ITS HISTORY AND TRADITIONS
J. F. DALTON
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
A. B. DARLING
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
"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
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
"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
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
W. W. DEAN
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
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.
H. A. DESSEL
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.
C. F. DOUGHTY
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
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.
W. J. DOWNEY
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.