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Charles J A Ericson


Posted By: County Coordinator
Date: 3/10/2009 at 11:07:50

Charles J A Ericson: For almost a century Charles J A Ericson has been a resident of Boone, and his life work has contributed to the commercial and political history of the state, although he began his business career without capital he is now the cashier and one of the leading stockholders of the City Bank of Boone. His political service covers two session of the state legislature, in which he was a member of the house and three sessions in the state senate. Although he has never sought official or public acknowledgement for his service, nor does he claim to have done more than his duty in the various walks of life, all who are acquainted with the life record of Mr Ericson know that his labors, directly and indirectly, have benefited the city, county and state.
A native of Sweden, Mr Ericson was born in the province of Calmer, on March 8, 1840. His father Eric Nelson, was a farmer by occupation, and with his family came to America in 1852. Two older brothers had come to the United States about three years before and had settled in Rock Island county, near Moline, Illinois, and thither Mr Nelson proceeded. The family had taken passage at Gutenburg on a three mast schooner, the Virginia, , under command of Captain Janson, and after a pleasant voyage of forty-five days reached the harbor of New York. They at once proceeded westward, going up the Hudson river by boat to Albany, New York, and by the Erie railroad from Albany to Buffalo. He then proceeded by steamer to Dunkirk and on by rail to Chicago, and as there was then no railroad line extending west to Chicago, they went by canal boat to Peru, Illinois, and across the country by team to Moline> The father came into possession of a small tract of land near Moline and turned his attention to farming and also engaged in fishing, an occupation which he had previously followed while in Swede. He was thus engaged until 1865, when he removed to Webster county, Iowa locating upon a far, It was his place of abode until with in a few years prior to his death, which occurred in 1891. He died at the home of his son, N P Peterson, at Mineral Ridge, and there the mother of our subject also passed away in 1889. They were consistent members of the Lutheran church, and in his political views MR Nelson was a Republican. In their family were four children: N P, who makes his home in Mineral Ridge, Iowa, G A, who died in Florida, in 1880, at the age of fifty-one years, one that died in infancy, and Charles J A.
The early education of Mr Ericson was obtained in the common schools of his native land, where he pursued his studies until twelve years of age, when he accompanied the family to the new world and continued his studies in the common schools of Rock Island, Illinois, At the age of thirteen he began to work for his elder brother upon a farm, hauling wood and logs and also breaking the prairie, He was thus engaged for three years, and then found employment in a sawmill and soon acquired sufficient knowledge to run the stationary engine. Later he assisted in running a flatboat ferry across Rock river. About this time the family removed to Altona, Knox county, Illinois, the brothers having built a saw and four mill there, and in the new plant MR Ericson served as engineer for a time. The brothers also conducted a general store, and our subject later became a clerk in the establishment. This gave him an opportunity to acquire knowledge of the mercantile business a knowledge which afterward proved of much value to him.
In the spring of 1859 Mr Ericson arrived in Boone county, locating in Mineral Ridge, where he opened a little store, having but little capital, and that all having been acquired through his won efforts in former years. He also engaged in buying and selling cattle and other livestock, and in both branches of his business met with credible success. In 1870, he purchased the general store of Jackson Orr, in Boone, the former proprietor having been elected to congress, which caused him to wish to discontinue the business. For five years Mr Ericson then carried on general merchandise in this city, his patronage steadily increasing as his honorable business methods and earnest desire to please his patrons became recognized by the public, in 1872 Mr Ericson assisted in the organization of the First National Bank of Boone, and was elected its vice president. IN 1875 he closed out his mercantile interests and became cashier of the First National Bank, which surrendered its charter and was reorganized as the City Bank in 1878. Mr Ericson has been continuously in the position since. The original capital stock was fifty thousand dollars, and form the earnings of this bank alone this has been increased to one hundred thousand dollars, and there is a surplus of one hundred and fifteen thousand dollars. The building occupied by the City Bank is a handsome and commodious structure, which was remodeled in 1892 especially for the bank, and is fitted with all the equipments of a model banking institution,. The present officers are: Frank Champlain, president, Louis Goeppinger vice president, Charles J A Ericson cashier, C A Rice, assistant cashier, C H Goeppinger, second assistant cashier, and R J Duckworth, teller.
