IAGenWeb Project - Allamakee co.

Leonard Alden Howe


The educational advantages which qualified Leonard Alden Howe for the duties of life were only such as the public schools afford. Although not educated for any special line of work he has never feared to venture where opportunity has led the way, and the simple weight of his character and ability has carried him into important relations. As president of the Waukon State Bank he ranks with the leading business men of the city, in which he has made his home for nearly a half century, for although born at Lansing, Iowa, he was only about a year old when brought to Waukon, where he has since lived. His birth occurred March 11, 1863, and he is descended from a long line of New England ancestry. His father, Leonard Henry Howe, traced his lineage back to John Howe, who settled in Sudbury, Massachusetts, in 1639, while the mother, Charlotte E. (Spooner) Howe, is a descendant of William Spooner, who settled at Plymouth, Massachusetts, in 1637. Leonard Henry Howe, son of Eli Howe, was born April 30, 1831, at Springfield, Vermont, and in the spring of 1857 became a resident of Lansing, Iowa, where he entered upon the study of law in the office and under direction of Samuel Kinne. In January, 1858, he was admitted to the bar and engaged in practice in Lansing with good success until 1861, when he was elected treasurer and recorder of Allamakee county, the duties of both positions being at that time entrusted to one incumbent. He proved most capable and faithful in office, making a creditable record in that connection to the time of his death, which occurred July 27, 1863. It was on the 31st of January, 1861, that he had wedded Charlotte E. Spooner, a daughter of colonel Jeduthan and Betsey (Webb) Spooner. Her father was born at Hardwick, Massachusetts, July 6, 1799, and for many years was the publisher of The Repository, a weekly paper which he removed from Burlington to St. Albans, Vermont. He continued a resident of new England until 1837, when he sought the opportunities of the growing west and took up his abode upon a farm in Walworth county, Wisconsin, where he remained until 1853, when he went to Waterville, Iowa. At that place, in company with his son Alden, he engaged in merchandising and also conducted a tannery and gristmill, the latter being still in the town, although long since abandoned for milling purposes. On the death of his son Alden on the 17th of April, 1857, colonel Spooner removed to Lansing, Iowa, and afterward came to Waukon, where he died March 9, 1867. His wife survived him for six years, passing away at Waukon, September 29, 1873. Colonel Spooner was a brother of Wyman Spooner, who served as lieutenant governor of Wisconsin from 1864 until 1870. Mrs. Charlotte (Spooner) Howe was born in. Albans, Vermont, September 6, 1836, and accompanied her parents on their removal to Wisconsin and later to Iowa. After the death of her first husband, Leonard Henry Howe, she became the wife of his brother, Lewis Eli Howe, on the 10th of Mary, 1865. Her long life has been spent in active and useful work, her influence being one of positive uplift in the home and the church and an influence for good among all with whom she has come in contact. She is still living near her children in Waukon. Her second husband, Lewis Eli Howe, was born in Norridgewock, Maine, September 13, 1822, and with his brother Leonard went to Lansing, Iowa, in 1857, removing to Waukon in 1865. He served as deputy county treasurer under his brother Leonard and afterward engaged in the real-estate business in Waukon for many years. He was in influential participant in many of the changes that took place during the early settlement of Allamakee county and was everywhere recognized as a man of sterling integrity and character. He died May 1, 1885, leaving three children: Lewis L., who was born April 17, 1866, and died August 27, 1889; Bessie S., who was born June 25, 1868, and was married September 27, 1892, to Arthur E. Pratt, their home being in Waukon; and Horace A., who was born December 14, 1875. He married Evy Gibbs, November 2, 1898, and for a number of years has been engaged in the life insurance business.

Leonard Alden Howe, who was the only child of his mother’s first marriage, was brought to Waukon by his mother and maternal grandfather soon after the death of Leonard Henry Howe. At the usual age he entered the public schools of this city and advanced through consecutive grades. In the school of experience he has learned many valuable lessons, and has made his life one of usefulness and activity. While he has advanced his personal success, he has also contributed to the general welfare in his advocacy and support of many measures for the public good. His initial step in the business world was made on the 1st of January, 1883, when he entered the Waukon Bank as clerk and bookkeeper, since which time he has been continuously connected with financial interests. The bank was then a private institution owned by L. W. Hersey, G. W. Stoddard and C. T. Granger. In April, 1892, the business was incorporated under the state law as the Waukon State Bank, at which time Mr. Howe became a stockholder and the assistant cashier. Two years later he was promoted to the position of cashier and so continued until the death of Mr. Hersey in 1903, when he was elected to the presidency of the bank and is still at the head of the institution. He recognizes the fact that the bank is most worthy of public confidence which most carefully safeguards the interests of its depositors and his progressive methods are tempered by a conservatism that maintains an even balance. Mr. Howe has been interested in other business enterprises in Waukon, and is recognized as a man of sound judgment, keen discrimination and unfaltering energy. From 1885 until 1888 he was associated with E. J. Spaulding in the lumber business, and from 1892 until 1900 he was in partnership with R. J. Alexander in the clothing business. However, his attention was largely given to the banking business, while his association with other concerns was that of an investor. In 1887 he became the local agent of the Northwestern Mutual life Insurance Company of Milwaukee and won success along that line, but in 1901 turned this agency over to his brother Horace.

Mr. Howe has been twice married. On the 14th of June, 1892, he wedded Miss Vesta Greer, who was born in Waukon on the 23d of September, 1872, her parents being Isaac and Ann (Hatch) Greer. She was a graduate of the Waukon high school in the class of 1891. By her marriage she became the mother of a daughter, Vesta, whose birth occurred April 14, 1894, and who passed away on the 4th of May following. The wife and mother died April 22, 1894, only a few days after the birth of her child. Ten years later, on the 15th of September, 1904, Mr. Howe was again married, his second union being with Miss Blanche Hinkley, who was born in Cherokee county, Iowa, on the 31st of August, 1876, her parents being Myron and Anna (Briggs) Hinkley, of Mount Vernon, Iowa. She is a graduate of the Le Mars Normal School of Le Mars, Iowa, and also graduated in the three years’ course in the college at Cedar Falls, In 1902 on the completion of the regular classical course, she won the degree of B. A.. from Cornell college of Mount Vernon, Iowa. For two years prior to her marriage she acted as assistant principal of the high school at Waukon. Mr. and Mrs. Howe have one child, Alden, born May 3, 1909.

Mr. Howe belongs to Waukon lodge, A.F. & A.M., of which he was master in 1903 and 1904, and he has also been high priest of Markwell Chapter R. A. M., for eight years. He joined the Iowa National Guard in 1882 as a member of Company I of the Fourth Regiment, organized at Waukon. He remained a member of the company for about five years and afterward served as a non-commissioned officer on the staff of Colonel Thrift and of Colonel Stewart for about five years longer. Mr. and Mrs. Howe hold membership in the Presbyterian church, of which he is a trustee, while for thirty years he has been a church treasurer. His influence is always on the side of progress, reformed and improvement. He has faithfully and capably performed the duties that each day has brought, and in every relation of life has measured up to the highest standards of manhood and citizenship.

-source: Past & Present of Allamakee County; by Ellery M. Hancock; S. J. Clarke Pub. Co.; 1913
-transcribed by Diana Diedrich

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