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Iowa History Daily: February 22 - Uncle Henry Wallace

Iowa History Daily: On February 22, 1916, patriarch of the far-famed founders of the publication “Wallaces’ Farmer” and family who started Pioneer Hi-Bred, “Uncle” Henry Wallace died. A minister, moralist, farm editor, and incredibly influential Iowan, Uncle Henry’s legacy shaped how many Iowans think about agriculture.

After a childhood spent on the family farm in western Pennsylvania, Henry moved west at 18 and attended Monmouth Seminary in Illinois. Ordained in the United Presbyterian Church, Wallace again headed west to serve as a minister in Davenport and Morning Sun, Iowa. Henry married Nancy Cantwell in 1863, and they went on to have four children including future US Secretary of Agriculture Henry “Harry” Cantwell Wallace.

In 1877, the elder Henry retired from the ministry and moved the family to Winterset where he grew obsessed with agricultural technique and farm journalism. A strict anti-monopolist, in 1883 Wallace moved to Des Moines to take up position of Editor at the ‘Iowa Homestead.’ A bitter dispute with owner James Pierce eventually led Wallace to start his own publication: the iconic “Wallaces’ Farmer.”

Gaining national acclaim for his widely read “Uncle Henry’s” column and commentary, Wallace found himself called in 1908 to serve on the presidentially appointed “Country Life Commission” to investigate rural problems. He served as president of the National Conservation Congress starting in 1910. His grandson, Henry A. Wallace would serve as Vice President of the United States and start Pioneer Hi-Bred Corn Company. #IowaOTD #IowaHistoryDaily #IowaHistoryCalendar


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