Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Mindret Wemple (1830-1900)

     Portrait from the Iowa Legislature Historical Database.
                                          
   A prominent 19th century resident of Iowa, the curiously named Mindret Wemple preformed with valor on the Civil War battlefield and later became a highly sought after medical practitioner in both Illinois and Iowa. Towards the end of his life Wemple was honored by the citizens of his home county of Decatur by being elected to one term in the Iowa House of Representatives.
   A New Yorker by birth, Mindret Wemple was born in Monroe County on September 15, 1830, the son of Gerrett and Dorcus Irwin Wemple. His odd name is believed to be a corruption of the spelling of "Myndert Wemple" a Dutch-descended name held by a few New York citizens in the mid to late 18th century. Mr. Wemple received his schooling in his native county of Monroe and went on to study medicine at the Ohio Medical College at Cincinnati and did post graduate studies at the Jefferson College in Philadelphia.
   Mindret Wemple removed to Carroll County, Kentucky when he was still a young man, marrying here in 1853 to Ms. Lucy Butts (died 1867), who later gave birth to two sons, Frank Yates (born 1854)) and Elmer Hatch Wemple (born 1866). He also established a medical practice here for a short while, eventually relocating to Mt. Pulaski, Illinois in the late 1850s. After resettling in Illinois, Wemple set up his practice once again, and at the outset of the Civil War in 1861 was commissioned by then Illinois Governor Richard Yates as a Captain in Company H of the Fourth Illinois Calvary. He was present at the Battle of Shiloh and was later promoted to Major. The Garden Grove Express of February 15, 1900 also details Wemple's bravery on the battlefield, noting that he was "brevetted colonel for meritorious conduct."
  After being mustered out of service in November 1864 Wemple returned to farming and practicing medicine, and in 1867 suffered personal tragedy with the death of his wife Lucy. He remarried in November 1869 in Morrow County, Ohio to Ms. Amanda Nye, a member of the prominent Nye family in that state. One of Amanda's ancestors was none other than Arius Nye (1792-1865) a member of the Ohio senate profiled here back in June of last year. Mindret and Amanda later became the parents of two children, Edith Claire (born 1876) and Irma Nye (born 1887).
   Throughout the 1870s and 80s Wemple engaged in farming pursuits in addition to practicing medicine. He resided in Illinois during this time period and in 1893 removed to Iowa, settling in Garden Grove in the county of Decatur. Within a few years of his resettlement Wemple had established his name in the county and in the 1897 election year won a seat in the Iowa State House of Representatives. Taking his seat at the beginning of the new year, Wemple proved to be very busy during his one term in the legislature, serving on the house committees on Constitutional Amendments, Agriculture, Public Health, Horticulture, Pharmacy, Military, Mines and Mining, the Board of Public Charities, the Institute for the Feeble Minded, and the Soldiers and Orphan's Home.
  Mindret Wemple's term in the house concluded on January 7, 1900 and he died of an undisclosed illness a little less than a month later on February 6. His obituary in the Humeston New Era notes that he most likely "would have been reelected if his illness had not prevented it" but makes no mention of what malady he may have suffered from. Wemple was interred at the Garden Grove Cemetery in Decatur County and was survived by his wife Amanda, who died in Kissimmee, Florida in April 1935 at age 89. Strangely, she was not returned to Iowa for burial with her husband, but was interred at the Rose Hill Cemetery in Kissimmee. 

From the Garden Grove Express February 15, 1900.

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