Brief Biographies of Early Residents of Waterloo, Black Hawk Co., Iowa
M - W
Marsh attended school in New York state. In 1870 he located in Jesup and worked in a store. He returned to New York, but in 1879 came back to Iowa. In 1897 Marsh moved to Waterloo and built a home at 408 South Street. He became a partner in Hackett & Dailey Creamery Supply Company in 1899. (This company was later known as Iowa Dairy Separator Company, 1902, and later still as Associated Manufacturers Company.) He was president of the Iowa Fire Insurance Company of Waterloo and one of the organizers of the Presbyterian Hospital. Marsh took great pride in his herd of Guernsey cattle and was known throughout the world for his work with the Guernsey cattle breed.
Martin became a clerk at the Logan Hotel in 1897, establishing a cigar stand in the hotel. Later, he opened a wholesale and retail cigar business on Water Street. After his stock was destroyed by a fire, he opened a store in the Logan House block. The store was moved to 211 East Fourth Street after the Logan House was purchased by James Black for expansion of Black's store. His wife was Mayme A. Baro.
Herbert Maynard came to Waterloo in 1906 as secretary of Citizen's Gas & Electric Company. He remained with the utility company and, when it was purchased by Iowa Public Service, served as assistant secretary. In 1923 he was president of the Iowa District Gas Association, later known as Midwest Gas. The Lafayette Street powerhouse was named Maynard Station in his honor in 1942.
While working as an engineer at Ocean Springs, Mississippi, he became friends with Jefferson Davis, former president of the confederacy. In 1881, he began 14 years work as a railroad construction and maintenance engineer. He came to Waterloo around 1906 when Citizen's Gas & Electric Company was purchased by the four Dawes brothers (Rufus, Beaman, Henry, and Charles) and I.C. Elston. (Mrs. Maynard and Mrs. Rufus Dawes were sisters.) The family residence from the 1910s to the 1940s was at 828 West Fourth Street.
Frederick Maytag, of washing machine fame, moved Mason-Maytag Motor Car from Des Moines to Waterloo in 1910. The Mason-Maytag, renamed simply the Maytag, was also known as the "Hill Climber." A design change from two to four cylinders and to a shaft-driven model, resulted in problems -- the rear axle sometimes disassociated itself from the car. Customers returned their cars to the factory, which closed in 1915.
McCartney owned and operated the first bicycle and sporting goods store in Waterloo, located at 622 Commercial Street. He later added an electrical shop to the business. After selling this business, he entered into a partnership with Carl Miller in Miller-McCartney Insurance Agency. The company later became Western Adjustment and Inspection Company. Miller was manager and McCartney the adjuster, until his retirement in the 1940s.
Fayette McElhinney came to Waterloo in 1900 with his parents. After 1903 he invested heavily in Black Hawk National Bank and later became its president. He helped organize the Black Hawk Building Co. and was the major stockholder upon completion of their eight-story building at Fourth and Commercial Streets. Black Hawk National Bank merged with Waterloo Savings Bank to create one of the area's largest financial institutions. McElhinney was also the principal financial backer in the building of the mausoleum in Fairview Cemetery.
Although Arch McFarlane remained in the wholesale coal business all his life, it was his career in the legislature for which he was best known. His legislative career began in 1914 when he was elected to the Iowa House of Representatives. He was re-elected in 1914, 1916, 1918, and 1920. In 1926, McFarlane was elected to the Iowa Senate and for the terms 1928 and 1930 was lieutenant governor of Iowa. Again elected to the House of Representatives in 1932, McFarlane was re-elected in 1934, 1938, 1940, 1942, 1944, 1946, 1950, and 1952. In 1954, he was elected again to the Iowa Senate. He became the first person to represent the new senatorial district composed of Black Hawk County alone.
McFarlane also was president of the Waterloo Baseball Association. In 1959, Arch McFarlane State Park was dedicated east of LaPorte City. This 75-acre wooded tract on the Cedar River was dedicated to McFarlane in recognition of his service to conservation.
