Circleville Man Celebrates 86th Birthday Friday and He Is Still active In Business.
William Heffner Said to Be Oldest Man in Grain Business In Ohio Eighty-six years ago Friday William Heffner first saw the light of day in Amanda township, Fairfield County. His parents, Henry and Reigel Heffner, were members of pioneer Pennsylvania German families. Both lived to a ripe old age. Mr. Heffner married Miss Elizabeth Earr. She died in 1892, leaving two sons, Harvey S.and W. Frank Heffner.
Few men have enjoyed a successful business careers as the subjects of the sketch. Mr. Heffner came to this city in 1871 and embarked in the grain business with his Brother Henry R. Heffner. He has been in the business continually ever since and is at present President of the Heffner Grain Company. He is probably the oldest man actually engaged in grain business in the state.
Mr. Heffner always had some time to devote to religious duties and his church, the Trinity Lutheran denomination. At the early age of 21, when he reached his majority, he was elected a vestryman, and has been a deacon ever since, a period of 65 years. He was associated with his brother, the late Henry R. Heffner for 55 years in the grain business. His business career was not all easy sailing. Twice the firm lost all they had in this world, but they came up of the blood that never says, "die," they were not "quitters" and with the confidence of integrity they enjoyed among their friends, the farmers, they reestablished their business and went at it again. The brothers always had a great deal of faith in mankind, but like other businessmen they made mistakes. One that came nearly swamping them was the purchase of a mill in Brooklyn, New York. This investment proved to be a liability instead of an asset, and came near wrecking them financially. During the time they were in business they saw the rise and fall of grain, corn sold as low as 18 cents, wheat is low as 45 cents, then prices for corn climbed to $2.00, and wheat to $3.00 a bushel.
The Civil War and the scarcity of grain and the demand for corn of which alcohol was made, was the cause. Supply and demand had also something to do with the rise in prices. When corn went to 18 cents as low as 16 cents, farmers in Kansas instead of selling it burned it for fuel. This was the lowest level that corn ever hit, the price was so ridiculous, being away below the cost of production, that made men like the Heffner brothers think, and they had a vision of apparently, in looking into the future. They made financial preparations and started into buying corn, they filled all their bins in their elevators; and they began to load cars at all outlying points. Train load after train load of 18 cent corn came to the city, and the corn was held in storage on site and in storage tracts of both railroads. Their friends had faith in the ultimate outcome of their venture, but there were others, "crape-hangers" who predicted that they would go to the wall. Then general trend of the market was not optimistic. Everybody was unloading their corn on the Heffner's. It was a drug on the market. The flood of corn in the city was unprecedented.
Finely the curtain of doubt began to rise, in the spring following the heavy offering of corn saw the Heffner brunt brothers double their money, they came into their own. This was in reality the foundation of the Heffner family fortune. During the time they operated to the Heffner Milling Company, they were the greatest exporters of Cornmeal in the country. Their output was a barrel a minute. In one year, they exported 98-202 barrels of Cornmeal to the West Indies. They sold the mill business to Fred O. Shane of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1918. Besides the Heffner Brothers, William Heffner's sons Harvey S. and W. Frank Heffner were associated as partners in the firm's business for a period of 20 years.
Today Mr. Heffner will be the honored guest at a dinner given in Wellston, with him will be his two sons, Harvey S. and W. Frank Heffner and their families, his granddaughter, Miss Mary E. Heffner, and grandson, Harry W. Heffner and wife, and also his great grandson, William Bennett Heffner.
Of his immediate family, Mr. Heffner has two sisters living. They are Mrs. Catherine Hall and Mrs. Samantha Hammel of East High Street, this city. [Circleville Herald, June 1, 1928. Submitted by Carla Mascara]
John A. Howe
HOWE, JOHN A., of the firm of Granger & Howe, proprietors of City Meat Market, Marion; born in Scioto Tp., Pickaway Co., Ohio, June 29,1833; came to Marion in June, 1848; engaged in present business for twelve years. Mr. Howe has been member of the School Board twelve years. He married Nancy Elizabeth Potter, Jan. 23, 1856; she was born in Clarendon Tp., Orleans Co., N. Y., July 7, 1837; she came to Marion Jan. 23, 1855. They were married in Monroe Tp., Linn Co., Iowa; they have had five children; lost one son- Edward Earnest; he was born Dec. 31, 1858, and died June 4, 1859; the living children are as follows- William Morris, born Nov. 18, 1856; Edward Irving, born May 13, 1860; Melvin Franklin, born Feb. 26, 1866; and John Stanley, born Oct. 9, 1877. Mrs. Howe is a member of the Baptist Church. [Source: "The history of Linn County Iowa" ; Western Historical Company; 1878; Transcribed by Andaleen Whitney]
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