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Wapello County, Iowa



ALLEN JOHNSTON- Inventor and Manufacturer

MARTIN HARDSOCG- Inventor and Manufacturer


THOMAS J POTTER- Railroad Executive

PETER G BALLINGALL- Citizen and Philanthropist

SAMUEL B EVANS- Journalist

JAMES T HACKWORTH- Philanthropist; James T Hackworth won himself a place as a philanthropist in Ottumwa history by his bequest of approximately a half a million dollars to the Ottumwa Public Library, from which the first payment of income was received by that institution on October 9, 1923. However he was a prominent business man of the city during his life and lived here over seventy years. J T Hackworth was born in Ohio, January 12, 1839 and when 6 years of age came west with his parents who settled here. He received a law education and was connected with public education in the county. He later became associated with industrial and business enterprises, and was very successful. He died April 13, 1919, and his will granted a life estate to his wife, and provided that the entire fortune, with the exception of a few specific bequests should go to the library after her death. Mrs Hackworth died July 9, 1921.

A H HAMILTON- Early Journalist

THOMAS D FOSTER- Industrial Executive; Thomas Dove Foster was from 1893 until his death, head of the John Morrell & Company packing plant, Ottumwa's largest industry. He was born at Bradford, Yorkshire, England, November 25, 1847, where he received a more or less elementary education in both public and private schools. He became connected with the Morrell firm in 1865 and after 3 years in the Liverpool office and a time at the New York Branch, came to Ottumwa, as the center of the firms activities was gradually shifting to this city. He was a grandson of Gerorge Morrell, founder of the firm. Mr Foster was a citizen of first rank, being an active participant in nearly every worth while project. One of his particular fields was the YMCA for which he did a great deal. He died in 1915. Mr Foster was twice married. His children were T Henry, now head of the Morrell plant; George M also an executive of the firm, William H T., Anne, Ellen M., Edith M., Florence D., and John M.

DR JOHN M McELROY- Educator and Minister

JOSEPH H MERRILL- Pioneer Jobber;  One of the pioneer business men who helped to make this city of commercial leadership was Joseph Henry Merrill. He was associated with C W Kittridge in the founding of the large wholesale grocery firm which now bears the name of Samuel Mahon and Co. He was president of the Iowa National bank and City Savings Bank. J H Merrill was born in Plymouth New Hampshire, December 17, 1827, and died in 1911. HIs son Herman W Merrill and a nephew, Charles Greenleaf are well known and active men of the city today.

WILLIAM E HUNT- Inventor; William E Hunt, inventor, supervises the building of the big machines which are the product of the Ottumwa Box Car Loader company. Mr Hunt makes a continuous study of the needs of industry and keeps a few moves ahead of the demand by perfecting new machines to handle heavy burdens expeditiously.

DR S B THRALL- Pioneer Physician; One of Ottumwa's pioneer physicians was Dr S B Thrall, who served also as a surgeon in the Union Army. Following the war he returned to Ottumwa. For several years he was secretary of the school board and had a part in building up the city's excellent public school system. He also served on the city council and in other positions of trust and responsibility.

WILLIAM McNETT- Dean of Ottumwa Bar

HENRY PHILLIPS- Manufacturer; Henry Phillips divides his time between Ottumwa and Natchez, Miss., having a large plantation near the latter city. Ottumwa, however, still is "home". Mr Phillips had been identified with the community's development for many years before he established the Box Car Loader Company. He was prominently connected with Ottumwa's Coal Palace and is one of two living directors of the exposition.

JOHN H MORRELL- Industrial Executive; John H Morrell, successor to the late Thomas D Foster, as president of John Morrell & Company, was for many years one of Ottumwa's most active public-spirited citizens. In addition to his many duties as head of the city's principal industry he found time to take part in every movement for the betterment of the community. During the world war Mr Morrell gave much time to the work of the state defense council, to which he was appointed by the governor when it was formed. Mr Morrell's death occurred in December, 1921.

J B SAX-  Philanthropist; J B Sax was, for many years, one of the city's merchants, who became identified with a great many financial enterprises, not solely for his own gain but which culminated to the benefit of the city. In his will he provided a fund of $50,000 which will eventually become $150,000, the income of which is to be used for loans to needy people. A wisely chosen board of trustees in charge of the fund. Mr Sax started as a small boy in Ottumwa, in 1865, and built up a fortune in business here, setting a worthy example of honest and successful business methods. He died March 17, 1922.

Ottumwa, Yesterday and Today- By Glenn B Meagher and Harry B Munsell, 1923



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