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Samuel Atlee


Posted By: STurner (email)
Date: 11/22/2018 at 01:26:08


Samuel Atlee, honored and respected by all not alone because of his success, but by reason of the straightforward methods he has ever followed, has in a long and active business career developed ideas into commercial possibilities and transmuted immature plans into marketable commodities. The extent and importance of his business interests and connections at the present day render him one of the prominent factors in commercial, industrial and financial circles in southeastern Iowa, and his investments effect trade relations and promote business prosperity over a wide territory.

The name of Atlee has figured in the history of Lee county since 1836, when John C. and Emeline S. (Brooks) Atlee, established their home in Fort Madison. It was but two years later on the 29th of October, 1838, that their son, Samuel Atlee, was born. He acquired his preliminary education in the public and private schools of Fort Madison and afterward continued his studies in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, where he pursued a business course that qualified him for entrance into the active career which has since claimed his time and energies. Returning to Fort Madison, he entered his father’s mill not as the hampered son of a prosperous parent, but as an employe who made it his object to fully qualify himself for the business by a mastery of every detail in each department. Gradually as he acquainted himself with the trade in its various branches he assumed the management and eventually in 1868 was admitted to a partnership. Consecutive progress has marked his endeavors and as opportunity has offered and trade demanded he has enlarged the plant until it has a capacity of about twenty-five million feet of lumber annually, while employment is furnished to three hundred workmen. The mill is equipped with modern machinery and every facility to advance the business and the entire plant and yards cover thirty-five acres. Excellent shipping facilities have been secured, private tracks connecting the yards with all of the railroads entering Fort Madison. The business is largely conducted along wholesale lines, but a retail department is now in operation. Mr. Atlee owns lumber lands in Minnesota, and Wisconsin, while during the winter months he gives employment to many men to prepare the timber for shipment to the mill to be manufactured into a product for the lumber market.

This is but one of the interests which claim the attention and have profited by the co-operation of Samuel Atlee. He was a prominent factor in the organization of the Lee County Saving’s Bank, which was incorporated in 1889 and at the first meeting of this board of directors he was elected president, which position he still holds. The bank was capitalized for thirty thousand dollars, which amount has since been increased to fifty thousand dollars and the institution now has a surplus of $10,000 and deposits amounting to $500,000. In 1895 was erected the structure now known as the Lee County Savings Bank Building at the corner of Second and Market streets. It is 50x145 feet, is three stories in height, was constructed of brown sandstone and is the best building in this section of the state. The bank occupies the rooms on the ground floor at the corner and the adjoining room is occupied by the postoffice. The bank is equipped with the latest devices for safety protection as well as for convenience in conducting the banking business. The second story of the building is devoted to offices and the third floor is utilized by the Masonic fraternity.

Mr. Atlee installed the electric light plant that is used in lighting and in this enterprise was associated in the ownership with his father. The plant was established in 1887 and has been enlarged from time to time until it is now very extensive. Mr. Atlee is a director of the Street Railway Company, of Fort Madison, and is financially interested in the Fort Madison Canning Factory, which gives employment to many operatives during the season.

Public spirited in citizenship and a stanch Republican in his political views Mr. Atlee has, however, never sought nor desired office, but his position in the regard of his fellow townsmen was indicated by his election in the years 1893, 1895 and 1899 to the mayoralty. He gave to the city an efficient, business-like administration, conducting municipal affairs with the same spirit of industry and enterprise that has ever been manifested in his private commercial and industrial interests. It was during his terms in office that the sewer system was inaugurated and that much of the paving in Fort Madison was laid. Fraternally a Mason, he belongs to Stella Lodge, Free and Accepted Masons, and Delta Commandery, Knights Templar.

On the 20th of January, 1867, Mr. Atlee was married to Miss Nancy M. Wright, of Fort Madison, a daughter of Mrs. Rosanna Wright. Mrs. Atlee died March 29, 1904. Mr. Atlee has a beautiful home in the midst of attractive grounds at the corner of Fourth and Market streets, in the city which has been his place of residence throughtout his entire life, save for a brief period in his boyhood, when his parents resided upon the farm in Lee County. To him there has come the attainment of a distinguished position in connection with important productive industries and financial enterprises. It is true that in early manhood he became interested in a business already established, but he had the foresight and capability to develop and enlarge this and has also extended his efforts into various other fields, his entire career proving that success is not a matter of genius, but the direct result of sound judgment, experience, commendable ambition and honorable purpose.



Transcription typed/proofed as article was originally published in 1905


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