extent of Mr. Davidson's building operations or business activity, for in 1913 he erected the New Davidson building, one hundred and fifty by one hundred and fifty feet and six stories in height.  He also erected the Auto block, one hundred and fifty by one hundred and fifty feet, and likewise built Davidson's Court on Pierce street, between Fifteenth and Sixteenth streets.

The following interesting article appeared in The Sioux City Journal under date of June 5, 1924:  "Seekers after colorful romance as exemplified in the persons of men who have made extraordinary successes of themselves in the business world and have played conspicuous parts in the upbuilding of an entire community and its contributing territory, need look no further, if they live in Sioux City, than right in Sioux City itself.  For here live the Davidsons, Ben, Dave and Abe, who rank among Sioux City's leading business men.  From peddler, with pack on back, to directors of industries representing millions of dollars, is a far step, but it is one which the Davidson brothers, fresh from the hinterlands of Russia, took, and the consequent story is worth pages in any romance of adventure, earnestness and success.  Nor need the romance be encumbered with any of the usual paraphernalia of wishing carpets, magic lamps, rings presented to poor boys by fairy princesses, or the wands of beneficent witches.  But such a romance, when written, must have in every line the spirit of 'work and honesty' responsible for the success of the heroes, for, as Ben Davidson says himself, all that he is, and all that his business is, is due to nothing more than hard work seasoned generously with honesty.

"It is forty-three years ago since Ben Davidson first landed on the shores of the new world.  He was direct from Russia, where, although people of his race, the Jews, were not being persecuted with great fierceness at that particular time, they were denied even the poor opportunities that were granted to the masses of their fellow countrymen.  Only a youth, Mr. Davidson had never heard of Mr. Greeley as yet, but the tide was westward and many were the stories that he heard of the lands beyond the Mississippi.  Turning his face west, then, he came on with the tide and finally reached Sioux City.  That was when W. Z. Swartz was mayor of Sioux City and the town had a population not to exceed seven thousand persons.  The mayor was known as the 'cowboy' mayor, and is remembered today with much kindliness by the young Russian who applied for permission to peddle his goods through the town.  An ordinance of that time required that peddlers should have licenses costing five dollars each, and Mr. Davidson's struggling business did not warrant such an outlay.  So the mayor gave him permission to peddle without a license and the boys went to work.  Not many days elapsed before the city marshal arrested him for peddling without a permit.  Taken to the mayor, the city's chief official explained the matter to the marshal and the youth was permitted to go on his way.  The mayor declared at the time that the city needed young men, and that such young peddlers as the youth before him might some day be one of the leading men of the community.  That incident occurred forty-two years ago, and the reporter for The Journal, when he went to get this story, found the merchant prince in his private office with all the evidences of his wonderful success surrounding him.

"For two years the young man carried his pack up and down streets and roads, first on his back and later by horse and wagon, canvassing not only this city but territory in northwest Iowa, in South Dakota and northeast Nebraska.  During these years he made many friends among the men and women who met him, and these friendships, built on honesty and service, furnished the foundation upon which the brothers later built what was to expand into a great business.  'It was work and honesty,' said Mr. Davidson, 'that gave me my start.  Not always keeping self out of mind in my struggles, yet I kept before me the vision of a great city in which I was to mean something, and I felt that trust would make me worth that something.  So I traded honestly and pleasantly and soon became known to hundreds of farmers and villagers.  I was welcomed whenever I came, and many there were who wanted to have me as their guest for the nights that I was required to stay away from Sioux City.  These people gave me many little commissions to do, and I always did them cheerfully and carefully.  The result has been what I anticipated.'

"In 1883 Dave Davidson arrived and began to peddle goods likewise.  He, however, for the most part stayed in Sioux City, and for a long time tinware was the only thing sold by the two boys.  Then they branched out and placed other merchandise in their packs.  In the year following DAve's advent here, the two youths, with savings totaling fourteen hundred dollars, decided to start a small store, and this they did.  This small business, in one single humble storeroom, with the two brothers as the only clerks and help, gradually grew to be the great establishment with many thousands of feet of floor space and hundreds of clerks that today stands on Fourth and Pierce streets, a monument to the immigrants' industry and honesty and foresight.  By 1893 the two men were numbered among the leading business men of the already thriving city.  With a vision of a still larger city, and a still more prosperous and thickly settled trade territory surrounding it, they laid their plans and put their shoulders to the task of seeing that they did their full share in the development of the community.  With it they have grown during the years succeeding, and both are proud of the fact that they have had a full share in making Sioux City and its environs what they are at this diamond jubilee celebration.

