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John Frederick Taake


Posted By: Clayton co. Coordinator (email)
Date: 3/5/2004 at 18:52:05

John Frederick Taake

Throughout the United States John Frederick Taake is considered an authority on fraternal insurance and his work in that connection well qualifies him to confirm or deny the accuracy and value of any situation or plan in connection therewith. He has been secretary of the Mystic Toilers of Des Moines since 1899 and in August, 1914, was elected president of the National Fraternal Congress of America. He was born in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, July 23, 1856, his parents being Christian Frederick and Johanna (Meier) Taake, the former a native of Holland and the latter of Germany. On coming to Iowa in 1869 they settled in Clayton county and both are now deceased. The paternal grandfather, William Taake, was born in Holland, was married in that country and in the period of early manhood made his way to the new world, settling in Clayton county, Iowa, where he died at the age of eighty-eight years. His son, Christian F. Taake, came to America in 1854 and lived in Pennsylvania until he brought his family to this state in 1869.

John F. Taake was at that time a youth of thirteen years. He had attended the public schools of Lancaster Pennsylvania, and after coming to Iowa continued his education in Bailey's Commericial College, at Dubuque, from which he was graduated with the class of 1874. He then entered a dry-goods store in Dubuque as a clerk, thus starting out in the business world. Two years were devoted to this employment and in 1876 he went to Red Wing, Minnesota, where he established a dry-goods store, which he conducted successfully for eight years, or until 1884. Returning to Iowa, he settled at Waverly, where he again began dealing in dry goods but once more sold out in 1890 and while his family remained in Waverly he engaged in the lumber business in Wisconsin until 1898. The following year he settled in Des Moines and organized the fraternal order of Mystic Toilers, of which he becamse secretary and has so continued. He had closely studied the subject of fraternal insurance and was convinced that this was an excellent field. In 1901 in connection with three others he organized the Associated Fraternities of America, and in 1913 that organization was amalgamated with the National Fraternal Congress, which consists of one hundred different fraternal organizations, with a membership of over six million, making it by far the largest voluntary fraternal organization in the world. At the time of the amalgamation in 1913 Mr. Taake was elected vice president and in August, 1911, was elected president of the National Fraternal Congress of America, which indicates his high standing among the representatives of fraternal insurance in this country. So wide, comprehensive and accurate is his knowledge along the line of fraternal insurance that his opinions are largely accepted as authority. In addition to his other interests he is the secretary of the Des Moines Casket Company and this more closely connects him with the business interests of the city.

On the 3d of January, 1881, in Red Wing, Minnesota, Mr. Taake was united in marriage to Miss Olivia Eames, a daughter of Obadiah Eames, a native of New York. The children of this marriage are Ruth Scars, Blanche Irene, Yeteve Eames, Margaret Isabelle and Howard Eames. The eldest daughter, Ruth, is the wife of Guy D. Thomas, a resident of Spokane, Washington. The family attend the Reformed church.

In politics Mr. Taake is a republican and fraternally he is a Scottish and York Rite Mason, a member of the Mystic Shrine, a life member of the grand lodge of Odd Fellows of Minnesota and a member of the Knights of Pythias. Something of the nature of his recreation is indicated in his membership with the Waveland Club, Golf Club and the Rotary Club. His life is a very busy one, with little leisure, yet his church, political, fraternal and club interests constitute the force that maintains the even balance to his business activities. He has studied the question of fraternal insurance from every possible standpoint, realizes the opportunities and benefits to be derived therefrom by all connected therewith and feels that no single agency so thoroughly safeguards the interests of the investors. Moreover, in the large combination of interests which he represents it is posible to study every phase of the business, to cull out the less essential elements and to emphasize and develop the more important points. Thus the value of the National Fraternal Congress of America is becoming more and more apparent.

-source: Iowa: It's History and Foremost Citizens, Chicago: Des Moines; The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company; 1918; pg. 562-563
-transcribed by S. Ferrall from the scanned bio. contributed by R. Zehner
Annotations - added August 16, 2005 by Jeannie Winter JWinter588@aol.com

Jeannie writes: "John Frederick Taake was my Great Uncle (my Grandpa Heinrich Taake's brother). I'm writing because there are a few grave errors in this biography:

"The parent Christian Frederick's full name on his birth record is Andreas Friedrich Christian Taake and he was born 28 July 1831 in Leede, Westfalen, Germany. He went by "Christian" and was never a native of Holland. I have a photocopy of his original birth record and also all his brothers and sister, who were also all born in Leede and Wechte, Westfalen, Germany. Christian is my Great Grandpa. There was always a disagreement between my Grandpa Heinrich Taake and his brother John. Grandpa said they were German and John said they were Dutch.

"Great Uncle John (Johann) Taake, whose bio is posted above, had taken a trip to Germany after WWI to visit the relatives and had loaned them $1,000 to help them through the post-war starvation in Germany. But Great Uncle Johann refused to his dying day to admit that he was German and had always said the family was from Holland. It was at a time when there was much anti-German sentiment in America because of the war. But whatever his reason was, Great Uncle John died denouncing his German heritage, stating that the Taake family was Dutch, and never spoke of his trip to Germany, not even to his own children. Grandpa Taake argued the family was German. Unknown then, both had been correct as far as the origin of the Taake surname. The surname Taake originated centuries earlier from the name of an early folk tribe "Tadjke" located in an area in extreme northern Germany known as Friesland. Part of Friesland is in Germany and part of it in the Netherlands. This is probably where the misconception that the Taake family was Dutch came from and was erroneously passed down.

"The paternal grandfather's name was Friedrich Wilhelm Taake. He's my Great Great Grandfather and he was born February 26, 1798 in Engter, Westfalen, Germany, not Holland, and all his children were born in Ledde and Wechte, Westfalen, Germany (except for the very last few born in America). He came over with his second wife and youngest children in 1863 on the ship "AMERICA", which sailed out of Bremen through the Port of New York. I have the photocopy of the original record from the National Archives. He was 65 years old when he came over, not in his early manhood. He married (1) CHRISTINA WOLFE (my GrGrGrandmother). She died October 18, 1846 in Wechte, Westfalen, Germany. He married (2) FRIEDRIKE SOPHIE STOFFER 1847 back in Germany. She came over with him and the younger children in 1863."


Clayton Biographies maintained by Sharyl Ferrall.
WebBBS 4.33 Genealogy Modification Package by WebJourneymen


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