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WILLIAM FISKE CLEVELAND


CLEVELAND, William Fiske, was born at Waterville, Oneida county, New York, August 30, 1844, and is the youngest of four children born to Dr. George W. and Almira B. Cleveland. In 1861 he was graduated from the Waterville Seminary and at once, in accordance with the wishes of his father, entered upon the study of medicine, but after a few months' application, from a natural disinclination to the profession, he gave up the work and entered a retail dry goods store in his native town. Prompted by a natural desire to see more of the world, four years later he removed to Louisville, Kentucky, and afterward to Nashville, Tennessee, where he was employed in a large hat, cap and fur establishment. In the spring of 1867 he engaged in business for himself in the city of New Orleans, Louisiana, and there continued until 1876.

On the second day of October, 1871, in the city of Dubuque, Iowa, he was joined in marriage to Miss Kate L. Collins, daughter of E. A. and Annie Collins of Galena, Ill. Two children blessed this union, William J. and Anna C. Cleveland ; the former died in New Orleans March 11, 1876. Mrs. Cleveland died of consumption in Persia, Iowa, August 24, 1885. The remains of both rest in the cemetery in Shelby, Iowa.

In the autumn of 1877, after having spent a year in the service of the government in Wyoming, he became a resident of Shelby county, Iowa, and in the spring of the following year established a general mercantile business in the town of Shelby, where he continued to reside until his election to the office of treasurer of his county. To this office he was re-elected in 1887, and in 1889 he was honored with the nomination and election, by the Democratic party, to the office of State Senator from the Eighteenth Senatorial district composed of the counties of Cass and Shelby. During the four years of his term in the State Senate Mr. Cleveland became the recognized leader of his party, and left his impress upon the legislation of the twenty-third and twenty-fourth General Assemblies (1890-1894).

In 1893 Senator Cleveland was married to Mrs, Ella Pratt, formerly Miss Noble, a lady of many accomplishments and graces. To them have been born a daughter, Dorothy, and a son, William Fiske, Jr., who, with their sister Anna, assist in making the home of Senator Cleveland one of the most hospitable in the city of Harlan.

Mr. Cleveland has been from his twenty-first year an active member and an honored officer of the Masonic fraternity. Made a Mason by his father, when he had barely passed his majority at Waterville, New York, he received the Capitular degree and passed the Crypric Circle in Nashville, Tennessee, and had the orders of Christian Knighthood conferred upon him by the Indivisible Friends Commandery in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Always active in Masonic circles, he became especially so when, after his removal to Harlan, he was chosen the First Eminent Commander of Mt. Zion Commandery, No. 49, stationed at Harlan, and later the Right Eminent Grand Commander of the Grand Commandery of Knight Templars of Iowa, and as such led the Iowa contingent at the Denver Conclave in August, 1892. Nor has his interest in Masonry been confined to the orders of Christian Knighthood. He has presided as Worshipful Master over his lodge and as High Priest over his chapter serving in the Grand Lodge and Grand Chapter in various capacities. In 1899 he was Grand High Priest of the Grand Chapter of Royal Arch Masons of the state, and as such his administration was characterized with marked executive ability.

The Masonic fraternity has never had a more competent officer to preside over it a.> a citizen, in all the positions of honor, trust and confidence which he has been called to fill he has proved to be an able, honest, faithful and conscientious public servant; in all the walks of life he has ably and consistently performed the duties incumbent upon him, ever remembering that one's own interests must not conflict with the rights of others. He is a scholarly and effective speaker, a successful business man, and in his family and social relations a most exemplary one. He has been throughout his life a brilliant, intelligent, cultivated gentleman, genial and courteous in his manners, pleasant, entertaining and instructive in his conversation, and devotedly fond of his friends.


From Biographies and Portraits of the Progressive Men of Iowa Volume II, Leaders in Business, Politics and the Professions, Together with the Beginnings of a Western Commonwealth, by Benjamin Shambaugh. Des Moines: Conway & Shaw Publishers, 1899, pp. 183-184.

 
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