In the industrial and commercial circles of Adel, wherein the welfare and upbuilding of the city are largely promoted, Don A. Blanchard has been an important factor for forty years. Though no land is richer in opportunities or offers greater advantages than America success is not to be obtained through desire but must be persistently sought. In America “labor is king” and the man who resolutely sets to work to accomplish a purpose is certain of success if he has the qualities of perseverance, untiring energy and practical common sense. Mr. Blanchard is one whose career excites the admiration and gains the respect of all, for through his diligence and persistent purpose he has won a leading place in business circles in Adel and has also gained that good name which is rather to be chosen than great riches.
Mr. Blanchard was born in Centerville, New York, November 30, 1841. His parents were Abel and Harriet (Trall) Blanchard, the former a native of Peacham, Vermont, and the latter of Tolland, Connecticut. They were pioneers in the settlement of western New York, opening up a farm in the wilderness of Allegany county, that state, in 1820. The ancestry of the family can be traced back through eight generations to the year 1630, when Samuel Blanchard, of Lincoln, England, emigrated to America, settling in Charlestown, Massachusetts. The mother was a sister of Judge Trall, of Attica, New York, and Dr. Russell Trall, of New York city, and an aunt of Governor Higgins.
Don A. Blanchard lived upon his father’s farm until fourteen years of age, when upon the death of his mother the large family of children became scattered and for the next few years we find him irregularly attending school at Rushford Academy, but he never had the assistance during his school days accorded his older brothers and sisters. In 1858, at the age of seventeen years, and during the troublous times in Kansas, he made his way into that territory and during the succeeding years he traveled in a half dozen different states. In 1862, aroused by a spirit of patriotism, he enlisted in the First New York Dragoon Regiment as a musician. After his service at the front he was engaged for a short time in merchandising at Whitewater, Wisconsin, but, not being satisfied with the partnership into which he had entered, he took up the study of bookkeeping, etc., with Murray Blanchard, an attorney at Peru, Illinois. In 1866, intending to visit Omaha, Nebraska, he accidentally stopped over Sunday in Adel, but after looking over the location he was impressed with its natural beauty and business possibilities and became connected with the commercial life of the city in a modest way. For forty years, however, the business has been enlarged and expanded until as a hardware merchant he is controlling an extensive trade and his business is such as to enable him to become identified with nearly all of the improvements which have been made in and about Adel. When he cast in his lot with the embryo city he gave to it no half hearted allegiance. On the contrary he became deeply interested in everything pertaining to its welfare and development and his work has been most effective, beneficial and far-reaching. When at an early day Adel was left without any railroad facilities Mr. Blanchard was one of the first in a substantial way to help save the county seat to Adel and was one of the largest contributors in time and money toward the building of an independent railroad line to this place.
In 1868 occurred the marriage of Don A. Blanchard and Miss Mary Elizabeth Batton, who died in April, 1885. Unto this union five children were born, of whom three are now living: Mrs. Nellie C. Rall, of Cedar Rapids, Iowa; Ralph, who is living in Kansas City, Missouri; and Anna, at home. Having lost his first wife, Mr. Blanchard was again married, in December, 1887, Miss H. Sue Worster becoming his wife. They are well known socially and are much esteemed throughout the community.
Being a self-made man, Mr. Blanchard has always acted independently of cliques and trusts and in all things has manifested an independent, self-reliant spirit. He has contributed, however, to the support of churches and all enterprises and feasible plans for the public good and Adel has assuredly benefited in large measure by his interests and efforts. He has acted well his part and has lived a worthy, honorable life, being held in the highest esteem where he is best known.
Source: Past and Present of Dallas County, Iowa, by Robert F. Wood, S. J. Clarke Publishing Company Chicago, IL, 1907.