Herriman Mansion Restoration Project - Article: David Herriman as a Businessman

Hometown Wadena (David Herriman as a business man)

The Elgin Echo, August, 1990s

Here we are in the eighth month of the year! So far, it has been a wet summer and with lots of rain, and few hot, muggy days. Garden produce is just great, except ,there has been some molding due to too much moisture. Weeds are having a heyday. But that is Iowa for you, and it is still a pretty good state to live in as far as weather. There is a variety but not too, too disastrous.

We would suppose that is the way it has been throughout Iowa's history, even be- fore they kept records. Well, maybe weather record keeping has not always been done, but the average household kept records, perhaps a diary , or a ledger of expenses -cattle bought. feed bought. or even exchange of items. There are some to. day that keep diaries of day to day happenings. A good many arguments have been set settled by those records.

I promised to get back to some other information on our Wadena founder, Major D.B. Herriman. As stated before, he was an astute business man and made his moves count. He loaned money and expected loyalty to his cause in return. It was said he even controlled the politics of the town. ship and county in that manner. He was 3 staunch Democrat. If one owed him, you were supposed to cast a Democrat vote. Who were some of those that might have been supposed to show that loyalty? The amounts were not big in our standards to. day. But he had a record of them and it was handwritten. This in many instances is hard to decipher, although it was good writing but at this point slighted faded. We must remember that the Major also never gave loans to people that would squander the money or not pay it back. We say again he was a smart businessman.

It has been said some may have been gambling debts, as he did love good card games.

The writing and records might well have done by his wife, Elizabeth or perhaps a daughter. Some names on record of both notes and payments were: Marion Dye, J.A. Lockard, B.E. Talcott, L. Shanahan, Paul Corbin, E. W .Harkins, W .E. Welch, John Markley, Austin Campbell, Harry Dickman. James Whittenbaugh, M. Kling- man, Michael Davis, Josephine Geluing, H. Coventry, James Paulson, John Murphy, Peter Ellis, William Sanbderson. Orlo Oleson, Knud Knudson, John Benson. John Roe, L. Cousins, John Anderson, Chris Messerli, L. Graves, David Rowly, and others not very easily read; probably the biggest amount involved was $217 and as little as $11.

What is interesting is that very few of those names have been repeated as residents of Wadena or its farming area. One wonders if many of those names were some of his hired help or people that did eventually leave from here?

What is interesting is that the interest was figured and totaled. It was a good job of bookkeeping and figures.

We show his signature in the year of one thousand, eight-hundred seventy-four.