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The IAGenWeb Project

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

Pages 666-669

WILLIAM A. RADEKE — Inheriting in no small measure the habits of industry, honesty and thrift, characteristic of his German ancestors, William A. Radeke, of Iowa township, is widely known as one of the most intelligent and prosperous agriculturists of Benton county, being an extensive landholder and a citizen of worth and prominence. A son of Ferdinand Radeke, he was born April 5, 1858, in Tama county, Iowa.

A native of Germany, Ferdinand Radeke was born, in 1807, near Berlin, and there lived for more than forty years. Emigrating to the United States in 1854, he was fourteen weeks in crossing the broad Atlantic. From New York city he came directly to Iowa, and the following four years worked at his trade of a harness maker in Iowa City. Driving to Tama county in 1858, he invested a large part of his savings in land, buying one hundred and sixty acres in York township. The real estate dealer of whom he bought the land was a veritable land shark, with no right whatever to dispose of the tract, and Mr. Radeke eventually lost all title to it. He subsequently made a bona fide purchase of eighty acres of the same farm, and was there employed in tilling the soil several seasons. In common with the early settlers of the place he lived in a frugal manner, corn bread made from meal ground by hand being a large part of the living at first. But little machinery was then used in farming, wheat, the staple product, being cut with a hand sickle and threshed with a flail. Coming from there to Benton county in 1866, he settled in Iowa township, buying the eighty acres of land on section 24 that are now owned and occupied by his son William. A part of the land had been previously broken, and a log house had been erected. He was successful as a farmer, and subsequently bought eighty acres of adjoining land. He also bought land in Leroy township, where he afterwards pursued his independent vocation for awhile. From there he removed to Luzerne, there living retired until his death, in 1888.

Ferdinand Radeke was three times married. By his first wife, who was a life-long resident of Germany, he had three children, of whom one survives, Frank, now a resident of Welsh, Louisana. He married second, in Germany, April 2, 1832, Louisa T. Schmidt, who was born April 10, 1813, and died in the Fatherland in 1848. The only child born of that union has passed to the life beyond. He married for his third wife, in 1854, Wilhelmina Schmidt, who was born November 20, 1824, and died March 11, 1904, leaving four children, namely: Henry A., of Iowa township; William A., the subject of this brief sketch; 0. L., of Leroy township ; and Gustave, of Oklahoma.

Reared to manhood under the parental roof-tree, William, A. Radeke received a limited education in the rural schools of his district, and subsequently began life on his own account on eighty acres of land deeded to him by his father in 1881, it being the original homestead property on section 24, Iowa township. Toiling wisely and well, he met with eminent success in his agricultural labors, and now owns valuable farming lands, having one hundred and twenty acres of rich and fertile land in Benton county, and six hundred and sixty-seven acres of well improved land in Pipestone and Lincoln counties, Minnesota. Mr. Radeke has made other investments of importance, being a stockholder in the Luzerne Savings Bank, and holding stock in several banking institutions in South Dakota.

Mr. Radeke has been twice married. He married first, in February, 1883, Louisa Kern, who was born in Kendall county, Illinois, and died in Iowa township, Benton county, October 18, 1892, aged twenty-nine years. She bore him six children, of whom five are living, namely: Minnie, wife of Edwin Anderson, of Chicago, Illinois; Clara, wife of Henry Meyermann, of Belle Plaine, Iowa; Mary, wife of A. F. Landsmann, of Lyons, Iowa; Amelia, of Belle Plaine, and Albert, living at home. Mr. Radeke married for his second wife Annie Schultz, who was born in LeRoy township, Benton county, September 28, 1871, a daughter of John Schultz, and to them seven children have been born, namely: Martha, August, Clarence, Elmer, John, Richard and Arnold. Politically Mr. Radeke is a Republican, and is now serving as a justice of the peace. Religiously he is a member of the German Lutheran church.

Picture of William and Annie Radeke

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