"But that is not all.  These men, now well along in years but still hale and actively at their desks, anticipate doing many more things that will add to the prestige of the city in which they have carved out their fortunes, and their faith in it and themselves is unbounded.  For them the future glows with promise, and there is no limit to accomplishments if only one be up and doing.  Not only is Ben Davidson a pioneer merchant here, but he also may be numbered among its farsighted real estate men.  A little more than fifteen years ago he thought he saw need of a building that should be exclusively for offices, and so he built the first such structure in the city, the Davidson building at Sixth and Pierce streets.  Many laughed at him and attempted to dissuade him from the enterprise.  It could not be done, and so the city got its first real office structure, one that could rank with similar buildings in any large city.  A total of four hundred and fifty thousand dollars was spent here, and Mr. Davidson today points with pride to it as a proof that his faith in the destiny of the town was not misplaced.  Then came the next great enterprise - the purchase and improvement of Sunset View addition to the city.  This tract of land was an eyesore.  It was comprised entirely of hills, gullies, ditches and dumps, and many were the 'off color' odors that were wafted form it whenever summer breezes invaded the nearby streets.  Scarcely knowing just what he would do with the property, Mr. Davidson purchased it and let it lie for awhile until his dream should be complete.  Finally the dream took shape, and the purchaser began to counsel with engineers and experts regarding its feasibility.  It was seen that a huge sum of money would be required to put the plans into execution, and Mr. Davidson knew he would find himself with a huge 'gold brick' if he had misjudged the potential value of the 'wild cat.'   But, with his customary belief in the city and its future, he could not see how he could go far wrong in developing the tract so that it would be ready at need to become a part of the city's residence locations.  A large crew of graders was put to work and with the passing of the days the hills and gullies and dumps were whipped into a semblance of order.  Streets and alleys were laid out with due regard to city ordinances, and when the grading work was completed more than five hundred thousand cubic yards of dirt had been moved.  Then water and gas mains were laid and electric cables strung, pavements and sidewalks of the best were constructed and soon the tract was ready for the opening.  Prospective purchasers flocked there in great numbers when the time came.  The lots sold at what appeared to be large figures compared to many other parts of the city, but the purchasers in all cases knew what they were doing.  They were getting home sites that were improved in all respects.  They never would have to meet assessments for paving or walks, as such work was done and paid for already.  Then, too, water, gas and electricity was ready to be tapped and all grading was at an end.  There was reason why they came in such great numbers, then, and why they were prepared to pay good prices for the improved land.  Probably such another city project had never before been undertaken anywhere.

"And this is the story of Davidson's success and enterprise, a business romance equal to any written or lived in on this side of the Atlantic ocean.  Grouped around Ben Davidson at this diamond jubilee are his brothers, Dave and Abe, and his sons, Leon and Frank, with Lawrence, the son of Dave Davidson.  The credit of their house has been established in all the leading markets of the world, from London and Paris, Japan, and the Philippines and Madrid to New York and Chicago.  Their name is one to conjure with in the marts, and justifies the intense pride in it of the bearers.

"Speaking of adversity, Mr. Davidson said:  'It is adversity that makes men - that is, if the men have the qualities, in the first place, upon which strong men are built.  No business on earth that is worth a thing ever was established and maintained that did not overcome difficulties.  Add to the ability to overcome adversity the qualities of liberality and power to make lasting friends, and you've got all you need to make a success in life.'  Under the guidance of Ben Davidson, the firm always has been a firm believer in the drawing power of honest advertising.  Thousands of dollars are spent annually for the purpose of drawing the attention of the public to the great merchandise house on Fourth street, and it is after the public has been induced to enter that house once that the owners see to it that the newcomers become fast friends of the store and thus more and more friends are made.  The proprietors figure that their place should attract all kinds of persons, from the lowest to the highest, and in their estimation no prospective purchaser is too lowly to be dealt with kindly and courteously.  So great is their faith in this method of making friends that they encourage employes to make every effort to prove to buyers that they are welcome in the aisles and among the counters and that small purchases are as much appreciated as the large ones.  merchandising is, indeed, a game, and in teh Davidsons is personified the spirit of fair play that should mark all who enter any sort of 'game' in this land of equal opportunity."

