HON. JOHN N. W. RUMPLE.
The record of Hon. John N. W. Rumple as representative of his district in congress was highly creditable to him
and he not only commanded the respect of his fellow citizens because of his ability and integrity but his personal
characteristics were such that he was also held in warm regard. He was born on a farm near Fostoria, Ohio, on the
4th of March, 1841, a son of William and Mary J. (Rosenberger) Rumple. The mother was a daughter of J. A. Rosenberger,
who removed from Virginia to Tiffin, Ohio, where his daughter's marriage occurred.
Hon. John N. W. Rumple was eight years of age when the family removed from the homestead to the town of Fostoria.
Not long afterward the father came to Iowa and purchased land but a few hours after his return home died of cholera.
For two years thereafter his widow and her six children lived with her parents at Tiffin, Ohio. However, in 1853,
accompanied by a number of friends and relatives, she came with her family by wagon to Iowa county, Iowa, and took
up her abode upon a farm, which her sons operated. In 1857 she was again married and not long afterward our subject
entered Ashland Academy in Wapello county. He was then sixteen years of age and as his previous schooling had been
somewhat meager he applied himself assiduously to study as he was ambitious to acquire a good education. A year
later he entered Western College, in Linn county, where he remained for two terms. Upon leaving that institution
he began teaching and so continued until 1860, when he matriculated in the normal department of the State University
of Iowa. Upon the outbreak of the Civil war he put aside his plans for the time being and on the 14th of August,
1861, entered the Union army, being enrolled as a member of Company H, Second Iowa Volunteer Cavalry. He was mustered
in at Camp McClellan, near Davenport, and for more than four years served as a valiant member of the Union army.
He was promoted in turn to corporal, sergeant, lieutenant and captain and proved an excellent commanding officer,
his personal valor inspiring his men to gallant action and his natural leadership giving them confidence in his
ability to command. He was mustered out in October, 1865, and upon his return home began studying law with Hon.
H. M. Martin. After two years of preparation he was admitted to the bar and formed a partnership with his preceptor.
Sometime afterward he became associated with Mr. Hedges, the firm being styled Hedges & Rumple. Its reputation
extended all over the state and it was retained as counsel in much of the important litigation in Iowa. Much of
its success and high standing was due to the marked ability of Mr. Rumple, who was recognized as a leader in his
His knowledge of the fundamental principles of law and his familiarity with the conditions of his day, combined
with his ability to foresee in a large measure the effect of a proposed plan or action fitted him for the work
of a legislator and in 1873 he was elected to the state senate, succeeding Hon. J. P. Ketcham. He was a member
of two succeeding general assemblies and his keen mind and power of forceful speaking were factors in securing
the passage of a number of important bills that proved of value to the people of the state. In 1900 he was his
party's nominee for member of congress and after a close and exciting campaign was elected over Hon. Henry Vollmer,
one of the strongest democrats in the district. The vote was twenty three thousand two hundred and two for Mr.
Rumple and twenty one thousand seven hundred and twenty seven for his opponent. Our subject carried all of the
counties of the district save Johnson county, which was lost by a nominal plurality. In congress he was appointed
on the committees on levees and improvements of the Mississippi river, invalid pensions and expenditures of the
state department. His record was one of which he had just cause to feel proud, and he possessed the power that
is often lacking, of seeing things in large, of considering measures from the standpoint of their effect upon the
country as a whole. He was painstaking and thorough in his work upon committees and when he addressed the house
was lucid and convincing of speech.
Mr. Rumple was naturally one of the leaders in party plans in his town and county and has been mayor of Marengo,
a member of the city council, city attorney and a member of the school board. He was for a number of years on the
board of regents of the State University of Iowa and in casting his ballot sought always to further the best interests
of the institution and to build for its greatness in the future as well as to meet its needs of the present. He
was also curator of the State Historical Society and in that connection did much to further the interest in the
past of the state. He was one of the real republican leaders in Iowa and his advice was highly valued in his party's
Mr. Rumple was twice married, his first union being with Miss Adaline K. Whitling, a daughter of John and Adaline
Whitling. She became his wife on the 13th of December, 1866, and passed away on the 14th of February, 1870, leaving
a daughter, Adelaide. On the 18th of December, 1870, Mr. Rumple married Miss Mary H. Sheppard, of Iowa City, and
to their union was born a son, Carl, who died when seven years of age.
Mr. Rumple was a prominent Mason, having taken all of the degrees in the York Rite and belonging to the commandery
at Burlington, Iowa. He was also a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows. For thirty three years he was
the leader of the choir of the Presbyterian church and was very active in all lines of church work. To him Christianity
was a vital force and the guiding principle of his life. In whatever he did he was upright and honest, believing
that if a thing required deceit or unfairness it were better left undone. Kindness was also one of his characteristics
and there were many who remembered with gratitude some occasion when he had befriended them. His frankness and
out reaching generosity endeared him to all who came in contact with him and there were people not only all over
the state of Iowa but in many parts of the Union who felt that they had lost a personal friend when he passed away
on the 31st of January, 1903.
History of Iowa County, Iowa
And its People
By: James C. Dinwiddie
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co.
Iowa County, IA
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