IASCOTT-L ArchivesArchiver > IASCOTT > 2002-06 > 1023982366
From: "Elaine Rathmann" <>
Subject: [IASCOTT] Isaac Sears Bio
Date: Thu, 13 Jun 2002 10:32:46 -0500
Isaac Sears Biography
>From "History of Davenport and Scott County" Vol. II by Harry E. Downer-S. J. Clarke Publishing Co. 1910 Chicago.
Surnames: Sears, Howe, Haight, Jennings, Knostman, Dow, Murphy.
Isaac H. Sears, long one of the most prominent representatives of the business men of Davenport, has been a resident of the city for more than a half century and, although he has now passed the eighty-eighth milestone on life's journey, he may still be seen each day at the Scott County Savings Bank, of which he has been the only president, called to this office in 1883. Although the snow of many winters has whitened his hair, in spirit and in interest he seems yet in his prime. Old age need not suggest as a matter of course helplessness or want of occupation. On the contrary, there is an old age which grows stronger and brighter mentally and morally as the years advance and continually gives out of its rich stores of wisdom and experience for the benefit of others. Such is the record of Isaac H. Sears, a man honored wherever known and most of all where he is best known.
Mr. Sears was born near Ballston, Saratoga county, New York, October 9, 1821, his parents being Alexander and Mary (Howe) Sears, who were also natives of that locality, although the Howes were of an old Connecticut family, while the Sears came form Massachusetts. The father was a blacksmith by trade and died about 1845. The mother lived to be more than ninety years of age. Both the grandfathers of Isaac H. Sears were soldiers of the Revolutionary war. In the father's family were nine children, of whom three died in infancy. One of the sons, Epeneus Sears, was an early settler of Fremont county, Iowa, where he engaged in the practice of law and served as judge of the district court.
Isaac H. Sears attended the common schools until eighteen years of age, when he left home in order to have better opportunities of earning a livelihood. The first year he was employed in a clerical capacity in connection with the Croton Water Works. He afterward went to Berlin, Connecticut, where he spent a year as a clerk for a brother who was a contractor for the New Haven & Hartford Railroad. He afterward occupied a clerical position in connection with the Erie canal which was being widened and deepened. He spent about a years in that way and also a similar period in the service of the Albany & West Stockbridge Railroad. Returning home, he entered the employ of a wall-paper manufactory which was organized about that time. Gradually he worked his way upward in that service until he became superintendent of the business, his connection therewith covering five years. In April, 1855, he came to Iowa and made his way at once to Davenport, which at that time contained a popula!
tion of about seven thousand but had no railroad. In company with W. K. Haight he established the first wholesale and retail saddlery hardware business in Davenport, his store being located at the corner of Perry and Second streets. The business is still carried on under the name of the Sears, Frizzell Company. Mr. Sears began operations on a small scale but continued the business for over thirty years, during which time he gradually increased his stock to meet the growing demands of the trade until the enterprise assumed extensive and profitable proportions. After a time he purchased his partner's interest and a little later turned over the business to his sons, giving into their charge what had become one of the large and important mercantile interests of the city.
In the meantime Mr. Sears had become one of the organizers of the Scott County Savings Bank, which was established in 1883. he was chosen a trustee and director and at the organization was also elected president, in which capacity he has continued to serve to the present time. The record of the bank is synonymous with his own honorable name and no name is more truly a synonym for business integrity and enterprise in Davenport. Mr. Sears also became a director of the Davenport Woolen Mills, was long vice president of the company and for four years has been president, succeeding Samuel A. Jennings. He has ever been recognized as a man of sound business judgment, carefully coordinating forces and utilizing methods which lead to legitimate success. He has been quick to recognize the essential, to do away with all that is unnecessary and to economize time, material and labor but never at the expense of high class production or capable service.
In 1843 Mr. Sears was united in marriage to Miss Nancy Jennings, a sister of Samuel A. Jennings and a native of Saratoga county, New York. They became parents of seven children: Samuel, a member of the Sears, Frizzell Company; Alexander, who is located at Colorado Springs, Colorado; Minnie, the wife of George W. Knostman, of Davenport; Jennie, who died at the age of twenty-two years; Nancy, the wife of John F. Dow, of Davenport; Bertha, the wife of George W. Murphy, a civil engineer of Seattle; and Isaac L., manager of the leather saddlery business of the Sear, Frizzell Company. The wife and mother died July 1, 1900, after a happy married life of about fifty-seven years.
In all the period of his residence in Davenport Mr. Sears has stood as the champion of those measures which tend to benefit the city along the lines of material, intellectual, poitical and moral progress. He is an old-school democrat, loyal to his belief, and for several years he served as a member of the city council and also as a member of the board of supervisors, being chairman of the board for some time, including that period in which the courthouse, the poor house and other public buildings were erected. He saw the courthouse built and paid for and then retired from the board. While living in the east he was a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows. He has long been identified with the Episcopal church and his life has ever been actuated by high and honorable principles, in harmony with his professions. There are few men whose lives are crowned with the honor and respect which is uniformly accorded to Isaac H. Sears, but through more than a half century's conn!
ection with Davenport's history his has been an unblemished character. With him success in life has been reached by his sterling qualities of mind and a heart true to every manly principle. He has never swerved from the path of duty and now, after a long and eventful career-in which his usefulness still continues-he can look back over the past with pride and enjoy the remaining days of his earthly pilgrimage with the consciousness of having gained for himself by his honorable, straightforward life the confidence and respect of the entire community in which he lives.
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