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from Biography & Historical Record of Ringgold County, Iowa

Lewis Publishing Company of Chicago, 1887, p. 352


William B. PENICK, one of the leading farmers and stock-dealers, and a breeder of fine cattle, residing in Tingley Township, is a native of Iowa, born in Wapello County, May 22, 1858, a son of W[illiam]. C[alvin]. and Martha A. (THOMPSON) PENICK, the father engaged in the banking business at Chariton, Iowa. Of a family of six children born to his parents, our subject was the third. He received good educational advantages in his youth in the schools of Chariton, and later attending the Northwestern University at Evanston, Illinois, where he pursued his studies for four years. After leaving school he spent three years in his father's bank, at Chariton.

He was united in marriage [at Mason City, West Virginia] in November [16], 1881, to Miss [Katherine] Katie WADDELL, of Mason City, West Virginia, and to this union has been born one child, a daughter, names Martha Lee.

After leaving Chariton Mr. PENICK settled on his present farm in Tingley Township, on section 36, where he has about 800 acres, all under fence and well improved. He raises and feeds about 400 hogs annually, and about the same number of cattle, being classed among the successful stock-raisers in his township. He has a large barn, and his sheds are both comfortable and commodious, and are a great protection for his cattle and hogs in time of a storm.

William's father William Calvin PENICK was born near Steubenville, Jefferson County, Ohio, on October 25, 1827. William and his wife Martha (THOMPSON) moved to Iowa around the year 1853, first residing in Eddyville, then to Chariton where he established a store and later the "PENICK Bank." William was referred to as the "Merchant Prince" of southern Iowa. Martha (THOMPSON) PENICK was orphaned when she was a young girl. Her brothers built a 3-story brick "PENICK Building" across the street from the Lucas County Courthouse in Chariton. William B. PENICK was the eldest of seven children born to William Calvin and Martha (THOMPSON) PENICK. Of the children, Haller PENICK died in childhood; Harry O. PENICK built the "Slab Castle" near Chariton, Iowa, which was used for entertainment for the locals; James Allen PENICK was an attorney in Chariton; Charles Edward PENICK worked for the Penick Bank in Chariton and later drowned; Ida PENICK married attorny Frank Q. STUART; and, Fred PENICK fell in a cistern when he was young and drowned dispite his father's efforts to save the boy. William Calvin caught pneumonia from his attempt to save Fred from drowning.

Katherine "Katie" (WADDELL) PENICK was born November 6, 1862, the daughter and youngest of five children born to James Alexander and Euphemia (STUART) WADDELL of Mason City, West Virgingia. William and Katie met when she was visiting her brothers Robert and Fredrick who had moved to Chariton. William and Katie corresponded with one another and decided to marry with William traveling up the Ohio River from Cincinnati on the paddle steamer the "Telegraph" of Stephen FOSTER fame. William B. PENICK died on January 24, 1935. Katie died on November 12, 1946.

According to family lore, Katie was constantly worried over William's job at the Penick Bank in Chariton. During this time Frank and Jesse JAMES and their gang were actively involved in bank robberies. Katie worried that the JAMES brothers might show up at their house one night and force William to open the bank. Perhaps this was the reason the family moved to Ringgold County where William pursued a career in farming.

William B. and Katherine (WADDELL) PENICK were the parents of four children:

1) William PENICK, born 27 Dec 1881; died 27 Dec 1881

2) Martha PENICK, born 13 Jul 1883; died 30 Jul 1968; married 11 Aug 1909 Willis Bryan ATEN

3)Grace Louise PENICK, born 18 Sep 1887, Tingley IA; died 14 May 1938, Seattle WA
    married 15 Jun 1910 Joel Sherman "John" MILLER

4) Margaret Anne PENICK, born 16 Jul 1892, Tingley IA; died 25 Jul 1984, Fort Dodge IA
    married 12 Sep 1916 Paul Revere LISHER (1889-1969)

NOTE: William's maternal grandfather James Alexander WADDELL was born on May 20, 1825, the son of Joseph WADDELL (1800-1878) and Martha (McCORMICK) WADDELL (1805-1889), and died January 27, 1906. He married in Patriot, Gallia County, Ohio, on June 20, 1845 to Euphemia STUART, who was born in 1830 and died in 1885 at the age of 54 from gallstones. The WADDELL family came from Virginia and settled in Mason City, West Virginia. Her, James established a coal and salt businees, pumping brime from wells along the river to extract salt and bromine. His furnaces boiled the salt and bromine from the brime. James also operated a copper mill to make barrels for the shipment of his salt and bromine. On one occasion James' workers went on a strike. They set a fire which they believed would bring him out of the house and then they intended to shoot him in the back. When James didn't appear, the strikers gathered around the house with James and his daughter Martha standing back-to-back on the porch, protecting one another until the strikers gave up and left the premises. The strikers did come back and poisoned the WADDELL's Newfoundland dog.

