He died Sunday morning at 2:00
o’clock and the town mourns the loss of one of its very first
citizens. A kindly,
genial, lovable man, he had ingratiated himself into the
affections of our entire people and we presume he had no enemy
in all the community. The town has sat at his bedside for weeks, if not in body at
least in thought and mind, waiting anxiously for good tidings of
a betterment in his condition: hoping against hope that his
dreadful malady might be conquered and that the venerable man
might be spared to them for many years to come.
But it was not to be, and he has gone from among us and
his familiar presence will henceforth be no part of our little
city’s busy life. Born
in Fayette county, Ohio on April 7, 1832, Harmon Henkle was the
second child of his father’s family and was eight years of age
when he came with them to Iowa.
He was reared and educated in Washington county, pursuing
his studies in a log schoolhouse there such as was common at the
arriving at the age of maturity he was married in Washington
county in 1854 to Lydia J. Wartenbee, a native of Ohio, who came
in early girlhood to Iowa, and who was a faithful and helpful
companion. To this marriage were born five children; three of whom are
living: Ella, now the wife of E. M.
Ritchey, of Keota, Watson D. who married Emma Hunter and
is a farmer of Van Buren county: and Clara, the wife of E. E.
Bower, a general merchant of Keota, carrying on business as a
member of the firm of Bower & Sanders.
After his marriage Mr. Henkle
located in Richmond, Washington county where he followed
carpentering until about 1859, when he removed to Iowa county.
There he engaged in farming for two years and in the
spring of 1861 took up his abode at a place which has since been
called Henkletown, trading his farm property for a saw mill
there. He was then
engaged in the manufacture of lumber until the close of the war
and in the meantime he also turned his attention to general
merchandising, which he followed successfully until his removal
In 1872 this town was laid out and Mr. Henkle became one of
its first merchants, erecting the second or third building of
the place. He and
his partner removed their stock of goods from Henkletown and
conducted a general store in Keota until 1886, and in addition
carried on an extensive lumber business under the firm of Henkle,
Littler & Co. This
partnership was maintained for several years.
About 1886 he purchased a third interest in a steam grist
mill at Keota and carried on general merchandising in connection
with his milling interests, his enterprise contributing
materially to the upbuilding and substantial improvement of the
town. In August
1891, he removed his mill to Weiser, Idaho, where he conducted
business until July, 1899, when he sold his interest in the mill
and returned to his home here in Keota.
Mr. Henkle has also been a factor in agricultural interests
here, owning and operating a farm in Lafayette township,
adjoining Keota. He
became interested in banking affairs here as one of the
stockholders of the Keota Bank, which in 1890 was transformed
into the Sate Bank. Of
this institution he was the vice president for many years and
its successful conduct is due in no small degree to his efforts.
S.S. Wright, who probably knew him as well and as intimately
as any man in town, pays this fine tribute to Harmon Henkle’s
versatility as a business man:
That he never knew another man who was so thoroughly able
to step into any position, in any line of business, and fill it with such ability and credit as was
this man. His
capacity in this thing amounted almost to genius.
First of all he was a successful, practical farmer, which
of itself is accomplishment enough for one man.
Then he was a good carpenter and builder; he knew how to
do things with his hands. In
general merchandising he was thoroughly at home.
Milling had no secrets from him.
He was equally at his ease behind the counters of a bank.
The lumber business was an open book to him.
He was a success at any line of endeavor he chose to
adaptability is given to but few men.
Mr. Henkle was converted in 1886 and on Feb. 10th
united with the Baptist Church of Keota and was a consistent
member thereof to the day of his death, holding the offices of
deacon and trustee. He
was very kind and liberal, always ready to help the needy.
He was a man who filled a large place in life.
His counsel was often sought, his judgment never
questioned. In his
Christian work he was quiet and unassuming.
He made no striking demonstrations but in a quiet way he
worked. He did not
talk, but he performed. He
had virtues which
all men could do well to imitate, and because of these things we
feel that a kind husband, a loving father, a true friend, a wise
counselor and a devoted Christian has been taken from us.
Mr. Henkle was prominent in Masonic circles and an exemplary
brother in that order, belonging to Adelphi Lodge No. 353,
Ancient, Free and Accepted Masons.
He was a staunch Republican in his political views.
His fellow citizens honored him repeatedly with offices
of trust. No man
took a more active or helpful interest in Keota than he, and he
continually wrought along the lines of the greatest good to the
greatest number. He
was totally devoid of ostentation or vain display of any sort,
knowing the value of earthly things at their true measure,
living his life as simply and unpretentiously as possible.
He was 72 years, 11 months and 12 days of age at the time of
his death. Funeral
services were held at the Baptist church on Tuesday afternoon at
2:00 o’clock, conducted by Rev. George Sneath jointly with the
Masonic fraternity and the body was taken to the Keota Cemetery
The Eagle extends its sympathies to the bereaved and