J. W. BIDDINGER.
Among the more important and profitable commercial enterprises of Quasqueton is the well appointed drug store owned
and conducted by J. W. Biddinger, who has been continuously connected with the trade in this city since 1903. He
is a native son of Quasqueton, born in 1862 His father, Henry Biddinger, was born in Tuscarawas county, Ohio, July
9, 1826, and in early life learned the harness maker's trade in Marion, Iowa, having come to this state in 1854,
the journey being made across the country in the primitive manner of travel in those days. He lived in Marion for
several years and then came to Buchanan county, settling in Quasqueton, where he was engaged in business as a harness
maker and dealer for forty one years. People came from Dubuque to Quasqueton, driving over the prairies to trade
with him. Conditions were those of pioneer life and on all sides were seen evidences of the fact that this was
a frontier region. Quasqueton was then the largest town in the county. There was plenty of wild game to be had,
for the unsettled condition of the prairies gave ample feeding ground for all kinds of wild game commonly found
in this latitude at an early day.
Mr. Biddinger was united in marriage to Miss Melissa McBee, who was born in Terre Haute, Indiana, February 27,
1832, and they became the parents of five children, of whom J. W. Biddinger is the eldest son and the only one
now living in this county. The death of the father occurred in 1898, when he had reached the age of seventy two
years, and the mother passed away in 1895. They were consistent and active members of the Baptist church, in which
Mr. Biddinger held various offices, while in the organization of the early church he took an active and helpful
part. He was a man of high and honorable principles and throughout his life was ever loyal to the sterling characteristics
of upright manhood.
J. W. Biddinger attended school in Quasqueton until fourteen years of age, when he entered a school of medicine
at Des Moines, becoming a student in Highland Park College of that city. He afterward took up the study of pharmacy
at Highland Park and was graduated therefrom when twenty one years of age. He then secured a situation in Cedar
Rapids, being employed in a drug store there for seven years, after which he spent three years as clerk in a drug
store in Omaha, Nebraska. He afterward went to Thurman, Iowa, where he had charge of a store until 1898, when he
took a trip to Alaska, being in the far northwest at the time of his father's death. He remained there for a year
and a half and with a number of companions with whom he had journeyed to the northwest he laid out claims which
they worked for gold. On one occasion a vessel on which he was a passenger was shipwrecked on a glacier. He tramped
all over Alaska and is familiar with every phase of its pioneer development. In 1900 he returned td Iowa and in
1903 again came to Quasqueton, where be opened the drug store of which he is now proprietor and which for eleven
years he has conducted with growing success. He also owns land in this county but devotes the major part of his
attention to the drug trade.
In 1884 Mr. Biddinger was united in marriage to Miss Hermina Cooper and they have a daughter, Nellie J., who is
the wife of C. Hanson, a music dealer of Oelwein. Mr. Biddinger takes no active part in politics nor is he associated
with any lodges. When leisure permits, he spends his time in fishing and hunting and greatly enjoys those sports,
but his attention is concentrated upon his commercial activities and he is today one of the leading and prosperous
merchants of his native town.
History of Bachanan County, Iowa
And its People
By Harry Church and Katharyn J. Chappell
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co.
Bachanan County, IA
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