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Encyclopedia Dubuque

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Affiliated with the Local History Network of the State Historical Society of Iowa, and the Iowa Museum Association.




STOUT, Henry L.

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Family History: http://wc.rootsweb.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/igm.cgi?op=GET&db=philedpro&id=I03954

STOUT, Henry Lane. (Huntington County, NJ, Oct. 23, 1814--Dubuque, IA, July 18, 1900). Lumberman. Stout amassed one of Dubuque's largest personal fortunes between 1853 and 1900. He came to Dubuque in 1836 at the age of twenty-two and began a small store with money gained from an investment in MINING. (1) By 1852 he had become such a fine salesman for the KNAPP-TAINTER LUMBER COMPANY that he was offered the opportunity to purchase a one-quarter interest in the company in 1853. (2) In 1854 Knapp-Tainter became Knapp-Stout Company. (3)

Stout was a firm believer in expanding the company. Between 1866 and 1869, the company developed three new mills in Menominee, Downsville and Wauback, Wisconsin. These were used to manufacture lumber from the company's timber lands in the northern regions of Wisconsin. (4) The mill in Menominee eventually became the largest warehouse owned by Knapp-Stout and the company's headquarters by 1886. In 1866 this mill employed seven hundred, a number which increased to two thousand by 1898. (5)

Knapp, Stout and Company purchased the "Anna Girdon," its first steamboat in 1869. (6) By 1881 the company owned eight steamboats to move timber downstream to mills. (7) By shipping their own lumber, Knapp-Stout survived the stiff competition of twenty other lumber companies in Iowa and gain a substantial profit. (8)

From its founding in 1846 until 1878, Knapp-Stout was operated as a partnership. In 1878 when it was incorporated as KNAPP, STOUT AND COMPANY the firm was capitalized with $2 million. It was valued at $4 million four years later and at $11 million in 1896–the company's 50th anniversary. At that time, Knapp-Stout operated major lumberyards in Dubuque, Cedar Falls, Fort Madison, and St. Louis. (9) In 1881 Knapp-Stout had branch offices in Dubuque, Downsville, Wauback, Reed's Landing, and St. Louis. Small mills were located at Rice Lake and Prairie Farm. (10)

Between 1882 and 1890, Knapp-Stout consolidated with the Red Cedar Improvement and Log Driving Company. On January 6, 1890 Knapp-Stout sold its seventh street mill in Dubuque to two of its former salesmen, C. J. Lesure and J. J. Van Villet. This mill was developed into the LESURE LUMBER COMPANY. (11)

Stout's success in the lumber business led him to diversify his investments. His interest in transportation systems led him to serve on the board of directors for the DUBUQUE AND SIOUX CITY RAILROAD (1867 to 1869), Dakota-Dubuque Railroad (1881), and the Iowa Pacific Railway Company (1876). (12) Stout also became involved in the DUNLEITH AND DUBUQUE BRIDGE Company. Between 1868 and 1881, he served as the company's treasurer, vice-president and member of the board of directors. He became president of the Dunleith and Dubuque Ferry Company in 1868 and maintained the office until 1893. (13)

Banking was another of Stout's interests. He served on the board of directors for the People's Savings Bank of Dubuque in 1867 and from 1871 to 1887 was vice-president of the COMMERCIAL NATIONAL BANK of Dubuque. (14)

Stout became vice-president of the FARLEY AND LOETSCHER MANUFACTURING COMPANY when it was incorporated in 1881 and remained in the office until 1891. (15)

Stout served as MAYOR in 1860-1861. During his term of office, the petition for a grain market was considered by the council which agreed with the petitioners and established the market in the First ward. In August the city council passed an ordinance providing that 10 per cent of the proceeds of all sales of property not assessed for city purposes made by auctioneers within the limits of the corporation should be paid into the city treasury. In November, 1860 a well ten feet in diameter was dug on Tenth street between Jackson and Washington for the use of the fire department. (16)

In his later years, Stout moved into one of his most unique fields of business. Realizing that a profit could be made breeding horses for the popular sport of harness racing, Stout with his son, Frank, became owner and proprietor of the HIGHLAND STOCK FARM. (17) In 1886 his son paid $22,000 for the stallion NUTWOOD. In 1892 they opened NUTWOOD PARK.

Stout's house on Iowa Street.

Stout gave generously to FINLEY HOSPITAL (THE), HOME FOR THE FRIENDLESS, and donated his home on Iowa Street where he lived from 1857 to 1893 to the YOUNG MEN'S CHRISTIAN ASSOCIATION (Y.M.C.A.) (18) From 1893 until his death, he lived with his daughter, Fannie STOUT, at her home at 1145 Locust Street. (19) Upon his death, Stout was said to be the richest man of his generation in Iowa. (20)

Stout's son James Huff STOUT became an important figure in Wisconsin politics,lumbering, and education. (21)

In 2001 Stout and his horse, Nutwood, were inducted into the Iowa Harness Horse Hall of Fame. (22)

Source:

1. Kerker, Renae. "The Sage of the Sawdust," Unpublished thesis, December 1, 1979, p. 2

2. Progressive Men of Iowa, Des Moines: Conaway and Shaw, 1899, p. 438

3. Kerker, p. 2

4. Kerker, p. 3

5. Ibid.

6. Ibid.

7. Hudson, David; Bergman, Marvin; Horton, Loren. The Biographical Dictionary of Iowa. Iowa City: University of Iowa Press, 2008, p. 496

8. Kerker, p. 3

9. Hudson, p. 497

10. Kerker, p. 3

11. Kerker, p. 4

12. Kerker, p. 6

13. Hudson, p. 497

14. Kerker, p. 7

15. Carol Loetscher, Interview, April 13, 2014

16. Oldt, Franklin T. History of Dubuque County, Iowa. Online: http://www.ebooksread.com/authors-eng/franklin-t-oldt/history-of-dubuque-county-iowa-being-a-general-survey-of-dubuque-county-histor-tdl/page-15-history-of-dubuque-county-iowa-being-a-general-survey-of-dubuque-county-histor-tdl.shtml

17. Kerker, p. 8

18. Kerker, p. 8

19. Ibid.

20. Hudson, p. 497

21. Dictionary of Wisconsin History, http://www.wisconsinhistory.org

22. "Posthumous Honor Given," Telegraph Herald, December 31, 2001, p. 3

Special thanks to Susan Hendricks, Library Director