WILLIAM S. WHITNEY, MASSENA.
William S. Whitney, a stock holder in the Masena Savings Bank and owner of its building, is now living in retirement at that place, an honored citizen who has resided in the township since boyhood, or for a period of nearly half a century. He is a son of Eseck and Nancy (Barber) Whitney, his parents being both natives of the Empire State. His father, who was a cousin of Franklin H. Whitney, was born in Oswego county, N. Y., in the year 1815, and in early life was a farmer but spent some eighteen years of his career as a lumberman. Eseck Whitney was married in 1842, and on the 28th of September, in the following year, welcomed his first born, William S., whose birthplace was also Oswego county.
Besides being engaged in the lumber business, the elder Whitney owned a farm in Oswego county, which he sold when he came to Iowa in 1856. In that year he settled with his family in Adair county, and farmed rented land for about two years. Being by that time well satisfied with the country, in 1858 he took up a claim at Whitneyville (section 17), arriving there soon after his cousin, and being accorded the honor of being the second settler of Massena township. William S. was now thirteen years of age, and during the following two years assisted his father in the usual work of cultivation and general farm improvements. In 1861 the family went to Colorado, which was then almost a wilderness still occupied by hordes of savages. There were a few men in the mining region where they located, but Mrs. Whitney often spoke of the very lonesome life she led in that land of mountains, as it was often six months between the times she saw or spoke to one of her sex. In 1864 the Ute Indians became so turbulent that the situation was alarming and the family decided to return to civilization. They again located on the farm in section 8, which had been rented during their absence, and there the father died March 16, 1876. The mother is still living (December 15, 1906), at the age of eighty-six years, with her son in Massena.
William S. Whitney has continued to reside on the old family homestead, and on February 18, 1857, married Harriet G. Strong, a native of Grand Detour, Ill., and daughter of Marvin O. and Charlotte Strong, early settlers of Adair county, Iowa. They became the parents of six children, all living in Massena. After the death of his father Mr. Whitney assumed control of the estate, his widowed mother residing with himself and family on the old home farm. Besides its management he was charged with the duties of a number of local offices, being postmaster of Whitneyville from 1866 to 1870. Having acquired a competency, as well as a substantial and honorable reputation, he retired to Massena, some years ago, and engaged in business. His establishment was destroyed by fire, April 30, 1905, but he rebuilt and leased the block, in which is located the Massena Savings Bank. As stated, he is a stockholder in this institution, and one of the solid citizens of the town, who is not only an honored pioneer, but the son of a most worthy founder of the township.
From "Compendium and History of Cass County, Iowa." Chicago: Henry and Taylor & Co., 1906, pp. 547-548.
The Whitneyville postoffice, which was the first in the township, was established on section 8, not long after the founding of the place by Frank H. Whitney in 1858. It was afterward discontinued, but in 1866 was re-established, with W. S. Whitney as postmaster, who continued in the office for about thirteen years. Mr. Whitney received for his thirteen years' of labor as postmaster the sum of $197.36, eight years of which period he was obliged to get up every night to make up mail for the stage line. In July, 1879, the office was removed to the residence of V. C. Whip, and shortly afterward to the dwelling of F. B. Nichols, thence to the residence of Hiram Blake, section 16, and finally discontinued.
From "Compendium and History of Cass County, Iowa." Chicago: Henry and Taylor & Co., 1906, pg. 187.