B P Holst M A
Posted By: County Coordinator
Date: 3/12/2009 at 12:38:36
B P Holst M A When we contemplate the career of those who turn the tide of adversity in early life to successful ends, we are induced to regard with more than ordinary admiration their character and perseverance. Probably there is in the central part of the United States no one who has greater claim to the biographical sketch in this work than B P Holst, both from the interest shown in the general upbuilding of educational institutions and for his long contact with the development of Boone county and the state of Iowa. His life offers so much encouragement to those who are at the commencement of their business and professional career, all of which is so landable and exemplary, that the writer is inspired by many incidents of importance associated with him and his education, professional work and business enterprises.
He descended form German parentage, his forefathers having resided for may generations in the regions made famous by the imperial contests of Napolean and the wars for Polish independence. Though these eventful times were witnessed in different sections of Germany, the former refers to Lauenburg, the home of paternal ancestors, and the latter to Posen the seat of his maternal progenitors. IN both provinces were formidable parties that joined in the revolution of thought and action against the continuance of imperial regimes, and with these were associated the families from whom the subject of this sketch is a scion.
His father, Heinrich Ludwig Holst, was born at Ratzeburg, Germany, April 17, 1817, and died at Pilot Mound, Iowa September 16, 1885. The latter was the son of Ludwig Carl Holst, who died before reaching middle life, and his mother subsequently married a school teacher at Ratzeburg. Under the careful and sympathetic instruction of his stepfather he obtained the benefits of a practical education and afterward learned the trade of a cooper. He as an able thinker on theological and economical questions, a lover of good book, and took considerable interest in traveling. After visiting many cities of the German Confederation he traveled in Switzerland, Austria, France and Russia, ad in 1842 settled in Samatezin, Germany where he founded and developed a successful business as a cooper.
On June15, 1843, L H Holst, the father of B P Holst, married Emilie Leopoldina Buchholz at Sametezin. She was born at Obersitzko, a picturesque town on the Warthe river, in Posen, April 20, 1820. Her father, Wilhelm Gotthold Buchholz, as a prominent citizen and successful druggist at her native town, and her mother was Dorothea Caroline Hirsekorn. It was the ambition of her parents to give her and her only sister, Amelia Wilhelmina, a good education, which hope was realized in the kindergarten and public schools of Obersitzko, and subsequently both were taught music and fine handiwork in a realschule, or manual school. Her only brother Edward was liberally educated and became a successful pharmacist. The family resided in Germany about three years after their marriage, embarking from Bremen October 12, 1846, with the view of founding a home in Australia, and landing at Port Adelaide March 18, 1847. It will be noticed that the trip on the ocean required over five months, a fact due to the tardy progress made by sail ships, and while on the Atlantic ocean, off Cape Blanco, Africa, October 9, 1846, their first born son, Wilhelm Holst, died. For seven months the family resided in Adelaide, one of the finest cities in Australia, after which they reside at different times at Lobethal Hoffnungsthal, Hochkirck, and on a farm near Lindock valley. In the meantime H L Holst was either occupied in farming or interested in gold mining, and after a residence of twenty years in Australia, about equal portions of the time in the colonies of Victoria and South Australia, they decided to emigrate to the United States. On Apirl 3, 1867, they set sail from Melbourne for London, England, which place they reached in July, and after spending some time in the city and Liverpool they took a steamboat for New York, reaching Castle Garden on August 3, 1867. Five days later they came to Boone, Iowa and soon after purchased a farm of 160 acres located twelve miles northwest of the courthouse in Pilot Mound township, and a half miles west of Pilot Mound, the highest elevation in Boone county.
This farm was the home of B P Holst, the subject of this sketch, during his boyhood years. He is the youngest of the family, which consisted of four boys and three girls. They were named in order of age as follows: Wilhelm 1845-1846, Ludwig Heinrich 1847, Philip Hermann 1850-57, Mary Louise 1853, Augusta Johanna 1856, Emilie Caroline 1858-72, and Bernhart Paul 1861, Wilhelm died off Cape Blanco, Africa October 9, 1846, Philip Hermann died at Lobethal, South Australia March 20, 1857, and Emilie Caroline died at Pilot Mound Iowa January 1, 1872. Ludwig Heinrich chose to remain in Australia, where he acquired success as a teacher and supervisor in the public schools Mary Louise married Julius Amme I 1882, and Augusta Johanna married Joseph Adamson in 1883, both reside in Boone County.
Bernhart Paul Holst was born September 18, 1861, in Hochkirch, in the Austrailian colony of Victoria and since 1867 has resided in Boone county, Iowa, which state is yet his home and for which he has ever had strong love. He was reared amid refining influences, the best that were possible under pioneer conditions, and early developed the traits of character which led to a strong manhood. IN the home and public schools he secured his early educations, after which he had the benefits of academic and collegiate work. From early infancy he enjoyed the benefits that come from learning to use several modern languages, and in his educational research attained more than mediocre proficiency in German history and literature. He was granted his first teaching certificate by J H Chambers, county superintendent of Boone county schools, in 1883, when he began teaching in the public schools. Being popular among his associates and indefatigable as an organizer, he gave hearty and efficient support in the maintenance of debating societies, institutes, Sunday schools and other organizations intended to benefit and improve moral and social conditions. In the spring of 1884 he in company with two young men, Samuel and Andrew Adamson, drove a team to Logan county, Nebraska, where he served in surveying government lands and in the meantime completed title to a quarter section of public land. Subsequently he drove on the California trail across the plains to the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, and in the autumn of that year retuned to Boone county to resume teaching in the public schools.
