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E.W. Sorber


Posted By: Marilyn Norris Holmes (email)
Date: 12/1/2009 at 16:08:44

(1902): pages 478-479


Among the representative business men of Gowrie none are more deserving of mention in this volume than the gentleman whose name introduces this sketch. Keen discrimination, unflagging industry and resolute purpose are numbered among his salient characteristics, and thus he has won that prosperity which is the merited reward of honest effort.

A native of Pennsylvania, he was born on the Susquehanna river, in Wilkesbarre, Luzerne county, March 20, 1839, and is a son of Philip Sorber, who was born in the same county in 1810. His grandfather, George Sorber, was also a native of the Keystone state, while the great-grandfather was a native of Germany and one of the pioneers of Pennsylvania. On reaching manhood Philip Sorber married Miss Rebecca Ainsworth, of Binghamton, New York. In early life he followed the millwright's trade, but after coming to Iowa, in 1846, he bought a tract of government land in Jackson county and turned his attention to farming. He resided there until 1865, when he removed to Webster county, and continued to engage in agricultural pursuits throughout his active business life. After the death of his wife, which occurred in 1872, he made his home with our subject, and died in Gowrie in 1891, at the ripe old age of eighty-one years.

E.W. Sorber was only six years old when he came with his parents to Iowa, and he grew to manhood on the home farm in Jackson county. His school privileges were limited and the greater part of his education was acquired under his mother's teachings, she being a well-educated lady. In 1860 he was married in Jackson county to Miss M.J. Bonham, a native of Indiana, and a daughter of David Bonham, who was also a pioneer of Jackson county.

During his youth Mr. Sorber served a three years and a half apprenticeship to the millwright's trade, which he followed until the Civil war broke out. Prompted by a spirit of patriotism, he enlisted in 1861, in Company I. Twelfth Iowa Volunteer Infantry, from which he was discharged in 1862, and re-enlisted, this time becoming a member of Company F, Forty-fourth Iowa Volunteer Infantry, with which he remained until mustered out of service in October, 1864.

The following year Mr. Sorber came to Webster county and purchased a farm, and in connection with its operation he engaged in contracting and building, and was also employed on public works, assisting in building the Fort Dodge school-house, which was later destroyed by fire. In the fall of 1873 he took up his residence in Gowrie, and for some time thereafter gave his entire attention to his building interests, and is still engaged in contracting to some extent. He has erected many business blocks and private residences, besides the school-house here, and has materially assisted in the development and improvement of the town. In 1883 he embarked in the furniture and undertaking business, which he still carries on with good success. Since its organization he has been a stockholder in the Gowrie Savings Bank, which has become one of the substantial moneyed intitutions of the county.

Mr. Sorber has been called upon to mourn the loss of his faithful wife, who died in 1896, leaving three children, namely: (1) Florence Imogene is the wife of FRANK TRIPLETT, of Gowrie, and they have five children, Earl, Elsie, Clare, FRANKIE and Fannie. (2) Inez G. is the wife of W.E. Bomberger, a prominent business man and banker of Gowrie, and they have one child, Ethel. (3) Nellie E. is at home with her father.

Although reared a Democrat, Mr. Sorber became identified with the Republican party on attaining his majority, but for the past few years has been identified in politics and votes for the men whom he believes best qualified for office regardless of party lines. He has been a delegate to numberous conventions, and his fellow citizens, recongizing his worth and ability, called upon him to serve as mayor of Gowrie for several years. He also filled the office of township clerk many years, and his official duties were always most capably and satisfactorily performed. He is a prominent member of the Grand Army Post of Gowrie, of which he is past commander, and in which he served as adjutant and a member of the relief committe for some years. He also belongs to the Masonic lodge of that place, and the Odd Fellows lodge and encampment of Fort Dodge. The career of Mr. Sorber has ever been such as to warrant the trust and confidence of the business world, for he has ever conducted all transactions on the strictest principles of honor and integrity. His devotion to the public good is unquestioned and arises from a sincere interest in the welfare of his fellow men.


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