T. U. McManus came to Waterloo in 1899 and engaged in general practice. In 1909, he limited his practice to eye, ear, nose and throat. McManus was a 1893 graduate of the Iowa State Normal School (later called UNI), obtained his master's degree from Des Moines University in 1895 and his medical degree in 1898 from the University of Illinois College of Physicians and Surgeons. He also participated in post graduate work in New York and Chicago.
McManus contracted infantile paralysis in 1907, which left his lower extremities paralyzed. He was coroner for Black Hawk County from 1903 to 1907 and Chief of Staff of St. Francis hospital from 1918 to 1922. The doctor was also former president of the Iowa State Medical Society. He married Mae B. Loonan on August 23, 1898.
Waterloo Skirt and Garment Company was established by Mrs. E.H. McWilliams in 1899. It provided employment to hundreds of wives and sisters of male workers who had come to Waterloo in the early 1900s. The company began in the basement of McWilliams' Maple Street home. In 1922, the company was renamed the Waterloo Garment Company and regularly employed 200 people, mostly women. They sewed house dresses, kimonos, wrappers, aprons, and petticoats. In 1913, the factory was located at 138 South Barclay. At its peak, the company had factories in Waterloo, Cedar Falls, and Waverly and offices in Chicago and Los Angeles.
J. J. Meany was employed by the Waterloo Casket Co. in 1895 and later by the Milwaukee Casket Co. Meany founded J.J. Meany Casket Co. in 1911, making caskets in his backyard barn until 1922. The company has been operated by three generations of the Meany family.
John Melrose came to Waterloo in July, 1845 with George W. Hanna, Mary Melrose Hanna, and their two children. John was the brother of Mary. In 1864, while assisting the sheriff of Wright County in arresting horse thieves, John was shot in the back of the neck by one of the thieves. The bullet came out below the ear and he recovered from the wound. Another of the posse was also shot. After the death of his first wife, John remarried. There were three sons: Charles, Myron, and William.
Miller attended Orange Township school, Waterloo Business College and the State University of Iowa. He entered the drug store business with J.K. Joder at Fourth and Jefferson Streets in 1895. In 1902, Miller went into business for himself at 210 West Fourth Street. A couple years later, he established the business at 218 West Fourth Street. He sold out to son-in-law Truman Wagner in 1937, retiring from the business after 42 years.
Miller learned the blacksmith trade in Germany. He came to the United States in 1889 and settled in LaPorte City where he worked in the carpentry trade for several years. In 1893 he moved to Waterloo and worked at carpentry until 1896 when he established his own business -- John G. Miller Construction Company. His sons, Robert W., Reuben J., and John G. Jr. became partners in the company.
Miller worked on his first home at West Ninth and Randolph Streets. In 1897 he built a house at West Ninth and Washington for Wesley Williams. In 1907 he built the Melrose apartments and in 1912-13 the Colonial Apartments.
Milo Miller graduated from West High School in 1913 and attended Iowa State College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts from 1914 to 1916. In 1917 he entered the U.S. Army for service in World War I. He was a first lieutenant in the Air Service and served as an instructor at Kelly Field, Texas. After being honorably discharged from the Army, Miller returned to Waterloo and operated the Miller-Scoles Aero Co. until 1920. (This was the first company in Iowa to offer air passenger service.)
After 1920, Miller operated a Marmon automobile agency. He then served as agent for the Iowa Manufacturers Fire Insurance Company until 1929. He was assistant secretary of this firm until 1932, when he became secretary and manager of the company.
Charles and America Mullan arrived at Prairie Rapids in 1846. America was the sister of William Virden, who had come to the area from eastern Illinois in 1845 with George and Mary Hanna and Mary's brother, John Melrose. At the time of their arrival the only settlers in the Waterloo area were the families of George Hanna and William Virden. (William Sturgis and E.D. Adams lived at Cedar Falls.)
Charles Mullan was born November 10, 1811 in Eckland, Lycoming Co., Tennessee. He died August 27, 1874. Mullan was the first justice of the peace, the first postmaster, and the first surveyor in Waterloo. In 1853, he laid out the town and did the surveying. He donated land for the Burlington depot and contributed $1,000 cash for the railroad.
America (Virden) Mullan, Charles' wife, was born October 24, 1817 in Tompkinville, Kentucky. She was married November 24, 1842 and died November 20, 1902. Charles and America's children were: Charles W., J.W., H.C., W.H., S.D., Marion and Lizzie.
