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Benjegerdes, George Henry 1847-1941


Posted By: Linda Mohning, volunteer (email)
Date: 5/27/2012 at 05:27:47

George Henry Benjegerdes, one of the best-known and most substantial pioneer farmers of Plymouth county and owner of a fine farm of two hundred and forty acres in Marion township, is a native of the state of Illinois, but has been a resident of Iowa since he was five years of age and of Plymouth county since 1874. He was born on a farm in Washington county, Illinois, December 3?, 1847, son of Dietrich Benjegerdes and wife, natives of Germany, who settled in Illinois in 1843.
Dietrich Benjegerdes and his wife left their native Oldenburg in 1843 and came to the United States, proceeding West and settling in Washington county, Illinois, where the former died in 1848, leaving his wife with five small children, of whom the subject of this sketch was the fifth in order of birth, the others being as follows: Dietrich, who became a well-known resident of Clayton county, this state, married a Miss Walker, after whose death he married Christina Hentges; Frederick, a veteran of the Civil War; who served for three years as a member of an Iowa regiment, later locating at Manly, this state, becoming a well-to-do farmer and merchant there, where he died in 1915; John, also of Manly, a farmer, who died in 1893, and one daughter, who died in her early youth. The mother of these children, after the death of her husband, came to Iowa in 1852 to make her home with the family of her late husband’s brother, Fred Benjegerdes, in Clayton county and there she later married George High, a former soldier in the German army, who had come to this country and located in Clayton county, this state, where she spent the rest of her life.
George H. Benjegerdes was but a child when he moved to Clayton county with his mother and stepfather and there he grew to manhood, remaining on the home farm until his marriage in the fall of 1874, when he came to Plymouth county with his bride and established his home in Marion township, where he has resided ever since, thus being one of the pioneers of that part of the country. Upon coming to this county Mr. Benjegerdes bought a farm of one hundred and sixty acres in section 27 of Marion township and by the first of April of the succeeding year had a small house, fourteen by sixteen, built on the same and ready for occupancy. He brought with him sufficient nursery stock with which to start a grove on his place and shrubbery around the house and in due time had a fine grove and one of the best-improved farms in that part of the country. He suffered, in common with all the pioneers of this section of the state, during the grasshopper visitations; but was able to tide over the losses sustained during those years and presently began to see his way clear and in time increased his land holdings until now he is the owner of a fine farm of two hundred and forty acres, with a substantial residence and commodious farm buildings. In addition to his general farming, Mr. Benjegerdes has ever given considerable attention to the raising of high-grade live stock and in the latter line has done very well, his present specialties in live stock being thoroughbred Hereford cattle and Duroc-Jersey hogs. In his political views Mr. Benjegerdes is “independent,” reserving his vote for such candidates as are in his opinion best qualified for the performance of the duties of the office to which they aspire. He has given close attention to local civic affairs for many years and has served the public in the capacity of township trustee and as township assessor.
It was on September 3, 1874, in Clayton county, this state, that George H. Benjegerdes was united in marriage to Anna Meyer, who was born in that county, a daughter of Louis and Anna (Werges) Meyer, natives of Germany, the former of Prussia and the latter of Hanover, who came to this country with their respective parents in the days of their youth, the two families settling in Ohio, where they were married, coming thence, about 1849, to Iowa and settling in Clayton county, where Louis Meyer spent the rest of his life, for sixty-five years a continuous resident of the farm he took upon locating there, his death occurring in 1914, and where his widow is still living, being now at the age of eighty-one years. Louis Meyer was a member of the German Evangelical church, as is his widow, and their children, eight of whom are still living, those besides Mrs. Benjegerdes being as follows: Minnie, who lives at Monroe, this state; William, of Clayton county; May, of Manly, this state; Fred, living at Postville, this state; Louise of Manly; Charles, who is living on the old home place in Clayton county, and Elizabeth, who is living at Manly.
To George H. and Anna (Meyer) Benjegerdes seven children have been born, namely, Louis, who died at the age of eleven years; Mary, who married Charles Martin, now living at Garretson, South Dakota, and has three children, Henry, Ella and Dietrich; Lena, who is living in Worth county, this state; Anna, who married Charles Harnack, of Garretson, and has one child, a daughter, Lillian; Minnie, who is at home with her parents; Dietrich, who received his education at the College for the Blind at Vinton, where he was in attendance for nearly eight years and where he became an accomplished musician, the harp being the instrument of his special choice, though he is a skilled performer on numerous other musical instruments, and William, who is assisting in the management of the home farm. The Benjegerdes are members of St. Paul’s German Evangelical Lutheran church and take a warm interest in the affairs of the parish, as well as in the general social activities of the community in which they live, ever helpful factors in the promotion of the movements having to do with the advancement of the common welfare thereabout. It is a matter of interesting note that this is the only family of the name of Benjegerdes in Plymouth county and one of the few families of that name in this country.

Source: The History of Plymouth County, Vol. II, compiled by W. S. Freeman, 1917


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