CHARLES RIEKE, a retired farmer of Blairstown who has been especially prominent in the care and extension of the public highways of Leroy township, is a native of Cook county, Illinois, where he was born December 9, 1865. His father, who was born in Lippe-Detmold, Germany, February 2, 1832, in 1850 emigrated to the United States and settled near Barrington, Cook county, Illinois. There he joined the Evangelical Association, and during the remainder of his life was active in the work of that denomination. In 1874 he moved to Benton county, selecting for the family homestead one hundred and sixty acres on section 12, Leroy township, and there he died March 27, 1909. The deceased was married three times, and by his first wife (nee Charlotta Pulse), who died in 1860, he had three children, of whom one — Lena, now Mrs. Elfrink of Selby, South Dakota— is living. The second wife was Adelaide Lagueschulte, who died in 1869, aged twenty-seven, mother of the following: William, now residing in Big Grove township; Samuel, of Union township; Minnie, now Mrs. Scherger, of Nora Springs, Iowa; and Charles Bieke, of this review. Mr. Rieke's third wife was Wilhelmina Schlue, and of this union nine children were born, one of whom died in infancy and the eight living are as follows: Mrs. Mathilda Fry of Wilmont, Minnesota; Ella, Fred, Jennie and Herbert, of Blairstown, Iowa; Mrs. Ida Smith, of Selby, South Dakota; Arthur of Oregon; and John Edward, of Seattle, Washington. The father of Charles Rieke when he landed in the United States was in debt for his passage money, but after several years of hard work and careful management saved enough money with which to purchase a modest farm. Determination, agricultural skill and good business management gradually improved his circumstances, and his quarter of a century's residence in Cook county, Illinois, netted him a comfortable capital, which he invested in Benton county, Iowa.
Charles Rieke was nine years of age when the family located in Leroy township, and the inherited traits of his father's strong and honest character went far toward insuring him success as a farmer and standing as a citizen. In 1887, when he was twenty-two years of age, he began farming for himself in Leroy township, purchasing land at that time and the year after establishing his own household as a married man. He was married the same year that he bought the land and began to farm. In 1899 he had reached such a position that he retired from active work and took up his residence at Blairstown. During that period he served for seven years as road supervisor of Leroy township, having charge of all the roads therein for six years of his service. Although it is no longer necessary for Mr. Rieke to be an active farmer, he owns a valuable place of two hundred and eighty acres, whose cultivation he supervises, and is a citizen who is highly respected for his useful services in the advancement of local interests. He is a stanch worker in the church of the Evangelical Association, his wife also being an active member of that organization. In politics he is a Republican.
On March 8, 1888, Mr. Rieke married Miss Rozetta Scherger, a daughter of German parents, Jacob and Albertina (Seidle) Scherger, but herself born in Butler county, Pennsylvania, on the 22nd of November, 1864. When the family migrated from Pennsylvania to Benton county, in 1866, they located on a farm in Leroy township, but later moved to the homestead in St. Clair township upon which the mother died in 1898, aged seventy-four, and the father died in Blairstown in April, 1905, when eighty-one years old. Three children were born to this good couple, of whom Frank, now a citizen of Nora Springs, Iowa, and Mrs. Rieke are still living. Mr. and Mrs. Rieke have had no children.