On September 15, 1887 Mr Holst married Ella Roose, Rev Abram Miller of the Lutheran church of Georgetown, solemnizing the marriage at the home of the bride’s parents, near Moultrie, Ohio. Mrs Holst was born in Columbiana county, Ohio, January 26, 1867, and is the youngest of four children having one sister and two brothers. Her parents, Michael Roose born February 14, 1826, and Rachael Myers Roose born February 16, 1832, are of German parentage and descended from early settlers of Pennsylvania. They reside in the natural gas and oil belt near Alliance, Ohio, where they own a productive fruit and dairy farm. Two children have been born to Mr and Mrs Host, a son and a daughter. The son, Bertram Paul was born February 22, 1889, and since his sixth year has attended the schools of Boone. The daughter, Blanche Alcott was born in Boone, Iowa January 2, 1894.
No compendium such as the province of this work defines in its essential limitations will serve to offer fit memorial to the life and accomplishments of B P Holst, the honored subject of this sketch-- a man remarkable in the breadth of his wisdom, in his indomitable perseverance, his strong individuality, and yet one whose whole esoteric phase, being an opened scroll, inviting the closes scrutiny. True his have been “massive deeds and great” in one sense, and yet his entire life accomplishments but represent the result of the fit utilization of the innate talent which is his, and the directing of his efforts in those lines where mature judgment and rare discrimination lead the way. There is in him a weight of character, a naïve sagacity, a farseeing judgment and a fidelity of purpose that commands the respect of all. A man of indefatigable enterprise and fertility of resource, he has carved his name deeply on the record of the educational, political, commercial and professional history of the state, he caused the schools of Boone county to make rapid progress and induced a higher sentiment for professional enterprise in teacher’ institutes and public school courses.
It may be said that throughout his entire life he has been connected with educational work, and that he turned to good account much of the time that too many men fail to utilize. In his professional work he has began persevering to enlarge his won usefulness and that of his learners as he has ever been diligent in his business enterprises, and it may be said that he has been equally successful in both lines. IN 1889 he was elected county superintendent of schools of Boone county in which capacity he remained for ten years. No one in the county ever filled the same position for as long a period, and it is doubtful if anyone else in the state has been more highly complimented through popular suffrage than he. It is suggestive of more than ordinary popularity and ability when we note that he was nominated on the Democratic ticket while Boone county is strongly Republican, and yet he was elected, receiving a vote about five hundred more than the strength of his party. In 1891 when re elected he received a vote of one thousand more than his party and in 1893 his vote was about eleven hundred more than that cast for his ticket. IN 1895, when the oppositions party had an average majority of thirteen hundred votes for its candidates he was given a safe endorsement for a fourth term and afterward was elected for the fifth time, each term being for two years. In 1899, while conducting an institute at Boone where about three hundred and thirty teachers were in attendance, he was notified that the Democratic state convention had nominated him for superintendent of public instruction by acclamation, and shortly after he was tendered a general public ovation by the teachers and citizens of Boone. Though defeated in the state election he turned the compliment of the nomination to good account by delivering addresses in may of the cities of the state and extending his acquaintance among public men.
Professor Holst is known as an institute instructor and lecturer, having been appointed on the corps of teachers for more than twenty-five Iowa institutes held in different counties. Among his most popular addresses are those entitled Educational Foundations, Fundamentals, Three Great Evils of the Age, and “I Am Fearfully and Wonderfully Made.” His popularity as a conductor of institutes is evidenced by the following memorial presented to him in 1895 by the teachers of Boone county.
“Whereas; the sixth session of the Boone County Normal Institute under your direction is now drawing to a close, and in view of the fact that these sessions have been the ost earnest and enthusiastic every held in the county, the courses of study being the most systematic and complete ever issued, the instruction in them able and conscientious and the manner of conduction them competent and energetic.;
“In grateful recognition whereof: We, the teachers of Boone county tender you our sincere thanks for the watchful interest with which you have ever guarded our educational affairs, and the firm and yet courteous manner in which you have ever dealt with both teachers and patrons of our schools, and we do hereby recommend you to the school public, not only as a educator of profound ability, but as a gentleman of thoroughly Christian character.
“Furthermore: We the undersigned, members of the Boone County Normal Institute of 1895, as a testimonial of our high personal regard, and as an evidence of our appreciation of the able manner in which you have a discharged the important duties of your office, present you with te god watch and chain, and hope that you may long enjoy positions of usefulness among your fellow men.”
