from Past and Present of Mahaska County, Iowa by Manoah Hedge The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co. 1906
William Otis Nugent, interested in manufacturing enterprises in Oskaloosa, was born in Dayton, Washington county, Iowa, in 1863, a son of Dr. W. R. and Rhoda E. Nugent. He came to Oskaloosa with his parents in 1876, when a youth of thirteen years and attended the graded and high schools of the city and also Oskaloosa College. He learned telegraphy and became an operator of the Iowa Central Railroad at Oskaloosa. Later he mastered the machinist's trade at Marshalltown, Iowa, and then went upon the road as locomotive fireman on the Iowa Central, remaining in that capacity for two and a half years, when he was promoted to engineer and thus served for eight years. At the end of that time another promotion came to him, making him roundhouse foreman at Marshailtown. He retained that position and that of acting master mechanic of the railroad for four years, when he again became connected with the operative department as engineer on a passenger train for five years. Resigning, he turned his attention to mining and the manufacturing business. In 1903 the Strouse locomotive stoker was patented. To promote, introduce, and manufacture the appliances a company was formed in 1904, capitalized at twenty thousand dollars with the following officers: W. H. Strouse, the inventor, as president; William 0. Nugent, vice-president; and George A. Caffall, secretary and treasurer. In October 1905, the last named was killed on the railroad. He had sold his stock in the company to J. C. Hanna, and following the death of Mr. Caffall J. E. Whittaker assumed the duties as secretary and treasurer. The promoters were W. H. Strouse, George A. Catfall, C. F. Johnson, J. E. Whittaker and W. 0. Nugent, and these gentlemen organized the company. The machine has proven of practical use and a brilliant future seems to be opening before the new concern. The machines are now, being manufactured in Qskaloosa, and in the near future this enterprise will form the nucleus of a large industry. In 1900 Mr. Nugent was married to Miss S. Arp. Varner, who was born in Albia, Iowa, in 1882, a daughter of Joseph 0. and Sarah Varner, Her father, a grocer of Albia, was an early settler of this state, coming from Ohio fifty years ago. Mr. Nugent belongs to the Masonic fraternity in which he has attained the degrees of commandery and shrine. He is also a member of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers. In politics he was a democrat until Governor Cummings became candidate for chief executive of the state. He has become interested in considerable real estate in Oskaloosa, now owning much valuable property and his prosperity in business is the result of well directed effort, untiring industry and judicious investment.
Past and Present of Mahaska County, Iowa
Mahaska County, Iowa Genealogy