OTTO L. RADEKE, one of the most successful and highly respected men of Benton county, was born in Tama county, Iowa, August 13, 1860. He is a son of Ferdinand and Wilhelmina (Schmidt) Radeke. In the sketch of his brother, Henry A., is given full mention of his parents' history.
0. L. Radeke was reared on a farm in Tama county, and there received a common school education. He remained at home until his marriage, in 1885, and then settled on a farm of eighty acres in section 10, Leroy township, which he received from his father, at the same time assuming the mortage of fifteen hundred dollars, and he borrowed one hundred dollars on the eighty acres. He has put ten thousand dollars worth of improvements on his place having now a beautiful home with all modern conveniences. He owns altogether four hundred and forty acres of land and his farm is known throughout the county as the "Enterprise Stock and Dairy Farm." He has been one of the most successful farmers of the county, beginning with small capital. He is well liked for his honest dealings, and high character, and is a good neighbor. He has served as township trustee and school treasurer, and politically is a strong Republican, although previous to 1896 he was a Democrat. Mr. Radeke is president of the Farmers' Telephone Company and trustee of the Leroy Township Mutual Fire Insurance Company. He and his wife are members of Blairstown Presbyterian church, of which he is a trustee. He is well known throughout the county, where the most of his life has been spent, and is one of its representative citizens.
Mr. Radeke married, September 6, 1885, Emma Kern, born in Kendall county, Illinois, July 20, 1865, daughter of Christopher and Margaret (Burkhart) Kern. Mr. Kern was born in Baden, Germany, September 6, 1832, and is now living with a son in Leroy township; his wife died in 1905, at the age of sixty-two years. They were the parents of seven children, of whom the following six survive: Joseph, of Leroy township; Emma, Mrs. Radeke; William, of Leroy township; J. Fred, also of Leroy township; Frank, of Iowa township; and Otto living at home. Mr. Kern came to the United States in 1853, spending forty-four days in crossing; and he located in Paterson, New Jersey, where for two years he followed the trade of a butcher, and then removed to Illinois. He married in Illinois and there followed farming until 1868, when he moved to Benton county, Iowa, and purchased one hundred and sixty acres of land in section 19, Leroy township, where he has since remained. Mr. Radeke and his wife became the parents of six children, namely: Lydia, wife of Herbert Hartz, of St. Clair township; and the others, William, Wallace, Ruth, Merle and Alice, are living at home.
Picture of Otto and Emma Radeke