Henry H. and Lavinia Oberholtzer – Early Citizens of Council Bluffs

Henry H. and Lavinia Oberholtzer were both born in Pennsylvania. Henry in 1825 and Lavinia Reist in 1834. When Lavinia was 20 years old she married Henry and a year later they were in Council Bluffs.

In the 1860 Federal Census Henry’s occupation is listed as an auctioneer. He and Lavinia had one child, Henry R.. By 1870 Henry is a druggist and there are three more children, Anna, Clarence and Ida.

Henry H. Oberholtzer served on the City Council from 1872 to 1873. He helped to establish Council Bluffs as the Eastern terminus of the Union Pacific Railroad.

Henry retired from his retail business in 1872 because of poor health. During his “retirement” he was listed as being a stock trader and farmer.

In 1903 Henry visited Professor C. W. Harris, a healer who had taken up residence at the Grand Hotel. Professor Harris claimed to cure people without the aid of medicine or surgery. According to the advertisement in the a 1903 issue of the Daily Nonpareil, Henry Oberholtzer had been cured of his kidney, stomach and bowel trouble.

Henry H. Oberholtzer passed away on October 7, 1904. Lavinia had passed away just seven months earlier on March 9th.

They are both buried in Fairview Cemetery.

The Oberholtzer’s led a quiet life, not one for the society pages, but Lavinia was known for her flowers. As noted in the August 24th, 1872 issue of the Daily Nonpareil:

“Thanks. – Mr. D. Harle, the business manager of The Nonpareil desires Mrs. H. H. Oberholtzer to accept his warmest thanks for a beautiful bouquet. Choice flowers never grew, and their natural beauty was greatly enhanced by the tasty and artistic manner in which they were arranged by Mrs. Oberholtzer’s skillful fingers”