HON. HAMILTON WILCOX, GRISWOLD.
An extensive owner of real estate which is productive and adds to the aggregate wealth of its locality, an energetic and successful business man in several lines of useful enterprise, president of the Bank of Griswold, which he founded, and a leader in all the lines of thought and action in which the public utilities of his community and the general comfort and convenience of its people are involved, or by which they can be expanded and promoted, Hon. Hamilton Wilcox, of Griswold, is one of the best known citizens of Cass county, and his career among its activities has been of great and far-reaching benefit to this whole portion of the State, which his undertakings and successes in other States have materially helped them too.
Mr. Wilcox was born at Newport, Herkimer county, N. Y., on August 30, 1842, and in that State his parents also had their nativity. They were Calvert and Rebecca (Starring) Wilcox. The father was a carpenter and worked at his trade in his native State until his death in 1849, when he was but forty-two years old. The mother lived to the age of seventy-six, passing away in 1885. Their offspring numbered four---three sons and one daughter---and of these Mr. Wilcox of this sketch is the only one now living. His grandfather, Henry Wilcox, was born and passed his earlier life in Connecticut. He was a tailor and prospered at his trade. He moved to the State of New York where he was a pioneer, and after a number of years of useful labor there he died in that State. His father, Robert Wilcox, great-grandfather of Hon. Hamilton Wilcox, was probably born in England and therefore came to this country in Colonial days. He was a soldier in the Revolution, serving in a Connecticut regiment.
Hon. Hamilton Wilcox grew to manhood in Lewis county, N. Y., whither his parents moved when he was but three years old. He was educated in the public schools and at the Lowville Academy in the county seat of that county, and after leaving that institution he began life for himself as a school teacher, later turning his attention and energetic business inclinations to the lumber trade, buying and selling timber, and carrying on other lines of the industry. In 1880 he came to Cass county, this State, and located at Griswold, which was then just started, and there he began handling real estate, loaning money and placing insurance.
But Mr. Wilcox' restless and productive mind could not be satisfied with even so active a business as this. So in 1887 he and Dr. John Piper together bought the Bank of Lewis, which at the end of a year they sold to Woodward, Harris & Co. The same autumn they erected the bank he now occupies, and opened the institution under the name of the Bank of Griswold, which it still bears. It is a private bank with a capital stock of $25,000. Mr. Wilcox was elected its first president and he has filled this office in its directorate ever since. The first cashier was Dr. Piper, who was succeeded by Henry Grinnell, and he by A. G. Airsmith, who fills the position at present.
In addition to his other interests, and they are many and various, Mr. Wilcox has for years been an extensive breeder of live-stock, owning a large ranch in Johnson county, Wyoming, and 953 acres of improved farm land in Missouri, in addition to the 425 acres of fine general farming land which he owns and operates in this county. He is president and one of the directors of the Corn Belt Meat Association, and ably represents the Ninth Congressional district of the State. He has been a life-long Democrat, and has represented his party with ability in many a county and State convention. In 1904 he was nominated by his party for Congress, but was then defeated, the district being strongly Republican.
In 1876 Mr. Wilcox was married to Josephine Kirley, a New Yorker by nativity. One child has blessed their union, their daughter Gertrude, now Mrs. Grove Babcock of Warrensburg, Mo. Fraternally Mr. Wilcox is a Freemason of long standing, and with an earnest interest in the welfare of the order.
From "Compendium and History of Cass County, Iowa." Chicago: Henry and Taylor & Co., 1906, pp. 549-551.