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Bernhart Paul Holst


Posted By: County Coordinator (email)
Date: 4/12/2010 at 14:05:42

When we contemplate the career of those who turn the tide of adversity in ealry life to successful ends, we are induced to regard with more thtn ordinary admiration their character and perseverance. Probably there is in the central part of the United States no one who has greater claim to a biographical sketch in this work than Bernhart Paul Holst, both from the interest shown in the general upbuiling of educational institutions and for his long contact with the development of Boone county and that 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 laudable and exemplary, that the writer is inspired by many incidents of importance associated with him and his educational and professional work and business enterprises.
He is decended from German parentage, his forefathers having resided for many generations in the regions aide famous by the imperial contests of Napleon and the wars for Polish independence.Though these eventful times were witnessed in differnet sections of Germany, the former refers to Lauenburg, the home of his paternal ancestors, and the latter to Posen, the part of his maternal porgenitors. In both provinces were formidable parties that joined in the revolution of thought and action against the continuance of anceity imperial regimes, and with these were associated the families of whom the subject of this sketch is a scion.
The earlies history of the paternal ancestors may be traced to the village of Kukpin, in Lauenburg, northern Germany, which is a famous stronghold of a warlike clan of Teutons in the eleventh century. This village was long a fortified point of strategy, but became a local center of trade and quiet home life under the civilizing influences of the reformation, which made this portion of Europe a stronghold of Protestantism and the modern educational arts.
At Kulpin, in 1800, we find Christian Ludwig Holst, grandfather of the subject of this sketch, the manager of the large estate of Kulpin, which was highly developed in fertility and productiveness under his management for a quarter of a century. This estate, though now greatly decreased in area by reason of transfers and subdivisions, was still a valuable and extensive possession in 1913, when it was visited by the subject of this sketch, but its ownership and management had passed into the possession of others.
Heinrich Ludwig Holst, the father of the subject of this sketch, was born in the beautiful lake-village of Ratzeburg, about three miles from Kulpin, on April 17, 1817, and died at Pilot Mound, Iowa September 16, 1885. He was the son of Christian Ludwig Holst, who died while the son was still in infancy 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 was an able thinker on theological and economical questions, a lover of good books, and took considerable interest in traveling. After visiting many cities of the German Confederation, he traveled in Switzerland, Austria, France and Russia, and in 1842 settled in Samotschyn, Germany, where he founded and developed a successful business as a cooper.
On June 15, 1843, H L Holst, the father of Bernhart Paul Holst, married Emilie Leopoldina Buchholz at Samotschy. She was born at Obersitzko, a picturesque town on the Warthe river in Posen, April 20, 1820. Her father, Wilhelm Gotthold Buchholz, was a prominent citizen and successful druggist at her native town, and her mother was Dorothea Caroline Hirsekorn. It was the amibition of her parents to give her and her only sister, Amelia Wilhelmina, a good education, which hope was realized in the kindergarten and public schoos of Obersitzko, and subsequently both were taught music and fine handiwork in a real-schul, 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 29, 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 resided at different time at Lobethal, Hoffnungstahl, Hochkirch, 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 20 years in 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 that 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 purchsed a farm of one hundred and sixty acres located twelve miles northwest of the court house, in Pilot Mounds township, and a half miles west of Pilot Mound, the highest elevation in Boone county.
This farm was the home of Bernhart Paul Holst, the subject of this sketch, during his boyhood years. He is the yougest of the family, which consisted of four boys and three girls. They are named in order of age as follows: Wilhelm (1845-46), Ludwig Heinrich (1847), Philip Hermann (1850-1857), Mary Louise (1853-1914), Augusta Johanna (1856), Emilie Caroline (1858-1872), and Bernhart Paul (1861). Wilhelm died off Cape Blanco, Africa, October 29, 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 in 1882, and Augusta Johnna married Jospeh Adamson in 1883, the latter resides in Boone county. Bernahrt Pual Holst was born September 18, 1861, in Hochkirch, in the Australian colony of Victoria, now the state 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 education, after which he had the benefits of academic and collegiate work. From early infancy he enjoyed the benefits that come for 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 teacher's 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 indeatigable 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 young men, Samuel and Anderw Adamson, drove a team to Logan county, Nebraska, where he served in surveying government lands an in the meantime completed title under the exemption law to a quarter section of public land. Subsequently he drove on the Carlifonia trail across the plains to the foothills of the Rocky mountains, and in the