J. Gerhard Meiners
One of the first settlers in that portion of Union City
township in the northern part of Allamakee county was J. Gerhard
Meiners. He was born in Schale, province of Westphalia, Prussia,
August 20, 1836. Until his eighteenth year he remained at the
home of his parents where he was educated in the government
schools. As wages were meager in his native country, and he being
of an adventurous nature, he departed for the Netherlands in 1854
where he was engaged in various occupations for four years,
principally in Amsterdam and Delft.
In 1859 he had decided to sail for America but before his plan matured he was drawn by lot to serve in the Prussian army where he served faithfully for four years as a member of the Fourth Squadron of the Guard Cavalry and on account of his splendid physique he was stationed with the Guard Cuirassier Regiment at Berlin. At the conclusion of his four years service, in 1863, he returned to his parental home where he followed the occupation of carpenter until he was again called to the service of his country in 1864, in the war between Prussia, Austria and Hanover as allies against Denmark which ended on the 18th day of April, 1865, by the capture of the Duppler Schanzen. Scarcely had he reached home when the call came again for him to follow his flag in the war between Prussia and Austria. At the close of this war, in 1866, it was evident that a war between France and Germany could not be averted and he determined to end his career as a soldier and seek his fate in America and accordingly he set sail for America in 1868 accompanied by his mother and his young wife, Anna Catharina Spiegler, with whom he was united in marriage just previous to his departure. On his arrival he settled directly on his present homestead in Union City township.
Scarcely had he reached this country when his mother passed away, September 4, 1868. Death called his wife October 18, 1870, and left him and an eighteen months old daughter to mourn her loss. In 1871 he was united in marriage to Anna Adelheid Schoo and to this union were born six sons and four daughters of whom one son died in infancy. Death again visited the home and on January 21, 1891, took from the family the wife and mother after an illness of a short duration.
Shortly after his arrival in America he purchased a tract of raw land and erected a log cabin. Since then he has purchased other real estate so that his holdings now consist of a two hundred and eighty acre farm, well improved and well equipped with modern buildings. Since the death of his wife in 1891 he has lived, a widower with his children, on his old homestead.
-source: Past & Present of Allamakee County; by
Ellery M. Hancock; S. J. Clarke Pub. Co.; 1913
-transcribed by Diana Diedrich
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