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Oliver Postlewaite
Born 1856


Oliver Postlewaite, who has carried on a profitable life insurance in Prairieburg for the past nine years, was born in Sierra county, California, in 1856. His father, John J. Postlewaite, was a native of Pennsylvania but went to California even before the rumor of the discovery of gold spread through the country, for he was one of the first men to cross the prairies and mountains. While he was living there he became acquainted with Miss Emily Lockwood, a native of Indiana, and some time in 1847 they were united in marriage. Mrs. Postlewaite died in 1861, when she was only thirty-eight years of age, and the same year he came to Jones county, taking up his residence in Anamosa. He did not remain here long, however, for he enlisted in the Union army and served throughout the Civil war, participating in the battle of Pittsburgh Landing and accompanying Sherman on his historic march to the sea.
Oliver Postlewaite has spent the greater part of his life in Jones and Linn counties. In his youth he learned the tinner's trade, which he followed for many years while he lived in Anamosa. A good workman, clever and rapid, he had no trouble in finding sufficient employment, but he believed he would find larger opportunities open in other fields. Therefore, in 1900, at the beginning of a new century he forsook his trade and embarked upon the business of life insurance. He secured the Prairieburg agency of the Anchor Insurance Company of Des Moines, Iowa, and set to work to make a success of the new field of endeavor. He began in a small way, of course traversing on foot the country in the vicinity of the town, to find and persuade men of the necessity of providing a future for those who would suffer through their demise. His engaging personality, the convincing manner in which he presented his arguments, and his energetic prosecution of his business soon brought him a contingency that made it possible for him to abandon the modest way in which he had opened his operations, and to establish himself in quarters which were in keeping with the vigorous methods he had pursued and large patronage he had gained. Although the success the past nine years have brought him is gratifying in a high degree, he regards it but as a stepping-stone to larger opportunities which he intends to grasp in the future. He is one of the men who place little reliance in chance, or rather, who believe that chance, so called, is of their own making, that it comes in response to their own seeking and to the industry with which they pursue their vocation.
Mindful of a father who fought in the defense of the Union and of a brother, John J., who as a member of the Thirteenth Iowa Regiment was killed in the battle of Atlanta, July 21, 1864. Mr. Postlewaite has even his allegiance to the Republican Party, for it was the support of the nation through the years of trial and warfare. He has played no part in local public matters, however, although he has been deeply interested in the welfare of his fellow citizens, never failing to exert his influence in their behalf. Fraternally lie is a member of Prairieburg Lodge, NO. 421, A.F.&A.M., of the Prairieburg Lodge, NO. 40, 1.0.0.F., and of the Cedar Rapids Lodge of the Improved Order of Red Men. In March 1897, Mr. Postlewaite was united in marriage to Miss Barbara J. Howard, a daughter of Anthony Howard. Two children have been born to them, Anna May and Edward Arthur. The parents are members of the Presbyterian church, in whose doctrine the children are being reared, and make every effort to order their lives in accordance with its teachings. While church membership does not in every case constitute a good citizen, when the strong qualities of manhood are spiritualized by a practical application of religious truths, as in the case of Mr. Postlewaite, the community cannot but be the better for his living in its midst.

Source: History of Jones County, Iowa, Past and Present, R. M. Corbitt, S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., Chicago, 1910, p. 558.

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