John B. Wartchow (1857-1920)
Posted By: Karon Velau (email)
Date: 11/26/2022 at 19:07:00
John B. Wartchow
(January 15, 1857 – 1920)
J. B. Wartchow is a leading representative of the business interests of Knierim, having built up a good trade as a dealer in hardware and agricultural implements. Of excellent business ability and broad resources, he has attained a prominent place among the substantial citizens of his part of the county, and is a recognized leader in
public affairs. He has won success by his well directed, energetic efforts, and the prosperity that has come to him is certainly well
deserved. Mr. Wartchow was born on the 15th of January, 1857, in Prussia, Germany, of which country his parents, Charles and Mary
(Foltmann) Wartchow, were also natives. In early life the father followed the brickmaker's trade and also engaged in farming in his native land. In 1862 he emigrated to America in company with his wife and three children, and settled in Jefferson County, Wisconsin, where he was in the employ of others for about two years. He then purchased a tract of land in that county, which he successfully operated until 1876, and next came to Iowa. After making his home in Lake City, Calhoun County, for one year, he purchased a farm near Fort Dodge, Webster County, and devoted his energies to its cultivation and improvement until 1899, since which time he has lived a retired life in the city of Fort Dodge. He is a stanch
supporter of the Republican party, and both he and his wife are members of the German Lutheran church. In the family of this worthy couple are twelve children, of whom our subject is the eldest, the others being as follows: Minnie, wife of Paul Miller, of Delville Lake, Wisconsin; Augusta, wife of Henry Reinhart, a car decorator in the employ of the Northern Pacific Railroad at St. Paul, Minnesota;
William, who is interested in gold mining in Washington Republic Reservation; Emma, wife of Chris Horn, of Fort Dodge; Tillie, wife of George Stroueble, who is engaged in the harness business in Fort Dodge; Alary, wife of Herman Miller, a tailor of Mingo, Illinois; Clara, who lives with her parents in Fort Dodge; Anna, wife of Fred Creptner, a farmer of Lincoln County, Minnesota; and Charlie, George and Frank, all farmers of Webster county, Iowa.
The subject of this sketch was only five years old at the time of the emigration of the family to the new world, and his early education was acquired in the district schools of Jefferson County, Wisconsin. During the winter of 1870-71 he also attended a graded
School at Milton Junction, Rock County, that state. During his youth he worked by the month as a farm hand in Jefferson County until sixteen years of age, when he entered the service of the Chicago & Northwestern Railway Company and was in their employ three years. At the end of that time he commenced learning the blacksmith's trade,
at which he worked about eight months, but as it did not agree with his health he returned to farming for a year. Mr. Wartchow was next employed in an implement store at Milton Junction, Wisconsin for a year, and then resumed farming, at which he worked both in Wisconsin and Minnesota. In 1879 he came to Iowa and for a number of years was identified with the dairy business at Fort Dodge. In the meantime he was married, June 21, 1882, to Miss Anna Habenicht, who was born December 6, 1858, and is one of a family of nine children, her parents being August and Lena (Kizer) Habenicht. Seven children bless this union, whose names and dates of birth are as follows: Albert, August 25, 1884; Lena, October 5, 1885; Lulu, December 3, 1887; Robert, June 9, 1890; Anna, February 16, 1892; Babta, October 10, 1894; and John, August 20, 1900. The oldest son is now attending Tobin College, Fort Dodge. During his residence in Fort Dodge Mr. Wartchow was engaged in quarrying for a time, and while thus employed fell a distance of forty-five feet, striking on solid rock and breaking both arms and fracturing three ribs and his skull, besides receiving a scalp wound. This accident occurred on the 17th of December, 1881, and he was unable to do any work until the following April, when he was given the position of weigh boss, which he filled for about a year. On leaving Fort Dodge Mr. Wartchow came to Calhoun County and bought a farm of one hundred and sixty acres on section 12, Lincoln township, which he placed under a high state of cultivation, and which he still owns. He operated that farm until 1899, when he removed to what is now known as Knierim and opened the second store in the place, putting in a stock of hardware and agricultural implements. He is now doing a good business along that line and is also interested in real estate. A public-spirited and progressive citizen, he has done much toward the upbuilding and growth of the town, and is now efficiently serving as mayor, to which responsible position he was elected in June, 1901. His political support is always given the men and measures of the Republican party, and he has become an important factor in public affairs. While in the employ of the Chicago & Northwestern Railway Mr. Wartchow was the means of saving a train from being wrecked, and in recognition of this valuable service the company presented him with a life pass and a silver lantern. The conductor was intoxicated at the time, and by presence of mind our subject, who was then acting as brakeman, prevented what might have been a terrible wreck, thus saving the company thousands of dollars. [Source – Biographical Record of Calhoun County, Iowa, by S.J. Clarke, 1902, p.470]
Calhoun Biographies maintained by Karon S. Valeu.
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