A Narrative History
The People of Iowa
SPECIALTREATMENT OF THEIR CHIEF ENTERPRISES IN
EDUCATION, RELIGION, VALOR,INDUSTRY,
EDGAR RUBEY HARLAN, LL. B., A.M.
Curator of the
Historical, Memorial and Art Department ofIowa
THE AMERICAN HISTORICAL SOCIETY, Inc.
Chicago and NewYork
BENJAMIN F. KAUFFMAN.In the lexicon of business men there is to befound
no such word as luck, for experience has taught them most convincinglythat
success is the result of persistent application of intelligent methods that
require time for their proper development.To executive ability andorganizing
sense must be added public confidence and a thorough knowledge of thefield
to be covered, which latter can be gained only by gradual and steady
approaches.In any event, none would intimate that Benjamin F. Kauffman,president of
the Bankers Trust Company of Des Moines, owes his distinction toany
adventitious aid.His present enviable position is due to thrift,energy, sterling
honesty and intimate acquaintance with business methods.
Mr. Kauffman was born at Des Moines, in 1874, and is a son of BenjaminF.
and Anna O. (Le Bosquet) Kauffman.His paternal grandfather was DanielW.
Kauffman, who was born in Pennsylvania, where he was engaged in farming forsome
years in Lancaster County, but in later life came to Van Buren County,Iowa,
and eventually became a nurseryman at Keosauqua.On the maternalside Mr.
Kauffman's grandfather was Henry Le Bosquet, who was born in Virginia,where he
was engaged in the grocery business, and finally came to Iowa, where he
spent the remainder of his life in retirement.
Benjamin F. Kauffman, the elder, was born on a farm in LancasterCounty,
Pennsylvania, in 1846, and was still a child when brought by his parentsto
Iowa, where he secured his early education in public schools.Later heattended
the University of Iowa, from which he received the degree of Bachelorof
Laws, graduating with the first law class from that institution.Hethen settled
down to practice at Des Moines, where he had a large andrepresentative
clientele up to the time of his death in 1893, when he was one ofthe leaders of
his calling in the city.He was a member of the Polk CountyBar Association,
the Iowa State Bar Association and the American BarAssociation, was a
Republican in his political allegiance, and was an activemember of the First
Methodist Church.Mr. Kauffman married Miss Anna O. LeBosquet, who was born in
Virginia, in 1847, and died in 1907.They becamethe parents of four
children:Benjamin F., of this review; Alice, whobecame the wife of H. H. Polk;
Mary, the wife of Harold M. Bowman, son of MajorBowman, of the famous Des
Moines pioneer family of that name; and Ray B., whosedeath occurred in 1908.
Benjamin F. Kauffman, the younger, attended the public schools of DesMoines
and Amherst College, at the latter of which one of his fellow studentswas
ex-President Coolidge.Graduating with the degree of Bachelor of Artsin
1896, he spent the next three years in the employ of the Des Moines SavingsBank.
He next embarked on his own account, and during the next eighteenyears
built up a large and substantial business and established himself as ashrewd,
resourceful business man of high integrity and moral worth.In1917 Mr.
Kauffman became the founder of the Bankers Trust Company, of which hehas since
been president, and which has also taken its place among Des Moines'
progressive and conservative institutions, located at the corner of Sixth andLocust
streets.Mr. Kauffman occupies a position of recognized prominencein the
business and financial world, and is a member of the directorates ofthe Des
Moines Gas Company, the Northwest Bell Telephone Company and theEquitable Life
Insurance Company of Iowa.Politically he is a Republican.Mr. Kauffman is
affiliated with St. Paul's Episcopal Church, is a Masonand Shriner, a member
of the Des Moines Club and the Wakonda Club, and has beena member of the
Greater Des Moines Committee for twenty years and its presidenttwice.He also
belongs to the Commercial Club, of which he has beenpresident.During the
World war he served as chairman of all the LibertyLoan drives except the
first, was president of the first Red Cross Chapter priorto the entrance of the
United States in the war, and chairman of all the RedCross drives.
In 1900 Mr. Kauffman was united in marriage with Miss Mell Howell, ofDes
Moines, Iowa, a daughter of J. W. Howell, a member of the firm of Warfield,
Pratt and Howell Grocery Company of Des Moines, and who is still active in the
business.To this union there have been born three children:John H.was
educated at Lake Forest Academy, Lake Forest, Illinois, and the Universityof
California, and is now a horticulturist of Florida, where he is engaged inthe
raising of fruits and flowers.He married Alice D. Shaw, and they havetwo
sons, John Howell, Jr., and Franklin Darrow.Ray Franklin, educated atCulver
(Indiana) Military Academy and the University of Iowa, is now connectedwith
the firm of Warfield, Pratt and Howell Grocery Company.Anna Malvina,a
graduate of Vassar College, class of 1928, was married in June, 1929, to Edwin
T. Meredith, Jr., a son of the late Hon. Edwin T. Meredith, one of Iowa's great
leaders, and former United States commissioner of agriculture.
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