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Wehrheim, John


Posted By: Janelle Martin (email)
Date: 4/9/2011 at 12:39:24

History of Hamilton County, Iowa, Vol. II, 1912, J.W. Lee, pp. 227-229.

The record of the pioneer settlement and agricultural development of Hamilton county contains no more honored name than that of John Wehrheim, who came to this section when it was an unbroken prairie and developed and improved from a tract of raw land one of the finest farms in his township. He was born in Randolph county, Illinois, August 12, 1843, and is a son of Conrad and Mary Wehrheim, the former a native of Germany and the latter of Illinois. The mother of our subject died in Randolph county, Illinois, in 1845, and some time afterward Conrad Wehrheim was again married. To this union were born the following children: Mrs. Phoebe Jane Madden, deceased; Mrs. Emaline Hickey, of Denver, Colorado; Mrs. Virginia Ryan, who has passed away; Julia and Frank, both deceased; Lyman, who resides in Strawberry Point, Iowa; George, who makes his home in Clayton county, in the same state; and Conrad, who has passed away. The elder children in this family were born in Illinois and the younger ones in Clayton county, Iowa. All were reared and educated in the latter state.

John Wehrheim remained in his native state until 1845 and then came to Clayton county, Iowa. About 1870 he first made his home in Hamilton county, settling in Clear Lake township. In the following year he came to Hamilton township, where he has resided since that time. In 1861 he enlisted in the Union army as a member of Company C, Thirteenth Iowa Volunteer Infantry, and was mustered in at Dubuque. After serving nine months he received his honorable discharge and returned to Clayton county, where he engaged in farming until his removal to Hamilton county. Here he found nothing but a broad, unbroken prairie, sparsely settled and entirely undeveloped. With no resources beyond his unfaltering industry, his perseverance and progressive enterprise, he set to work to make his fortune from the soil. Acre by acre he brought his land under the plow and planted it in suitable grains. His energy was rewarded by abundant harvests and as his financial prosperity increased buildings were erected, more land tilled and adjoining tracts added, until at one time Mr. Wehrheim owned six hundred acres of the finest land in the section. At the present time he has four hundred acres in a high state of development. That he has accomplished his early ambition is evidenced by the excellent condition of his farm. Where once was an untilled waste there are now fertile fields, fine farm buildings and everything which goes to make a model agricultural property, and the poor young man of a quarter of a century ago is one of the most successful and representative farmers of Hamilton county.

In Clayton county, Iowa, October 6, 1866, Mr. Wehrheim married Miss Mary Ann Swift, who was born in Wisconsin in 1844. She came with her parents to Clayton county in 1864 and afterward removed to Boone, Iowa, and thence to Hamilton township, Hamilton county, where her family have since resided. Her father, John Swift, was born in Ireland and died in Hamilton township, at the age of seventy. He married Miss Ellen Murray, also a native of the Emerald isle, who passed away in this section when she was eighty-two years of age. Both were among the earlier settlers in this section of the state. In their family were nine children: Mary A., the wife of the subject of this review; Mrs. Ellen Transue, of Sioux City, Iowa; Margaret, who makes her home with her sister, Mrs. Wehrheim; Hugh and William, who live in Jewell; James and Michael, both deceased; Edward, who resides at Estherville, Iowa; and Peter, a resident of Palo Alto county in the same state.

To Mr. and Mrs. Wehrheim have been born twelve children: Conrad, whose birth occurred in Clayton county and who is residing in Rose Grove township; John Francis, also born in Clayton county, who lives near Dows, Iowa; Simon, a native of Hamilton county, residing near Peterson; William, who lives at Eagle Grove, Iowa; George, of Alden, Iowa; Michael, who is farming near Woolstock; Sylvester, who makes his home at Jewell; Valentine and Lawrence, twins, who are assisting their father with the work of the farm; Mrs. Mary Urell, of Minnesota; Mrs. Jennie Hollihan, of California; and Mrs. Lucy Brown, also of California. All the children born to Mr. and Mrs. John Wehrheim have had the advantage of excellent educations. Jennie and William attended Jewell College in Jewell, Iowa. Michael and Sylvester took a complete course at the college at Waterloo and Simon completed the usual course of studies in Humboldt College. Too much cannot be said of the faithful aid which Mrs. Wehrheim has given to her husband in the development of his success. In every way possible she has supplemented his efforts, managed the affairs of the household economically and has been his greatest aid in the accumulation of the fortune which places him among the most wealthy farmers in the section. Her children have been reared by a wise and kind mother and have never been denied the advantages or the comforts and luxuries of life.

Mr. Wehrheim is progressive in his political beliefs and has always taken an active interest in the affairs of his community. He has served as township trustee and school director for ten years and has done able and competent work in both capacities. He has also served as road supervisor. In community affairs affecting the material, political or moral progress of the section he has always been prominent and is recognized today as one of the loyal and public-spirited citizens of Hamilton county.


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