Posted By: County Coordinator
Date: 3/10/2009 at 13:20:07
Louis Goeppinger, the senior member of the firm of L & H Goeppinger, is one of the pioneer business men of the city of Boone. He is a native of Reutlingen, Wurtemburg, Germany, born June 9, 1829, the second child of Johannes and Katharine (Ammer) Goeppinger. He acquired a practical education in Germany, then learned and pursued the trade of his ancestors who had been tanners for three hundred years. In the year 1849, with his older brother Frederick, he emigrated to America, landing in New York city on April 18 in that year. He went to Dauphin, Pennsylvania, a town on the Susquehanna river eight miles above Harrisburg, and after six months removed to Allegheny City. The incidents of this trip, which was made in a canal boat of that time, vessels in sections for the purpose of transfer by railway over the inclined planes across the Allegheny mountain region, still linger in his memory. Stationary engines at the apex of each plane, using a wife cable coiled about a huge drum, simultaneously raised one section of a boat and lowered another on the opposite side. The length of his journey was two hundred miles and required five days time, it is now made by railway in less than four hours. Working at his trade and husbanding his earnings, he eventually established a tannery of his own at Malvern, Ohio, which he conducted, profitably until 1866, when he disposed of it, having spent twenty-three years in this occupation. Then he removed to the new town of Boone, Iowa, which has been his abiding place continuously since.
Prior to this removal he was united in marriage, July 19, 1857, at Malvern, Ohio, to Catharine LeBeau, a native of that village, born February 10, 1840, and a daughter of Charles LeBeau, who was a native of Landau, Germany, who had emigrated to Ohio and carried emigrated to Ohio and carried on the cooper’s trade until his death at the age of seventy-five years. To Mr and Mrs Louis Goeppinger have been born the following children: Mary, Mrs Fred Kengott, of san Francisco, John L, Charles H, F Louis and Emilie, of Boone and three children who died in infancy. When Louis Goeppinger came to Boone he was offered land at his own price. A Sea of waving grass rested upon the earth from the Northwestern railway tracks to the extreme northern limits fo the state and far out into the “Land of the Dakotas” where the Indian and the buffalo were the sole inhabitants. Al this vast expanse up to the base of the Rocky Mountains is now the home of an industrious and happy people. He witnessed the sale of lots on Story, the principal business streets of Boone, at two hundred and twenty-five dollars each, like property now being cheap at six thousand dollars. With this development he has been prominently identified firm the date of his arrival in 1866, when in company with his brother Henry he opened the leather store of L & H Goeppinger in a modest frame building, with an equally modest stock of goods. He is now the oldest business man in Boone, and the house is the oldest saddlery establishment in the state.
He was one of the first stockholders in the City Bank, and for many years, as he is now, its vice-president, he has been associated with the improvement of real estate in the town and country, his firm’s being the first three-front, substantial business block on Story street. He was also active in the construction of the German Lutheran church building, and of the congregation he has long been a consistent member. All that he has undertaken he has carried to successful completion, brooking no hindrance which could be overcome by determined effort and honorable attack. He has witnessed many changes in business methods in this region, as well as in its landed development, and has adapted himself to these with true American facility. When he came over the sears in 1849 in the sailing vessel Luconia, he was forty-nine days on the water, and the passage was rough. In 1891 he was one of a party of six who paid a visit to Germany to survey the scenes of his youth. The vessel which carried them over was the “Columbia” of the Hamburg-American line, and she made a trip in six days. After four months of unalloyed enjoyment he was happy to again set foot upon the land of his adoption.
Though always a busy man, he has found time to encourage education and good morals in the community in which he resides. He has been a member of the school board of Boone for three terms, and has lent his presence, counsel and encouragement to every good work which has commanded the attention of this people. His rugged frame and strong yet kindly countenance are frequently seen in the convocations of his fellow citizens, or beaming with friendly look upon the young. Withal, the years have dealt lightly with him, “the period of the sear, the yellow Leaf” has been deferred, and he lives to enjoy the product of his care, the esteem of his friends and the affection of his intimates.
In these sketches of the Goeppinger and other German families on is again reminded of the value of such immigration fro the fatherland, bringing so much of prudence, sagacity, perseverance and sterling integrity to this country of new lands, wider opportunities, full civil and religious freedom and mingling with those already here, forming a more perfect nation. To such is due in no inconsiderable measure the marvelous development of the great west, and their memories and their deeds shall live after them.
1902 Boone County History Book
Boone Biographies maintained by Jan Bony.
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