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History of Madison
County, Iowa, 1915.

Biographical.  Volume 2.

  
 

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John Catterlin

John Catterlin is conducting the leading harness establishment in Winterset and is the oldest merchant in this line of business in the city.  He became identified therewith in 1864 and for many years has conducted the establishment of which he is the proprietor.  Well defined purpose and unfaltering energy have been the salient factors in his advancement and have made his record one which might profitably be followed by those who wish to attain  honorable success.

Mr. Catterlin is a native of Indiana, his birth having occurred in Adams county on the 4th of October, 1841.  His father, John Catterlin, was a native of Montgomery county, Ohio, and was a son of Joseph Catterlin, who was probably born in Germany.  His last days were spent in Ohio, where he passed away at the notable old age of one hundred and five years.  His son, John Catterlin, was reared, educated and married in Ohoi and when a young man he removed to Indiana, making the journey westward with a yoke of oxen and a wagon.  He settled in the midst of the timber and there he hewed out a farm, clearing the land of trees, grubbing up the stumps and then cultivating the fields.  He became the owner of two hundred acres of rich and productive land and upon that farm resided until his death, which resulted from pneumonia in 1852.  He was a successful farmer for those days and he was an active and consistent member of the Methodist church.  He married Hannah Heath, who was also a native of Ohio and was of Scotch descent.  She became one of the pioneer women of Indiana, meeting the usual hardships and privations of pioneer life.  Her home was always the headquarters for the preachers who visited the neighborhood and she was always willing and ready to entertain the traveler.  She had twelve children, ten of whom reached adult years and reared families.

John Catterlin, whose name introduces this review, was the eleventh in order of birth.  His boyhood days were spent upon the home farm in the wilds of Indiana, where he remained until 1855, when thinking to find other pursuits more congenial than the work of the fields, he left home and went to Fort Wayne, Indiana, to learn the harness maker's trade, serving an apprenticeship of three years.  It was in 1858 that the family removed to the west, settling near Newbern, Iowa.  John Catterlin accompanied his mother and family and worked in Chariton until September, 1861, when he returned to Van Wert county, Ohio.  There he enlisted as a soldier of the Union army in response to the country's call for troops, becoming a member of Company A, Forty-sixth Ohio Infantry, in which he served as a private for two years, when he was honorably discharged on account of physical disability.  He participated in the battle of Shiloh and in other important engagements.  In the fall of 1863 he returned to Iowa, making his way to Madison county, where he carried on general farming for a year.  In 1864 he took up his abode in Winterset and here began working at his trade.  At that time there were only a few houses in the town and on all sides were seen evidences of pioneer life.  Mr. Catterlin worked for others for about fifteen years and then opened a harness shop on his own account, establishing business on a small scale.  His trade increased, however, as the years went by and he has been continuously in business in this city until he is today the oldest merchant of Winterset.  A liberal patronage has long been accorded him and as he is thoroughly acquainted with every phase of the harness trade he is able to meet the wishes of his patrons.

In 1863 Mr. Catterlin was united in marriage to Miss Martha ellen Heath, a native of Ohio.  She died in Winterset in 1873, leaving three children:  Sherman, a traveling man of Minneapolis, Minnesota;  Myrtle, who has passed away;  and Daisy, who is the wife of I. W. Barnett, living in California.  For his second wife Mr. Catterlin chose Miss Nannie Eyerly, a native of Iowa, who died in 1898.  They were the parents of four children:  Fay, who died at the age of seven years;  Fern;  John, deceased;  and Mary.  Mr. Catterlin's third wife was Miss Idlewild Redfield.

Politically Mr. Catterlin is a republican, stanch and stalwart in his support of the party, but while he has loyally advocated its principles he has never accepted office as a reward for party fealty.  In 1863 he was made a Mason at Chariton and when he removed to Winterset he demitted to Evening Star Lodge, No. 43, A. F. & A. M.  This was in the winter of 1864 and he is now the only living member of the lodge that was here at the time he joined.  He is likewise affiliated with Winterset Chapter, No. 11, R. A. M., and the Knights Templar Commandery and Mystic Shrine at Des Moines.  He is likewise connected with Pitzer Post, No. 55, G. A. R., and thus maintains pleasant relations with his old army comrades.  His religious belief is indicated in his membership in the Methodist church, which finds in him a loyal supporter.  He is today the oldest active business man in Winterset and the oldest Mason of his lodge.  He has passed the seventy-third milestone on life's journey and yet is as active as most men of sixty.  He began business here with a small harness shop and limited capital and he now has a large establishment, employing several men and carrying a full line of harness, saddlery, blankets, etc.  Success has come to him as the merited reward of close application and unfaltering energy.  Besides his business he owns a fine modern residence and is ever a courteous and genial host.  He possesses a happy, kindly disposition, while all who know him entertain for him the warmest regard. 

 

 

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