When the Mullans first arrived at Prairie Rapids Crossing, they built a cabin a short distance from the west bank of the river across a sloping prairie. One legend says the view reminded America Mullan of a picture she had seen of the battlefield in Belgium where Napoleon met his final defeat. As a result, she reputedly referred to the cabin site as "Waterloo."
In 1851, Charles Mullan traveled to Cedar Falls, site of the only local post office, to apply for a post office at Prairie Rapids. In the blank for the town's name, he wrote "Waterloo," with himself as postmaster. The postal application was signed by nine citizens and was approved using the name Waterloo. The village plat maps of 1854 also used Waterloo and the name stuck.
The Mullans occupied their log cabin until 1852. By then, lumber was available from the nearby sawmill and they built a substantial two-story frame house adjacent to their cabin. The house stood until 1966, when the property was sold for commercial development. An attempt was made to move the house, but it proved to be too deteriorated and was demolished. A rock bearing a marker is being stored by the Waterloo Parks Department until a suitable location can be found for its placement.
Nathan Northey was president of Herrick Refrigerator & Cold Storage Co. since 1904. The company was founded by his brother, Silas, and Silas' son, Fred. Northey moved to Waterloo in 1900 to join Silas in business. In 1904, Silas and Fred Northey established Northey Manufacturing Company and Nathan Northey and his son, Harry G., became president and secretary respectively, of Herrick Refrigerator Co.
In 1918 Olsen established the Pleasant View Dairy in Waterloo. After 1928, the business became known as Daylight Dairy. The plant at 1225 Commercial Street was erected in 1931.
Parker came to Waterloo in 1907 and formed a partnership with Charles H. Colby. Together they purchased the Stewart Transfer Line, establishing the Colby-Parker Transfer Line. By 1915, the company had 40 horses in teaming and contract work and employed 30 men. Parker also trained standardbred horses successfully before coming to Waterloo and continued training on a smaller scale in Waterloo with equal success. He married Ruth James in 1905.
Matt Parrott founded the company in 1868 after working as a bindery foreman for Fidlar & Chambers of Davenport. The firm began as Smart & Parrott. With his partner, J.J. Smart, Matt Parrott once owned a weekly newspaper, The Iowa State Reporter , which was sold to the Waterloo Courier in the early 1900s. Matt Parrott also served as mayor of Waterloo and lieutenant governor of Iowa from 1896 to 1898. He brought his three sons into the business. When Matt Parrott died in the early 1900s, his eldest son, W.C. Parrott, took over presidency of the company.
William F. was the son of Matt and Frances Field Parrott. He began his news writing and business career at an early age working for his father. He traveled through northeast Iowa by horse and buggy selling printing supplies and newspaper subscriptions and writing articles for the newspaper.
After the firm of Matt Parrott & Sons was incorporated in 1908, "Dad" Parrott continued his news writing with the establishment of Parrott Talks , a newspaper issued during each session of the Iowa legislature for 51 years. William was mayor of Cedar Heights in 1922 and served on the Cedar Heights board of education from 1922 to 1924. He attended every Republican National Convention since the early 1900s. He was co-founder of the Iowa Good Roads Association (the group responsible for river-to-river roads throughout northern Iowa.)
Lovane Parsons came to Waterloo in 1876 and on August 5th of that year established Parsons Music House. He began his store with one organ and one piano. Parsons Music House did both retail and wholesale business throughout the state. His first wife was Lillie Garrabrant who died in 1893. His second wife was Dr. Emma Dawson, who he married in 1896.
Robert Peterson came to Waterloo in 1895 with his parents. The firm of Nichols & Johnson owned and operated the old Electric Vaudeville Theater in downtown Waterloo before starting Electric Park on the outskirts of town. Peterson was associated with them in the operation of the theater and stayed on when they started the park around 1908. A few years after its establishment, the park was taken over by the Waterloo, Cedar Falls, & Northern Railway Co. Later (circa 1918), Peterson purchased the park from W., C.F., & N. and owned the park for the next 25 years.
