WILLIAM C. BOGGS, who is one of the oldest residents of Vinton, was for many years engaged in a grocery business which had flourishing branches in the chief trade centers of Iowa, but for some time has been an extensive dealer in real estate and farm lands in the Hawkeye state and other sections of the west. He was born on Ground Hog Day of 1853, and was the youngest of the three children of Annesley W. and Cornelia (Chaffin) Boggs, being brought from Ohio to Iowa when he was eight months old and having since that time enjoyed an almost continuous residence in Benton county. Mr. Boggs is therefore a Buckeye by birth and a Hawkeye by almost life-long residence. He is a man of two "eyes," both figuratively and literally, and his many friends are enthusiastic in their assertion that since the first day of his arrival in Benton county he has kept them wide open on the lookout for opportunities coming his way; also that he has never failed to take full advantage of the latter in a legitimate and an honest way. His activity, keen observation and retentive memory, with his long residence, have made him a very interesting and valuable writer on subjects connected with the early history of business and the general progress of Vinton and Benton county. His only extended absence from the county since he was brought to Vinton as an infant was the one year which he and his family spent in California, his visit covering the great earthquake in San Francisco of April 18, 1906.
In his earlier days Mr. Boggs attended the Agricultural College at Ames, Iowa, and taught three terms of school at Mount Auburn, that state. In 1868 his father and uncle started a store on Washington street, Vinton, under the firm name of Boggs & Chaffin. After this association had continued for about two years A. W. Boggs purchased the interest of his partner in behalf of has brother (Alvin C.), after which the style of the firm became, successively, A. W. Boggs and Sons and Boggs Brothers, the last two marking the entrance of William C. Boggs into the business. At this time the goods of the firm were purchased in Chicago, Dubuque and Cedar Rapids, and the great fire of 1871 wiped out a large bill of merchandise which was awaiting shipment. It should also be stated that prior to the extension of the railroad to Vinton, in 1869, the firm was somewhat identified with the steamboat business of the Cedar river.
In the early seventies the firm of Boggs Brothers established branch stores at Laporte City, Reinbeck, Shellsburg, Waterloo, Spencer, Rock Valley and Dysart, Iowa. They were all managed by experienced men, who were interested in the business, and the enterprise was therefore a continuous and expanding success for many years. The main store and headquarters of this large and substantial business were at Vinton, and its leading partners, besides the Boggs Brothers, were as follows: W. E. Conner, of Vinton; W. M. Traer, now of Chicago; W. A. Buchanan, of Cedar Rapids; W. A. and A. L. Walker, brothers, of Waterloo, as well as George Lichty, of that city; Mack Voris and Jacob Hollabaugh (deceased), of Marion; Isaac Large of Rock Valley and Carl Delfs, also a resident of Vinton.
Mr. Boggs was one of the most active promoters of this noteworthy mercantile venture, and has also been engaged in farming, building and stock enterprises, which have brought him both profit and high business reputation. His land dealings include farm and city property not only in Iowa, but in Kansas, South Dakota, Missouri, California and Washington, and he is recognized as one of the most safe and substantial real estate men in this section of the county and state. He has held the office of city councilman for the past four years and no one stands higher as a supporter and a promoter of sound civic measures.
On October 18, 1877, Mr. Boggs married Miss Mary Preston, of Vinton, who is also a native of Ohio, and the four children of their union were as follows: Earl Dexter, who was born February 17, 1880, and is now a resident of California; Clayton Preston, born May 6, 1881, who lives in Chicago; Nira Elizabeth, born September 25, 1882, and living in St. Louis; and Corliss Ferris, who was born January 30, 1893, and is at home, attending school. Both Mr. and Mrs. Boggs are active members of the Presbyterian church, and he himself is a high-degree Mason, member of the Blue Lodge (having filled various chairs),. Chapter, Council and Commandery of Vinton.