JOHN W. BITTENBENDER.
The All Grow Seed House, located at No. 1820 West Montgomery street, is well known to the residents of Knoxville
and Marion county and its proprietor, John W. Bittenbender, is recognized as a man of initiative and sound business
judgment. He has resided at Knoxville since 1871 and during those years has thoroughly identified himself with
the interests of the community. He was born in Schuylkill county, Pennsylvania, in July, 1855, a son of John and
Mary (Bitting) Bittenbender. The father was likewise a native of the Keystone state and was a son of Jacob Bittenbender,
a native of Holland, who as a young man emigrated to America in company with two brothers. He made his way to Pennsylvania
and devoted his life to farming in that state. John Bittenbender was reared in Pennsylvania and was there married,
but in April, 1871, he removed to Marion county, Iowa, locating on the site now occupied by the home of our subject.
He invested heavily in land and held title to a number of farms, but lived retired for several years before his
death, which occurred in the fall of 1876, when he was fifty six years of age. At the time of the Civil war he
furnished a substitute. He was very successful as a farmer both in Pennsylvania and in Iowa and accumulated more
than a competence. He and his wife were both members of the Lutheran church. She was also a native of Pennsylvania,
her people being early settlers of Schuylkill county, that state. Her father died when he was seventy two years
of age and her mother when eighty four. All of her ancestors as far back as the line has been traced lived to an
advanced age. She herself died in the spring of 1902, when eighty nine years old. She was the mother of six children,
namely: Nelson residing upon the outskirts of Knoxville; Levi, who is living retired in Knoxville; Carrie, the
wife of Edward Wright, of Fort Collins, Colorado; John W., of this review; Samuel, deceased; and Stephen, of Redwood,
John W. Bittenbender attended school in Pennsylvania, as he lived there until a youth of sixteen years. For many
years he has kept a large apiary and has exhibited for twenty seven years at the Iowa State Fair. At the 1914 fair
he took one hundred and seventy one prizes and for a number of years he has been awarded a larger amount of money
in premiums than any other exhibitor in his line. He has patented a number of improvements in the structure of
bee hives and manufactures hives, which find a large sale. A number of years ago he lost heavily through a severe
fire and in the rearrangement of his affairs made necessary by that disaster he embarked in the seed business,
which he is conducting at present as well as his apiary. He imports bulbs, seeds, etc., and his goods live up to
their name, "All Grow." He has modernly equipped greenhouses and as he understands the effects of variations
in soil, heat, light and moisture, and sees that all the conditions are favorable to the growth of his plants,
his business is increasing steadily.
Mr. Bittenbender was married in Knoxville to Miss Christine Jordan, who was born in Lee county, Iowa, of German
parentage. In the early days her father sought for gold in California but later settled in Lee county, this state,
where he farmed for a number of years. In the later '60s he removed to Marion county, where he resided until his
death in 1892. Mr. and Mrs. Bittenbender have one son living, William R., who is associated with his father in
business. He married Miss Ethel Mark and they have three daughters: Helen, Frances and Collen, aged respectively
eight, six and four years.
Mr. Bittenbender of this review, his wife and also their son and daughter in law, are members of the Christian
church and take a commendable interest in its work. He is a republican and for the past eighteen years has served
as township clerk. In addition to his greenhouses, his apiary and his residence Mr. Bittenbender owns a good orchard
and several city lots. He has resided in the same block since 1871, although at that date his home was in the country.
His warmest friends are those who have known him since his early youth and this is proof of the reliability and
uprightness of his character.
History of Marion County, Iowa
And its People
John W. Wright, Supervising Editor
W. A. Young, Associate
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co.
Marion County, IA
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