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Israel H. Heaston

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Israel H. Heaston

Posted: 1100501745000
Classification: Biography
Surnames: Heaston, Goodlander & Reed
"History of Huntington County, Indiana"1914 By Frank S. Bash pg. 411-414

Israel H. Heaston. With the management of the First National Bank of Huntington, Israel H. Heaston has been identified as president since November 1, 1902. Mr. Heaston, whose home has been in Huntington county for more than sixty-five years was in early life a farmer, belonging to a family which was in pioneer times identified with the agricultural industry of the county. He has for many years been connected with political and civic affairs, and a number of years ago held the office of county auditor.

The First National Bank of Huntington, the oldest national institution in the county, was organized September 26, 1863, and its charter was dated December 12, of the same year. This was in the first year of the operation of the National Banking Act. It started out with a capital stock of fifty thousand dollars, and some of the pioneer business men of Huntington were among the incorporators. The first president was Samuel H. Purviance, who held his position until his death in 1873, and from 1873 until 1878 Joseph Purviance was president. The first cashier was William McGrew, who in 1878 became president. The capital stock in 1871 was increased to one hundred thousand dollars, and in 1883 a new charter was taken out. The First National has always been conservatively managed and has been a bulwark to the business community.

Israel H. Heaston was born near Hagertstown, in Wayne county, Indiana, September 23, 1843, a son of Jacob and Catherine (Goodlander) Heaston. His father was a native of Virginia, and his mother of Pennsylvania. The paternal ancestors were of German stock, the original family seat having been on the Rhine River. It was the grandfather who founded the name in America, settling in Rockingham county, Virginia, though he died in old age in Ohio. He was a Major, under General Green in the Revolutionary war. The father of the Huntington banker, Jacob Heaston, was reared in Virginia, and was a young man when he moved with other members of the family to Butler county, Ohio. From there he moved to Montgomery county, near Dayton, then across the line into Indiana, locating not far from Hagerstown. He was a substantial farmer, and in 1847 came to Huntington county. His settlement was in the township of Lancaster, where he acquired two hundred acres of land, and continued as a prosperous farmer and stock raiser until his death. He was not only successful in business, but a man of great influence and highly esteemed for his integrity. For many years he took an active part in the German Baptist Church. In early years a supporter of the democratic party, the Civil war caused him to change his political opinion and he thereafter supported the republican interests. His was a long and useful career, ending with death at the age of eight-two. His wife reached almost the same age, and died on the old homestead in Lancaster township.

Israel H. Heaston had the wholesome environment of country life during his boyhood and youth, and in the township of Lancaster not only acquired a substantial education in the local, but on the home farm learned the lessons of honored toil. He was just at the beginning of manhood when the war of the Rebellion broke out, and he left his books to take up arms in the defense of the Union. On the first of August, 1862, he enlisted in Company E of the Seventy-Fifth Indiana Infantry, and with that command served in the army of the Cumberland through many of its campaigns. He was with General Sherman through the Tennessee and Georgia campaigns, fought at Chickamauga and Missionary Ridge, at Dalton, Resaca, and many other battles in the slow advance toward Atlanta. After the fall of Atlanta, he followed Sherman in the march to the sea. His record as a soldier was exceptionally creditable. He never missed a battle in which his regiment took part, was never absent from roll call and always ready to accept the duties and obligations of a soldier. In June, 1865, he was honorably discharged at Indianapolis.

After the war Mr. Heaston continued on the home farm until 1873. In July of that year he moved to a farm of his own in Rock Creek township, and continued one of the prosperous farmer citizens until he was called into public service, which brought him to the county seat. A republican in politics, and in a strongly democratic county, he was in 1882 a candidate for the office of county auditor, and missed election by only seven votes. In 1886, again on the republican ticket, he was successful in his race for the office, and in August, 1887, moved to Huntington to better discharge the duties of his office. Since that time his home has been continuously in Huntington. Mr. Heaston may be credited with other important public services. He was for two terms a trustee of Lancaster township, and during the Spanish-American war acted as paymaster’s clerk for one year, being mustered out in June, 1899. Thus he had service in two wars. In 1890, Mr. Heaston was again a candidate for the office of auditor, but was unable to overcome the democratic opposition, though he ran far ahead of his ticket. He was three times elected alderman in the city council. In 1888 he was the only republican member of the body, and was elected twice thereafter. The republican party of Huntington county has for many years recognized a natural leader in Mr. Heaston. He rendered invaluable services during many campaigns and was instrumental in many of the successes of the party in this district of the state. He served as chairman of the republican central committee from 1892 to 1896.

A man of sound business judgment and unimpeachable integrity, possessing a host of friends, irrespective of politics, Mr. Heaston has long occupied a useful position in his community. In addition to his business as president of the First National Bank, his services in late years have been much in demand in the settlement of estates and in the transactions of other business requiring more than ordinary intelligence and forethought. He has been very successful; owns much property and real estate and other investments, and all his prosperity has been worthily won. It has been well said of him that he has discharged every trust reposed in him with commendable fidelity, and whether as a citizen or as a soldier or as a public servant, his career has been above reproach.

On March 8, 1866, Mr. Heaston married Miss Phoebe C. Reed, a daughter of Hosea Reed, of Wabash county. Four children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Heaston, two of them dying in infancy. Myrtle O. and Clarissa W. grew to maturity. Mr. Heaston is a member of the James R. Slack Post No. 137, Grand Army of the Republic at Huntington, and for one year served as commander of the post.

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