Denison Review, Wednesday, December 7, 1910
J. B. ROMANS IS AT REST
Another Pioneer Resident of Denison Passes to the Great Beyond This Morning.
FUNERAL TO BE HELD FRIDAY
Had Been in Poor Health for Past Three Years and Under Care of Family for Six Months.
Peacefully and without a struggle, at six o’clock this morning, the spirit of John B. Romans, for many years a prominent citizen of Denison took its flight and returned to God who gave it.
The life of Mr. Romans, for almost a week before his death, had hung in the balance, his friends thinking each hour would be the last, but his naturally strong constitution kept him alive long after all hope of even a rally in his condition had been abandoned.
The deceased was born in Harrison County, Ohio, on the sixth day of September 1842, and was therefore slightly upwards of sixty-eight years of age at the time of his death.His father, Elisha Romans, and his mother, Elizabeth, both came from old Quaker families.He came with his parents to Clinton County, Iowa, in 1856, where his father engaged in farming with flattering prospects of success.Within a year or two, however, on account of the panic of 1857 and on account of obligations created by him which he expected to meet by payments to be made to him for property which he had sold on time, and the failure of the purchasers to make such payments, his remaining property was sacrificed, and he lost practically everything he had.He then rented a farm and started anew, but soon after in March 1858, his death occurred, leaving the deceased, then sixteen years of age, the eldest child in the family.The other children were Catherine, who afterwards married George F. Goudie, now living at Miller, South Dakota; Ann, who afterwards married E. F. Councilman, now living at Seney, Iowa; Hanna, who afterwards married Charles B. Eaton, of Manchester, Iowa; Lewis, who now lives in Denison; Robert A., who recently removed from here to Aberdeen, South Dakota, to engage in the banking business, and Eva, long since deceased.The entire responsibility of the family after his father’s death was thrown upon J. B., and he did not for a moment shirk the responsibility of taking his father’s place in providing for his widowed mother and his younger brothers and sisters.In a short time, by his industry and economy, he had saved enough to enable the purchase of an eighty-acre farm, on which the family lived for several years.His mother afterwards came to this county and died on February 27, 1889, at Charter Oak.
As he grew to manhood he developed an ambition for an education and for a portion of four years he attended the State University at Iowa City, where he applied himself as a student who earns the money to pay his way to college usually applies himself.Soon after leaving Iowa City he came to Crawford County, where at the age of twenty-six he was united in marriage with Miss Mary, a daughter of Honorable H. C. Laub, then the leading merchant and business man of the county.After his marriage he and his wife spent one year on the farm with his mother.He then returned to Denison and for three years was employed in the mercantile establishment of Mr. Laub, at the end of which time he formed a partnership with his employer, which was conducted under the firm name of Laub and Romans.This partnership continued until 1884, when Mr. Laub was succeeded in the same by Robert A. Romans, who remained a member of the firm until 1890, after which J. B. continued the business alone.Several years after this the business was incorporated under the name of J. B. Romans Company, with B. J. Sibbert and others taking stock in the concern, and has been conducted in this name ever since, although Mr. Romans closed out his interest in the company some four or five years ago.
Mr. and Mrs. Romans had born to them four children:Harry, who died several years ago; Lydia Maude; Ione, now Mrs. Lane H. Goodman, of Sioux City, Iowa; and Junia, now Mrs. M. J. McAhren, of Denison.
During his career in business Mr. Romans was one of the most prominent factors in the business affairs of Denison.The extensive business, which he conduced, brought him in contact with almost every person in the county, and it is safe to say that he enjoyed as wide and favorable an acquaintance as any other businessman living here during all this time.Mr. Romans was a man whose counsel and advice were sought at all times by those who were interested in the development of Denison and the county.No meeting was ever called to consider improvements of a public nature that Mr. Romans was not present, and his advice eagerly sought.He always stood ready to contribute his share, in a financial way, in support of any improvement of a public character.He was a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church and his labors and influence were a tower of strength in building up and maintaining the church.
He was for many years, and up until his death, one of the trustees and a member of the Board of Stewards of the church, and frequently attended the Des Moines annual conference as a delegate from the church here.
He was also prominent in the work of raising money for building the normal college here, and one of the best friends of the school after it was established.From the beginning he was a member of the Board of Directors of the institution.For several years he was a member of the Board of Trustees of the public schools of Denison, and always diligent in the discharge of his official duties.
Politically, and until 1896, he was a member of the Republican Party and prominent in its councils, locally and in the state at large.He was not satisfied to simply be a Republican, but was an enthusiastic worker in aiding in carrying the party forward to victory.Each year he joined other speakers in making a canvass of the county, his voice having been heard in the schoolhouses and other places of meeting in the county.He was Chairman of the Republican County Central Committee as late and up to and including 1895.In 1896 he was won over, as many other Republicans were, to Mr. Bryan and free silver, and became what was then known as a “Free Silver Republican”.He was nominated by the Democrats and Free Silver Republicans in that year for Congress in this district and made the race against Honorable J. P. Dolliver, but failed in the election.After the election of McKinley as President that year, Mr. Romans gradually drifted into the Democratic Party, where for several years he was easily the leader of the Democratic Party in this county, and not only prominent in the county but was a potent factor in the management of the party in the state.Of later years Mr. Romans has been practically out of business and out of politics.
His first wife died on the 9th day of July 1900, as all will remember her sad death on account of the explosion of a gasoline stove, which caused injuries that resulted in her death.She was a woman of superior ambition and energy and a leader in suffrage and other movements looking toward the uplift of women.Later and on the 29th of December 1901, Mr. Romans was married again to Mrs. Christine Snyder, of Creston, Iowa, who survives him.She is possessed of an unusual ability and tact, and has filled numerous positions of responsibility to the credit of herself and friends.She held the position of State President of the Women’s Relief Corps, and was urged to make the race for National President, but declined.For several years she has been the devoted comforter and friend of her husband and during his illness has faithfully watched over and cared for him.
The funeral services will be held on Friday afternoon of this week at one-thirty o’clock at his late residence, and at two o’clock at the First Methodist Church.Prior to the funeral the body will lie in state from 12 to 1 o’clock at the home.