Wiliam F. Spooner, BiographyPorter County biographical sketches . . . .

Transcribed biography of Wiliam F. Spooner

WILLIAM F. SPOONER, the popular and able mayor of Valparaiso, Indiana, was born in Leicester, Worcester County, Massachusetts, on May 25, 1848, the son of James and Mary (Delaney) Spooner, both of whom were natives of Queens County, Ireland. William Spooner was one of seven children born to his parents, two sons and five daughters. He was educated in the Holy Cross College of Worcester, Massachusetts, and three years after completing his schooling he came to Chicago, and here engaged in the manufacture of toilet soap and perfumes. He remained in that business for ten years, and in 1882 he came to Valparaiso, where he engaged in the grocery and grain business in association with his brother-in-law, M. S. Harrold, under the firm name of Harrold & Company. In 1890 the business was dissolved, due to the death of the partner, and Mr. Spooner next operated a retail grocery store for thirteen years.

He had always been an ardent democrat, and in 1888 he was elected alderman for two years; and in 1902 was elected mayor of Valparaiso, reelected in 1904, and in 1906 was defeated for the same office. He was again made the standard bearer for the office in 1910, and was elected with a splendid majority. Four years later he again met defeat, only to rise again to successful candidacy in the same office in 1925. He made the race for Congress in the Tenth District, and his strength was such that he reduced the republican majority from 35,000 to 13,000. He has been a recognized figure in the state councils of his party, and as a tribute to these services he was appointed a member of Governor Isaac P. Gray's staff, serving from 1885 to 1889. His other local political service was as chairman of the Democratic County Central Committee from 1908 to 1916.

It was during his term as mayor that the vexatious water works question was settled after years of litigation. The Home Company was formed, which took over the plant with the understanding that as soon as it paid out the bonds the city would own the plant. The new company was bonded for $90,000, and as soon as the bond were taken up from the earnings of the company it was understood that the city was to have it by paying $100. This was done and the plant became the property of the city in 1926.

Mr. Spooner was married to Anna Harrold, daughter of Doctor and Mrs. Harrold of County Tipperary, Ireland. Doctor Harrold never left his native land, and enjoyed distinction in his profession there. Mr. and Mrs. Spooner were married by the late Bishop Dunn in the now celebrated Paulist Church on Wabash Avenue, in Chicago, Illinois. The first lady to offer congratulations to them was Miss Rucker, daughter of General Rucker, who later married General Phil Sheridan. Mrs. Spooner passed away April 9, 1919, and is buried in Calvary Cemetery of Chicago. To their marriage were born three children: J. L., Mabel, and Aubrey, who died in infancy. J. L. is president of the Lincolnway Garage of Valparaiso. Mabel, who is now Mrs. Bernard Schuldt, is a graduate and post-graduate of Sisters of Providence, St. Mary's of the Woods; graduate and postgraduate of Conservatory of Music of Valparaiso University; she was a pupil of the late Emil Liebling and Gertrude Radle Paradis, and also of Harrison Wild, who is the director of the Apollo Club of Chicago. Mr. Wild and Mrs. Shuldt dedicated St. Paul's new organ in Valparaiso. Miss Helen Brown, daughter of H. B. Brown, was associated for many years with her in teaching. The thousands of splendid young men and women are living testimonials of her gift as an instructress. Senator Bowser of Chesterton, Indiana, made the statement that their loyalty acclaimed her in every state in the Union.

Mr. Spooner is engaged in the life, fire, and accident insurance business and represents the Equitable Life Assurance Company of New York and other well known companies. He is a member of the Chamber of Commerce, of which he was the first vice president in Valparaiso.

Source: Cannon, Thomas H., H. H. Loring, and Charles J. Robb. 1927. History of the Lake and Calumet Region of Indiana Embracing the Counties of Lake, Porter and Laporte. Volume II. Indianapolis, Indiana: Historians' Association. 827 p.
Page(s) in Source: 112-113

This biography has been transcribed exactly as it was originally published in the source. Please note that we do not provide photocopies or digital scans of biographies appearing on this website.

Biography transcribed by Steven R. Shook


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