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The IAGenWeb Project

History of Benton County, Iowa
The Lewis Publishing Company, Chicago, 1910; Luther B. Hill, Ed.

Pages 716-719
JOSEPH DREXLER, priest of St. Michael's parish, Norway, Iowa, was born in Delaware county, this state, January 27, 1856.

John Drexler, his father, was a native of Bavaria, Germany, where many generations of the family lived and died, and from whence he came to this country, in 1852, and settled on a farm in Delaware county, Iowa. There he carried on agricultural pursuits for many years, until his death in 1898. He possessed the sterling qualities characteristic of the pioneer and was a factor for good in the community in which he lived. Especially was he interested and active in the building of Dyersville and the establishment of the Catholic church at that place, of which he and his family were worthy members. His wife, Mary (Hausler) Drexler, like himself, was a native of Bavaria, and a member of a family of farmers who had lived there for centuries. She remained on the farm for a few years after her husband's death, and then moved to Dyersville, Iowa, where she died in 1909. They were the parents of ten children, namely: John, a farmer of Delaware county. Iowa; Joseph, the subject of this sketch; George, a merchant of St. Louis, Missouri; August, a priest in charge of a parish at Neola, Iowa; Mathias, deceased; Anton, a merchant of Dyersville; Frank, also engaged in merchandising at Dyersville; Kate, wife of Charles Kramer, of Dubuque county, Iowa; Annie, known as Sister Evangelista, of St. Francis Convent, La Crosse, Wisconsin, died October 5, 1881, and is buried at Carroll, Iowa; Mary, wife of Nicholas Iekel, of Independence, Iowa.

At an early age, while on his father's farm and attending district school, Joseph Drexler developed an inclination for the priesthood, and in 1872 he entered St. Francis Seminary, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where he spent four years. In 1876 he attended one term at St. John's College, Collegeville, Stearns county, Minnesota, and that same year matriculated at St. Joseph's College, Dubuque, Iowa, where he graduated August 9, 1881. The year of his graduation he went to Independence as assistant priest in St. John's parish, and remained there two years in that capacity. Then he conceived the plan of building a German Catholic church in Independence, so that these who did not understand the English language could have the benefit of divine teachings in their own tongue. As a result of his zeal and activity the church was built, and January 30, 1884, was dedicated. He was in charge of the parish until 1903, and was instrumental in having a Catholic school built, which was a very great help to the parish. In 1903 he came to Norway, Iowa, and took charge of St. Michael's parish, and here he has since labored, with most gratifying results. Among other things accomplished by him is the building of a ten-thousand-dollar Catholic school. Physically, he is a fine specimen of manhood. His high intellectual attainments, together with his keen insight into human nature and his love for the great work in which he is engaged, make him a power for good in the community.

Father Drexler is a member of the Roman Catholic Mutual Protective Society of Iowa and of the Catholic Order of Foresters, and is Chaplain of the latter.

Picture of Joseph Drexler

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