Henry J. Wilke

Henry J. and Elizabeth (Ziegler) Wilke

Henry J. Wilke, who since 1892 has been connected with agricultural interests of Allamakee county, owning today two fine farms in Post township, is a native of Iowa, his birth having occurred in Elkader, Clayton county, July 2, 1868. He is a son of Fred and Mary (Kamin) Wilke, both of whom were born in Germany, the father May 1, 1844, and the mother July 15, 1838. The former crossed the Atlantic with his parents when he was about ten years of age and located with them on a farm in Clayton county, Iowa, where he grew to manhood, continuing to reside there until 1893. In that year he removed to a farm in Dallas county, near Des Moines, whereon he now lives retired, his sons managing the property and all his business interests. His first wife passed away in 1878, leaving only one child, the subject of this review, and later married again, becoming, by this second union, the father of three children.

Henry J. Wilke was reared on his father’s farm in Clayton county and in his childhood divided his time between the work of the homestead and attendance at district school. He remained at home until he was twenty-four years of age and then began his independent career, buying land in Post township, upon which he resided for a number of years, making it in the meantime a well improved and valuable property. About 1907 he sold his farm and bought forty acres which he still owns. He purchased also another farm of one hundred and four acres, eighty rods distant, and the two properties are connected by a roadway, making it possible for him to give personal supervision to the development of both. He carries on general farming, raising fine crops of hay and grain and engaging extensively in stock-raising, keeping high grade cattle, hogs and horses. The farms are substantially improved and neat and attractive in every particular, evidencing in many ways the owner’s practical methods and his well directed care and labor.

On the 21st of February, 1893, Mr. Wilke was united in marriage to Miss Elizabeth Ziegler, who was born in McGregor, Iowa, December 18, 1871. She is a daughter of George and Mary (Bierbaum) Ziegler, natives of Germany, where her father learned the carpenters’ trade. In early life he followed that occupation but later turned his attention to farming, purchasing land near Luana, Iowa, whereon he resided until his death, which occurred about the year 1893. His wife survived him some years, dying in 1907. Mr. and Mrs. Wilke became the parents of two children: Wilbert, who was born in 1894; and Mabel, born March 3, 1898.

Mr. Wilke is a member of the Lutheran church of Postville and his upright life has always been in closest harmony with his professions. He gives his political allegiance to the democratic party and, as a loyal and public-spirited citizen, takes an intelligent interest in community affairs. He is especially interested in the promotion of public education and since 1898 has been a member of the school board, accomplishing a great deal of valuable and important work during that time. His attention is, however, chiefly concentrated upon the development of his farms and by his able work along agricultural lines he has made substantial contributions to the growth and progress of the community where he makes his home and where he is counted among the representative and valued citizens.

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

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