autumn of that year returned 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 in the home of the bride's parents, near Moultrie, Ohio. Mrs Holst was born in Columbiana county, Ohio, January 26, 1867, and was the youngest of four children, having one sister and two brothers. Her parents, Michael Rosse, born February 14, 1826, and Rachael Myers Roose, born February 16, 1832, are of German parentage and descended from early settlers of Pennsylvania. They resided in the natural gas and oil belt near Alliance, Ohio where they owned a productive fruit and dairy farm. Three children were born to Mr and Mrs Holst, two sons and a daughter .The elder son, Bertram Paul was born February 22, 1889. He graduated from the Boone high school in 1908, from Drake University in 1913, and from the University of Chicago in 1914, obtaining the A M degree at the latter institution. The daughter, Blanche Alcott, was born in Boone, Iowa, Jauary 2, 1894, she graduated from the Boone high school in 1911 and from St Katharine's Academy at Davenport, Iowa in 1914. She has also studied at Drake University and other institutions. The younger son, Emil Roose, was born January 21, 1904, and since his sixth year has attended the public schools of Pilot Mound and Boone.
Ella Roose Holst, wife of the subject of his tsketch died January 31, 1904 at Boone. This loss and the death of this mother on March 5, 1908, are the most impressive of the sad events wihich we record in this sketch.
No compendium such as the province of this work defines in its essential limitaitons will serve to offer fit memorial to the life and accomplishments of Bernhart Paul Holst, the honored subject of this sketch- am an remarkable in the breadth of his wisdom, in his indomitable pereverance, his strong individuality, and yet one whose whole esoteric phase, being an open scroll, invites the closest scrutiny. True, his have been "massive deeds and great" in one sense, and yet his entire life accomplishments but represent the result to be fit utilization of the innate talent wihch is his and the directing of his effort in those line where mature judgmet and rare discrimination lead the way. There is in him a wight of character, a native sagacity, a far seeing judgement and a fideliy of purpose that commands the respet of all. A man of indefitagable enterprise and fertility of resource, he has varied his name deeply on the record of the educational, political, commercial and professional history of the state, which owes much of its advancement to his efforsts, especially along educational lines. Being one of the most apable and successful educators of the state, he caused the schools of Boone county to make rapid progress and induced a higher sentiment for professional enterprise in Teachers' institutes and public school courses.
It may be said that throughout his entier 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 ths professional work he has been as persevering to enlarge his own usefulness and that of his learner as he as ever been diligent in his business enterprises, and it may be said that he has been equally successful in both lines. In 1889, at the age of 28 years, 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 higly complimented through popular suffrage than he. It is suggestive of more than ordinary popularity and ablity 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 reelected, he received a vote of one thousand more that his party, and in 1893, his vote was about eleven hundred more than the cast for his ticket. In 1895, when the oppostion party had an average majority of thirteen hundred votes for its canidates he was given a safe indorsement for a fourth term and afterward was elected for the fifth time, each term being for two years. In 1899, while conducting and 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 genreal public oviation by the teachers and citizen of Boone. Though defeated in the state election, he turned the compliment of the nomination to good account by delivering addresses in many of the cities of the state and extending his acquaintacne among public men.
Professor Holst is known as an institute instructor and lecturer, having been appointed on the corps of teachers for more the 25 Iowa instititutes held in different counties. Among his most popular addesses are those entitled Educational Foundations, Fudamentals, Three Great Evils of the Age, and I am Fearfully Wonderfully Made. His popularity as a conuctor 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 Instiute under your direction is now drawing to a close, and in view of the fact that these sessions have been the most earnest and enthusiastic ever held in the county the courses of study being the most systmatic and complete ever issued, the insturction in them able the conscientiouos and the manner of conducting them competent and energetic;
"In grateful recognition whereof: We, the teachers of Boone coutny, tender you our sincere thanks for the watchful interest with which you have ever guarded our educational affairs, and the firm and yet courteious manner in which you have ever dealt with both teachers and patrons of our schools, and we do herby recommend you to the school public, not only as an eduacator of profound ability, but as a gentleman of thoroughly Christian character.
"Futhermore" We, the undersigned members of the Boone county Normal Institute of 1895, as a testimonial of our high personal regard, and as evidence of our appriciation of the able manner in which you have discharged the important duties of your office, present you with this gold watch and chain, and hope that you may long enjoy postions of usefulness among your fellowmen."
