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William S. Alger 1837-1922


Posted By: Kathy Weaver (email)
Date: 3/8/2019 at 14:22:27

Villisca Review
Villisca, Iowa
Friday, June 30, 1922


W.S. Alger, for Nearly Half Century Prominent Banker of Villisca, Passes Away at His Home. Started Bank Here in 1871. Was One of Organizers of First National Bank in 1882. Funeral Held at Home Tuesday.

W.S. Alger, an early resident and one of the first bankers in Villisca, died Saturday afternoon at 5 o’clock at his home on Third avenue in this city, his death resulting from paralysis agitans with which he had been afflicted for the last ten years. He had been an invalid for seven years and has been confined to his home since last fall, having made his last trip down town in October when he was brought down in a car.

Mr. Alger was born at Sharon, N.Y. on April 30, 1837, and was the son of James and Marian Tubbs Alger. He grew to manhood at that place, receiving his education in the public schools there and also at an academy in Whitestone, N.Y. Later he taught school for a few years until the outbreak of the civil war when he enlisted in Company B, 115th New York Volunteers as a private soldier and served three years.

He was promoted to the rank of non-commissioned officer during his service, which rank he held at the time of his discharge from the army. He was wounded in battle, and being able then to return to the ranks of his company he was given charge of the commissary department of an army hospital. Following the expiration of his first enlistment he re-entered the army, but on account of not having fully recovered from the effects of his would and because of the proximity of the end of the war he was not again mustered into the service.

He came to Iowa in 1868 and purchased a farm near Grant in Montgomery county where he worked and broke prairies with oxen for two years. After selling the farm he was employed in a bank in Atlantic for about a year, coming to Villisca and organizing a private bank which commenced business on August 7, 1871, in a building located on the site now occupied by the Farquhar & Rice grocery store. This bank he conducted for eleven years until he and his business associate organized the First National bank of Villisca in 1882, moving at that time from the location into the new bank building which they erected at the northwest corner of the public square and which is still the banking home of the First National. He was president of this bank and also of the Adams County bank in Nodaway for many years, until failing health compelled him to relinquish these positions in 1919.

One of Mr. Alger’s strong points in his business life was his sterling integrity, and on that foundation he built a business institution which stands as a monument to the principals which he considered essential to success.

He was united in marriage with Miss Mary Bell Fast at her home in Ashland, Ohio, on May 14, 1878, and together they lived a happy life until Mr. Alger’s death at the age of 85 years. When Mr. Alger was a young man about twenty years of age he united with the Baptist church in Ames, N.Y., and he remained a member of and a regular yearly contributor to that same church during the remaining sixty-five years of his life. He was a member of the Masonic order, a Knight Templar and a Shriner.

Mr. Alger leaves, beside his wife, two sisters. They are Mrs. Mary M. Grantier and Miss Emma Alger of Ames, N.Y.

The funeral was held at the home at 10 o’clock Tuesday morning, Rev. J.L. Boyd of Villisca and Rev. E.S.Mencher of Corning having charge of the service. The singing was by a quartet composed of H.D. Peckham, H.H. Nordyke, F.L. Gerlach and J.S. Honeyman, and the pall bearers, all officers or employees of the First National bank, were B.F. Fast, D.E. Lomas, Fe.E. Shane, L.E. Gunderman, J.B. Means and L.D. Garton. On account of the delay in the arrival of some of the relatives of Mr. Alger, the burial service was postponed until 4:30 o’clock Tuesday afternoon. Interment was in the Villisca cemetery.

Those who were here from a distance were Mrs. Mary M. Grantier, sister of Mr. Alger, Miss Gertrude Alger, niece of Mr. Alger, of Ames, N.Y., Mrs. I.D. Turner, niece of Mrs. Alger, of Sedalia, Mo., Mrs. Jennie Tomlinson and daughter Miss Anna, and Mrs. L.M. Arbogast of Kansas City, Mo., Mr. and Mrs. H. Davis of Iola, Kas., Mr. and Mrs. F.B. West of Houston, Tex., Edwin Lisle, Mrs. C.A. Lisle and Mr. and Mrs. Wm. Campbell of Clarinda, Mr. and Mrs. W.S. Ellis, P.P. Clark, R.B. Clark, Wright Clark, Malcolm Lomas and W.J. Roberts of Red Oak, R.D. Simpson and C.N. Kennedy of Nodaway.


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