Wilbur L. Van Meter

Wilbur L. Van Meter is numbered among the native sons of Dallas county who are successfully engaged in general agricultural pursuits here. He was born in Van Meter township on the 30th of August, 1881, and is a son of Hugo G. and Damaris (Dodge) Van Meter. The father was a native of Indiana and came to Iowa in August, 1852. The family name is closely associated with the development and progress of this part of the state and is perpetuated in the township which is so styled. Mr. Van Meter located in the township bearing his name and resided within its borders up to the time of his death. He was very successful here although his residence in Iowa covered a comparatively short period. He made judicious investments in property, acquiring almost two thousand acres of rich farm land in Dallas county, besides extensive holdings in Madison county, Iowa. He owned and operated the De Soto grist and saw mills for a number of years, and in addition to his milling interests and the production of grain he was a heavy breeder and feeder of stock. His business affairs were therefore large and important and brought to him an excellent return. He was seldom if ever at error in matters of business judgment and seemed to recognize with remarkable intuition a favorable business situation. Moreover, whatever he undertook he carried forward to successful completion, and he thus won his way to the front ranks among the progressive and representative men of the county.

In political affairs Hugo G. Van Meter was deeply interested and became a recognized factor in molding political thought and action. He gave stanch support to the republican party and for years was a dominant force in its councils, his opinion always carrying weight therein. On the republican ticket he was elected to represent his district in the lower house of the state legislature for one term and became an able member of that body, serving on several important committees and taking active part in the deliberations in the committee rooms and upon the floor of the house. Widely recognized as a man of strong individuality and marked force of character, he left his impress for good upon the public as well as upon the agricultural development of this part of the state. Fraternally he was connected with the Masonic order, being a charter member of Adel lodge, A. F. & A. M. He died in 1885, at the age of fifty-five years, and is still survived by his widow, who is now residing in Des Moines. In the family of this worthy couple were five children, of whom four are yet living: Mabel, the wife of E. S. Ames, a resident of Chicago; John C., of Des Moines; Bert D., of Linn county, Iowa; and Wilbur L., of this review.

The last named was reared at home and pursued his education in the common schools, in the De Soto high school and at Drake University at Des Moines, being graduated from the last named institution in the class of 1904. He was thus well equipped for the responsible and practical duties of life and following his graduation he located on his present home farm in Adams township. Here he owns one hundred and sixty acres of valuable land and has charge of one thousand acres, the other eight hundred and forty acres still belonging to his father's estate. He is thus actively engaged in the cultivation of the soil. He is well known as a breeder and feeder of cattle and hogs.

In his political views Mr. Van Meter is a republican, but without desire for office. He belongs to De Soto lodge, No. 591, A. F. & A. M., and to the Christian church, and in his life exemplifies the spirit of these two organizations. He is regarded as one of the leading reliable young farmers of Dallas county, carrying on an extensive business and manifesting in its management excellent capacity for the successful control of large affairs. He displays keen discernment and sound judgment and his life has been one of continuous activity in which has been accorded due recognition of labor.


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