The subject of this sketch has been not only influential in the higher councils of eduational meetings, but has held a number of officail positions and served on important legislative committees. In 1892 at Cedar Rapids, Iowa he was chosen the first vice president of the Iowa State Teacher's Association. He was 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 had the desired effect and gave Iowa the largest meeting ever held up to that time by county superintendents. The Iowa Normal Monthly, pu lishes at Dubuque, Iowa said of Him:
"He is master in effecting 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 an hundred for the public schools with over two thousand five hundred volumes. He is 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 supervison and gradation.
"He is an able writer and natural speaker. The past year he delivered about fourty lectures before intstitues and conventions. While he takes delight in this line of work, he is constantly guarding the schools in his charge. Their upbuilding and successful advancement have been his constant desire. One of Iowa's greastest educators, Dr W H Beardsher, 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 those that know him best. This applies not only to his public service, but is true also of his businesss and social life. When but 21 yers 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 ablity. After retiring from the county superintendency in 1901 he was chosen a member of the city county of Boone by the citizens of the fifth ward who favor public improvements, and was elected for consecutive tems aggregating a total of thirteen years, the longest in the history of the city.
He is closeley identified with many local enterprises and for many ears was on the board of directors of the Booe Commercial Association, serving as the president of this organization for the year of 1911-1912. It was during this period that the Fairview Additon to Boone, the new two hundred thousand dollar high school, the Swedish Old Folks Home, the larger city waterworks and other enterprises were promoted by the business interests of Boone and of which he was an adovcate.
He is indebted larely 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 encourgemet 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 endebted for support in attending for two years a school where he studied modern lanugages and the sciences. From this work as a nucleus, he broadened his mind by constant study and practical application, taking, while engaged in school supervision, advantage of university extension courses of study and in 1899 was awarded on an examination the degree of Master of Arts by the Western Universtiy in Illinois.
While at the farm home duing his youth he began to take interest in reading the works of great authors, such as Schiller, Bryant, Holmes, Whittier, Goethe, Bancroft, Shakespeare and Dickens, and from each he drew inspriation characteristic of the writer. He was particularly fond of sketches drawn from Eulenspiegl and the Nibelungenlied. Being intersted in literary topics to be read before schools and lyceums. In 1890 he began publishing the Boone County Teacher, a monthy 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 on Demands of the County Superintendency before the County Superintendents' and Norman Department at Des Moines, and 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' Course of Study, which was issued regularly for ten years.
The finest literary work of Professor Holst, however, is "The Teachers' and Pupils' Cyclopaedia." He began work on it in 1898, when he was in the county superintendency, 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 typewriters and shorthand reporters with the view of completing the work on the manuscript and making it ready for the compositors, working from ealry morning until nine o'clock at night about two years in collating and revising it. The work was fiinally published in its complete form in February 1902, when it was issued in three large volumes containing two thousand two hundred and six pages and about one thousand five hundred illustrations.
Ten editions of the "The Teachers' and Pupils' Cyclopaedia" were issued with various revisons from the first set of plates. However, the publication was thrououghly revised and enlarged to seven volumes in 1912, when it embraced about four thouseand double column pages and was called "The New Teachers' and Pupils' Cyclopaedia." About two thousand sets of this reference work have been sold in the United States, Canada, Alaska and Hawaii, placing it in the highest rank of useful American literary products.
"The New Teachers' and Pupils' Cyclopaedia" is written in a beautiful, narrative sytle, and is a valuable treatise and dictionary of geography, history, mythology, discoveries, inventions and educational progress. It treats the literature of all countries and peoples, reviews the resources and politcal conditions of all lands, presents the biographies of all notes persons both living and dea, and issuses 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 and most utilitarian American products now on the book markert.
The writings of Bernhart Paul Holst, besides outlines, addresses, essays and books of reference, include a large number of verses and poetical compostions. These products, including a number of translations, were written at times of rest, or as change in occupation permitted, being influenced, of course, by the inspirations which then impress the writer, such as the native fancy or the scenses and experiences while traveling in America or abroad. In 1913 these writings were collected and published in a volume under the title "Poems of Friendship and Other Poems." By permission of the aurthor we publish the following verses which are classed among the Poems of Power:


