Biography of H. M. Havner
Iowa County, IA Biographies





H. M. Havner, of Popham & Havner, of Marengo, stands in the first rank at the bar of Iowa county and is widely known among the members of the legal profession throughout the state. He has announced that he will be the candidate for the republican nomination for attorney general of Iowa at the primaries in the spring of 1916 and he is admirably fitted by ability, training and experience for filling that responsible position. One of his marked characteristics is aggressiveness, and throughout his career he has manifested a sincere devotion to the public welfare.

Mr. Havner was born on the 22d of November, 1871, in Wayne county, Iowa, a son of John and Rachel (Moore) Havner, natives respectively of North Carolina and of Ohio. The paternal grandparents, who were of German descent, were both natives of North Carolina, whence, in 1854, they removed with their family to Wayne county, Iowa, where the grandfather entered government land, which he farmed until he died at about seventy years of age. John Havner was but a boy when he came to Iowa and was reared and educated in this state. He remained upon the home farm until 1862, when he enlisted in Company I, Fourth Iowa Volunteer Cavalry, with which he served until the close of the Civil war. Following the restoration of peace he returned to Wayne county, Iowa, and began farming on his own account. He was a very successful agriculturist and at the time of his death, which occurred when he was fifty five years of age as the result of an accident, he owned over four hundred acres of valuable land. He was a man of much force of claracter and his achievements were due entirely to his own energy and determination. He was a republican and his religious faith was that of the Methodist church, in the work of which he took an active part. Our subject's maternal grandfather, Burris Moore, was of Scotch-Irish extraction, although the family was established in the United States prior to the Revolutionary war. He and his wife removed to Wayne county, Iowa, in 1856 and there followed agricultural pursuits, although while living in Columbus, Ohio, he engaged in milling and contracting. He was also county surveyor of Wayne county for many years and likewise held the office of county supervisor. He passed away when seventy two years of age in the faith of the Methodist Episcopal church. Mrs. Rachel Havner was a child when she accompanied her parents to Iowa and was reared and educated in this state. She was a devoted member of the Methodist Episcopal church and was highly esteemed by all who knew her. Her demise occurred on the 17th of May, 1913, when she was seventy years old. She left four children, namely: Frank O., H. M., Nellie E., and Lucian E.

H. M. Havner was reared on the home farm and attended the district schools in the acquirement of his early education. When seventeen years of age he began teaching and followed that profession during two winters. He carefully saved his money and in 1892 entered Simpson College at Indianola. He paid his own way through that institution and also through the law department of the State University of Iowa, from which he was graduated in 1899. In fitting himself for a lawyer he manifested the same qualities of determination and initiative that have since brought him such signal success at the bar. In June, 1899, he formed a. partnership with R. G. Popham for the practice of law at Marengo and the two young men located in this city without capital and without friends. It was not long, however, before the firm secured clients and, as they were very successful in the conduct of their trial cases, their practice grew steadily and rapidly, and they are now recognized as one of the strongest legal firms of this part of the state. When Mr. Havner located in Marengo there were fifteen saloons in Iowa county and every drug store had a permit, but, as the result of a long and bitter fight against the liquor interests, at the present time there is neither a saloon nor a permit in the county. This victory for the "dry" forces is in large measure due to the legal skill and moral courage of Mr. Havner, and he was also instrumental in driving out the saloons from Oskaloosa. His success in Marengo and Oskaloosa led to his being retained by the opponents of saloons in Des Moines and after protracted litigation succeeded in closing up the saloons in the capital city. The trial of the first Des Moines case in which he represented the "dry" forces lasted three months and the last case took half of that time. He has also gained considerable reputation as a criminal lawyer and one of the most important cases in which his firm was engaged was that of the State versus Von Kutzleben, in which the defendant was accused of murder. The trial grew out of the famous Homestead train wreck and consumed two weeks. Mr. Havner, who represented the defendant, examined one hundred and fifty witnesses and, although his client was convicted at the first trial, a reversal was secured and at the second trial he was acquitted. Mr. Havner's supreme court practice has been extensive and in cases where his firm has been the appellant he has lost but two appeals, which speaks highly for his ability. His general practice has been very extensive and he has held his own with the best attorneys of the state, proving his right to a place among the leaders of the Iowa bar. A number of times his firm has conducted litigation directly involving many thousands of dollars and his fees as a lawyer have reached quite a large figure. He has a profound knowledge of the fundamentals of the law, possesses the faculty of going surely and directly to the vital point of a matter, brings to his support every authority that will sustain his proposition and drives his points home with convincing power. He has the highest conception of the function of the law, believes that it should express the moral judgments of men and arise out of the needs of human life, and in his practice has always sought to serve the cause of justice. At the present time the adequate enforcement of state wide prohibition is greatly desired by the people of Iowa and it is important that an attorney general be secured who will see that the law prohibiting the sale of alcoholic drinks is strictly enforced. Mr. Havner's experience in ridding Marengo, Oskaloosa and Des Moines of saloons, his marked legal ability and his fearlessness and resoluteness of character all qualify him for the position.

Mr. Havner was married January 3, 1900, to Miss Ada Dean, of Griswold, Iowa, and they have two daughters, Ada and Rachel. His political allegiance is given to the republican party and although he has for a number of years been a leader in its local ranks, he has never heretofore been a candidate for public office. In 1912 he was made alternate delegate to the national convention at Chicago from the second district of Iowa. In 1898, when President McKinley called for volunteers for service against Spain, Mr. Havner enlisted in Company I, Fiftieth Iowa Volunteer Infantry, and was with that regiment as a noncommissioned officer until it was mustered out of the service. He belongs to the Masonic order and to the Methodist Episcopal church, and the principles which guide his conduct are found in the teachings of those organizations. In 1908 and in 1912 he represented the Iowa conference at the general conferences of the Methodist Episcopal church and is now a member of the book committee, which is the most powerful committee of that church. For ten or twelve years he has been officially connected with banking interests of Marengo, and he owns extensive tracts of land in Iowa and other states. Not only is his ability universally recognized wherever he is known, but he also has many personal friends who hold him in warm regard.

From:
History of Iowa County, Iowa
And its People
By: James C. Dinwiddie
Vol II
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co.
Chiago 1915


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