This obituary of Harmon Henkle (Hinkle) comprised most of the front page of the Keota Eagle on March 23, 1905.  Henkle died on March 19, 1905.  Henkle obituary /biography below:


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 time.  After 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 to Keota. 

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 follow.  Such 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 for Burial.  

The Eagle extends its sympathies to the bereaved and sorrowing relatives.


 An Appreciation

Hardly have I recovered from the shock, occasioned by reading in the “Eagle” of the death of my very choice friend and Christian brother Harmon Henkle.  Words would fail me were I to try to express what his friendship has ever been to me.  Nor could I begin to reveal the wise counsel I ever found in this dear brother in those first days of my ministry.  Whenever I made a confidence of him, I did so with the full assurance that what I confided to him was as sacred as though I had whispered it into the ear of God.  Many a time when not knowing which way to turn or what to do in an emergency I found direction, both wise and trustworthy, in going to him, and that too when he had burdens and cares without number of his own.

While he never said much as to his Christian experience, and never boasted of his growth in grace, his religion was the kind that makes the other man better, and silently wins followers for the Master.  Generous he was to a fault; in the five years that I was his pastor never did I make an appeal to him in the interest of any good cause but that he made a quiet and cheerful response.  He was one among several as noble and devoted men in the Keota Baptist church as it has ever been my privilege to know. 


Already have I cut out of the “Eagle” the best newspaper obituary that I have ever read, and put it away among my personal effects, many times to re-read when memory recalls a true, tried and valued friend and fellow soldier under the Banner of the Cross.  Today he is with our Lord, and one day when the mists have rolled away, I shall see him as he is, and never to be broken, our comradeship will be renewed and made glorious by the presence and worship of our “Elder Brother” Jesus Christ the Lord of glory.  –FREDERICK B. PALMER.  Chariton, Iowa

 Post Office Closed

Postmaster Hulse wired the Postmaster General at Washington, D.C., for leave to close the the post office Tuesday during the funeral of Harmon Henkle, out of respect for the prominent part Mr. Henkle had taken in the building of the new room. He received immediate and gracious permission, which shows that this big Government of ours is not wholly devoid of the finer sensibilities – that it is not a mere cold machine but at heart is capable of taking into account the pathos of human affairs at times.


Another column is broken.  Our worthy brother Harmon Henkle has been called from labor to refreshment.  In sorrow and sadness we mourn his departure.  But the Master’s orders must be obeyed, hence we humbly bow in submission, yet rejoice in the thought that a rough ashlar is transformed into a perfect living stone in that house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.

 Our brother was a skilled craftsman and the memory of his work will linger long with us.  Charity, the greatest of all Masonic virtues, was his dominant trait and we shall miss him. 

Resolved, That we offer our tenderest sympathy to the bereaved family, and record this tribute to his memory on our minute books. 

Hall of Adelphi Lodge, No. 353, Ancient, Free and Accepted Masons, Keota, Iowa.

 J.C. Clarke, M.A. Hulse, J.M. Chesney


These people from out of town were here in attendance at the funeral of Harmon Henkle Tuesday: his brother S.W. Henkle of Earlham, Iowa: his son, W.D. Henkle, and wife, of Selma, Iowa: Mrs. L.W. Hutchinson, of Muscatine: and his granddaughters Mrs. J.E. Witmer, of What Cheer and Miss Pearl A. Ritchey of Bloomington, Illinois.

Note: The ghosttown of Henkletown (Hinkletown), which bears Henkle's name, is located ten miles directly north of Keota on the Iowa / Keokuk county line.   Hinkletown flourished as a prairie town on the southern leg of the Diamond Trail in the 1860s and 70s, however, began its decline when Henkle moved his general merchandizing, lumber, milling and banking interests to Keota in March 1872.  If you have information or photographs of Harmon Henkle or Henkletown, Iowa, please contact us!

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