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H. J. Huiskamp. The continuation and extension of the business enterprises which bring reputation and prosperity to a community, in these days of keen competition, depend largely upon the sound business methods under which they are operated, under the management of able and efficient officials. While vast capital is invested in so great an enterprise as is the Buffalo Brick Company, at Buffalo, Kansas, much of its unexampled prosperity must be credited to the energy and good judgment of its general manager, H. J. Huiskamp, who is also secretary. Mr. Huiskamp had developed this into the largest concern of its kind in Kansas, and its annual volume of business, at a low estimate, more than doubles that of any two other plants.
H. J. Huiskamp was born at Keokuk, Iowa, October 19, 1873. His parents were S. A. and Alice (Britts) Huiskamp. As the name indicates, Mr. Huiskamp is of Dutch ancestry, both father and grandfather having been natives of Holland. The grandfather, Herman Huiskamp, was born at Amsterdam, married there and was engaged in a substantial business when his death occurred, in 1846. Two years later his widow decided to emigrate with her children to the United States. The family settled first at St. Louis, Missouri, and from there removed to Pella, in Marion County, Iowa, and still later to Keokuk.
S. A. Huiskamp, father of H. J. Huiskamp, was born in 1841, in the City of Amsterdam, Holland, and died in Germany in 1913. He was seven years old when his mother brought the family to America, and began to attend school after settlement was made at Pella and continued later at Keokuk, Iowa. In that city he embarked in the boot and shoe manufacturing business and continued in that line during his years in business. At the outbreak of the Civil war he proved his personal courage as well as his loyalty to his adopted section of country by enlisting in the Union army, and served four years as a member of the First Iowa Volunteer Cavalry, receiving an honorable discharge. He was a Knight Templar Mason and in this relation as in others, was held in esteem. Although he had reached an age when many men cling to their firesided, Mr. Huiskamp, at seventy-two was not considered too venerable to undertake a long projected visit to Europe, but possibly the strain and changed conditions to which he was subjected in travel were too great for his vitality and his death occurred while in Germany, at Weisbaden, in 1913.
S. A. Huiskamp married Miss Alice Britts, who was born in Indiana in 1844, and died at Santa Barbara, California, in 1888. Three children were born to them, namely: H. J., secretary and general manager of the Buffalo Brick Company; John, who died at Santa Barbara, California, at the age of twenty-two years; and Hazel, who is the wife of E. Carroll Taber, who is a lumber merchant at Keokuk, Iowa, where they reside.
H. J. Huiskamp was afforded educational advantages in both public and private schools, being a pupil in the former at Keokuk and Fort Madison, Iowa. When thirteen years old he attended the Catholic University at Notre Dame, Indiana, for one year, and later was a student in private institutions at Santa Barbara and Montecito, California, thus laying a sound educational foundation. He began to learn business methods in his father’s manufacturing plant at Fort Madison and from there became a bank employe in the same city, after which for some time he was connected with a wholesale shoe house at Keokuk, Iowa. Subsequently, for several years, he was connected with the Burlington Water Company, at Burlington, Iowa, and then became interested in mining and prospecting, this line of work taking him through California and Oregon and into Canada.
It was in 1905 that Mr. Huiskamp came to Buffalo, Kansas, and took charge of the Buffalo Brick Company, which had been established here in 1902, Mr. Huiskamp being one of the original stockholders. The plant of this company is situated one mile west of Buffalo, occupying a large territory. It is equipped with modern machinery and had a capacity of 100,000 blocks a day, shipments being made to Montana, Nebraska, Kansas, Iowa, Missouri, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Arkansas, Texas and Colorado, with trade promising in other sections. Employment is afforded 140 skilled workmen, and as Mr. Huiskamp is a wise, prudent and just employer and manager, industrial conditions have always been satisfactory.
In politics Mr. Huiskamp prefers to be an independent voter but is not by any means an indifferent citizen. He gives intelligent attention to all that concerns Buffalo and his fellow citizens are sure of his co-operation in movements for the general welfare. In addition to his business interests mentioned, he is president of the Buffalo Electric Light Company, and belongs to the Western Paving Brick Association, of which he is vice president. Fraternally he is identified with the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, belonging to the lodge at Fort Madison, Iowa. Mr. Huiskamp resided in the northeastern part of Buffalo, where he owned a comfortable residence. He is unmarried.