While “the race is not always to the swift nor the battle to the strong” the invariable law of destiny accords to tireless energy, industry and ability a successful career. The truth of this assertion is abundantly verified in the life of Joseph W. Blackman, a retired merchant and banker of De Soto. No resident of the village has done more for its substantial improvement and the promotion of its material interests and at the present time, basing put aside the more arduous and strenuous cares of business life, he is now enjoying a well earned rest in honorable retirement, though he still looks after his invested interests.
Mr. Blackman was born near Peru, Indiana, May 11, 1848, his parents being Edward P. and Eliza (Williams) Blackman, who came from Indiana to Dallas county at a pioneer epoch in its history, settling in Boone township in 1854. The father always followed the occupation of farming and thus provided for his family, which numbered four children, of whom Joseph W. was the eldest. The others are: Mary M., the wife of John Spear, a resident farmer of Boone township; E. D., a retired farmer living in De Soto; and Riley, deceased.
Joseph W. Blackman was only six years of age when brought by his parents to Iowa, so that his education was largely acquired in the district schools of Boone township. He engaged in merchandising in early business life in connection with his brother, E. D. Blackman, and they established and conducted a successful enterprise, soon securing a liberal patronage. In addition to this Mr. Blackman was for three years superintendent of the tile factory at De Soto. He also owned and conducted the hotel and livery stable and carried on a butcher shop at De Soto. He was likewise identified with the banking business and his intense and well directed activity enabled him to successfully control all of these varied interests until, having acquired a handsome competence, he determined to retire from active business life and in 1902 put aside commercial and industrial cares. He now owns a brick block at Valley Junction, forty-five by seventy feet and two stories in height, two hundred acres of valuable land in Boone township and sixty-five acres in Van Meter township, from which he derives an excellent annual income, and he also has one of the best residences in De Soto.
On the 11th of September, 1876, Mr. Blackman was married to Miss Jennie Smith, who was then a resident of De Soto, her parents having been pioneer settlers of the county. Unto Mr. and Mrs. Blackman have been born two daughters: Mabel, now the wife of Dr. Porter, a general medical and surgical practitioner of Menlo, Iowa; and Dora V., the wife of George Kile, cashier of the Exchange Bank of De Soto.
The parents are members of the Christian church and are interested in all that pertains to the moral, intellectual and aesthetic progress of the community. Mr. Blackman is an Odd Fellow and has passed through all the chairs of the local lodge. He joined the order in Waukee in 1871, was one of the charter members at De Soto and has always been a faithful representative of this fraternity. In politics he is a republican, has served as alderman of De Soto and for three years has been mayor, being the present incumbent. His life has been a success. His entire career is illustrative of the fact that certain actions are followed by certain results. As a business man he has displayed keen discernment as well as unfaltering diligence, as a public official his actions have been above reproach or criticism and as a citizen he is an illustration of a high type of our American manhood.
Source: Past and Present of Dallas County, Iowa, by Robert F. Wood, S. J. Clarke Publishing Company Chicago, IL, 1907.