William Soaper, Jr.

by Edmund Starling, 1886


The subject of this sketch, who bears the honored name of his father, is the third son of William Soaper and Susan Fannie Henderson, and, as in the case of his elder brothers, was given a collegiate education. He received his early training at the best schools of Henderson, and entered Union College, Schenectady, New York, where he would have graduated in 1864, but for the interference of the War of the Rebellion. William Soaper was born in Henderson County, on the tenth day of April, 1843, and in his form and build is the exact counterpart of his father, when at his age in life. Returning home from college Mr. Soaper engaged himself with his father and brother Richard, in the tobacco stemming business, applying himself with an earnestness, that in a few years placed him in the front rank of stemming men. He was given an interest in the business, and since his father's death has been associated in the same line with his brother Richard. On the seventeenth day of January, 1872, he was married to Miss Sophy Turner, a highly accomplished daughter of Judge Henry F. Turner, of Henderson. As a result of that union, three children were born, Henry Turner, Susan Soaper, Lucila, all bright, promising children. Never a cloud of pain or sorrow hovered over his happy household, until October 21st, 1883, when the angel of death laid his cold hands upon the devoted wife, and carried her away to Heaven, leaving a disconsolate husband and children.

In 1883 Mr. Soaper manifested an active interest in the organization of the gravel road companies of this county, and to show his faith, subscribed liberally to the stock of the Henderson and Zion, and Corydon and Geneva companies. He has served a term as President of the Henderson, Corydon and Geneva Company, and is now President of the Henderson and Zion Company. For several years he was a member of the Board of Directors of the Henderson Fair Company, and the writer can say that no officer of the association was more active, faithful and deeply interested in the work before him. He is a member of the Masonic order in high standing, having presided as Master, High Priest and Eminent Commander, and had he urged himself as many have done, he would have presided before this over the Grand Lodge of the State. Mr. Soaper is a half-owner of the Henderson Hominy Mill, one of the largest manufactories of hominy, gritz &c., in the West, and is doing a daily business commensurate with its great capacity and yet unable to supply all of its orders. His partner, W. W. Shelby, manages the mill while he gives the bulk of his time to his tobacco interest. In addition to what we have mentioned, our subject is the owner of a magnificent Henderson County river bottom farm of two hundred and forty acres, growing annually thousands of bushels of corn.

Mr. Soaper, in political faith, was raised a Whig, but since the war has affiliated with the Demoractic party. He was never an office holder and never a candidate for one. In church doctrine, he is an Episcopalian, and for twenty-five years has served his church as vestryman. For several years he has held the office of Treasurer of the church, and so well has he performed the duties of the office, the vestry refuse to give him up by re-electing him annually. To find a man of indomitable will and unquestioned courage, sincere in his convictions, a warm and generous friend of the noblest impulses, of the highest business character, is to lay your eye and hand upon William Soaper.

The History of Henderson County, Kentucky by Starling 1887 page 774-75;

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