Richard Henderson Soaper

by Edmund Starling, 1886


RICHARD HENDERSON SOAPER, named for his maternal grandfather, Richard Henderson, who was a nephew of Richard Henderson, President of the Henderson Grant Company, was born in Henderson County of the seventh day of February, 1836, and is the eldest son of William Soaper and Susan Fannie Henderson. He was educated from the very best private schools of Henderson, Shelby College, Shelbyville, Ky., and, during the years 1854 and '55, was a student at Kenyon College, Ohio. No means were spared by his father to give him a first-class collegiate education. Upon his return from college, Mr. Soaper was given a position in his father's tobacco stemmery, and, in the course of a few years, mastered the art of handling the weed and was given a partnership. This partnership continued up to his father's death in 1881. Since that time, in connection with his brother, the stemming business has been carried on as before. In 1868 Mr. Soaper caused to be built in the town of Uniontown, Union County, a handsome, finely arranged tobacco stemmery with a capacity of handling five hundred hogsheads annually. this, with his Henderson house, he has operated year by year, buying, receiving and shipping large quantities of the staple of this section of the country. In addition to his large tobacco interest in this country and Europe, he is the owner of four hundred and eighty-eight acres of the best river bottom land of Henderson County, land noted for its great productiveness of both corn and tobacco. His annual crops are large, and so well systematized are all of his farming plans, that nothing but an overflow or unprecedented drouth[sic] can keep him from reaping a handsome income year after year.

William Soaper, the father of the subject of this sketch, died possessed of a large and varied estate, and, upon his death, our subject qualified as executor of the will. The will included lands, houses, and lots, monies, bonds, stocks, and other possessions, to be divided among nine devisees. The difficulty of the undertaking can be seen at a glance, yet Mr. Soaper settled this great estate without a murmur from anyone, and strange to say without a lawsuit. This, then, goes to show that he is notably one of the most successful business men of the times. His career has been characterized by great energy, prudence and litberality[sic], controlled by a superior judgment and marked throughout by undoubted integrity. Mr. Soaper has traveled over the principal part of the United States and Canada, and, during the summer if 1865, spent his time in Europe on business and sight-seeing. He loves his friends, has a big warm heart, enjoys social life to its highest degree, but has never married. There isn't a timekeeper in the city that is more regular in telling the hours, than he is in his habits. Thoroughly domestic, he varies perhaps not exceeding five minutes in an entire week, in passing to and from his office to his boarding house. He is strictly a business man and a remarkably successful one. Mr. Soaper was raised a Whig, and since the downfall of that party, has never recognized the claims of any particular political organization. In religious faith he was raised an Episcopalian, but seldom attends any church. He has no fancy for office holding, and wouldn't accept one if tendered him by the unanimous voice of the people. He was never a member of any lodge, he dispenses his charities with his own liberl hand, but unostentatiously, telling no one, but keeping his good works sacredly to himself. No better man than Richard Henderson Soaper lives.

The History of Henderson County, Kentucky by Starling 1887 page 771-73;

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