Since attaining his majority, Mr Ericson has always taken a deep interest in politics, keeping well informed on the issues of the day, and while a resident of Mineral Ridge was appointed postmaster, in 1860, during Buchananís administration, filling the position continuously until his removal to Boone in 1870. He has also served as road supervisor, school director, school treasurer, and township clerk. He has been alderman of Boone, city treasurer several terms, and president and treasurer of the school board of the city.
In 1871 he was elected a member of the fourteenth general assembly of Iowa, on the Republican ticket, his opponent being Judge M K Ramsey. He served during the regular session and during an extra session, which was called in 1873, to revise the code. Senator Allison was at that time elected to succeed Senator James Harland, and Mr Ericson was one of his stalwart supporters. Twenty-five years later he consented to become the candidate for state senator, and was elected in the year 1895. While in the senate he introduced a bill, and was largely instrumental in securing its passage, where by corporations are taxed, and this has resulted in bringing hundreds of thousands of dollars into the state treasury. He also secured the passage of a bill for the reduction of the interest on state warrants from six to five per cent. His official record is that of a business man who looks at things from at practical standpoint, who can see beyond the conditions of the moment to the exigencies of the future, and labors not only for the present but for ht future of the state, placing the government before partisanship and the general welfare before personal aggrandizement.
Mr Ericson has been twice married. In 1858 he weed Miss Matilda Nelson, and unto them were born two daughters, Alice and Lorena, who are with their father. In 1873 Mr Ericson was united in marriage to Miss Nellie Linderblood, who died in 1899. The family have an attractive home in Boone, and in addition to this Mr Ericson owns much other valuable real estate, including one thousand acres of land in Hancock county.
In 1894, Mr Ericson , in company with his daughter Lorena, made and extensive trip abroad, sailing from New York to Gibraltar, thence to Italy, Greece, Egypt, Palestine and Turkey on their return. They then made their was to sunny Italy, and as the season advanced journeyed north through Switzerland, France, Belgium, Germany, Denmark, and Norway and Sweden, returning home by way of England and the British Isles. In 1863 Mr Ericson became a Mason and now holds membership in Mount Olive Lodge, No 79, F & A M. He is also a member of Tuscan Chapter, R A M, Ecalibur Commandery, No 13, K T, and has held all the principal offices in these organizations, having served as treasurer of the commandery since his arrival in Boone, He has taken a deep interest in the welfare and progress of his adopted city, and has cooperated in many movements for the general good. At a cost of ten thousand and seven hundreds dollars he built a handsome library building, which he presented to the city, known as the Ericson Memorial Library. In 1901 he was requested by the board of directors of the State Historical Society of Des Moines, through the Hon Charles Aldrich, curator, to furnish a marble bust of himself, to be placed in the Iowa hall of history. After much hesitation as to the propriety of complying with this unexpected request, being a modest man, he finally consented to do so. A fine carara marble bust, made by a noted artist in Florence, Italy, has been placed as desired in the Iowa Hall of History.
In a summary of his career one of the most noticeable facts is his continued advancement from the time when as a boy of thirteen years he started out to earn his own living at hauling logs and breaking prairie. A laudable ambition prompted him to continued effort in the legitimate channels of business and he stands today among those who command wealth as the result of untiring industry and capable management about all of honorable methods. Whether as a private citizen or an official in local or state offices he has labored for the general good along lines of substantial and lasting improvement. He commands uniform confidence and respect, not by reason of any claim which he makes upon the regard of his fellow men, but because his salient characteristics are those which in every land and every clime win esteem.
He has been a liberal contributor to educational institutions, especially to Augustana College, of Rock Island, Illinois, a Swedish theological seminary, which he endowed by the contribution of two hundred and eighty acres of valuable coal land, worth thirty thousand dollars, for the endowment of a Swedish chair, and the sum of thirteen thousand dollars. For this a valuable tract of land was purchased for twenty-six thousand dollars, and it has been given the name of Ericson Park, in his honor. It was there that a part of his childhood was passed, having often gone hunting upon that very tract in early days.

1902 Boone County History Book


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