On the same issue of The Journal appeared the following paragraph:  "Sioux City and Davidson's - The History of One Is the History of the Other.  A huddle of rude huts in the wilderness; then an occasional flatboat foiling up the wide winding river, a lumbering ox-team dragging a sheeted wagon over the heart-breaking hills, each bringing another stout-hearted pioneer with his courageous wife and suntanned children.  Year by year the little village sprawled out farther along the river bank and straggled higher upon the hillsides.  Fearlessly and tirelessly they fought and wrought and tamed the wilderness to yield the fruits of civilization.  Came the railroad and the early merchants; commerce grew apace, building the little village into a thriving town.  And as the town grew to a city, building wisely upon the foundations already laid, and laying broader ones for future growth, the name of Davidson became known as among the foremost of the builders - builders who realized that the structure of their own fortunes must rest upon the secure foundation of their city's welfare and the common good of all; workers who were never too busy with their own labors to give of their efforts and substance in the upbuilding of the community; merchants who looked first to the welfare of their city, with never a doubt that their own business would share in the resulting prosperity.  Growing up together from youth to sturdy maturity, each drawing inspiration from the other, each contributing to the other's upbuilding, each sharing in the other's success - the life history of the one inseparably intertwined with that of the other - as the tree and the branch, the body and the hand, so grew Sioux City and Davidson's.  And now, on the occasion of this glad jubilee - yours and ours - we can think of nothing more fitting to say than that the DAvidson store is also yours and ours; we have built it together, just as we have built Sioux City together; and in welcoming you to your store in your city, we're only saying 'Welcome Home.' "

On the 16th of July, 1888, in Sioux City, Mr. Davidson was united in marriage to Miss Ida Frank, and to them have been born four children:  Theresa, who is the wife of Oswaldo De Zuliani, residing at Noventa De Piave, near Venice, Italy; Edith, who is the wife of Paul Segnitz, residing in Paris, France; Leon, assistant treasurer of the Davidson Brothers Company; and Frank B., now comptroller of the Davison Brothers Company's business.

Mr. Davidson's ambition was to educate his two daughters in music.  He took them to Paris, France, where he placed them under the tutorship of Jean de Reszke.  The elder daughter, after studying four years under the best instructor in Milan, Italy, successfully made her debut as Mimi in La Boheme, at the La Fenice theater in Venice, on February 22, 1911, but that career was short, as Mr. De Zuliani induced Tess to give up her promising future, and they were married in October, 1911.

Mr. Davidson is a Scottish Rite Mason, a member of the Mystic Shrine, a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks.  He is likewise identified with all the leading clubs of the city.  He gives most generously to charitable and benevolent work, his benefactions amounting to thousands of dollars.  He is always ready to cooperate with any movement for the good of Sioux City, and his rise from a penniless peddler in 1882 to the most successful merchant in 1926 has been accomplished through his own efforts and the utilization of his opportunities.  A contemporary biographer said of him:  "He marked out his course along progressive business lines, and it soon became recognized that his connection with any undertaking insured a prosperous outcome.  He has earned for himself an enviable reputation as an enterprising business man.  In his dealings he is known for prompt and honorable methods, which have won him the deserved and unbounded confidence of his fellowmen."


The commercial history of Sioux City would be entirely incomplete and unsatisfactory were there failure to make prominent reference to the Davidson Brothers' establishment, of which David Davidson is one of the owners.  This is a large department store which is conducted according to the most modern and progressive business methods and enjoys therefore a constantly increasing patronage.  In 1883 David Davidson became a factor in the business life of Sioux City and save for a period of about five years, spent in South Dakota, has there remained to the present time, gradually working his way upward to the place of prominence which he now occupies.

He was born in Slutsk, Russia, on the 1st of January, 1863.  His father, H. L. Davidson, was then conducting the largest comb factory in that part of the country, and his mother was considered the best business woman in western Russia, for she was engaged in distributing the output, not only of her husband's large factory, but also handled the production of every comb factory, as well as other articles manufactured of horn in the city of Slutsk.  Her system was to take the entire production to the market of Warsaw, and after disposing of same to the wholesale houses she invested the proceeds in merchandise imported from foreign countries.  With these goods she traveled all over central Russia, selling same to retail merchants and then returning home.  Her trip usually took from three to four months.  After remaining home two or three weeks, she was ready to start over again.  In the summer of 1868, when Mrs. Davidson was ready to start on one of her usual trips, nearly the whole city of Slutsk burned down, and as a result the Davidsons, who were quite wealthy, lost everything in that conflagration.  H. L. Davidson was not discouraged but continued the manufacturing business until his death in 1874.

