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Whitcomb, Daniel W.


Posted By: Volunteer Transcriber
Date: 10/24/2009 at 10:18:32

Whitcomb, Daniel W.

The world owes much to the plain, plodding worker who, uncomplainingly, does his whole duty as he sees it; but beyond his labors there is a sphere of activity wherein the workers are few and the products produced are most rare, that of genius. Through the medium of this subtle, sublime, elusive thing, possessed of certain favored ones, all the great treasures of art, literature, music and science have been given to the world. Those who know him best do not hesitate to pronounce Daniel W. Whitcomb, one of Jasper County's best-known citizens, as a genius of high order, although it is doubtful if many who know him appreciate this fact to the fullest extent. In his little studio in Newton he is producing photographic art studies which are more than mere everyday likenesses as turned out in a never ceasing stream from most photograph galleries; they are works of art, while his samples of burnt wood etching, his painting in oil, pastel, water color, crayon and other mediums are of the finest.

Mr. Whitcomb was born in this county on February 22, 1858, and he is the son of W. A. and Anna (Childs) Whitcomb, both natives of New York State. The father was a skilled mechanic and his services were always in great demand; he even made violins, which were marvels of perfection. Back in his native state he was a miller, and later engaged in the mercantile business. He was a comparatively young man when he came to Indiana and settled near Vincennes, where he continued the mercantile business until 1856, when he came by wagon to Jasper County, Iowa, and located in Rushville, trading his stock of goods for forty acres of land, to which he later added forty acres more, and he followed, farming the rest of his life. There his death occurred, at the age of sixty-eight years, and his wife was aged sixty-four when she was summoned to the silent land. The old homestead is still in the hands of the family. The father, as has already been intimated, was a man of splendid natural ability in many ways. He was ardently interested in church work and in the up building of his locality, and he was an advocate of all that was best in life, being highly honored by all who knew him. His wife was a noble woman, whose innate gentleness of character shed the most loving and benign influence upon her home and friends. Their family consisted of eleven children; _____ married Joseph Braley and her death occurred in Kellogg about 1887; Amanda, who remained unmarried, died there when twenty-two years of age; William A. died in Rochester, Washington, in 1899; J. T. died in Oregon about 1907, those living are Lodency, wife of Dr. W. H. Green, of North Yakima, Washington; Stephen A. lives in Colorado; C. E. lives near Prairie City, this county; Eva lives in Des Moines; Daniel W., of this review.

In August 1877; Mr. Whitcomb entered as apprentice with Charles A. Clifford, of Newton, learning the old fashioned "wet-plate" process of photography, and he was with him about a year, after which he went to Des Moines, where he remained two years. Then he traveled extensively, teaching the "dry-plate" process of photography, and, following this, he again worked with Clifford and others in different places.

On October 25, 1882, Mr. Whitcomb was united in marriage with Orlina LaBar, a native of Pennsylvania and the daughter of Jesse and Sarah (Snyder) LaBar, the father a native of France and the mother of New York. The father died when Mrs. Whitcomb was a baby, so she has no recollection of him whatever. Her mother and the rest of the family came to Iowa in an early day and settled in Monroe about 1867.

To Mr. and Mrs. Whitcomb have been born four children, all living, namely: Leon A., born March 19, 1884, in Monroe, and who has been crippled from infancy, began selling the Saturday Blade when a child, the circulation of which he soon increased from thirty-four to one hundred and sixty; selling this out, he began peddling extracts, toilet articles and other things, and by untiring industry succeeded in getting together enough money to purchase an expensive and modern pop-corn and peanut wagon, which, with its genial and hustling little owner installed within it, is a familiar object upon the streets of Newton, and he is making a decided success of the business. The other children are, Mabel, who married Thomas A. Cure, lives in Newton; Lloyd is at home. He has been in the employ of the One Minute Manufacturing Company for five years and is a young man of good habits and splendid promise in business affairs. Crippled like his brother from boyhood, he has not permitted seemingly untoward circumstances to thwart him in his career. An operation on his limb recently made him almost normal physically. Florence Edna Whitcomb is with her parents, and is a recent graduate of the Newton high school.

After his marriage, Mr. Whitcomb opened a gallery at Monroe and in 1886 he went to Kellogg, later coming to Newton, where he has lived practically ever since, although he has traveled alone and with his family in many states, principally those of the Middle West. During his travels he has taught painting in different mediums, as well as photography. He gave up his profession in the spring of 1880 and went to Cheyenne, Wyoming, where, among other things, he worked on a newspaper. At another time he accepted a contract to finish the Atlas Distillery stock barns. This contract he completed and made some money in the work. He has occupied his present location twelve years and has built up a large and constantly growing business, many of his patrons coming from remote sections of this and adjoining counties, for his reputation has traveled over a wide territory.

He makes every kind of picture known to the photographic art and his work in all branches is superb. He also makes enlarged portraits in watercolor, crayon and pastel. His gallery is one of the best equipped in the state, being fitted to make all kinds of cuts, half-tones, chalk plates, zinc etchings, etc.

Mr. Whitcomb in his fraternal relations belongs to the Kellogg Lodge, Knights of Pythias, the Modern Woodmen and the Yeomen, of Newton. He is a man of genial and interesting personality, and his wife is admired by a wide circle of acquaintances. Past and Present of Jasper County Iowa B. F. Bowden & Company, Indianapolis, IN, 1912 Page 614.


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