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John H. W. Rathje


Posted By: Barbara Gehlsen Nugent (email)
Date: 7/25/2011 at 16:43:31

Wolfe's History of Clinton County, Iowa, Volume 1, Excerpt:


One of the successful and well known business men of Orange township is John H. W. Rathje, merchant, of Grand Mound and one of the representative citizens of Clinton county, where he has spent his life and where he has labored for the general good, thereby winning and retaining the confidence and general esteem of his scores of customers and acquaintances. He is one of those men who make a success of whatever they turn their attention to because they persist along legitimate lines.

Mr. Rathje was born in DeWitt township, this county, February 8, 1866, the son of John and Justine (Bolte) Rathje, both born in Germany, where they grew up and attended school, coming to America with their parents, he at the age of eighteen and she when seventeen years old. After arriving in this country, John Rathje worked for some time at the carpenter's trade in New York. Later he helped build a house for Fred Douglas, a runaway slave. Justine Bolte came direct from the fatherland to Davenport, Iowa. Soon after their marriage, Mr. and Mrs. John Rathje came to DeWitt township, Clinton county, where they bought forty acres of land and later added eighty acres to his original purchase. They later moved to Orange township and bought one hundred and sixty acres. He prospered by reason of persistent application and judicious management and became the owner of four hundred and forty acres before his death, which occurred on August 30, 1894. He was one of the influential and substantial men of his township. He was the father of two sons, A. E. and John H. W. of this review. He was first a Republican and later a Democrat, but independent in local politics, though always active in political affairs, and he served as trustee of Orange township for many years, and was also treasurer of the local school board many years. In religious matters he was a Lutheran, His wife was called to her rest on April 4, 1901.

John H. W. Rathje was educated in the common schools and he took up farming when a young man, following that pursuit for himself for eight years. Although he was very successful in this line, he turned his attention to the mercantile field and in 1900 became a partner in the firm of Brick & Rathje, dealers in implements, coal and salt at Grand Mound. They have since carried on a very satisfactory and constantly growing business, carrying a large and complete line of implements, and their customers come from all parts of this locality. Mr. Rathje is still the owner of a fine farm of two hundred acres, constituting a choice estate in Orange township.

Mr. Rathje was married in 1891 to Amelia Waack, who was born in Germany, having come to this county when young where she was living at the time of her marriage. Her death occurred on April 6, 1899. Two children were born to this union, namely: Edith J. and Gilbert J., both living at home.

Mr. Rathje is a Lutheran in his religious belief, and he belongs to the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, being at present treasurer of the local lodge. He is a Democrat in national politics and independent in local affairs. He has been councilman at Grand Mound, but he has never sought public office. He is now school director of the independent district of Grand Mound.


Clinton Biographies maintained by Nettie Mae Lucas.
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