After his death, David Davidson, who was then eleven years old and had been attending school up to that time, started to work in his father's factory and continued in that occupation until the summer of 1883, when his brother Ben, who was already in this country, wrote him that he believed there was a splendid opportunity to work at his trade in the button factory in Sioux City and sent him transportation to come to this country.  David Davidson arrived in Sioux City, October 19, 1883, but found to his great disappointment that the button factory had gone out of business.  He then procured a small stock of dry goods from his brother Ben, and December 26, 1883, started to peddle and continued until the summer of 1884.  At that time the two brothers, Ben and David, combined their small stocks and opened a little store at 822 1/2 Fourth street in Sioux City.  In a very short time they were compelled to move to larger quarters.  David Davidson continued in business with his brother until February, 1886, when they decided to open a branch store in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.  David, with a stock of goods transferred from the Sioux City store, and some of the help from that place, opened the Bee Hive in Sioux Falls.  In less than three years, through hard work and splendid management, the Bee Hive became one of the largest stores in Sioux Falls.  In 1891, finding that the Sioux City business needed the attention of both brothers, David Davidson sold the store in Sioux Falls and rejoined Ben in Sioux City, who was then moving into larger quarters at Fourth and Pierce streets, the location in which they have continued ever since.  At the reorganization and incorporation of the business, David Davidson became vice president and general manager and still occupies the same position in their store, which has become the largest department store in the state of Iowa as well as in the world for the size of the city.

The following interesting article concerning the development of the Davidson establishment is not inappropriate here:  "The year 1884 stands out prominently in Sioux City's history as the birth date of Iowa's leading department store.  In that year DAvidson Brothers Company was born and began life as an integral and indispensable part of the civic history of Sioux City.  Graduating from a peddler's pack, Ben Davidson, president, and Dave Davidson, vice president, and founders of the firm, began business in a small store room on lower Fourth street.  The size of the entire building was no larger than the present private offices of its founders.  Success immediately crowned the efforts of this infant business.  Each year marked a substantial growth and additional space was constantly added to accommodate the ever increasing volume of trade.  Today Davidson Brothers Company occupies a modern four-story building covering an entire half block at Fourth and Pierce streets.  It is the largest department store in the state of Iowa, both from the amount of area covered and the volume of business transacted.  It also has the distinction of doing the largest per capita business of any department store in the United States.  A further remarkable feature of the institution is that the original founders and officers are still guiding its policies.  Ben Davidson, president, Dave Davidson, vice president, and Abe Davidson, secretary, together with their sons, are still actively directing the financial and merchandising functions of the business.  The personnel of the store has likewise undergone miraculous changes.  From a single clerk the institution has expanded until it now employs about eight hundred co-workers, one per cent of the population of the entire city.  One twentieth of all the families of the city are directly responsible to this store for their family budgets.  These facts in themselves indicate the proportionate size of this store in teh civic and community life of the city.

"From the time of its inception the intention of the firm has always been to carry complete stocks of merchandise for the entire family and the home.  Five enormous floors are devoted exclusively to selling purposes and two million dollars worth of merchandise is carried to supply the needs of the buying public.  These stocks are complete and vary greatly, including ladies' and children's ready-to-wear, millinery, art and gifts merchandise, infants', men's and boys' clothing and furnishing, shoes, hosiery, underwear, pianos, phonographs, furniture, carpets and rugs, draperies, pictures, house furnishings, hardware, china, toys leather and sporting goods, jewelry, drug sundries, linens, stationery, silks, wash goods, notions, gloves, neckwear, laces, books, hankerchiefs, ribbons, and corsets.  The basement store is a complete dry goods store in itself where dependable merchandise is sold at popular prices.  A beautiful new tea room has been established on the fourth floor where a complete a la carte and special luncheon service is offered.

