IAGenWeb Project - Allamakee co.

H. B. Miner

Among the men who have been active in inaugurating and shaping the agricultural and political development of Allamakee county since pioneer times is numbered H. B. Miner, whose residence in this section of the state dates from 1856. A spirit of enterprise, initiative and progress, has actuated him in all the varied activities of his career, making his business attainments of a high order and his work in politics a credit and a benefit to the community where he has so long made his home. For thirty consecutive years he served as surveyor of the county and he has held other important official positions, his work being distinguished by the same energy, progressiveness and public spirit which dominate his character and influence all the phases of his public and private life.

Mr. Miner was born in Jefferson county, Ohio, January 24, 1840, and is a son of Thomas E. Miner, a native of Virginia, who grew to manhood in that state. After a period of able service in the War of 1812, the father went to Ohio, settling in Jefferson county, where he engaged in farming. He there married Miss Fannie Coyle, a native of Maryland, and they began their wedded life on the farm in Jefferson county, where nine of their children were born. In 1856 the family removed to Allamakee county, Iowa, where they were numbered among the pioneers, Waukon being at that time nothing more than an insignificant crossroads village., The father entered one hundred acres of land in Linton township and with the help of his sons cleared this property, broke the soil, fenced the fields and opened up a new farm which in time became one of the valuable places of the section. He spent the remainder of his life upon the homestead, dying November 3, 1872. He had survived his wife two years and both are buried in the Council Hill cemetery.

H. B. Miner acquired his education in the public schools of Jefferson county, Ohio, and in 1856, when he was sixteen years of age, came to Iowa with his parents, settling in Allamakee county, where he has since resided, being today one of the honored pioneers. He helped clear, improve and develop his father’s farm at a time when there were but three families in Linton township and amid the inconvenient and often hard conditions of pioneer life grew to manhood. Having supplemented a course in the Ohio public schools by two years’ attendance at the Richmond (Ohio) Presbyterian Seminary he was unusually well educated for those days and when he began his independent career turned his attention to teaching, having received his first teachers’ certificate as early as 1860. He followed that occupation only during the winter months, spending his summers assisting with the work of the farm. He later engaged in agricultural pursuits on his own account and his early training made him a practical, able and successful farmer. He continued to reside upon his property until 1899 when he removed to Waukon, where he has since made his home.

Being a far-sighted, discriminating and progressive man, Mr. Miner has been carried forward into important relations with the public life of the city and is considered today one of the leading figures in local republican politics', having always been a stanch supporter of the principles and policies for which that party stands. He cast his first vote for Abraham Lincoln in 1864 and has voted for every republican presidential nominee since that time. He has himself taken an active and prominent part in local politics, his public career beginning while living on the farm, when he served as township assessor and also as township treasurer. During this time also he studied surveying, becoming very proficient at that profession, in which he has continued to engage in a public or private capacity since that time, accomplishing much important work along this line. In 1879 he was elected county surveyor of Allamakee county and served so efficiently, conscientiously and capably that at the end of his first term he was returned to office and he thereafter served for thirty years--a conclusive evidence of the value and importance of his labors and their acceptability to the public at large. Mr. Miner’s friends are fond of saying that the only way he could be gotten out of this office was to be legislated out, for his service ended when the office of county surveyor was abolished in Iowa. He has, however, continued his work in a private capacity, having been since connected with important surveying projects in Allamakee and Clayton counties. He is in great demand for surveys calling for careful, expert and prompt labor and is particularly proficient in running and establishing lines and corners. In addition to holding the office of county surveyor he has also served as deputy county treasurer and he has made his name a synonym for high ideals of political morality and for earnest, capable and discriminating work in the public service.

Mr. Miner was married in Clayton county, March 17, 1864, to Miss Hattie E. Bywater, a native of England, born near Leeds, and a daughter of George Bywater, who came of old and honored English ancestry. He was an expert flax dresser by trade and was sent to America in the interest of a large English company engaged in the manufacture of fine linens. He located at Lansingburg, near Troy, New York, where he bought and dressed flax for his employers, and where he and his wife died. His daughter was reared and educated in that state and later went to Madison, Wisconsin, where she spent some years, but in 1862 came to Monona, Iowa. She had fitted herself for teaching and followed that occupation in various schools in this part of the state, holding a position in the same district school of which her husband had previously been teacher. Their oldest son later taught in that institution as did also two of their daughters. Mr. and Mrs. Miner became the parents of five children: Dr. Frank D. is in active practice of dentistry in Hazelton. Dr. Cora R. is also a dentist by profession, practicing in Waukon, for some years. Addie F., a graduate nurse of Wesley Hospital, Chicago, is now superintendent of Sheridan Park Hospital on Belmont avenue in Chicago. Willis H. is a county engineer of Allamakee county. The oldest child in this family, Fannie, died in 1879 at the age of fourteen. All the surviving members acquired excellent education's, supplementing the usual public-school course by attendance at college. The parents are members of the Methodist Episcopal church and while on the farm Mr. Miner served as Sunday school superintendent for five years.

Fraternally Mr. Miner is a member of the Masonic order, belonging first to Clayton Lodge, No., 70, and now to Waukon Lodge, NO. 144, F. & A. M. He is probably one of the best known and most influential residents of Waukon, where he has resided for so many years and where his work as a private citizen and as a public official has commended him to the trust, good-will and confidence of all with whom he has come in contact.

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

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