Dr. John Ernest Mitchell Heffelbower

John Ernest Mitchell Heffelbower (or Hefflebower) was the younger of two children born to David F. Heffelbower (1836–1897) and Susannah Virginia "Susie" Mitchell (1837–1894). John's older sister was Dora Elizabeth Heffelbower (1861–1894).

David was born and grew up in Lucas County, Ohio, and married Susie in 1859 in Albany, Whiteside County, Illinois. The 1860 Census lists him as a carpenter in nearby Newton, Illinois. By 1880, he was a carpenter living in Denison, Texas. In 1891, he had a shop on the west side of Mirick Avenue between Monterey and Heron Streets. Then, by 1896, he had a shop at 600 West Monterey selling "lumber, paints, oil, etc." He lived nearby at 608, while his son John was living at 612. David died the next year. Both he and Susie were buried in Fairview Cemetery in Denison.

At the end of 1880, Dora had married George Alfred Lake (1860–1944) in Denison. He was a Canadian who had immigrated to the U.S. after 1861 with his parents and siblings. In the 1870 Census, the family was in New Jersey but had moved to Denison in 1878. In 1880, George and his father, Samuel Bell Lake (1822–1887), were carriage makers on Denison's Chestnut Street. Samuel and wife Rebecca (1830–1890) were both buried in Fairview Cemetery. George was still a "carriage painter" in 1900, but as automobiles became more popular, the carriage trade dried up. By 1903, George's occupation was "insurance solicitor." That year, George, Dora, and daughter Georgia V. Lake Clark (1883–1964) moved to Dallas. The 1930 Dallas City Directory listed him as representative of American Transfer & Storage, as well as president of the Texas State Humane Society.

Meanwhile, John E. M. Heffelbower, the carpenter's son and Dora's brother, had become a dentist. At age 18, in 1891, he was working as assistant to Dr. W. H. Mills, dentist, above 217 West Main Street. Then he left to study at the University of Maryland's Department of Dentistry in Baltimore, graduating in 1894. While there, he married Lula Ethel Wilson. 


Source: "Busy Dentist," ed. Thomas H. Hinman, vol. 1, page 158 (Mutual Printing Company)
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They moved back to Denison, and he and Dr. Mills teamed up as Mills & Heffelbower. In 1895, the practice was located on the second floor of the elegant National Commercial College Building. In 1896, the Heffelbowers had a daughter, Marie. For a few years they lived at his old place, 612 West Monterey, and then at 606 West Monterey.

By 1901, Dr. Mills and Dr. Heffelbower had gone separate ways. John was on his own, with an office in the Ford Building (later the Citizens National Bank), at 231 West Main. 


"Office of J. E. M. Heffelbower, Dentist, Ford Building."
231 West Main Street
Robinson, Frank M., comp. Industrial Denison. [N.p.]: Means-Moore Co., [ca. 1909]. Page 49.

In 1910, John, Ethel, and Marie were living at 423 West Gandy, in the home of John Shuel. In 1913, they were living at 531 West Gandy. By 1917, John's office was on the fourth floor of the Security Building, at 331 West Main, where it remained for many years; and the family was living at 630 West Gandy. In 1929, John and Lula lived at 1325 West Woodard Street.

John's sister, Dora Heffelbower Lake, died in 1935. In 1933, looking forward to the Texas Centennial, a special pecan tree honoring Sam Houston had been planted on the grounds of the 1914 Denison High School on the 700 block of West Main Street. Now a bronze plaque was placed at the bottom of the tree by Dora's grieving husband, Lt. Col. George A. Lake. As "president of the Texas Historic Nut Tree Planting Association," George chose this way to honor General Houston, the Texas Centennial, Dora, and his own Denison heritage.

By 1940, an aging Dr. John Heffelbower had moved to an office upstairs in the State National Bank Building. He and Ethel now lived upstairs at 513 West Gandy; this was the home of Harry Tone Jr.  John passed away on October 6, 1947. Ethel died six years later. Both were buried in Fairview Cemetery in Denison. Their daughter Marie last appears in Denison records in 1917; what became of her is a mystery.

 

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Elaine Nall Bay
2013