Augustus Place came to Waterloo in 1870. (His father, Thomas Place, drove the first locomotive into Waterloo.) Augustus was a master mechanic for the Illinois Central Railroad shops for almost 50 years. The A.M. Place residence since 1900 was at 428 East Fourth Street. He was president of the Marsh Place Co. and of the First National Building Co., which built the Marsh Place Building and the First National Building in 1910 and 1912 respectively.
Leroy Potter moved to Waterloo in 1925 and became associated with the Ptak Ice Cream Co., which he purchased. He changed the name to Potter Ice Cream Co.
In 1902, L.J. Powers ran a general store in Powersville, near Nashua, Iowa. Powers opened a factory at 1340 Sycamore Street in Waterloo to manufacture horse collars filled with cotton lint (the cottonseed oil seemed to heal sores developed on the horses' necks from constant wearing of collars.) The collars were called "Lankford Patent Cotten Filled Humane Horse Collars." Powers was the first to design and manufacture the striped black and white referee's shirt. Currently (1993), the company specializes in athletic clothing.
E. F. Rath became a member of the meat packing firm of George Rath & Son in Dubuque in 1887. This plant was destroyed by fire in 1891 and that same year the Rath Packing Company in Waterloo was organized. It was incorporated on November 24, 1891 with $25,000 capital. E.F. Rath married Anna Kudobe in 1891.
J. W. Rath's father, John Rath, was born in Germany but, after coming to the United States, enlisted in 1862 and served three years in the Civil War. John's brother, George (J.W.'s uncle), was killed at the battle of Lookout Mountain.
John W. Rath attended business college in Chicago then returned to Ackley, Iowa to work in his brother's bank. He came to Waterloo in 1891 and, with his cousin, E.F. Rath, founded the Rath Packing Co. that same year. John W. served as President from 1898 to 1943. He was Chairman of the Board of Directors from 1943 to 1950. The John W. Rath residence was at 225 Highland. His wife was Maud Harbin.
Moses Ricker came to Waterloo in 1870 and entered into a dry goods business called Ricker, Russ & Co. This business was destroyed by fire but rebuilt. He also entered into the lumber trade in 1873, when he purchased the senior partner interest in the firm of Allee & Lindley, forming Ricker & Lindley. In 1885, Ricker bought out Lindley and, in 1888, Ricker brought Charles P. Bratnober into the business, renaming it Ricker & Bratnober. In 1893 the business was incorporated as Ricker & Bratnober Lumber Company. W.M. Stewart was admitted to the partnership at this time.
Ricker also established B.L. Willis Lumber Co. as a wholesale lumber and sawmill business. In 1894 they began cutting lumber in the northern pine forests and greatly expanded their sawmill operations. Ricker & Lindley (while in Waterloo) also planned and founded the town of Whittier, California in 1886 or 1887. Ricker's wife was Jennie Conger; they were married May 14, 1873.
Rensselaar Russell came to Waterloo from New York in 1856 at the age of 19. He had been in the dry goods business before heading west, but in Iowa he prospered in banking and real estate. Russell was first associated with Martin Moore for two years in banking and land. In 1860, he took over the banking business of Hosford and Miller, which had been in Waterloo since 1854. Russell's was one of five banks in the town at that time.
Russell operated a wholesale grocery business in Waterloo until 1886. He was also responsible for erecting several large buildings along Commercial Street. The largest of these was the Paul Davis Dry Goods Store, destroyed by fire in 1914. He erected the Russell Block adjoining the Russell-Lamson Building in 1859. Russell erected a 22'x60' structure and Robinson built a 20'x60' structure on the same block. C.J. Plato operated a bank in one of these buildings and Robinson operated a wholesale leather company.
Russell purchased the block bounded by West Third, West Second, South, and Washington Streets in 1857. Here, he built his house, which is now maintained as a museum of the period. Along with the Barnum-Bryant-Dempster House, built in Cedar Falls in 1862, the Rensselaar Russell House vividly represents the Italiante style of architecture that flourished in the United States during the mid-19th century. He was married in 1853 to Caroline M. Richards. Their daughter, Lillian, became the wife of Clyde Orrin Lamson.
Otto Schoitz, a Danish immigrant who once raced at the Indianapolis speedway, formed the Schoitz Engineering Works, Inc. in 1919 with his wife Charlotte. Located in the 200 block of West Sixth Street, the company was one of the state's first tool and dye shops.
