Ben Davidson was the first of three brothers to come to Sioux City. Born in Slusk, Russia in 1858, he set off for America in 1880. He landed in New York with no money, no friends and no job. Within three days, however, he had a job with the India rubber comb factory on Long Island, earning just sixty to seventy-five cents a day. He set about learning the language and ways of his new country.
Ben heard about the many opportunities in the west, and made plans to improve his situation. He bought some tin goods and peddled his wares from town to town. He worked his way west until he arrived in Omaha, Nebraska. There, he became ill and had to stop for three months. When he recovered, he set out for Sioux City, arriving on July 10, 1881. When Mayor Swartz kindly allowed to him peddle his goods without a license, Ben decided to make Sioux City his home.
Sioux City writer Margaret Crary authored nine novels for young people during her lifetime. She received many awards for her literature, and several of her books became Junior Literary Guild selections. Many of her books featured Sioux City history in their themes.
The Floyd River Flood of 1892 and the Financial Panic of 1893 left Sioux City a ravaged community. Many of Sioux City’s largest businesses collapsed and the town’s great promoters were left bankrupt. Eastern investors, who had invested heavily in Sioux City businesses, were left trying to salvage what they could from the shambles. Creditors of some of Sioux City’s failed companies organized the Credits Commutation Company to try and recover some of their losses. They hired Fred L. Eaton, a banker from Vermont, to come to Sioux City and supervise that recovery.
When Fred Eaton arrived in Sioux City, the boom days were over and many businesses were in ruins. The stockyards, elevated railway, Combination Bridge and many other businesses were bankrupt. Eaton convinced a majority of the eastern investors that restoring economic health to Sioux City would be of financial benefit to them. Under his direction, the Credits Commutation Company voted to support the completion of the Combination Bridge and Eaton became the secretary/treasurer of the new combination bridge company.
“He was one of those far seeing men who, underneath their practical business exterior, looked into the future through the lens of imagination.” -- Daniel Hedges’ Sioux City Journal obituary
Elzona Trosper dedicated her life to helping improve the status of blacks and minorities in Sioux City. A social worker, wife, mother, and community activist, Trosper was tireless in her efforts to help those in need.
Elzona Trosper was born Elzona Harris on April 27, 1898, in Gallatin, Missouri. She graduated from Western Baptist College in Kansas City, Missouri and the University of Kansas. She completed additional graduate work at the University of Iowa and the University of Chicago.
Trosper moved with her husband Thomas to Sioux City in 1927. She quickly became involved in the community and was instrumental in the creation of the Booker T. Washington Center, a community center for blacks. She was the first president of the board of the Booker T. Washington Center.