NATHAN IDDINGS, familiarly known as Nate Iddings, president of the Bradford Bank, and a member of the grain firm of Arnold & Iddings, of Bradford, may well be called one of the fathers of the town of which he has been one of the most prominent and stirring citizens for a period of forty years, or since 1869.
He was born on a farm near Pleasant Hill, in Newton Township, this county, March 17, 1841, son of David and Sarah (Hill) Iddings. His paternal grandfather was Joseph Iddings, whose father (great-grandfather of the subject of this sketch) came to Ohio from South Carolina, settling on large farm situated on the boundary line between Montgomery and Miami Counties, a part of the farm lying in each county. This immigration occurred in 1796, at which time Joseph, grandfather of Nathan, was but a boy. He followed agriculture, as did also his son, Davis Iddings, who was born in the locality southeast of Pleasant Hill, and who, as has already been seen, married Sarah Hill.
The subject of this sketch was reared on the farm and in his boyhood attended the country schools. He afterwards taught school for four years in Miami County, in the vicinity of Troy and Pleasant Hill, and proved a successful teacher. Subsequently, in the furtherance of a laudable ambition, he took up the study of law, under the guidance of Alexander Long, and after thoroughly mastering the principles of the profession, was admitted to the bar at Cincinnati, in April, 1862. Instead of at once devoting himself to the practice of his profession, he took up the business of court reporting, which he followed thereafter, for thirty-five years, serving as court reporter in ten different counties in the western part of the state. He reported in shorthand the first trial in Miami County, at which Judge Williams presided. During all this time he made his home in Bradford, taking an active part in the improvement and development of the town, and being generally recognized as one of it's foremost citizens, as he was also one of it first comers. Indeed it is said that he had but one predecessor - John S. Moore - who opened a grocery store in the place when there was scarcely anything here but primitive railway station, consisting of box car set up at t he side of the track, and a woodyard, where the locomotives were accustomed to replenish their stock of fuel.
Mr. Iddings was right on the heels of Mr. Moore, opening a general store almost before the latter had had time to get his trade well started. From that day until the present he has been an active factor in the business life of the town; and not only in its business life, but in practically every part or phase of its development as a progressive community. In the early days, he, with Frank Gulich, organized the voting precincts, and in spite of opposition from the towns of Covington and Gettysburg, had the village incorporated, and the special school district of Bradford, Miami and Darke Counties established. He was one of the members of the first board of education, and was, more than any other member, responsible for the establishment of the schoolhouse on its present site, which result was secured only after a long and determined fight on his part, the question being finally settled by an appeal to the popular vote. An interesting account of this contest may be found in the historical part of this volume in the chapter devoted to Education.
For over thirty years Mr. Iddings has been attorney for the Pennsylvania Railroad Company. In 1893 he organized the Bradford Bank, of which he has since been the efficient president. He is the owner of a large amount of valuable agricultural property, including some ten farms in Miami and Darke Counties , Ohio, aggregating about 1,500 acres. He also owns about 400 acres south of Pleasant Hill--the old home place-on which farm stands the largest barn in the state, 100x50 feet in dimensions and three stories in height, with mansard roof.
During his long and strenuous career, Mr. Iddings has been able to devote a few leisure moments to literary pursuits, and his interesting historical sketches, dealing with local subjects, and embodying for the most part his personal reminiscences of men and things, have appeared from time to time in the local journals to the interest and edification of our citizens. His own life is an integral part of the history of the town-and, it may be said, of the best part of it. He has never shirked his duty as a good citizen, but on more than one momentous occasion, has stood to his gains and maintained his position in spite of the resolute efforts of those who were opposed to his ideas and who were in the majority; and this he has done, not from any unreasoning spirit of obstinacy, but from the fact that he had carefully studied the situation and knew that the plan he advocated would in the long run be for the best interests of the community. He has always been a man of action, quick to seize the salient point of a position and profit by his advantage while others were still engaged in reconnoitering. As General Grant said, when he saw his opportunity at Fort Donelson, "The one who attacks first will win, and the enemy will have to be quick if he gets ahead of me," so Mr. Iddings in every important turning-point of his career, has acted on the same principle,- with what success those who know him will be ready to testify.
Mr. Iddings was married in 1868 to Nancy Patty, a daughter of Charles Patty. They have had one child, a son Frank, who married Lillian Miles, and has a daughter, Mildred.
In addition to the agricultural property owned by Mr. Iddings, which has been already referred to, he is also the owner of about sixty houses in Bradford, which he rents.
He is a member of the Masonic Order, and is at once the guide, philosophr and friend of every interested enquirer into the history of the town in which he has for so many years made his home.
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