Charles E. Goetz
GOETZ, WELLMAN, DOUGHERTY, THORSEN
Posted By: Roseanna Zehner (email)
Date: 11/7/2003 at 22:01:32
GOETZ, CHARLES E.
Historian: -- In reply to yours, asking information regarding my personal history, am pleased to say that my father was Adam Goetz, who was born in Hesse Darmstadt, Kingdom of Hessia, Germany, January 1, 1810. He immigrated to the United States in 1830 and settled in Cincinnati, Ohio, where he married my mother, Sophia Wellman, who had come to this country when a child five years old, from Hanover, in Germany. Thus I am of German parentage. I was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, May 18, 1849. My father was then in the lumber business. In the summer of 1854 my father came to Iowa to look over the new territory, being induced to do so by a company of friends and acquaintances, who had purchased the town site of what is now Guttenberg, in Clayton county (it being called "Prairie La Porte" at that time -- French for the Gate to the Prairie). He liked the appearance of things and purchased a saw mill and lumber yard there.
He returned to Cincinnati for his family and effects and in early October, 1854, we landed at Guttenberg, coming by steamboat, there being no railroads at that time in Iowa. Our mill and lumber yard were destroyed by fire upon the evening of our arrival. However, my father remained and rebuilt the mill and established himself in business the following year. My mother died in 1879, aged sixty years. My father lived until January, 1897, being eighty-seven years and two weeks of age at the time of his death.
Of my early education there is not much to say. I was given a common public school education, the best the place afforded at that time. We had nowhere near the excellent school system that now is afforded even in the rural districts in Iowa, and when fifteen years of age, I branched out to make my own way in life.
I have a very good recollection of the Civil war period, although too young to participate, as it was in 1864 that I went over into Grant county, Wisconsin, and commenced a business career at a cross roads country store, at what was then called Olliver's Mills. After working there one summer and winter, I went to Dubuque and took a commercial course at Baylie's Commercial College. In the following spring I went to Elkader,Iowa, and began a clerkship with A.W. Dougherty & Co., dealers in general merchandise, and remained with them until I came to Sioux City in 1869, which I have narrated before. I was married at Beloit, Iowa, April 14, 1874, as before stated, to Miss Gora Thorsen. Her father was Sven Thorsen, who was born in Norway in 1809, immigrating to this country from there in 1854, locating at McGregor, Iowa, where my wife was born in August, 1856. Mr. Sven Thorsen lived to the age of ninety-three years, passing away at Beloit in the spring of 1902, leaving as survivors, a wife, now aged eighty, three sons, Thomas, Chris, and Sam, and one daughter (my wife). Mr. Thorsen had been engaged more or less actively in farming in Lyon county for thirty years.
While living in Beloit, Lyon county, there was born to us two daughters, Mattie on September 7, 1875, and Nora on October 29, 1878. One of the inducements which caused me to leave Lyon county and take the position of station agent at Canton in 1882, was the prospect of better school advantages than we could expect at Beloit. Later, in 1888, the same desire to better the school advantages for our children, was the principal motive of our removing from Canton to Sioux City, where we hoped to finish the education of two naturally bright and promising girls. However, man proposes and God disposes. We were not to be permitted to follow our desire and inclination, and so in January, 1890, the year known to all Sioux City, as the great diphtheria year, we were called upon to give up both of our dear ones, our daughters being taken from us by death, Mattie, the eldest, on January 3, and Nora, the younger, on January 8, 1890, leaving us childless. What it means to give up all your loved ones within one week, I cannot here describe. Suffice it to say, that to us life has not been the same since.
Our religious affiliation is with the Congregational church. I am a member of the Masonic fraternity, blue lodge and chapter, receiving my blue lodge degrees in LaMars in 1872. I was one of the charter members of Borderlodge at Rock Rapids, afterwards dimitting to Canton, South Dakota, and later to Sioux City.
In September, 1889, I was appointed assistant postmaster in Sioux City, by E.R. Kirk, then just appointed postmaster, which position I held during his term of office, retiring with him in February, 1894, when, owing to poor health, I followed no particular business for about two years, when feeling fully restored, in the fall of 1896 I accepted the position of bookkeeper with the Sioux City Gas & Electric Company, in whose employ I am at the present time.
Very truly yours,
Charles E. Goetz.
source: Compendium of History Reminiscence and Biography of Lyon County, Iowa. Published under the Auspices of the Pioneer Association of Lyon County. Geo. Monlun, Pres.; Hon. E. C. Roach Sec’y; and Col. F. M. Thompson, Historian. Geo. A. Ogle & CO., Published, Engravers and Book Manufacturers. Chicago, 1904-1905
submitted by Roseanna Zehner, Lyon co. coordinator
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Clayton Biographies maintained by Sharyl Ferrall.