James Alexander WADDELL was considred the most wealthy man in Mason City and was often referred to as "Captain" or ""Quality." Later, due to entering into a partnership with a bad partner, James lost his business. He spent his last days in a family hotel in Cincinatti with his daughters.

Of the STUARTS, the family members were very musical and accomplished singers.

In the following newspaper clippings, William B. PENICK is referred to as "Billy" and his father, William Calvin PENICK as "W. C."

The Chariton Leader
Chariton, Lucas County, Iowa
Saturday, January 27, 1877

TO THE PEOPLE OF LUCAS AND ADJOINING COUNTIES. -- We this day retire from the active participation in the business in which we have been engaged in this city for the past fifteen years, having disposed of our stock to W.B. Thompson & Co., who will hereafter conduct the business and solicit a share of your trade. In so doing we wish to express to you our hearty thanks for the liberal patronage extended to us, and our appreciation of the strong ties of business friendship which we have formed during these years. We wish also to commend to your consideration the new firm of W.B. Thompson & Co. as being in every way worthy of your confidence and patronage.


Chariton, Jan. 1, 1876

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

After fifteen years of uninterrupted business prosperity, and during which their names have become household words in this and adjoining counties, the firm of MANNING & PENICK has been dissolved. Coming from Eddyville to this place, they started out in a modest way, in a wooden building on the North West corner of the square. As their business increased, the stock was enlarged accordingly, until the room became too small to accommodate their trade, and the present brick building, in which they are now located, was erected, and which they have occupied since its completion. Mr. [William B.] PENICK, the business man of the firm, has proved his ability to carry on a large trade to the satisfaction of all, and during his long career has made but very few enemies, and a great many warm friends and personal admirers.

The Chariton Leader
Chariton, Lucas County, Iowa
Saturday, January 27, 1877

Our young friend, Billy PENICK, one of the efficient clerks in the Chariton Bank, starts this week to enter college at Ann Arbor, Michigan. Billy is a studious young man, and possesses excellent business qualifications, and will make the most of his time while at college.

The Chariton Leader
Chariton, Lucas County, Iowa
Saturday, November 27, 1880

Sure enough our young friend Billy PENICK, with malice aforethought, did enter into the bonds of matrimony while on his visit to West Virginia. His bride is, or was, Miss Kate WADDELL, a charming young lady who paid our city a visit last summer. Mr. and Mrs. W. C. PENICK have issued cards of invitation to a reception for Billy and wife on the 30th inst.

The Chariton Leader
Chariton, Lucas County, Iowa
Saturday, December 7, 1882



At 12:45 Tuesday morning the citizens were roused from their slumbers by the cry of "fire" and the whistling of a locomotive. On opening doors and windows, the location was observed to be on the west side of the square. A general rush for the scene was made when it was discovered that the fire was in the Bake Shop of G. F. GASSER and the entire inner portion was in flames. In a moment the roof was ablaze. The Hook and Ladder boys were promptly on the ground and exerted themselves to the utmost, but the fire had gained such headway that it was impossible for them to check its progress. The Engine in the mean time had been run out, and the hose was laid, but while steam was being raised the fire communicated with the rear of the wooden building adjoining the Bake Shop when the work of destruction was very rapid. Willing hands were ready, and the work of removing goods began. The first goods removed were those of G. F. GASSER and E. P. CHASE, and the hope was entertained that the fire could be confined to those two buildings. But this hope was quickly dispelled as, on account of the dry and combustible material on which the fire was feeding, the flames reached out and embraced the building owned by H. H. DAY on the corner, and occupied by MANNING & MURPHY, and also the building on the north of GASSER's owned by KULL & YENGLE and occupied by E. M. PRESS. The work of further removing of goods then began in earnest, and the rapidity with which the flames licked up the frail wooden structures produced the fear that a very destructive conflagration would ensue.

A portion only of the goods belonging to MANNING & MURPHY could be removed, while part of the stock belonging to E. M. PRESS and that in the next building on the north belonging to M. GOODMAN was carried out.

Next adjoining on the north was the brick building owned by the First National Bank and occupied by Messrs. McCOLLOUGH & CO. The efforts of the firemen, who during all this time, had nobly battled against the devouring element, were now directed exclusively to preventing the fire from crossing the street to the south, or mounting over the brick building on the north. Happily the night was calm, and soon all fears of the fire spreading to the south were removed. But a terrible fight was necessary to prevent it from reaching out to the north. At one time it seemed almost impossible to stay the flames, and the stock of McCOLLOUGH & CO. and that of GOODRICH & ENSLEY next to the north were carried out. By the heroic and persevering efforts of the Firemen, and after the hooks had been applied and a portion of the frame building next to the brick torn out, the mastery was obtained over the fire-fiend and the flames confined to the five buildings.

