biography from Portrait & Biographical Album of Mahaska Co., Iowa, 1887
REUBEN WHITAKER, of the firm of Whitaker & Shriver, dealers in books, stationery and wall paper, Oskaloosa, was born in Muskingum County, Ohio, Dec. 15, 1835, and is a son of John and Elizabeth (McGiffin) Whitaker. The former was a native of Virginia, of Scotch ancestry, and in his early life was a carpenter, but in later years a miller. In 1855 the family came to Oskaloosa, and the father under- took the building of a gristmill in the southern part of the city, near the prescnt site of the South Spring Mills, and died Dec. 18, 1856, before the mill was completed. The mother is still living, and resides two miles north of Oskaloosa with her sons Samuel and Frank. To them were born eleven children, eight of whom are living, as follows: Mary E. is the wife of W. K. Wallace, a printer at Des Moines; Reuben; Sarah is the widow of George R. Ledyard; John was in the army in Co. E, 33d Iowa Vol. luf., and was wounded in the battle of Helena, and died in a hospital at Memphis. He ranked as Second Sergeant; Gideon L. is Weighmaster at the Iowa Central Stockyards, Oskaloosa; Maggie E. is the wife of Jesse Hyatt, a farmer in Southern Dakota; Jennie is the wife of Edward Williams, of What Cheer, Iowa; Samuel W. and Frank are on the home farm. Reuben Whitaker received a good common-school education, and also attended Muskingum College two years. After the family came to Iowa, in 1855, he worked in a sawmill until 1859, then took a trip to Pike's Peak, and on his return engaged as clerk in the drug-store of William M. Wells, for one year. In the summer of 1862 he enlisted as a private soldier in Co. E, 33d Iowa Vol. Inf., and served until the close of the war. He was with his regiment in the capture of Little Rock, Ark., and in numerous other engagements. After the capture of Little Rock he was promoted to be Hospital Steward. On his return from the army, he resumed his former occupation in the drug-store of Wells & Wright, continued with them two years, then bought a grocery stock, run that business one year, and returned again to duty with his old employer, W. M. Wells. He started the first exclusive news depot in Oskaloosa in the room now occupied by Searle & Scott, and disposed of the business in 1885, to Charles H. Ralston. In the year 1878 the firm of Whitaker & Shriver started a book-store near the Herald office in the Ketner building. In 1881 they bought out the old Central Book Concern, No. 117 West High avenue, and have conducted business there since. In 1882 they bought the building, which is substantial brick, 20x116 feet, with three stories and a basement. On the main floor is kept the stock of books and wall paper. The second floor is used for surplus stock and the third for storage. They do a wholesale and retail business, carrying all the leading college and school text books, and do a large and profitable business. Sept. 18, 1866, Mr. Whitaker was united in marriage with Miss Harriet L. Shriver, a native of Ohio, born Aug. 5, 1839, and a daughter of Samuel and Sarah (Fink) Shriver, natives of Pennsylvania. By this union there have been two children. Charles P., born Oct. 16, 1868, and Harry R., Oct. 18, 1873. Charles F. is a graduate from the Oskaloosa High School in the class of 1886, and is a salesman with Whitaker & Shriver. Mr. Whitaker is a member of the Masonic fraternity, and himself and wife are members of the Congregational Church. He is ranked among the leading and successful business men of Oskaloosa; has achieved success by a close attention and personal direction of all details of the business, and a thoroughness of knowledge and push and energy, that combined, are sure to bring about desirable results. He bears a most excellent character as a Christian gentleman and citizen, and enjoys the full confidence of all who know him.
Portrait & Biographical Album of Mahaska Co., Iowa, 1887
Mahaska County, Iowa Genealogy