It means a cross for faithful hands to carry,
In contest fierce, and with tireless brain;
It means that weary limbs must never tarry,
When right demands that we should try again.

At morn may beauty roses bloom in glory,
At noon may shrink and wither stem and leaf,
At night may all the world seems could and hoary,
And should this the spirity vex and grieve?

You cringe because your hands are bleeding,
And seek a new and untired field for luck,
And soon release your grip, when you should be heeding
The fact that true success depends on pluck.

If you despair when days are clear and cloudless,
And dream that dreadful storms are raging overhead,
An awful ghost will rise before you shroudless,
And all your early hopes will soon be dead.

Susscess will surely come with time and labor,
If we our aims will carry far and high,
For we can win the plaudits of our neighbor,
And reach the goal by perseverance bye and bye.

Nature, life, love and friendship are favorite themes for verses by this author. He is at his best when writing on these and kindred topics. The writer is pleased to quote the following selection which is classed with this Poems of Friendship:


Should some one speak unkindly of your friend,
With earnest mien, you must his worth defend;
Though all the world should at your true friend chide,
Hold to his hand and stand close by his side-
For this we know: a true and trusty heart
Of happy life is an essential part.

Heaven will in its gentle kindness give
True friends to those who truly act and live,
But those that final turstworthy friends to prize
At length are severed for these holy ties-
And finally o'erwhelmed by doubt and fear,
Are borne by strangers on their rustic bier.

Should storms betide and all your fortune rend,
You still are rich if you possess a friend,
But if you win vast fortune and renown,
Or even war a sceppterd, kingly crow,
And have no friends, no trusty friends in need,
You still are poor ah! very poor, indeed!

Though born in the antipodes, we think few Americans have touched more closely the spirit of democracy or treated with greater favor the liberty and independence which is ours. Of this we have an adirable example in the following lines classed with his Poems of Sentiment:


Written after visiting New York Harbor

Hail to the woman with the torch of fire,
Standing on Dedloe's Isle the workd to guide!
Beacon to pilgrims of worthy sire,
Guide to the homeless! Far and wife
Has thy might welcome blazed its way
To all earth's tired as well as me,
And now I see the break of better day,
The dawn of freedom and of liberty!

Unlike the brazen Rhodes of Grecian lore,
With mighty limbs from land to land;
She stand upon the eastern sea-washed shore,
The emblem of the free in heart and hand!
Her face is glad with Music of the Spheres,
Her eyes as stars in glowing beauty shine,
She lights the path to peace in future years,
She progress gives to me and all of mine!

Long centuries had pressed upon the poor,
Had made them dead to joy and faith and fear;
They couldnot hope to see an open door,
So pressed with pain, could scarcely shed a tear:
the Tragedy of Time caused head to bow,
The Whell of Labor made the back to ben;
Profaned and robbed, what could they do, and how?
What shores to them would friendly welcome send?

The masters and the lords of royal blood
With monstrous mandates crushed the living soul,
And ground man down with burdens and the flood
Of wars. And, as the years and ages roll,
Refused to right he base perfidious wrongs
That dwarf and stun the much-bewildered brain-
But, hark! I hear welcome, new-born song
And see the torch of liberty again!

Glides now the ship to anchor in the bay-
Soon will I tread the shore of my adopted land
And breathe a purer spirit, blessed day,
As I step on the far-enchanted grand!
This heritage is nature's noblest gift
To man, and to the multitudes that come,
As well as all who long have been adrift,
And rest at last to make this land their home.

Hail to the woman with the torch of fire,
Standing on Bedloe's Isle the world to guide!
Beacon to pilgrims of worthy sire,
Guide to the homeless! Far and wide
Has thy mighty welcome blazed the way
To all earth's tired as well as me,
And now I see the break of better day,
The dawn of freedom and of liberty!

From 1867 until Feruary 1900, the subject of this sektch resided on the family homestead immediatelty south of the town of Pilot Mound, a tract 170 acres that is now a part of the town, and in the latter year removed to the city of Boone, where he is still a resident. He is the owner of several large tracts of land, has a fine home in the city, and holds material interests in the Holst Publishing Company, and concern devoted to the publication of his books. In 1910 he completed the building of the Hotel Holst, Boone's popular hostelry, and equipped it with all the modern improvements. He is a stockholder and official in the Boone State Bank, in the Boone National Bank and in other large banking and commerial enterprises.
The subject of this sketch is a reader and has a fine library of more that 5 thousand volumes, including books printed in the English, German, Swedish and other lanugages. In 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 the life endures; habits that 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 improvements and Boone county has reason to be proud that she can number him among her citizens.

1914 Boone County History Book


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