As if the fire had not caused sufficient damage, a rain and snow storm set in, and many of the goods which had been removed from the burning buildings were further damaged. But again scores of willing hands were at work, and the goods were carried into the two buildings which had been vacated but not burned. In addition to this Mr. W. C. PENICK threw open the doors of his store building, and also his bank, and a place of shelter was provided. The goods belonging to MANNING & MURPHY, E. P. CHASE and G. F. GASSER, were removed to the east side and housed.

The losses and insurance as nearly as can be learned at this writing are as follows:

MANNING & MURPHY - $4,500; no insurance.
M. GOODMAN stock and household goods - $6,500; insurance $4,400.
E. P. CHASE - $300; fully insured.
G. F. GASSER stock and building - $4,000; insurance $1,000.
MANNING & COLES - $600; no insurance.
E. M. PRESS - $3,500 to $4,000; fully insured.
J. N. McCOLLOUGH & CO. - $300; no insurance.
GOODRICH & ENSLEY - $300 to $500; fully insured.
H. H. DAY buildings - $2,500; no insurance.
R. M. MOORE building - $1,500; insurance $1,000.
KULL & YENGLE building - $2,000; insurance $1,000.
Telephone Exchange - $25 to $50; no insurance.
Y.M.C.A. - $25 to $50; no insurance.
EIKENBERRY & CO. implements - $1,400; no insurance.
EIKENBERRY & CO. and KULL building - $1,500; no insurance.
A. PRATHER - $300; no insurance.

In addition to the above there were sundry other small losses, which cannot be obtained this morning. In all over $30,000 worth of property was swept away in less than two hours.

The Chariton Leader
Chariton, Lucas County, Iowa
Thursday, May 18, 1905

About 4:45 this (Thursday) morning our citizens were awakened by the fire alarm and found that the magnificent residence of H. O. PENICK in Spring Lake addition was completely enveloped in flames. The fire department responded but the fire had made such headway that nothing could be done and the house and all the contents were entirely destroyed, entailing a loss of about $15,000 with an insurance of about $10,000. Mr. PENICK and his wife and their guests were absent from the house, having gone down to Slab Castle yesterday to spend a few days, and the origin of the fire is a mystery, although it may have caught from a badly insulated electric light wire. The house was valued at about $8,000 and had only been built a year. This is the second fine residence Mr. PENICK has lost by fire within three years.

While working at the fire G. W. WILTSEY of this city was seriously injured. In attempting to save a shed it was turned over and Mr. WILTSEY, who was on the under side did not get away in time and was caught under the building. His left leg was broken above the knee, his left shoulder dislocated, and he received several bad bruises. He was removed to his home and as we go to press is resting easy and is getting along as well as could be expected, and it is sincerely hoped he will soon be about again.

Mr. PENICK came in from Slab Castle about noon today but remained but a short time and was unable to state just what the loss would be. Mr. PENICK's mother, brother and sister are here from Franklin, La., and with Mr. PENICK and his wife lost all their clothing except what they had taken out to Slab Castle. The contents of the house included about $5,000 worth of wedding gifts and the loss of these is especially regretted.

The Chariton Leader
Chariton, Lucas County, Iowa
Thursday, March 15, 1906

Chariton and Lucas County are always glad to hear of the success of former citizens. The following sketch is clipped from the Chicago Banker, of recent date:

"H. O. PENICK, cashier of the Central Trust and Saving Bank, at 121 Camp Street, New Orleans, La., and whose protrait appears herewith, has every reason to be proud of his achievements in the banking world. Despite the fact that Mr. PENICK is a northern man, he has rapidly adapted himself to his new home and surroundings, and all the while forging ahead in his chosen profession.

Mr. PENICK was born at Chariton, Iowa, in 1867, his father, W. C. PENICK, being a member of the firm of MANNING & PENICK, pioneer merchants and bankers of that place. He was educated at St. Paul's, Long Island, N.Y., and started in the banking business in Iowa in 1889, first as cashier of the Chariton Bank, and afterward as Vice-President of the Chariton National.

Being the owner of large tracts of timber lands in Arkansas and Louisiana, he was attracted to the Southland by business interests, and in 1904 he visited New Orleans for the purpose of organizing a bank there. Instead of organizing a new bank he accepted the office of Secretary of the Central Investment and Mortgage Company, and was afterwards made cashier of the Central Trust and Savings Bank, which position he now holds. He thinks New Orleans has a great business future and that closer relations should be established between that city and Chicago."

Biography & Historical Record of Ringgold County, Iowa, p. 352, 1887.

Clippings from The Chariton Leader

WPA Graves Survey

Transcription and notes by Sharon R. Becker, March of 2009

Biographical Sketches Pages Index: A - F,   G - L,   M - R,  S - Z

To submit your Ringgold County biographies, contact Sharon R. Becker at
Please include the word "Ringgold" in the subject line. Thank you.

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