The subject of this sketch has been not only influential in the higher councils of educational meetings, but has held a number of official positions and served on important legislative committees. In 1892 at Cedar Rapids, Iowa he was chosen the first vice-president of the Iowa State Teachers’ Association. He as quite a young man when thus honored, but he capably filled the position and in 1893, was elected president of the county superintendents’ and Normal Department while in session at Des Moines. His indefatigable efforts in promoting organization and system. He brings harmony and a gladdening spirit into the work. Under his efficient management every line of school work has been awakened and broadened. He has organized a teachers’ library and a hundred for the public schools with over two thousand five hundred volumes. His systematic plans for conducting teachers’ meetings and county institutes make them at once profitable and popular. In his office are kept the most accurate and systematic records of supervision and gradation.
“He is an able writer and natural speaker. The past year he delivered about forty lectures before institutes and conventions. While he takes delight in this line of work, he is constantly guarding the schools in his charge. Their up building and successful advancement have been his constant desire. One of Iowa’s greatest educators, Dr W M Beardshear, fittingly says of him: “I can speak of him and his work in the most commendable terms.”
In speaking of his public life and work it may be fitting to mention briefly the confidence in which he is held by hose that know him best. This applies not only to his public service, but is true also of his business and social life. When but twenty-one years of age he was nominated for justice of the peace in Pilot Mound township by a class of citizens who wanted to bring a young man and efficiency to that office at a time when the town of Pilot Mound was in its infancy. It is needless to say that he was elected and that he served his constituents with ability. After retiring from the county superintendence in 1901 he was chosen a member of the city council of Boone by the citizens of the fifth ward who favor public improvements, and in 1902 he was re elected by the same progressive element.
He is indebted largely to himself for what he is and for what he has achieved, but above all he attributes his success to the watchful care and constant encouragement of his parents. From his father, a man strongly devoted to the religious teachings and moral practices of the Lutheran church, he obtained a fine collection of works in the German, and to him also is he indebted for support in attending for two years at a school where he studied modern languages and the sciences. Form this work as a nucleus, he broadened his mind by constant study and practical applications, taking while engaged in school supervisions advantage of university extension courses of study and in 1899 was awarded on an examination the degree of Master of Arts by the western University, Chicago.
While at the farm home during his youth he began to take an interest in reading the works of great authors, such as Schiller, Byrant, Holmes, Whittier, Goethe, Bancroft, Shakespeare, and Dickens, and from each he drew inspiration characteristic of the writer. He was particularly fond of sketches drawn from Eulenspiegel and the Nibehungenlied. Being interested in literary work, he began to find pleasure in writing as a local correspondent for county newspapers, and prepared numerous essays on literary topics to be read before schools an lyceums. In 1890 he began publishing the Boone County Teacher, a monthly educational journal, which he issued for ten years and made it a helpful means of furthering pedagogical work. In 1893 he read an able paper of Demands of the County Superintendency before the county superintendents’ and normal department at Des Moines subsequently delivered many addresses relating to educational topics before institutes and teachers’ meetings. While county superintendent of Boone county he also published annually the Graded Four Years’ Institute Course of Study, which was issued regularly for ten years.
The finest literary work of Professor Holst, however, is his Teachers’ and Pupils’ Cyclopaedia. He began work on it in 1898, when he was in the county superintendence, writing biographical sketches and articles on scientific subjects, such as would not lose interest and value by the lapse of time. In the early part of 1900 he employed a typewriter and shorthand reporter with the view of completing the work on the manuscript and making it ready for the composers, working form early morning until nine o’clock at night about tow years in collating and revising it The work was finally published in its complete form in February 1902, when it was issued in three large volumes containing 2, 206 pages and about 1,500 illustrations. The second edition appeared in May 1902 with divers improvements and eight pages added. This work is written in a beautiful, narrative style, and is a valuable treaties and dictionary of geography, history, mythology, discoveries, inventions and educational progress. It treats the literature of all countries and peoples, reviews the resources and political conditions of all lands, presents the biographies of all noted persons both living and dead, and discusses the arts and sciences in their working and application. It has already found its way into hundreds of homes and school libraries, and is justly regarded one of the finest American products now on the book market.
From 1867 until February 1900 he resided on the family homestead immediately south of town of Pilot Mound and in the latter year removed to the fifth ward, Boone, where he is still a resident. He is the owner of several large tracts of land and a fine home, and has material interests in the Holst Publishing Company, a corporation devoted to the publication of his books. His person library contains several thousand volumes, including books printed in the English, German, Swedish and other languages. In all his work he has exemplified the spirit of education approved by Sidney Smith who said: “The real object of education is to give children resources that will endure as long as life endures, habits that time will ameliorate, not destroy, occupation that will render sickness tolerable, solitude pleasant, age venerable, life more dignified and useful, and death less terrible.” He is a man of distinct and forceful individuality, his influence has ever been on the side of progress and public improvement and Boone county has reason to be proud that se can number him among her citizens.
1902 Boone County History Book
Boone Biographies maintained by Jan Bony.
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