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Benton County, IAGenWeb Project
The IAGenWeb Project

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

Pages 463-465

JOHN P. KROEHNKE has made for himself a name and place in the activities of life, and successfully surmounting many obstacles he has gained recognition for true worth of character. He is now well known as the cashier of the Van Horn Savings Bank. Mr. Kroehnke was born in Calumet county, Wisconsin, July 11, 1864, a son of Henry and Margaretta (Mohrwinkel) Kroehnke, both of whom were born in Schleswig-Holstein, Germany. The father came to the United States when a young man, and locating first in Wisconsin he farmed there for a number of years and was then engaged in the grain business at Chilton, that state, until his death in March of 1903, when sixty-six years of age. His wife had died in 1880, at the age of thirty-eight years. They were the parents of five children: Anna, wife of Theodore Schulz, of Chilton, Wisconsin; Henry, who is living in California; Helen, wife of John Wanzer, of Keystone, Iowa; John P.; and Emily, wife of George Tangeman, also of Keystone.

John P. Kroehnke spent his early life on a farm in Wisconsin and in the town of Chilton, and he is a graduate of Chilton's High School with the class of 1882. Locating then in Keystone, Iowa, he worked for three years with a butcher, having attained then his twenty-first year. With the money he had saved while thus employed he purchased a half interest in a general mercantile store, the firm then becoming C. W. Waldeck and Company. He became a member of this firm in November, and in the following April their store was destroyed by fire, Mr. Kroehnke then being left with but ten dollars in money, and a judgment note against him, held by E. Hagerman, of Burlington, for twelve hundred dollars. His financial condition at this juncture was truly a serious one, but not disheartened he began that summer driving a cream wagon for a Belle Plaine creamery, receiving sixty-two and a half dollars a month, and during the night he operated the pump at Keystone for the Milwaukee Railroad Company, this bringing him forty dollars a month, and he slept in the pump house. In the following year he came to Van Home and secured the position of bookkeeper at the Milwaukee Round House, which was then located there, while later he became associated with Burns and Kelly, general merchants and worked for them at different periods for twelve years. At the death of his father-in-law he returned to Keystone to take charge of the latter's furniture and hardware business, and following the closing out of that house he was made the cashier of the Van Home Savings Bank, which was organized in March of 1908. In addition to discharging the duties of that office Mr. Kroehnke is also an insurance dealer and a notary public, and he has also served as a school director and as a member of the city council. He is a splendid business man, and his interests also include South Dakota farm land.

He has been twice married, wedding first, in May, 1888, Margaret Titus, who was born in Fairfield, Iowa, May 14, 1865, and she died on the 16th of March, 1889, leaving twins, George and Pearl. On the 23d of December, 1891, Mr. Kroehnke married Lulu F. Illian, who was the first white child born in Kane township of Benton county, her birth occurring on the 5th of January, 1871. She is a daughter of Louis F. and Dora (Steffen) Illian, and her mother is now living at Keystone. A son, Frank L., has been born to Mr. and Mrs. Kroehnke. Mr. Kroehnke is a member of the Democratic party, of the Modern Brotherhood of America and of the Lutheran church.

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