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Portrait and Biographical Album of Benton County, Iowa
Chicago: Chapman Brothers, 1887

HUGO RAMMELSBERG, a prominent resident of Shellsburg, is numbered among the pioneers of 1857 and is one of the successful and wealthy men of the county. He is a native of Magdeburg, Prussia, born Sept. 17, 1827. His parents were Friederich and Charlotte Rammelsberg. Hugo, in accordance with the compulsory educational law of his native country, attended school regularly until fourteen years of age, and thus became well versed and informed in the common and necessary studies. After leaving school he was three years an apprentice in a grocery and provision business, and subsequently clerked in the same. In 1847 he bid his home and parents an affectionate farewell, and sailed for the United States. He landed in New Orleans in early autumn, and first stopped with his uncle, Henry Kiihnholz, who had emigrated to the United States a few years previously. In New Orleans Hugo Rammelsberg learned the barber's trade, which in those days implied not only tonsorial work, but also bleeding, cupping and pulling teeth. In January, 1849, he went to Yazoo City, Miss., where he continued his trade, and also established and conducted a mercantile business. In 1854 he came to Iowa and entered 1,280 acres of land on sections 18 and 19, in what is now Fremont Township, Benton County, and returned to the South. In 1855 his brother Alphons, and his cousin, Charles Rammelsburg, arrived from Germany, and as it was unhealthy in the South, Mr. Rammelsberg accompanied them to Iowa and located them on the land he had entered the year previously. In 1857 he closed out his business in Yazoo, removed to Iowa and engaged in farming. He worked hard, observed due economy, and this, added to the increased value of his land, soon brought him into comfortable circumstances, but it was not until 1873 that he yielded to the earnest entreaties of his father and others and left the farm, giving up manual labor, which was fast bringing him to his grave. He moved into the town of Shellsburg, and in 1875 erected his present dwelling, which is by far the best in the town, it being finished in first-class order from cellar to roof, and here he now resides, surrounded by his family and with all the comforts necessary to the best social life. He still owns over 1,200 acres of real estate, 640 of which he entered in 1854.

Alphons Rammelsberg, brother of Hugo, was born Jan. 1, 1833, in Germany, and died Nov. 25, 1860.

Mr. Hugo Rammelsberg has been twice married, first June 11, 1857, to Emilie Toedter, a native of Germany, born Aug. 22, 1836. By this union four children were born: Alwine, May 8, 1858, died Feb. 7, 1859; Ottilie Charlotte, born June 4, 1859; Alphons Friederich, born March 3, 1861; Emil, born April 11, 1863, died April 21 of the same year. April 15, 1863, Mrs. Rammelsberg died. Feb. 29, 1864, Mr. Rammelsberg was married to Bertha Hauschild, also a native of Germany, born May 25, 1845. The children born to this union were Emilie, Jan. 22, 1865; Alwin, May 9, 1866; Constance Dorothea, May 12, 1867; Hugo, March 16, 1869; Helene, Oct. 16, 1870; Louise Juliane, Feb. 10, 1873; Juliane Marie, Dec. 5, 1875; Elfriede Amelie, Jan. 3, 1880. The names of those deceased are Emilie, Feb. 10, 1865; Alwin, May 9, 1866; Hugo, Aug. 27, 1869; Helene, Sept, 22, 1874.

In 1870 Mr. Rammelsberg went to Germany to see his parents and relatives, but his visit was necessarily short, as his presence here was indispensable. In 1878 Mr. Rammelsberg's father, feeling that death was near, expressed the desire to see his son's wife and children before he died. Accordingly, Oct. 14, 1878, Mrs. Rammelsberg, with three children — Constance, Louise and Julia, left Shellsburg for Germany. They had been there only a few weeks when Friedrich Rammelsberg departed this life. He was born April 20, 1798, and died Nov. 28, 1878. Jan. 15, 1879, Mrs. Rammelsberg and children were at home again, after an absence of three months and one day.

In politics Mr. Rammelsberg is a Democrat, but only takes enough interest to go to the polls and cast his ballot. He is a great lover of the Masonic fraternity, being a 32d degree member. He was reared in the Lutheran Church and still adheres to its creed. He is honest and upright in all his dealings, highly esteemed by all who know him, and well deserves the enjoyment derived from the fruits of his labor performed in the vigor of his life.

Source Citation: "1887 Benton County, Iowa Biographies"  [database online]  Benton County IAGenWeb Project. <>
Original data: "Portrait and Biographical Album of Benton County, Iowa." Chicago: Chapman Brothers, 1887, p. 232-233.
Transcribed by: Sue Soden. Submitted to the Benton County IAGenWeb Project on January 28th, 2009.  Copyright © 2009 The IAGenWeb Project.

Return to: 1887 Biography Index

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