A business turning over a quarter of a million of dollars annually is no small affair and no small man could handle successfully such an enterprise. Therefore, respect is due to John Waters for what he has attained as manager of the Postville Farmers Cooperative Society, which yearly handles this vast amount of business and of which he is the head. Active and popular, he has become known as one of the foremost business men of Postville and his position is based on just claims, for it rests on natural ability and a thorough experience of conditions in Allamakee county - an experience which he has gathered in the fifty-three years of his life which he has spent here, being born in Ludlow township, August 29, 1860. His parents were George and Sophia (Hill) Waters, both of whom have passed away, but are still lovingly remembered by their many friends and neighbors. George Waters was a north of Ireland man and came to America in 1849, living a few years in Pennsylvania, and in May, 1856, came to Allamakee county, where he began his life work on a forty- acre tract which he purchased in Ludlow township. There he spent the remainder of his life on his farm, gradually wresting prosperity from the soil and becoming one of the prosperous and substantial men of his locality.
John was born amid the primitive conditions of the frontier. In winter he attended the old log school and in summer worked on the farm, assisting his father in the hard work of converting timber land into an agricultural property. Remaining at home until he had grown to manhood, he then went on a place of his own, and it was not until he was twenty- nine years of age that he left the farm to engage in the hardware business in Postville. He retired from that line in 1901 and in the same year was elected one of the supervisors of Allamakee county. He served the people so faithfully and well that three years later he was reelected, serving on the governing board of the county for a total period of six years. In 1907 he returned to his early work and for three years engaged in farming, but on January 1, 1910, was elected manager of the Postville Farmers Cooperative Society. Conscientious, ambitious, alert and industrious, he has been very successful in promoting the growth of the business of this institution and enjoys the entire confidence of the members of the society and of the farmers of the community as a whole, at the same time retaining the good-will of the business men of Postville. Under his able management the business has largely increased, the stockholders receiving good financial returns and every patron being satisfied. While many cooperative societies have failed, or partially failed, in their mission, the one at Postville has thrived and it is but fair that a portion of the credit for this be given to Mr. Waters for the wise direction of its affairs.
The Cooperative Society was founded in July, 1904, with a paid-up capital of one thousand dollars. It was composed entirely of the farmers living near Postville and its chief business was the handling of live stock, which it sold on commission for its members. Today the capital stock is nine thousand, four hundred and fifty-five dollars and it owns its building and deals in flour, feed, coal, salt, cement and similar products in car load lots and its store is well filled with a large stock of groceries and farm necessities. The volume of business last year was two hundred and forty-six thousand, six hundred and one dollars and thirty-two cents, this sum including the handling of one hundred and seventy-three cars of live stock, the shipments being nine thousand and thirty-five hogs, one thousand and ninety-seven calves, six hundred and sixty-five head of cattle and eight hundred and thirty-two sheep. The value of these shipments was two hundred and one thousand, seven hundred and one dollars and ten cents. The officers of the corporation are: g. W. Harris, president; R. J. Laughlin, vice president; J. C. Weihe, secretary; W. J. H. Schultz, treasurer; and F. H. Schultz, R. B. Waters, A. F. Marston, F. W. Meyer, W. H. Schroeder, Albert Zieman, Arthur Behrens, John Lydon and Frank Haugartner, directors.
John Waters is a kindly and genial man, popular with his fellows and well liked by people in all walks of life. At the same time he is a thorough business man, aggressive in attaining his ends and conservative in his policy, giving careful attention to all details, even the smallest, that come up in the course of the business. He was married, February 5, 1885, to Miss Minnie Early, and theirs is one of the pleasant, hospitable homes of Postville, from which radiates natural, true, warm-hearted hospitality - a hospitality which is cheerfully extended to the many friends which Mr. and Mrs. Waters have in the community.
-source: Past & Present of Allamakee County; by
Ellery M. Hancock; S. J. Clarke Pub. Co.; 1913
-transcribed and submitted by Jan Miller
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