taken from History of Barry County w/Biographies (1912)
LEN W. FEIGHNER
One of the hustling and progressive men of Barry County is Len. W. Feighner of Nashville, editor and owner of the Nashville News and postmaster of that village.He is a man who is always to be found pushing any project which will be of advantage to the community and he is distinctly a citizen who is worth while.
Len W. Feighner was born in Canton, Ohio, June 5, 1862.His father was William F. Feighner and his mother Henrietta Stauffer Feighner, both being of German descent. The Feighners came to Ohio from Pennsylvania and the Stauffers from Maryland.
In September, 1862, when Len W. was only four months old, his parents moved from Ohio to Castleton, whither the father’s two brothers, Henry and John, had preceded him and had become the owners of a saw mill.He had acquired an interest in this mill while yet living in Ohio and on his arrival in Castleton he became actively engaged in the mill business.
In this same year, 1862, David and Elizabeth Stauffer, the parents of Mrs. William Feighner, also moved with their family from their home in Ohio to Castleton and located on a farm in that township on which Mr. Stauffer lived until his death in 1878, this being occasioned by a tree falling upon him while chopping in the woods.
Mr. and Mrs. William Feighner, on their arrival in Castleton, at first located upon a farm, but soon afterwards moved to where Nashville now is.Here Mr. Feighner, with his brother-in-law, the late S. E. Stauffer, started, in 1863, the first store in Nashville, this store being located at the north end of what is now Main street on the south bank of the Thornapple.A short time later Mr. Stauffer bought Mr. Feighner’s interest in the business and the latter opposite where the postoffice [sic] now is and here Mr. Feighner continued in business until his death, December 12, 1869.Mrs. Feighner, who survived him, is still living, being a resident of Hastings.
Young Feighner’s first education was secured in a slab schoolhouse in Nashville, not only building but also the seats being made of slabs.Holes served for windows, glass not being obtainable.His first teacher was Miss Agnes Smith, now Mrs. C. M. Putnam of Nashville.
On the death of his father, when he was only seven years old, Len W. went to live with his uncle, L. E. Stauffer, the family of four children being too great a burden for the widowed mother.In the next year, 1870, Mr. Stauffer moved to Grand Rapids and young Len attended school in that city.A short time later Mr. Stauffer moved to Hastings and here young Feighner completed his formal education.
In December, 1878, he engaged to learn the printer’s trade in the office of the Hastings Journal.In 1879 and 1880 he worked in Nashville for Arno Strong of the News.He then returned to Hastings, where he worked on the Banner for George M. Dewey and later for Cook & Bowers.He left the Banner in 1881 and for three years was journeyman printer, being employed in Muskegon, Indianapolis, Greencastle, Ind., and Chicago.He remained in Chicago until 1884, when he returned to Nashville and became foreman and local editor of the News.
In 1885 Mr. Feighner married Stella L. Wilson of Nashville, daughter of Lyman J. and Ladosca Wilson.Mrs. And Mrs. Feighner have one daughter, Vada M., born March 1, 1895.
October 1, 1888, Mr. Feighner bought the Nashville News from Arno Strong and has remained its proprietor and editor since that time, now nearly a quarter of a century.The News has the well founded reputation of being the best paper in the best shop in any town of equal size in the state.
In politics Mr. Feighner is a Republican and has always been an enthusiastic worker for his party.He has been postmaster of Nashville since 1899, receiving his first appointment from President McKinley.
Besides his newspaper, Mr. Feighner is interested in manufacturing and various other business affairs, both in Nashville and elsewhere.He is president of the Grand Rapids Textile Machinery Company and is active in advancing the company’s interests.
He is a member of the Knights of Pythias, Masons, Odd Fellows, Maccabees and the Foresters.
One institution in which Mr. Feighner is particularly interested is the Nashville Club, whose organization eight years ago was due, to a great extent, to his efforts.He was its first president and has continued to hold this office ever since.The club is a social organization and has splendid rooms in the Griffin block, the second story of which is owned by and devoted almost entirely to its uses.
Len W. Feighner is pre-eminently a progressive and forceful citizen.He is a man who has made his own way to success and one who has made his success of benefit to his fellow citizens.It is most fitting that he should be a representative of Nashville in this History.