IAGenWeb Project - Allamakee co.

Gustave Wurtzel


Among those of foreign birth who came to the new world in search of the superior opportunities offered by this county and who through hard labor, well directed efforts and unfaltering perseverance released their expectation in substantial manner is Gustave Wurtzel. As the name indicated he is of German descent and in his life has ever exemplified the sturdy characteristics of that race. Born in Barndenburg, Germany, January 22, 1851, he is a son of Carl and Elizabeth (Beymert) Wurtzel, also natives of the fatherland. The parents accompanied their son Gustave to the new world in 1881 and continued to make their home with him throughout their remaining years, both passing away at the age of seventy-nine.

Gustave Wurtzel was reared to manhood of his native country and in German schools acquired a good education. There he was married to Miss August Wilhelmina Schwock, a daughter of Carl and Johanna Louise (Beck) Schwock, and in 1881, with his wife and two children, came to the United States. The young couple had not been particularly successful in the struggle for a living in their native country, and when they arrived in Iowa their entire worldly possessions consisted of but seven hundred dollars. Hope was strong within them, however, and neither feared hard work, and for two years after they took up their home in La Fayette township, Allamakee county, both worked out for wages. At the end of that period their combined savings permitted Mr. Wurtzel to purchase eighty acres of land in Center township, which is now known as the Thomas Zeglum farm. At the time it came into his possession it was a wild tract, but the characteristic energy he set about clearing and improving it and when at the end of twelve years he sold the land it had been converted into rich fields, productive of good harvests. After disposing of that property he invested in one hundred and sixty acres on section 36, Center township, upon which he still makes his home. It had been but slightly improved but under his supervision has become a highly cultivated tract. He remodeled the house, built commodious barns and outbuildings, introduced modern machinery to facilitate the work of the fields and in many ways made it a model farm. He carries on general farming and his energy, industry and thrift are meeting with excellent results.

As the years passed Mr. and Mrs. Wurtzel became the parents of eight children, of whom five are now living: William, who was born in Germany and there passed away; Gustave, who was also born in the old country but died after the arrival of the family in the United States; Marie, the wife of Herman Schultz, of Traer, Iowa; Louise, who married William Schultz, of Paint Creek township; Otto and Bernard, both at home; Julius, deceased; and Robert, also at home. The members of the family belong to the German Methodist church. Mr. Wurtzel gives his political support to the principles of the republican party. He has never had occasion to regret his determination to come to the new world, for here he found the opportunities which he sought and in their utilization has been signally successful.

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

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