Schoitz may be best known, however, for his philanthropic qualities in giving thousands of dollars to local charities. After his wife's death in 1943, he donated her company shares and additional money to build the Charlotte Lee Schoitz Memorial Hospital. (Schoitz Hospital later became part of Covenant Medical Center.) It was estimated that Otto donated more than $500,000 to the hospital during his lifetime. Schoitz spoke to a Courier reporter in 1966 and said, "Some people like to accumulate a lot of money. To what purpose? I just figure you can't take it with you when you die." He died in 1968. The company moved to Highway 63 in 1969 and is still in operation today (1993).
Sedgwick came to Waterloo in 1881 and entered the abstract business, incorporating Sedgwick-Lichty Abstract Co. He was elected president of Leavitt & Johnson National Bank in 1906 and was also president of Waterloo Candy Co. He married Carrie A. Cobb on November 10, 1886.
Sherwood was a 1902 graduate of West High School. He became associated in Sherwood Greenhouses with his father, Charles. In 1929, Albert operated the business in partnership with his brothers, Herbert W. and Frank H.
When Charles Sherwood first came to Waterloo he worked in Mr. Fowler's greenhouse. He soon established his own greenhouse and later moved the business to 550 Conger Street where he had over 50,000 feet of glassed greenhouses. He also had a downtown store on East Fourth Street. Sherwood's wife was Mary J. Huggins.
William Snowden was a pioneer businessman who came to Waterloo in 1860 from Pittsburgh. He opened a drug store and stationery business in 1865, but also sold such items as paint, oil, glass and dye. This store remained in operation until 1903.
Snowden's family moved to California after his death and Snowden House was turned into a duplex. Mrs. Snowden sold the house in 1899 to Lillian Russell Lamson, daughter of Rensselaar Russell and wife of Clyde Lamson. Today (1993), it houses the Waterloo Women's Club.
F.C. Stetzel came to Waterloo in June of 1900. He graduated from Iowa State College of Agriculture at Ames, Iowa in 1898. He taught school in the winter and later attended the University of Minnesota and Drake University, graduating from the law department in 1901. In 1900 he came to work at the Waterloo Skirt & Garment Co. and, in 1910, was elected secretary and a member of the board of directors. He also had an interest with his brother in the Waterloo Office Supply Co. and was a stockholder of Black Hawk National Bank.
Stetzel's wife was Pearl McWilliams who graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree from Iowa State College in Ames in 1898. She taught school for 6-8 terms and was connected with the Waterloo & Cedar Falls Union Mill Company for a number of years.
Roy L. Stetzel was the manager of Waterloo Office Supply company which was established in 1909 by Roy L. and F.C. Stetzel.
Stewart came to Waterloo in 1898 and worked as an architect, designing the Ellis Hotel, among other buildings. In 1902 he patented a cement block machine and in 1905 organized the Cement Tile Machinery Co. He married Ella Allen in 1884.
On December 13, 1852 a 160-acre plot of land was sold by William Joshua Barney, to Zimri Streeter for $130, or 80 cents an acre.
Streeter came to Iowa from Illinois, bringing his possessions and teams of oxen across the Mississippi River by ferry. The land he purchased in Black Hawk County was well-situated near the wagon trail from Waterloo to Cedar Falls. Streeter became an active politician in Iowa, helping to form the Republican Party, and was a member of the Iowa House of Representatives. He made the long trip to Des Moines on horseback and stayed until the session was over.
Zimri Streeter was the grandfather of author Bess Streeter Aldrich, who wrote 13 novels and 160 short stories during her career. The land on which Zimri and Lucinda Streeter farmed and raised their family was purchased for the Waterloo Municipal Airport in 1943. Control-O-Fax now (1993) occupies the original homestead site.
Nicholas Sulentic immigrated from Austria to the United States in 1906, living in Illinois and Wyoming before coming to Waterloo in 1916 to enter the grocery store business with his brother. Their business was located at the intersection of East Fourth and Adams Streets in a two-story brick building. He became president of North Waterloo Meat Co. and operated Pinkerton's grocery and bakery, the city's first supermarket, in 1921.
