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The IAGenWeb Project

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

Pages 536-538

HENRY A. RADEKE  — A man of sound judgment, possessing excellent executive and financial ability, Henry A. Radeke, of Iowa township, holds a position of note among the well-to-do agriculturists and substantial citizens of this part of Benton county. He was born in Iowa City, Iowa, June 18, 1856, a son of Ferdinand and Wilhelmina (Schmidt) Radeke, pioneer settlers of Iowa.

Born near Berlin, Germany, in 1807, Ferdinand Radeke spent his early life in the Fatherland, living there until 1854, when he came with his family to this country, crossing the ocean in a sailing vessel, and being fourteen weeks on the water. He subsequently followed his trade of a harness maker in Iowa City for four years, and then, in 1858, bought two hundred and forty acres of land in York township, Tama county. Dealing with a dishonest real estate agent, he subsequently had to give up the land, thus losing all of the money he had invested. He afterwards bought sixty-five acres of the same land, and was there engaged in general farming until 1866, enduring with fortitude all of the trials and discomforts of pioneer life. Locating in Iowa township, Benton county, in 1866, he bought eighty acres of land, and subsequently purchased an eighty-acre tract adjoining his first purchase. He met with unquestioned success as a farmer, both in Iowa township and in Leroy township, where he afterwards bought a farm, which he managed for awhile. Having by earnest and judicious toil and wise investments acquired a competency, he took up his residence in Luzerne, and there lived retired from active pursuits until his death, in 1888.

By his first marriage Ferdinand Radeke had three children, of whom Frank, a resident of Louisiana, is the only survivor. He married for his second wife Louisa T. Schmidt, a life-long resident of Germany, who was born April 10, 1813, and died in 1848. She bore him one child, who died in early life. He married for his third wife, in 1854, Wilhelmina Schmidt, who was born in the Fatherland, November 20, 1824, and died near Luzerne, Iowa, March 11, 1904. Of this union four children were born, namely: Henry A., the special subject of this brief sketch; William A., of Iowa township; 0. L., of Leroy township; and Gustave, a resident of Oklahoma.

Brought up on the home farm, Henry A. Radeke attended the common schools, obtaining a good knowledge of English, and while at home he was taught the German language. In 1881 he began life for himself as an agriculturist, his father presenting him with eighty acres of his present farm, on section 24, Iowa township. He has subsequently bought eighty acres of adjoining land, having in his home farm one hundred and sixty acres of choice land, on which he has put all of the improvements. In the management of his agricultural interests Mr. Radeke shows marked ability, his land being in a good state of cultivation, while he has plenty of machinery of the most approved kinds to successfully carry on his work. He has also made other investments of profit, owning two hundred and forty acres of valuable land in Red Lake county, Minnesota, and being a stockholder in two of the leading financial institutions of Benton county, the First National Bank of Belle Plaine and of the Luzerne Savings Bank, of which he was one of the organizers, and is now the vice president. Mr. Radeke is also president of the Iowa Township Mutual Fire Insurance Company, of Benton county, Iowa, which was organized by the farmers in 1872, and at the present time is serving as township assessor.

On October 6, 1881, Mr. Radeke married Catherine Dietrich, who was born in Wilton, Muscatine county, Iowa, September 19, 1862, a daughter of Martin Dietrich. A native of Germany, Martin Dietrich emigrated with his family to America in 1857, landing at New Orleans after an ocean voyage of nine weeks and three days. Sailing up the Mississippi river to Muscatine, he there disembarked, and having located near Wilton worked for the railroad company, and was there employed until his death, in 1863, when but thirty-three years of age. He married, in Germany, Annie E. Wiesbrod, who was born June 13, 1831, and is now living in Iowa township, with Mr. and Mrs. Radeke. She has three children, namely: Martin C. Dietrich, of Rock county, Minnesota; Andrew Dietrich, of Union township; and Mrs. Radeke. The union of Mr. and Mrs. Radeke has been brightened by the birth of eight children, namely: Anna M.; Ida, deceased; Edward, assistant cashier of the bank at Bryant, South Dakota; George; Alma; Warren, deceased; Hilda, deceased; and Esther. Politically Mr. Radeke is identified with the Republican party, and religiously he and his wife are members of the German Lutheran church.

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