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Solomon Wilhelm


Posted By: Gail Meyer Kilgore (email)
Date: 3/20/2004 at 03:58:25

SOLOMON WILHELM. Maryland has furnished several valued citizens to Grundy County, among whom is our subject, who follows farming in section 31, Palermo Township. He was born in Allegany County, that state, May 4, 1827, and is a son of Samuel and Mary (Rickard) Wilhelm, the former a native of Pennsylvania, and the latter of Maryland. The father was a farmer, and after his removal to Allegany County, followed that pursuit until his death.

Our subject was the second in order of birth in a family of six children, of whom three are still living. He was reared on the old homestead and acquired his education in the subscription schools. In Somerset County, Pa., in 1849, he married Miss Elizabeth Troutman, who died in 1852, and in 1853 he was again married, this time to Mary Ann, daughter of Peter Boyer, of Somerset County, Pa. Mr. Wilhelm followed farming in Pennsylvania and Maryland until 1857, when he emigrated to Grundy County, Iowa, becoming one of its pioneers. At the same time James R. Lynn settled in this neighborhood. He had brought a wagon load of goods as far as Iowa City in March, 1857. Mr. Wilhelm came in April, and they located on adjoining farms on section 31, Palermo Township. They purchased their land at $5 per acre, but a few years later they could have bought any quantity at $1.25 per acre. With the exception of their own homes there was not a house in sight. Their nearest neighbor, John W. Conrad, lived at Conrad Grove, six miles away. He is still a resident of this county. There was not a stick of timber nearer than Conrad’s Grove.

Mr. Wilhelm built a house 16x30 feet, securing the lumber from Steamboat Rock, Iowa City and Benson Mills. There was not a single house between his home and Grundy Centre, and as far as the eye could see, not a tree adorned the unbroken prairie. The winters were exceedingly cold, and there was nothing to break the force of the wind. Our subject and his wife bore many of the hardships and trials of frontier life, but as the years have passed the comforts of civilization have been added to their home and then now have a valuable farm, under a high state of cultivation and improved with a good residence, well kept barns and other modern accessories. There were still some Indians in the neighborhood at the time of their arrival. Grundy Centre was the nearest post office, and they had to go to Albion to get their plows sharpened. Mr. Wilhelm now had four hundred acres in his home farm on sections 31 and 32, of which three hundred acres are under cultivation. He carried on general farming and stock-raising, and his business career has been one of success, yielding him a handsome income.

Unto Mr. and Mrs. Wilhelm were born fourteen children, one of whom is deceased. Susan I. is the wife of John Leiter, of Clay Township, this county; Emma F. is the wife of J. H. Leiter, an editor of Pocahontas County, Iowa; Samuel E. is a dentist of Glad Brook, Iowa; Charles M. is engaged in farming in O’Brien County; John C. is an agriculturist of Pocahontas County; Jane is the wife of George C. Leiter, a farmer of O’Brien County; Delia C. is the wife of Levi Sherbon, of Melrose Township; Elmer is engaged in the drug business in Hancock County; Benjamin F. and Curtis L. are at home; Luella is the wife of Fred Martin, of Clay Township; Claud and Clyde are still under the parental roof. One child died in infancy.

Mr. Wilhelm is a member of the Church of God, and in politics he is a Republican. He is numbered among the honored pioneers, for few have longer resided in the county than he. He is familiar with its history since the days of its early infancy, and his name is inseparably connected with its growth and upbuilding. He has ever borne his part in the work of public advancement and improvement, and this volume would be incomplete without the record of his life.

Portrait and Biographical Record
of Jasper, Marshall and Grundy Counties, Iowa


Grundy Biographies maintained by Tammy D. Mount.
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