Throwback Thursday: Henry Link

Willennar Genealogy Center’s collection is full of Throwback Thursday potential, so let’s get our #TBT on!

Believe it or not, today we’ve reached our 100th Throwback Thursday post! To celebrate, I wanted to talk a bit about someone who both loved DeKalb County and played an important part in sharing its history: Henry A. Link.


Henry Link at age 94

Henry A. Link was born on September 5, 1884, in what is now Grant Township. He was the third child of David and Louisa (Wherly) Link, and had sisters: Matilda (a.k.a. “Tillie”) and Ada. The girls were quite a bit older than Henry, Matilda being about 14 years his senior, and Ada a little more than half that. (Click on the images below to enlarge them.)


David Link was a farmer by trade, and Henry followed in his footsteps, first working as a laborer on his father’s farm, and then taking over entirely once his father died. Henry lived on the farm with his mother until her death in the 1930s, after which he purchased a small home on the southwest edge of Waterloo.henry-link-young-man

By 1942, he was working for the State Highway Department in Waterloo, but only for as long as he needed to meet “the necessities of life,” according to John Martin Smith.

“His time,” said Smith, “was more appropriately spent with the things that really interested and mattered to him.” Outside of work, Henry was an avid photographer who loved both nature and local history.

In fact, Henry Link played an important role in late county historian John Martin Smith’s life; the two were friends who shared an interest in DeKalb County’s story, and Henry encouraged him in that pursuit. When John Martin Smith began writing his 1987 county history, Henry’s collection of books, papers, and photographs were very useful for research. When he ran into a question, Smith often went to Henry.

Henry Link died on March 20, 1987, the year of DeKalb County’s sesquicentennial, just as John Martin Smith’s county history was being completed. He is buried in Waterloo Cemetery.

Curious about local history? Feel free to search our online photo database, or head on over to the Genealogy Center’s official Facebook page.


About Chelsea

I've been working at Willennar Genealogy Center for over two years now, and I've loved every minute of getting to learn more about the stories of DeKalb County and the surrounding area. I'm interested in all kinds of history, but I'm especially fond of the early film industry, old letters and journals, the DeKalb County Fair, and the Interurban line.
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