Herbert E. Casteel, one of Rock Island County’s most enterprising and highly regarded citizens, prominent in banking and business circles and a self made man, was born in Davenport, Scott County, Iowa, March 15, 1860, and was the son of Appleton and Elizabeth Gardner Casteel.
Mr. Casteel’s strides to prominence are the result of hard toiling and struggle in his early days and his keen business methods and perseverance in later years.
Terminating his studies in the public schools of Davenport, he was not any too well provided with education with which to enter the great field of business struggle, but with optimistic ideas he quietly worked them to a point of value and with each change of position came a promotion and higher salary. To this end he directed his ardent ambition until he reached the estimable position of bank president.
Mr. Casteel’s business career dates back many years, owing to the fact that he started out for his own livelihood at an early age. When only thirteen years of age he went to Port Byron, Illinois, and two years later, in 1875, he entered the employe of the Port Byron Lumber Company as bookkeeper, which position he held for two and a half years. In 1875 he went to Rapids City, Illinois, where he entered the employe of Taylor Williams at the same occupation and, for two and a half years more he followed this special work. As a departure from the lumber business Mr. Casteel became associated with John Schafer in the mercantile business, and after some years in this, and upon dissolution of partnership he, took the position of assistant superintendent of the Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul Railroad company’s coal mines at Perry, Iowa, until 1884, when he resigned his position and again took up merchandising.
Prior to his departure from Illinois for Perry, Iowa, and at the age of twenty-one years, he decided to take a wife, and on December 22, 1881, was married to Miss Emma S. Lowry. To this union two children were born, a son, Lowry M., and a daughter, Evangeline Gardner Casteel. The son is at present engaged as assistant teller in the Rock Island National Bank, while the daughter attends college.
When John Schafer was elected treasurer of Rock Island County, Mr. Casteel was appointed deputy county treasurer, which position he held for the full term. At the expiration of this he accompanied Major C. W. Hawes of the Modern Woodmen of America to Fulton, Illinois, as assistant head clerk, which position he held until 1893, when he decided to shake the dust of Illinois from his feet and locate in South Dakota. In the above year he located at Parkston, and occupied the position of cashier of the Parkston State Bank of Parkston, this change taking place just prior to the panic of the same year. He continued his services with that institution until 1898, and after a few months of retirement and in August of 1899 he accepted the position of cashier of the Rock Island National Bank and located his family here.
In the Fall of 1899 he floated the stock of and incorporated the Central Trust and Savings Bank of Rock Island, this taking place in December of 1899, and was elected himself as cashier.
In May, 1902, upon the death of J. F. Robinson, Mr. Casteel was elected president of the Rock Island National and of the Central Trust and Savings Banks, and to the present day is the head of both institutions.
In addition to the above responsible positions, Mr Casteel has the business management of the Robinson estate and is interested in several of the flourishing manufacturing institutions of the tri-cities.
Aside from deputy county treasurer he never held a public office except that of treasurer of the Bethany Home Protective Association of Rock Island, which is a home conducted for poverty stricken and destitute children. He was a democrat, but believed in the Republican platforms under McKinley and Roosevelt, and in accordance with his political opinions voted the Republican ticket.
Mr. Casteel is a Mason of the thirty-second degree and has membership in several of the Masonic lodges aside from the Consistory. Among the lodges of which he is a member are Philo Lodge, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons; Rock Island. Chapter, Royal Arch Masons; Rock Island Commandery, Knights Templar and Oriental Consistory. He is also a member of the Modern Woodmen of America. In his fraternal and social affiliations, as well as in business, he has surrounded himself with numerous acquaintances through-out the city, county and state, and in honest opinion of so honorable a man to the community, it can be stated without contradiction that his loss would be a severe blow to the business interests of the city and to his scores of friends.