Henry County, Indiana
Genealogy and History
Typed by Lora Radiches
Surnames in this biography are: Niewoehner, Bode, Klopp, Blickwedel, Reinhardt, Bullerdick
J. HENRY E. BODE has been a resident of the beautiful old City of Richmond, Indiana, since his boyhood days, and he is now one of its progressive end influential citizens and businessmen. He is president of the South Side Improvement Company, which has given splendid service in furthering the civic and industrial advancement of the city, and he is secretary of the Citizens Mutual Fire Insurance Company, his executive office being maintained at 134 South Eighth Street. J. Henry E. Bode was born at Osnabru=C3=A9ck, Kingdom of Hanover, Germany, August 17, 1873, and is a son of Ernest Adolph and Catherine (Niewoehner) Bode, who were born and reared in that part of the Empire of Germany. In his native land Ernest A. Bode served a thorough apprenticeship to the trade of plasterer, which he there continued to follow as a vocation until 1881, on the 14th of August of which year he and his family embarked for the voyage to the United States. In that month they landed in the port of Baltimore, Maryland, and thence the journey was forthwith continued to Richmond, Indiana. Here Mr. Bode continued as a contractor in the work of his trade more than forty years, and here his death occurred July 2, 1927, his wife having passed away in 1884 and both having been devout communicants of the Lutheran Church. The rudimentary education of J. Henry E. Bode was acquired in the schools of his native land and he was a lad of eight years when the family home was established in Richmond, Indiana. Here he continued his studies in the parochial school of Saint John's Lutheran Church, and in April, 1887, prior to his fourteenth birthday anniversary, he found employment in a local chair factory, his compensation having been $1.50 a week the first six weeks and having then been increased to $2. After having been thus engaged about one year he initiated an apprenticeship to the plastering trade, under the effective direction of his father. At the age of twenty-six years he began his independent operations as a plastering contractor, and he was thus engaged until 1918. In 1908 he had become a director of the German Mutual Fire Insurance Company of Richmond, of which he was chosen secretary, and when the corporation was reorganized, in 1918, under the present title of Citizens Mutual Fire Insurance Company, he was retained in the office of secretary, in which capacity he has active management of the company=E2=80=99s general offices, 134 South Eighth Street, William F. Klopp being president of the company and John H. Niewoehner, its treasurer. In 1900 Mr. Bode became one of the organizers of the South Side Improvement Association, which was formed for the purpose of advancing the interests of Richmond along both civic and industrial lines, especially the South Side. He has held virtually all-executive offices with this corporation, of which he is now the president, and in the furthering of whose progressive policies he has had much of leadership from the beginning. The association purchased the Boyce farm, adjoining the city on the south, and proceeded to open negotiations with eastern promoters to bring about the construction of a line of railroad from Cincinnati to Chicago, the result being the building of the Cincinnati, Richmond & Muncie Railroad, which is now a part of the Chesapeake & Ohio Railroad system. Adolph W. Blickwedel, of Richmond, was the leader in the movement that resulted in the construction of this important railway line, which has been of inestimable benefit to Richmond. The farm acquired by the South Side Improvement Association has been transformed into a center of marked industrial activity. The organization promoted the location of nine manufacturing industries of important order. Here is established the plant of the Automatic Tool Works, with an annual payroll of $1,900,000, and here also are the plants of the Automotive Gear Works, the Great States Corporation, the Johnson Sheet Metal Works, the Land-Dilts Kitchen Furniture Factory, the Knowles Tool Company and the Indianapolis Glove Company. Under the loyal and effective direction of Mr. Bode the Citizens Mutual Fire Insurance Company has doubled its assets and its number of policyholders. Before he assumed the presidency of the South Side Improvement Association he had been made chairman of the committee that effected the erection of a bridge across the Whitewater River at Richmond, at a cost of $220,000. In Richmond the years have marked large and worthy achievement on the part of this loyal and progressive citizen who as a boy here initiated his business career at a stipend of $1.50 a week. The political alignment of Mr. Bode is with the Republican party, and he and his wife are earnest communicants of Saint John=E2=80=99s Lutheran Church in their home city, he having served as a member of its board of trustees, as secretary of its vestry and congregation, and as secretary of the building committee under the direction of which was erected in 1907-08, the present fine church edifice. In a fraternal way Mr. Bode is affiliated with the local lodge of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks. He served ten years as president of the local Beneficial Union, the primary function of which is the teaching of thrift among the people, and in 1925 he was a delegate from this organization to the national convention of the order, held in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The year 1894 was marked by the marriage of Mr. Bode to Miss Margaret F. Reinhardt, who was born in Tuebingen, Wurttemberg, Germany, and the children of this union were five in number: Ernest Alfred and his wife reside in Los Angeles, California, and they have one son and one daughter. Lillian, next in order of birth, died at the age of twenty years. Edna is the wife of James Norton, of Long Beach, California, and they have one daughter. Edwin C. H. is a resident of Los Angeles, California, and he and his wife have one daughter. Arthur C. is the only one of the children remaining in Richmond, and he married in June, 1928, Helen Bullerdick.