"The trading territory of Davidson Brothers Company covers a radius of two hundred miles.  An efficient and extensive mail order department is at the service of the thousands of out-of-town customers.  A large buying office is constantly maintained in New York city for the purpose of facilitating the purchasing of a large volume of merchandise.  The public is not limited to the buying of domestic goods.  Through the maintenance of large foreign buying offices in London, Paris, Brussels, Berlin, Florence, Vienna, Yokohama, Lyons, Chemnitz, Frankfort, and Manila, it is possible to select merchandise in this store from all of the four corners of the globe."

On the 26th of December, 1893, Mr. Davidson was married to Miss Sara Frank, and to them have been born two sons and a daughter:  Lawrence Loeb, who was born December 23, 1894, and who is assistant secretary of the Davidson Brothers Company; Helen; and Herman Frank, born August 25, 1904.

Mr. Davidson is a republican, and he confines his fraternal relations to the Elks and Masonry, in which he has attained high rank.  He was initiated into the order as a member of Lanmark Lodge, No. 103, F. & A. M., at Sioux City, April 4, 1898; became a Royal Arch Mason in Sioux City Chapter, No. 126, R. A. M., October 14, 1902; and on the 22d of November, 1901, attained the thirty-second degree of the Scottish Rite in Des Moines Consistory, No. 3, S. P. R. S.  He has been a Shriner since 1901, a member of Abu-Bekr Temple.  He demitted from Des Moines Consistory in 1907 to become a charter member of the T. S. Parvin Consistory.  He was elected knight commander of the Court of Honor, October 24, 1911, and was made thirty-third degree honorary inspector general, October 24, 1913, by Hon. James D. Richardson, thirty-third degree sovereign grand commander, at Washington, D. C.  He has been almoner in the consistory since 1907.

Mr. Davidson is a well known figure in club circles, having membership in the Riverside Boat Club, Commercial Men's Boat Club (now called the Shore Acre), Country Club and Morningside Golf Club.  In 1910 the Commercial Club of Sioux City was reorganized and Mr. Davidson was elected its first president, and has continued to be an active director of this organization ever since.  His fellow townsmen speak of him in terms of high regard by reason of what he has accomplished as a factor in its business and social circles and in support of its civic interests.  His life record has certainly been a most creditable one, inasmuch as he started out emptyhanded, earning his living from the age of eleven years.  His example indicates what may be accomplished when there is a will to dare and to do.  His record also proves that prosperity and an honored name may be won simultaneously.


Dr. Willis Warren Dean has been actively engaged in the practice of medicine and surgery at Sioux City since June, 1899, and enjoys an enviable reputation as one of the skilled and successful representatives of the profession in northwestern Iowa.  His birth occurred on the 3d of October, 1872, his parents being Lewis Henry and Phanetta (Haines) Dean, the former born in Greene county, Ohio, March 5, 1838.  They were married at Cedarville, Ohio, on the 5th of November, 1861, and became the parents of nine children, namely:  Lura M., Florence A., Lida G.; Irene and Corinee, twins; Willis Warren; Joseph C.; Clara E.; and Frank A.

The Deans pride themselves upon their Saxon descent.    "Dene of Dene in the forest of Dene" and "Dene of Deneland" are family designations centuries old.  Two of the first settlers of Taunton, Massachusetts, were John and Walter Deane, from near Taunton or Taunton Deane, Somersetshire, England, a stronghold of the Deanes.  Before their arrival, however, Stephen Deane had reached these shores, a passenger on the Fortune, in 1621.  The American family of colonial days always spelled the name with the final "e."

Daniel Dean, great-grandfather of Dr. Willis W. Dean, was born in the village of Tubermore in the province of Ulster, Ireland, October 20, 1766.  He emigrated to America, landing in Philadelphia in the year 1784, at the age of eighteen years.  His father, George R. Dean, and his two uncles, James and David, were soldiers in the Revolutionary war.  Daniel Dean was a weaver by trade.  He resided for a time in Pennsylvania, then immigrated to Virginia, where he met and was married to Miss Janett Steele, a Scotch-Irish girl of Augusta county, Virginia.  The young couple immigrated to Kentucky and located near Mount Sterling, where Daniel Dean was engaged in the milling business for many years.  Falling out with the institution of slavery, he determined to immigrate to Ohio, locating in Greene county in 1812 on Caesar Creek, New Jasper township, where he purchased two thousand acres of land.  His death occurred in Greene county, Ohio, January 24, 1842.