He established a small factory on East Fourth Street but found the design of the valve spring compressor he had purchased was already protected by a patent. So, he invented his own device, a valve spring lifter, and combined it with a compressor. This device enabled garage mechanics to more easily gain access to parts within an engine. He founded Waterloo Valve Spring Compressor Co. in 1922. The company prospered and diversified from making tools to tool chests. During the early 1930s, Sulentic was also president of Holt Products Co., a manufacturer of oat hullers.
He was active in the political movement for an independent Croatia. Following World War II, Sulentic helped many refugees and displaced persons emigrate to the United States.
Hugh Van Pelt was a graduate of the State Agricultural College of Iowa in 1903. He then worked as a professor of the dairy husbandry department at the college and manager of the state dairy farm from 1906 to 1909. Van Pelt planned and established the Dairy Cattle Congress while working as a dairy expert for the state of Iowa. He was also president of the Shoemaker-Van Pelt-Mayne Co. and vice president of the Fred L. Kimball Co. Van Pelt's wife was Stella Calhoon. They were married in 1906.
Vaughan attended the Iowa State Normal School in Cedar Falls. He moved to Waterloo in 1885 and established Holmes & Vaughan, a farm implement business. He became sole proprietor of the business in 1890. Vaughan also served on the Y.M.C.A. Board for 25 years. He had the distinction of laying the cornerstone for two new Y.M.C.A. buildings. He was also one of the organizers of the Chautauqua and of the Dairy Cattle Congress.
Vaughan helped organize the Waterloo National Bank and reorganized the Leavitt and Johnson National Bank. James and his brother, M.C. Vaughan, along with two others, developed Waterloo's first industrial addition. In 1917, Vaughan moved to Des Moines to help merge several private colleges into one institution -- Des Moines University. He returned to Waterloo in 1923.
Oscar Virden married Love C. Powell on February 12, 1846 and the couple came to Black Hawk Co. in 1851. The only other residents of the county at that time were the G.W. Hanna family, the Charles Mullan family, and James Virden. Charles Mullan was the brother of Mrs. Oscar Virden and James Virden was a relative of Oscar.
The Virdens chose to build their cabin on a high portion of ground about three and one half miles southwest of Waterloo. In talking of the early days, Virden said, "When I came here one could look south over Orange and Eagle townships with nothing to obstruct the view. There was not a tree or a shrub, only tall, waving grass."
Friends of the Hannas from Illinois, William Virden, his wife and daughter, arrived in 1845 and erected a cabin near the Hannas. In 1846 James Virden visited his brother, William, liked what he saw, and entered a claim near the rapids.
Sloane Wallace received his master's degree from the University of Chicago. He was principal at Waterloo's West High School for 18 years before being elected superintendent of the West Waterloo school district on November 23, 1923.
Although Wangler was in Waterloo previously, when he returned in 1878, he and his brother, R.C., purchased the drug business of Carpenter & Smith. The first Wangler Brothers store was on East Fourth Street and the next on the corner of East Fourth and Lafayette Streets. Later, the firm became Wangler Brothers & Todd. In 1900 the Wangler Drug Company was organized as a wholesale drug business with C.D. Wangler as president. Wangler's wife was Kathryn Landgraf.
While Welty was employed by Matt Parrott & Sons as a blank book salesman and auditor in 1903, he took up the sale of fountain pens as a sideline. After hearing numerous complaints of leaking, blotting and dropping of pens, Welty decided to invent a new design of fountain pen. Perfecting his design, he applied for a patent December 6, 1904, which was granted November 7, 1905. Another patent was granted October 30, 1906. Welty began getting orders for his new pen. Expansion of the business was so rapid that it was incorporated in March of 1913 as the William A. Welty Company.
Louis Witry became a machinist apprentice in the Illinois Central Railroad shops when just 15 years old. He devoted much of his life to the study and perfection of the internal combustion engine. Witry began his association with Waterloo Gasoline Engine Co. in 1897 when he was 27 years old. He refined the two-cylinder engine until it was hailed as the most efficient in the tractor field. When the company became the John Deere Tractor Works Co. on March 27, 1918, Witry was elected vice president.