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The IAGenWeb Project

History of Benton County, Iowa
The Lewis Publishing Company, Chicago, 1910; Luther B. Hill, Ed.

Pages 478-482

JOSEPH S. BRUBAKER is the senior druggist of Vinton, having been in the business there since 1869 and in that period having seen all his competitors, at the time he began, retire from business. He is also the oldest active druggist in Benton county. His store has been in its present location for twenty-six years, and he also owns the building which he formerly occupied. Mr. Brubaker has been a resident of Vinton since 1863, and at first was a clerk in the Van Horne store, that being a general mercantile establishment, and he had charge of the drugs. Then for three years he filled a similar place in the store of Mr. Loree, after which he began business for himself.

Mr. Brubaker was born in Lancaster county, Pennsylvania, March 19, 1830. He spent his early years on a farm, and in the fall of 1848 came west to Stephenson county, Illinois. During the Pierce administration he was a clerk in the Freeport post-office, under Postmaster Frank Brawley. In 1853 he began learning the drug business at Freeport with Emmert & Burrell, who were also from Pennsylvania. Mr. Emmert, now deceased, went to Chicago and established the Emmert Proprietary Company, while Mr. Burrell is now living retired in Freeport. With this firm Mr. Brubaker became a skillful pharmacist, and in the fall of 1856 established a business in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. He sold this in the fall of 1861, and after spending a year or two in the east about his native home he returned to Iowa and has since been identified with Vinton. In politics he has always been Democratic, as have his sons. He is a thirty-second degree Mason, and was formerly a member of the Odd Fellows. He and his wife are members of the Presbyterian church.

Mr. Brubaker's parents were Samuel and Catherine (Stauffer) Brubaker. The Stauffers, originally from Switzerland, were one of the old Pennsylvania families, and Stauffer's Mills, a well known locality, was founded through the enterprise of the greatgrandfather of Catherine Stauffer. She spent all her life in her native state. The Brubakers were also from Switzerland. Samuel Brubaker was born in Lancaster county, Pennsylvania, and followed the occupation of farmer, and died in Pennsylvania in 1862, at the age of sixty-five. In visiting his son he had at one time come as far west as the Mississippi, but he lived practically all his life in his native state. There were two sons and two daughters in their family, but Joseph S. is the only one now living.

The latter has gained success through his own efforts and has been dependent on himself since he was eighteen years old. The only schooling he had was obtained during winter months, and his practical education has been largely the result of studious reading carried on all his life.

Mr. Brubaker has been twice married, his first union being with Miss Hostetter. The three sons of this marriage are: Stauffer Joseph, of Cedar Rapids; Charles W., who was in his father's store six years and later graduated in pharmacy from the University of Iowa, and is now owner of a fruit and truck farm near Cedar Rapids; Frank, who is on the farm with his brother Charles. Charles W. also served two terms as county treasurer of Benton county. Mr. Brubaker married as his second wife, in Warren county, Pennsylvania, Miss Susan Smith. She was born in that county, her father being a Frenchman and her mother (nee Schafer) of Holland descent. There is one child by this marriage, Miss Ella S. She is a teacher of the piano, violin and voice in the Vinton schools, being a graduate of the Philadelphia School of Music, both vocal and instrumental.

Picture of Joseph Brubaker

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