Joseph Dean, one of the eleven children of Daniel and Janett (Steele) Dean and the paternal grandfather of Dr. Willis W. Dean, was born December 31, 1804, and passed away September 14, 1883.  His wife, who bore the maiden name of Hannah Boggs, was born February 25, 1809, and died March 7, 1888.  Their children were eleven in number, as follows:  Washington Dean, who was born August 10, 1827, and died November 19, 1852; Julia Anne (Dean) Struthers, who was born April 27, 1829, and died October 11, 1865; Daniel Milton Dean, who was born May 19, 1831, and died December 1, 1912; Louisa Dean, who was born October 16, 1833, and died August 4, 1836; Willis Dean, who was born November 10, 1835, and died June 30, 1838; Lewis Henry Dean (father of Dr. Willis W. Dean), who was born March 5, 1838, and died February 14, 1917; Anna Lavina (Dean) Oldham, who was born February 16, 1840, and died December 24, 1923; Joseph Newton Dean, who was born August 22, 1842, and died January 18, 1913; Eliza Jane (Dean) Rensick, who was born August 9, 1844, and did April 28, 1881; Mary Campbell (Dean) Wright, who was born August 9, 1847, and is also deceased; and Samuel Steele Dean, who was born April 17, 1850, and died January 11, 1925.

Willis Warren Dean, whose name introduces this review, acquired his early education in a country school in Pawnee county, Nebraska, and subsequently pursued a course of study in the Pawnee City Academy at Pawnee City, Nebraska.  Following his graduation from the latter institution he taught school near Summerfield, Kansas, for one year.  Having determined upon the practice of medicine as a life work, he matriculated in the medical department of the University of Nebraska in the fall of 1892 and was graduated there from in June, 1895, with the degree of M. D.  His initial experience in the field of his chosen profession was gained at Stromsburg, Nebraska, where he remained until the fall of 1898 and where he was surgeon for the St. Joseph & Grand Island and the Union Pacific railways.  While located at Stromsburg, Nebraska, he as instrumental in organizing and was one of the incorprators of the Nebraska Mutual Life Insurance Company, having its head office at that place.  Disposing of his interests there in the fall of 1898, Dr. Dean went to Chicago and registered with the postgraduate school, doing laboratory work under Klebs in addition to taking the general postgraduate course.  Since June, 1899, or for a period of nearly twenty-eight years, he has been engaged in the practice of medicine and surgery at Sioux City, Iowa.  He has devoted his attention principally to general surgery but has also built up a gratifying patronage as a general medical practitioner, being widely recognized as a physician and surgeon of pronounced skill and broad professional knowledge.  During his residence in Sioux City, Dr. Dean has been a continuous and active member of the Woodbury County Medical Society, the Iowa State Medical Society and the American Medical Association.  He was one of the early members of the Sioux Valley Medical Society, embracing a membership of northwestern Iowa, northeastern Nebraska, eastern South Dakota and southern Minnesota.  For many years he has been the chief medical examiner for the Pennsylvania Mutual Life Insurance Company, covering the Sioux City territory.  Dr. Dean has made extensive investments in farm lands, improving and operating various tracts in the states of South Dakota, Nebraska and Washington, and is also interested in Sioux City property.

In politics Dr. Dean styles himself a western democrat.  He cast his first ballot for William Jennings Bryan for congress in the first Nebraska district as candidate for reelection.  He has been a candidate on the Woodbury county ticket for coroner, leading his name to complete the ticket but not making an active campaign.  He served as Sioux City police surgeon from 1900 until 1906, has been surgeon for various corporations and has occupied the presidency of the United States Pension Board at Sioux City from 1914 to the present time.  Dr. Dean has been active in various public enterprises, at one time being a member of the house committee of the Chamber of Commerce, a stockholder in the Interstate Fair Association, a director in the Fairway Manufacturing Company, etc.  His religious faith is indicated by his membership in the First Presbyterian church, while fraternally he is affiliated with the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks.  His name is also on the membership rolls of the Riverside Boat Club, the Commercial Club and the Cosmopolitan Luncheon Club.


Regular in habit and methodical in action, Henry A. Dessel was able to perform duties as varied in character as they are successful in result.  Well defined plans and purposes carried him into important business relations and his activities also extended to the field of public service.  High honors were bestowed upon him by the Masonic order, and his death in June, 1924, was distinct loss to Ida Grove and also to the state.  A native of Germany, he was born January 27, 1861, and his parents, Henry W. and Marie Anna (Figge) Dessel, were also born in that country, where the father passed away in 1861.  The mother remained in the Fatherland until 1867, when she brought her family of six children to the United States and purchased a farm in Winneshiek county, Iowa.  The remainder of her life was spent in this state, and in 1909 she was called to her final rest.

