Paul E. Topel

Paul E. and Tillie (Kamin) Topel

The career of Paul E. Topel is another proof of the fact that this rich country supplies opportunities for all who seek them out. A foreign born citizen, Mr. Topel came to America at the age of sixteen practically empty in pocket but rich in determination and fired with the ambition to succeed. Combining German thoroughness with American enterprise, he succeeded and today owns one of the most valuable farms in Post township, Allamakee county, a property comprising one hundred and seventy-five acres of land, improved with fine buildings, having its own water system and its own electric light plant, and in its completeness and modern equipment being a monument to Mr. Topel’s thorough methods and his industry and energy. However, while he has given much of his time and attention to the improvement of this splendid farm, he has found time to devote to other causes and is especially prominent in his church, in the upbuilding of which he has taken an interest which has produced moral and intellectual advancement.

Born in Pomerania, Germany, November 7, 1868, his parents were August and Wilhelmina (Kamin) Topel, both natives of that German province. The father was born January 2, 1829, and the mother March 9, 1830. He was a carpenter and contractor by trade and gained a livelihood as a builder, following this occupation from his early manhood until his demise. Both parents spent their entire lives in Germany. The father served the regular term in the army and this was practically the only time that he was absent from his business. Mr. and Mrs. Topel had four children, of whom Paul E. is the youngest.

Growing up under parental care in a systematic German household, Paul E. Topel was early taught by his parents the advantage of honesty, industry and thrift. These three cardinal characteristics have never left him and have been the foundation upon which his American success rests. When old enough Mr. Topel entered school and received his education in Germany, which country remained his home until he attained the age of sixteen years. To the imagination of a growing lad the opportunities of America loomed large and he decided to emigrate. Crossing the ocean and making his way inland, he went direct to Chicago, where for one year he worked in the stock yards, thence removing to Iowa and engaging as a farm hand. For four years he was so occupied, rendering good service to his employers and saving his earnings. He then married and after that event brought forty acres of land, which forms the nucleus of his present holdings and which he began to clear and cultivate. His labors brought results and as his means increased he added to his place small tracts until he now owns one hundred and seventy-five acres, highly improved with modern buildings which are among the finest in Post township. His land is brought to a high state of cultivation by fertilization and the scientific rotation of crops and its yearly yield is at a maximum. In 1912 Mr. Topel erected a modern barn thirty-six by eighty feet which adds value to his farm and takes care of his increasing live-stock interests. The latest equipment and machinery are installed upon his place which by its appearance proves the thorough and up-to-date methods employed and the resultant prosperity to the owner of the property. Mr. Topel has installed his own water system and also an electric light plant which furnishes not only illumination but power to machinery

On January 31, 1890, Mr. Topel was united in marriage to Miss Tillie Kamin, who was born in Pomerania, Germany, September 13, 1869, a daughter of Henry and Augusta (Schroeder) Kamin, the former born July 2, 1825 and the latter September 17, 1831, in the same province. The father remained in Germany until he was forty-six years of age, when both he and his wife went to Chicago, Illinois, where they made their home for nine years. They then came to Allamakee county, locating in Post township on a part of Mr. Topel’s present farm, where they continued until their deaths, spending their later years in retirement, and making their home with Mr. and Mrs. Topel. The father died July 29, 1909, and the mother, March 28, 1911. In their family were three children, of whom Mrs. Topel is the youngest.

Mr. and Mrs. Topel have four children: Rosetta Clara, born February 12, 1891, who is the wife of Fred Hilmer, an agriculturist of Ludlow township; Clara Bessie, born May 27, 1898, who resides at home; Arthur Walter, born August 29, 1899; and Ralph Herman, whose natal day was October 19, 1906.

Politically Mr. Topel reserves an independent judgment, giving his support to the most efficient candidate without regard to party lines. Although he has never aspired to public office, he has consented to accept the position of treasurer of the school board of his district, being guided by his deep interest in the cause of education and administering the affairs under his charge in a highly satisfactory way. He is a member of the Presbyterian church of Frankville and shows his interest in its work by serving as elder for twenty years. He is also prominently connected with Sunday-school work, being a member of the executive committee of the Iowa State Sunday School Association. Fraternally Mr. Topel is a member of the Brotherhood of American Yeomen, being connected with Frankville lodge. Having started out in life with no particular advantages, Mr. Topel has attained to a position which solicits respect and esteem, both of which are given him freely. While he has attained personal prosperity he has been a valuable unit in promoting agricultural development in Allamakee county and has done much toward raising agricultural standards by instituting and following the latest known farming methods. His career must be classed as entirely successful as he has not only gained financial independence but has made many friends and enjoys the confidence of all who know him.

-source: Past & Present of Allamakee County; by Ellery M. Hancock; S. J. Clarke Pub. Co.; 1913
-transcribed by Diana Diedrich

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