DIRKS, Henry 1859-1935
Posted By: Tammy (email)
Date: 3/18/2017 at 18:40:35
Henry Dirks Ends Long And Active Life In County
Came To County 60 Years Ago, Grew Up On Farm, Was In Business 45 Years And Mayor Of Holland 28 Yrs.
Henry Dirks came to the end of a long and active life when he died at his home in Holland at 9:30 Thursday evening. He had been in failing health for a year. Several months ago his trouble was discovered to be cancer of the liver and he and his family knew for several months that the end of his long and active journey on earth was near and he was reconciled to it and prepared for it when the final summons came.
Funeral Service Monday
Funeral services were held at the home at 1:30 o'clock Monday afternoon and later at the Lutheran church in Holland with the Rev. P. Ilgen, the local pastor, in charge of the services. The church was not large enough to seat the friends of the deceased and the family who came to pay their last tribute to one who had been a good friend to them for many years. Burial was in the Holland church cemetery.
Grandsons Are Pallbearers
Six of Mr. Dirks' grandsons served as his pallbearers. All are the sons of Mr. and Mrs. Wm. Kiewiet from Buffalo Center.
Came Here as a Boy
Mr. Dirks was a boy of 16 when he came to Grundy county with his father and mother, four brothers and one sister. The family came here from Freeport, Ill., where they had remained five years to become accustomed to the ways of America before they came farther west to make their permanent home in Grundy county. The father came here the year before and bought a farm in Lincoln township. The family came here the latter part of February in 1875. They came with the train to Parkersburg and from there drove to their future home by team. This family of pioneers believed in Iowa soil and developing it from the prairie to which they came to the well improved farms of today. As members of this family arrived at maturity they married and made homes of their own on Grundy county farms. So loyal has this family been to the county to which they came as pioneers, that but three of them out of a family now numbering 149 reside outside of Grundy county.
Born In Emden, Germany
The Dirks family came from Emden, Germany. All of the children were born there and they came to America together in 1870 and located temporarily on a farm near Freeport, Ill.
Went Back to Germany to Win His Bride
Henry Dirks returned to Germany in December, 1885. He left this country of his birth at the age of 11 and returned to it as a young man of 26. He had begun corresponding with his future wife, Rika Hinderks, four years before his return to Germany and when he went back to the Old Country it was with the expectation of bringing a wife back with him. His wife was an only daughter and the parents after giving their consent to have their daughter leave them decided to come to this country with her. Mr. Dirks and his future wife and her parents started together on their trip to America. Three days before the end of their ocean voyage, the mother died. Her body was permitted to remain on the ship and she was buried in New York City, after which the bereaved father and the young couple came on to Grundy county.
Double Wedding in Family
Ten days after his return to Grundy county, Mr. Dirks and Rika Hinderks were married. Mr. Dirks' brother Cornelius was married at the same time. The double wedding took place in the Colfax township Presbyterian church of which Rev. VanderLas was pastor at the time.
Began Housekeeping on Farm
Following their marriage Mr. and Mrs. Dirks started housekeeping on a farm in Lincoln township. They remained on the farm for four years.
Goes Into Business in Holland
In 1889 Mr. Dirks and his brother Cornelius both left the farm, moved to Holland, and went into the lumber, coal and farm machinery business. They built up a very large trade and their business prospered. This partnership was continued until about ten years ago when the lumber business was sold. Henry Dirks continued in business for himself after the firm quit handling lumber and coal. He built up a large seed trade and continued in the farm machinery business until his health began to fail.
Was Mayor of Town 28 Years
Mr. Dirks served as mayor of Holland for 28 years. He retired from office a little over a year ago. Few men in Iowa have held one public office for so many years. It was believed at the time of his retirement that he had served more years as mayor than any other man in Iowa.
Preferred to Cure Evil Rather Than Punish It
The part of his official record in which Mr. Dirks took the greatest degree of pride was that during his many years as chief magistrate in his town he never committed a man or woman to jail. Some he sentenced there, but revoked the sentence on promise of good behavior. These promises in the largest number of cases were made good. He believed in helping to put weak men back on their feet rather than to push them down and to step on them. He believed in trying to cure evil rather than to punish it. He was always ready to give the unfortunate another chance. His patience and human sympathy put many young people back on the straight road. This man was a fine influence in a community which respected and trusted him.
Wife and Four Children Survive
Mr. Dirks is survived by his wife and four children. The children are Mrs. Wm. Kiewiet, Buffalo Center; Henry Dirks, Jr., Bessie and Will who live in Holland. There are 13 grandchildren and there is one great-grandchild. The firstborn child died in infancy.
Of this family of father and mother, five sons and one daughter who came here 60 years ago, but two remain. They are Mrs. D. J. Dieken and E. H. Dirks of Grundy Center.
Hilderich Dirks was born in Emden, Germany, on the 25th day of February, 1859, and passed away Thursday evening, May 23, at 10 o'clock, attaining the age of 76 years and 3 months.
He was united in marriage to his now bereaved wife, Rika Hinderks, who was also born in Emden. This marriage was blessed with 5 children, three boys and two girls, the oldest son having died in infancy.
He leaves to mourn his death his widow, two sons and two daughters; namely, Mrs. Will Kiewiet and family from Buffalo Center, Henry Jr. and family, William and family and Bessie at home. Also 13 grandchildren and one great-grandchild, and one sister, Mrs. D. J. Diekena, one brother, E. H. Dirks, and their families together with a host of relatives and a large group of friends, all of whom live in this vicinity.
Relatives from a distance who were here at the funeral were Mr. and Mrs. R. Asmus and three children and the H. Asmus family from Buffalo Center, Rev. and Mrs. Evert O. Dirks from Traer, and George Tjaden, an old friend from Iowa Falls.
--The Grundy Register (Grundy Center, Iowa), 30 May 1935, pg 1, 12
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