Henry A. Dessel was reared and educated in Winneshiek county and in 1881, when a young man of twenty, came to Ida county, securing a position as clerk in the store of his uncle, at that time a prominent merchant of Id Grove.  He acted in that capacity for about three years and in 1884 engaged in the hardware business in Holstein.  He was appointed postmaster of the town and subsequently was elected auditor of Ida county.  He filled that responsible office for eleven years,  displaying rare qualities as a public servant, and then entered the lumber industry.  He was engaged  in that business both in Holstein and Battle Creek, Iowa, and was very successful in his undertakings.  He was keenly alive to every new avenue opened in the natural ramifications of the trade and brought to the solution of intricate business problems unerring judgment and a broad grasp of affairs.  In 1919 he retired and established his home in Ida Grove, where he passed away at the age of sixty-three years.

Mr. Dessel was twice married.  His first wife was Miss Ottilie Witt, of Davenport, Iowa, and they were the parents of two children; Arthur, who died in infancy; and William Henry, who enlisted for service in the World war and died at Camp Dodge, Iowa, in 1918.  Mr. Dessel's second union was with Miss Julia Jacob, a native of Wheeling, West Virginia, and a daughter of A. M. and Mary Julia (Woods) Jacob, who were also born in that state.  They came to the middle west in 1877 and for four years the father operated a tract of land near Ida Grove.  In 1881 he bought a farm in the vicinity of Arthur and eight years later sold the place, purchasing a farm adjoining Ida Grove.  There he lived until his demise in 1892, and Mrs. Jacob passed away in 1914 at the advanced age of eighty-six years.

Mrs. Dessel survives her husband and capably manages her business interests.  She is affiliated with the Episcopal church and takes a leading part in the social life of the community.  She was engaged in teaching for a quarter of a century and enjoyed an enviable reputation as an educator, serving for three years as superintendent of  schools of Ida county.  Mr. Dessel was a member of the Unitarian church and contributed liberally toward its support.  He was very active in county affairs and his support was always to be relied upon in the furtherance of projects for civic development.  He was one of the most prominent Masons in the state and in recognition of his services to the order was honored with the thirty-third degree, which he received in Washington, D. C.  Scrupulously honest in all his business dealings, he left to his family the heritage of a good name - a possession which is more to be desired than great wealth.


Probably no field of individual service is so exacting in many respects as is that of funeral directing, and in no business have there been such radical changes in methods and means as in this one.  The Westcott Undertaking Company, of Sioux City, is the leader in this line in Sioux City, and is the oldest in point of continuous existence, having been first established here in 1882, when Sioux City was not much more than a village.  The officers of this company are Charles F. Doughty, president; Harry A. Chandler, vice-president; and A. J. Hennessey, secretary and treasurer.  They maintain one of the most beautiful and well-equipped mortuaries to be found in the country, the building containing a chapel, slumber rooms, display rooms, preparation rooms and other conveniences that contribute to the proper conduct of such an establishment according to the most modern ideas.

Charles Franklin Doughty was born at Kahoka, Clark county, Missouri, June 28, 1884, and is a son of John Wesley and Anna (Nickerson) Doughty.  His father was a native of Mount Pleasant, Iowa, and the mother was born in Whitewater, Wisconsin, in which city their marriage occurred.  In his earlier career, the father was for many years field man  for the Iowa State Life Insurance Company, and later was for twenty-five years identified with the undertaking business in Keithsburg, Illinois, and Montrose and Spencer, Iowa.  In 1920 he moved to Bakersfield, California, where he is still actively engaged in the undertaking business.  The mother also is living.

Charles F. Doughty attended the public schools at Keithsburg, graduating from the high school in 1902.  During the ensuing three years he worked for his father in the undertaking business.  In 1905 the father leased a pearl button factory in Montrose, Iowa, employing some fifty men, and Charles F. was placed in charge of the factory.  Three years later they bought the plant, in which he became a partner, and continued the business until 1910, when they sold the plant.  They then bought together a furniture and undertaking establishment in Spencer, Iowa, and Charles F. Doughty remained there until October 1, 1919, when he bought an interest in teh Westcott Undertaking Company, of Sioux City, with which he has since remained identified, being the president of the company.  Years of experience and a natural aptitude for this exacting line of work has made him an expert in the handling of funerals, his thoughtful attention to details and to the wishes of his patrons being greatly appreciated by them.

