IAGenWeb Project - Clayton co.


HENRY ECKART is one of the thrifty, German-American citizens of Clayton County who have been so active in its development from a wild prairie to its present productive and wealthy condition. He was actively engaged in business, carrying on a wagon and carriage manufactory for many years, or until he retired in 1888, since which time his home has been made in the village of Guttenberg.

Henry Eckart was born in Prussia, Germany, in 1830, and there was reared to manhood. His education was obtained in the justly noted excellent schools of Prussia, and after completing his education, in accordance with the laws of the Fatherland he entered the German army, serving for three years as a member of the artillery corps. Before leaving his native land, he learned the blacksmith's trade, which he followed for a short time, and then determined to seek his fortunes in America, where he believed would be afforded wider opportunities for acquiring a livelihood. After many weeks on the ocean in the slow sailing-vessel of that period, he safely landed on Christmas Day, 1853. For six months after his arrival in New York City, our subject remained in the metropolis, working at various things, and thence proceeded to Dayton, Ohio, where he worked at his trade for three years. It was in 1856 that he first found himself in Guttenberg, where he engaged in his vocation for a year, after which he started a blacksmith and wagon-making establishment of his own. Commencing business on a small scale, uner his good management it steadily gained in volume, and in the course of a few years became one of the leading business concerns of the place. The uniformly good quality of work turned out, and the confident reliance in his ability and skill which his customers manifested, enabled him to become well off and to constantly enlarge his shop. For many years his vehicles were sold in all adjoining counties and other parts of Iowa, his sales even extending into Dakota and other states. Since he has been retired he has devoted his time to looking after his property interests, in which he has considerable money invested, mainly in town lots.

In 1857 Mr. Eckart married Miss Dora Beneke, who, like her husband, was born in Germany. Her parents, Christian and Dorothy (Bort) Bencke, were among the early settlers in Guttenberg, and were highly respected for their industious and honorable lives. Mr. and Mrs. Eckart are the parents of four sons and three daughters, namely: Henry C., Pastor of the Catholic Church at Wesley, Iowa; Ida, who is at home; John, Cashier of a bank at Brush Creek, this state; Gussie, wife of Frank Walters; Herman J., who is a stenographer in the employ of the Milwaukee Rolling Mills; Clara residing with her parents, and Oscar, who is attending school. Mr. Eckart is a member of the Catholic Church of Guttenberg. The children received good educations and enjoy the respect and good will of the people with whom their lot is cast. Commencing at the bottom round of the ladder, Mr. Eckart acquired his fortune unassisted and entirely through his own business-like qualities.

source: Portrait and Biographical Record of Dubuque, Jones and Clayton Counties; Chicago: Chapman Pub. Co., 1894; pg 424
-transcribed by Sandi Coobs

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