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John A. Belknap
Born 23 September 1865


John A. Belknap is closely and prominently associated with the manufacturing interests of Jones county as the owner and proprietor of the Boss Tile Spade Company and the spirit of enterprise which he manifests at all times together with his intelligent appreciation for and utilization of opportunities have -been the salient features in his advancement since he entered this field of manufacture. He was born in Jones county, September 23, 1865, his parents being F. M. and Rhoda (Stevenson) Belknap, both of whom were natives of Ohio. They were early settlers of Jones county. The father arrived March 5, 1850, and became a factor in the early development of this section of the state. Here he married Miss Stevenson, who died on the 20th of April, 1870, at the age of thirty-two years. Later he married again, his second union being with Eliza Wagner, a daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Anthony Wagner, who were natives of Germany.
John A. Belknap was reared to manhood in the county of his nativity and at the usual age began his education in the public schools, continuing his studies until he was graduated from the high school of Anamosa. He attended Mount Vernon College and afterward pursued a commercial course at Davenport and he made his first venture thus qualified for the onerous duties of business life in commercial fields in January, 1894, in company with his uncle and a brother, the firm name being Belknap Brothers and Company. They bought out Mr. Griffith's interests in a business which was conducted under the firm name of Huggins & Griffith, although Mr. Griffith was then the sole proprietor. The new firm began business with a small capital, manufacturing wagons, bob-sleds and tiling spades, and dealing in farm implements. On the 10th of April, 1902, a fire consumed the entire stock of farm implements, but the business was at once resumed and in 1906 the firm name of the Boss Tile Spade Company was assumed, successors to Belknap Brothers, manufacturers of Boss tile spades. On the 15th of March, 1906, John A. Belknap, having purchased the interest of his partner, became sole proprietor of what is now one of the most important manufacturing concerns of the county. The capacity of the plant has been steadily increasing and the business has been extended over a large territory, its sales covering North and South Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Ohio, Indiana, Missouri, Nebraska, Colorado and Oregon. The output of the house is of such excellent quality and the business methods of the owner so reliable that the trade has constantly increased and the enterprise is now proving a source of gratifying profit. Mr. Belknap was also one of the organizers of the Citizens Bank of Anamosa and is now serving on its board of directors, also a director of the Peoples Gas Company. His business judgment is sound, his insight keen and his enterprise unfaltering and thus he has wrought his success along honorable lines, winning him the respect and admiration of all.
On the 18th of May 1893, Mr. Belknap was united in marriage to Miss Sylvia Sones, a daughter of G. W. and Margaret (Lockard) Sones, both of whom were natives of Pennsylvania. The children of this marriage are Margaret Evelyn, Marion Ruth, but the last named died in infancy.
Mr. Belknap is known as an exemplary and popular representative of Anamosa Lodge, NO. 46, A.F.&A.M. He also took the degrees of Capitular Masonry in the chapter and of Chivalric Masonry in the commandery and has, filled various offices in the different branches of Masonry, including that of eminent commander. He has likewise crossed the sands of the desert with the nobles of El Kahir Temple of the Mystic Shrine. His religious faith is indicated in his membership in the Methodist Episcopal church and his political belief is evidenced in his support of and labor for the republican party. He served as chairman of the republican county central committee for two years and was elected to the same office for the second time. He was treasurer in 1908 of the republican county central committee and does all in his power to legitimately further the interests of the party, for he believes that its principles are most conducive to good government. He is a genial, courteous gentleman, always approachable and interested in the questions which are of vital import to the community or to the country at large. He has always lived in Jones county and the sterling traits of his character are well known to his fellow townsmen, the great majority of whom number him as a friend.

Source: History of Jones County, Iowa, Past and Present, R. M. Corbitt, S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., Chicago, 1910, p. 442.

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