The People of Iowa
SPECIAL TREATMENT OF THEIR CHIEF ENTERPRISES IN
EDUCATION, RELIGION, VALOR, INDUSTRY,
EDGAR RUBEY HARLAN, LL. B., A. M.
Curator of the
Historical, Memorial and Art Department of Iowa
THE AMERICAN HISTORICAL SOCIETY, Inc.
Chicago and New York
FRANK CALVIN WATERBURY. In the intensified energy of the successful
business man fighting the everyday battle of life there is little to interest
the idle observer or the seeker for the sensational, but to the careful
student of character and human progress there is much food for reflection and
many inspiring lessons to be gained therefrom. The story of the lives of
successful men who rise to prominence from humble surroundings finds easy and
graceful place in the record of our country's progress, and serve as guiding
milestones to those who later follow along life's pathway. Such men
achieve distinction not as the result of chance or happy accident, but as the
direct reward of their individual effort, unswarying determination and
untiring energy in the attainment of an ideal, and among those whose names have
become synonymous with the commercial and industrial greatness of Des
Moines, Frank C. Waterbury has secure and permanent place.
Mr. Waterbury was born in Freeport, Illinois, April 16, 1866, and is a
scion of a family that has been established in America since the early Colonial
era, the lineage tracing back to distinguished Bavarian-Scotch origin, as
is shown by the family crests and coats-of-arms accorded to the Waterbury
and allied families in ancient and current genealogy. Frank C. Waterbury is
a son of Dr. Stephen and Lydia Ellen (Overman) Waterbury, the former of
whom was born in Oswego County, New York, and the latter of whom had the
distinction of being the first white child born in Muscatine, Iowa. Her father,
John M. Overman, was one of the influential pioneer settlers of Iowa, and
became a recognized leader in the civic and industrial development of the
state. John M. Overman was born at Scranton, Pennsylvania, and his wife was
a member of the representative Cooper family in whose honor Cooperstown,
New York, was named. He erected the first flour mills at both Muscatine and
Cedar Falls, and he served as the first mayor of Cedar Falls.
Dr. Stephen Waterbury was reared and educated in the State of New York,
and graduated from one of its leading medical colleges. he served as an
officer in the Civil war, and following the close of hostilities, and while
still a young man, moved westward to Illinois and engaged in the practice of
his profession. Coming later to Iowa, he engaged in general practice, and
for a number of years prior to his death, in 1881, had been a leading
physician and surgeon at Traer. His widow survived him nearly a quarter of a
century. Doctor Waterbury was a Republican in his political adherency, a member
of the Masonic fraternity, and the Presbyterian Church, educated in the
United States and in Edinburgh, Scotland, and a resident of Tennessee at the
time of his death. After the death of his first wife, who was the mother
of Dr. Stephen Waterbury, he married a Southern woman, and they owned and
resided on their large plantation in Tennessee. Rev. Calvin Waterbury
espoused the cause of the Abolitionists, and in evidence of his sincerity he
liberated his slaves prior to the Civil war. His father, Daniel Waterbury,
served as a commissioned officer in the patriot forces in the war of the
Revolution, his commission bearing the signature of Nathaniel Wood, being now a
prized heirloom in the possession of Frank C. Waterbury, his great-grandson
and the immediate subject of this review.
The public schools of Iowa afforded Frank C. Waterbury his youthful
education, and his entire business career has been marked by close association
with the chemical industry, with which he first became connected as a
traveling salesman. A careful study of the opportunities afforded, supplemented by
his personal knowledge of the requirements of the trade, induced him to
engaged in business for himself, and in 1895 he founded the business now
conducted by the Waterbury Chemical Company, which under his able management
soon became one of major importance in pharmaceutical circles. The company
now operates four well equipped factories, and its high grade products find
trade demand in all parts of the world, while in recognition of the
superiority of its products numerous foreign and domestic gold medals have been
awarded the company. Such recognition has bee extended in France, Italy,
Spain, Belgium and other European centers.
Mr. Waterbury has thus been the leader in developing a great industrial
and commercial enterprise, and he has long been recognized as one of the
progressive and representative business men and influential citizens of Des
Moines. He is a life member of the American Pharmaceutical Association, and
the National Chemical Society, besides being identified with various other
drug and chemical organizations. He is vice president of the Des Moines
College of Pharmacy. Despite the heavy exactions of his personal business
affairs Mr. Waterbury has always found time to devote to the public welfare,
and all movements tending toward civic betterment have found in him a willing
supporter. He has been especially interested in the national development
of inland waterways, and in this connection has served a vice president at
large of the Mississippi Valley Association. Beginning with the
administration of Governor Cummins, he has represented Iowa in various missions to
foreign countries under such successive administration since that time. It
was in such capacity that he attended the health congress held in Mexico.
Mr. Waterbury's unbounded civic loyalty has found many mediums for
constructive expression, and in his home city and state he has had much leadership
in progressive movements for the general welfare. He is a Republican in
politics, a thirty-second degree Scottish Rite Mason, a Knight Templar and a
Noble of the Mystic Shrine, a member of the Des Moines Club, the Wakonda
Country Club of Des Moines, and the California Athletic Club in Los Angeles.
He is also a member of the Circumnavigators Club.
On July 12, 1892, was celebrated the marriage of Mr. Waterbury and Miss
Coral Chaffin, who was born in Benton County, Iowa, a daughter of D. S. and
Emma M. (Stewart) Chaffin, the latter being a scion of the A. T. Stewart
family of New York, and a representative pioneer family in Iowa. Mrs.
Waterbury was educated in Iowa public schools and Lombard University at Galesburg,
Illinois. To Mr. and Mrs. Waterbury have been born two children: Carl
Chaffin and Chloris. Carl Chaffin Waterbury married Dorthy Sinclair Taylor, of
Younkers, New York, and they have three children: Carl C., Jr.; Janet and
Chloris. He is a manager of the business of the Waterbury Chemical
Company in New Orleans, and maintains his home in that city.
Chloris, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Frank C. Waterbury, is the wife of
Merton T. Straight, co-owner of the Adel Clay Products Company. Mr. and Mrs.
Straight reside in Des Moines, and they have a son, Frank Waterbury Straight.