On October 21, 1913, Mr. Doughty was united in marriage to Miss Lilllian Bock, of Lake Park, Iowa, and they are the parents of a daughter, Charlotte Ann.  Mr. Doughty is a member of Landmark Lodge, No. 103, A. F. & A. M.; Sioux City Chapter, No. 26, R. A. M.; Columbian Commandery, No. 18, K. T.; Sioux City Consistory, No. 5, A. A. S. R.; Abu-Bekr Temple, A. A. O. N. m. S.; Rose Croiz Chapter, No. 400, O. E. S., of which Mrs. Doughty is a past worthy matron; and the Order of the White Shrine of Jerusalem.  He also belongs to Woodbury Lodge, No. 98, K. P.; the Pythian Sisters; Homestead, No. 241, Brotherhood of American Yeomen, and the Modern Woodmen of America.  He also belongs to the Chamber of Commerce, the Knife and Fork Club, the Lions Club, the Sioux City Boat Club and the Izaak Walton League of America.  He and his family are members of the First Methodist Episcopal church.  Personally Mr. Doughty is a gentleman of pleasing address, courteous and kindly in all his relations, and efficient and conscientious in the performance of every duty.  Because of these attributes, he has won a large circle of warm friends, and throughout the community he is held in high esteem.


William J. Downey, one of the successful and enterprising members of the Sioux City Live Stock Exchange, is a member of the well-known firm of Rice Brothers & Company.  His career since coming to this city has been characterized by persistent and well-directed effort and the splendid prosperity which has come to him has been well merited.  Born near Toronto, Ontario, Canada, on the 13th of February, 1877, he is a son of William and Margaret (Weldon) Downey.  His father was a native of Ireland, whence he came to Canada as a young man in his teens.  He was employed several years as a farm hand and later engaged in farming on his own account.  Subsequently he engaged in the hotel business at Erindale, Ontario, which commanded his attention to the time of his death, which occurred in 1892, at the age of forty-four years.  Mrs. Margaret Downey died when her son William was but two years old and his father was later married to Miss Alice Curtis, who is still living.

William J. Downey was educated in the public schools of Erindale and then took a commercial course in Well's Business College, graduating in bookkeeping.  He then obtained a position in the office of one of the largest law firms in Toronto.  Here his salary was small, but the experience he gained was valuable and had a great bearing on his future business success.  Later he was made manager for a firm of cigar importers in Toronto and in 1898 he went with his stepmother to Omaha, Nebraska, to visit the World's exposition.  From there he came on to Sioux City, which made a favorable impression on him and he determined to stop here.  On September 15, 1898, he began work in the Sioux City stock yards as assistant bookkeeper and stenographer for Becker & Degen, live stock brokers, with which firm he remained about six months.  He then went to work for the live stock firm of Ryan, Smith & Lacy, which was later succeeded by the Sioux City Live Stock Commission Company, and whose business was in turn taken over in 1904 by the firm of Rice Brothers.  Mr. Downey remained with this firm as manager for about ten years and was then made a member of the firm and placed in charge of the cattle department, in which capacity he is now serving.  Mr. Downey served three years as president of the Sioux City Live Stock Exchange, as vice president for two years and for the past eight years as a member of the board of directors.  He is also a member of the board of directors of the Interstate Fair, which is held annually in Sioux City.

On October 4, 1904, Mr. Downey was united in marriage to Miss Grace Coleman, of Sioux City, who died September 30, 1908, leaving a son, James Melvin.  The son is an accomplished musician, and is also a well-known golf player, having played in state tournaments from the time he was fifteen years of age.  Mr. Downey is a member of Sioux City Lodge, No. 112, Benevolent Protective Order of Elks, of the Knights of Columbus and of the Catholic Order of Foresters.  He also belongs to the Sioux City Country Club and the Riverside Boat Club.  He is a communicant of the Blessed Sacrament Roman Catholic church.  Personally he is friendly and cordial in his social relations is widely known throughout this city and enjoys to a marked degree the respect of his business associates and the esteem of all who know him.


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