Biography of Hon. Henry W. Spaulding
Poweshiek County, IA Biographies





Hon. Henry W. Spaulding, one of the most prominent and leading citizens of Poweshiek county, is at the head of the Spaulding Manufacturing Company, makers of carriages and automobiles at Grinnell and one of the largest manufacturing firms in the west. In the fall of 1910 he was honored by election to the state senate, now representing the twelfth district in that body.

His birth occurred in the northern part of Vermont on the 29th of June, 1846. When still but a boy he removed with his parents to a farm in Orange county, that state, continuing to reside thereon until nineteen years of age, when he bought his time from his mother and started out in business life on his own account. After working at various occupations for two years he built a shop in Chelsea, Vermont, hired a good blacksmith and began to learn the blacksmith's trade, occasionally building a buggy. In the course of a year or more, having two or three finished buggies on hand and creditors pressing him for money which was due them for stock, he took two buggies, hitching one behind the other, and started out to sell them. Having made the sales, he returned and settled his most pressing debts. This was the origin of the trailing system, which has been followed by the Spaulding Manufacturing Company for the past thirty five years with success. After carrying on business in Chelsea for about two years, H. W. Spaulding sold out and went to work as a journeyman smith in different shops. About two years later he entered the service of Jacob Estey & Company, organ manufacturers of Brattleboro, Vermont, and at the end of about three months was put in charge of their blacksmithing department. He remained with the firm of Jacob Estey & Company for about three years and then went on the road for the Wiley & Russell Manufacturing Company of Greenfield, Massachusetts, manufacturers of screw cutting machines, selling machinery for about four years and traveling as far west as Iowa and also into Canada.

This state impressed him favorably and on the nth of April, 1876, he took up his abode in Grinnell, here beginning business as a blacksmith and carriage manufacturer on a small scale. The first year he turned out about fifteen new vehicles, annually increasing the number until on the 1st of January, 1883, he was manufacturing about three hundred and fifty carriages a year. On the 17th of June, 1882, owing to a disastrous cyclone, Mr. Spaulding sustained a heavy loss financially and also suffered severe physical injuries. On the 1st of January, 1883, he sold a half interest in the business to A. P. Phillips & Son, the name of the firm becoming Spaulding, Phillips & Company. Their business gradually increased until on the 1st of January, 1887, they were taking care of eight hundred jobs a year. At that time Phillips & Son withdrew and M. Snyder held their interest for one year, the name of the concern being Spaulding & Snyder. Their annual output was nine hundred vehicles. On the 1st of January, 1888, Craver, Steele & Austin purchased the half interest of Mr. Snyder, who retired. The firm then continued business under the style of Spaulding & Company and in 1888 manufactured two thousand vehicles. Wishing to push their Headers, Craver, Steele & Austin withdrew from the company and Mr. Spaulding conducted business independently for one year. On the 1st of January, 1890, M. Snyder and William Miles each bought a fourth interest in the concern, the name of which was changed to the Spaulding Manufacturing Company. At the end of a year Mr. Spaulding purchased Mr. Snyder's interest, then owning three fourths of the business. In the decade between 1890 and 1900 the output of the company was increased from two thousand to four thousand vehicles annually. On the 8th of March, 1893, the Spaulding Manufacturing Company sustained a loss by fire of from fifty five to sixty thousand dollars, and the insurance paid thereon was eighteen thousand five hundred dollars. On the 1st of January, 1900, F. E. and E. H. Spaulding, sons of H. W. Spaulding, bought out William Miles and have since remained partners of their father, holding a third interest each. In 1903 the concern manufactured and sold six thousand and one vehicles, while at the present time their annual output numbers ten thousand vehicles and employment is furnished to three hundred people. Their vehicles are sold direct to the consumers and find a ready sale in all the southern, western and northwestern states. For the past two years they have also manufactured automobiles. The plant of the company covers almost an entire block and a part of another. The house from the beginning has sustained a reputation for undoubted integrity and reliability in its methods that has made the name of Spaulding a synonym for commercial honor in Grinnell.

Mr. Spaulding is now and for about fourteen years past has been a trustee of Grinnell College, manifesting a deep and helpful interest in the institution. He is likewise a prominent factor in financial circles as the president of the Citizens National Bank of Grinnell and is a director in many other institutions. He deserves great credit.for what he has accomplished, since his prosperity is entirely due to his own labor, his utilization of opportunity and his persistency of purpose.

Mr. Spaulding has been twice married. In October, 1872, he wedded Miss Miriam J. Lull, by whom he had three sons, gamely: Harry E., who died at the age of twelve years; F. E.; and E. H. The wife and mother was called to her final rest in 1888 and in 1903 Mr. Spaulding was again married, his second union being with Miss Aimee M. Haight, whose birth occurred near Aurora, Kane county, Illinois, January 4, 1870. They are the parents of two daughters, Alice C. and Henryetta W., both of whom were born in Grinnell.

In politics Mr. Spaulding is a stanch republican and his fellow townsmen. recognizing his worth and ability, have called him to several positions of public trust. For one term he served as councilman and for a similar period discharged the responsible duties devolving upon him as mayor of Grinnell. In the fall of 1910 he was elected to the state senate from the twelfth district, comprising Keokuk and Poweshiek counties. In that body he is now ably and creditably serving, taking an active part in the business that is transacted in council chariibers of the state. His religious faith is indicated by his membership in the Congregational church, to which his wife also belongs and of which he is a trustee. In all of his business relations Mr. Spaulding has been thoroughly reliable and in his treatment of employes is just and considerate. Without the aid of influence or wealth he has risen to a position among the most prominent men of Iowa and his native genius and acquired ability are the stepping stones on which he has mounted.

From:
History of Poweshiek County, Iowa
A Record of settlement, organization
progress and achievement
By: Prof. L. F. Parker
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co.
Chiago 1911


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