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Pluss, Johan Rudolf 1841-1931 & Bertha Hunziker Family


Posted By: Wilma J. Vande Berg - volunteer (email)
Date: 9/20/2023 at 02:54:09

Pluss, Johann Rudolf 1841-1931 and Wife #2 Bertha Hunziker Family

This story was taken from pages 447-448 of the Ireton Centennial Book (1882-1982). The story was transcribed for this BIOS by Beth De Leeuw of the Greater Sioux County Genealogical Society. Some research notes were added by Wilma J. Vande Berg.

There can be many variations found in the spellings, dates and places of various records found. Information In this narrative was listed as found in the specific record.

Johann Rudolf Pluss was the son of Henry Pluss and Susanne Mauch Pluss and was born in the village of Teufenthal, Canton (Co.) Aargau, Switzerland. His first wife was Elise Hackstrauss whom he married in 1867. They had two children we know of: Elise and Emil. Elise was born Apr. 13, 1875, and died Feb. 21, 1905 in Ireton, Ia. and is buried there. She married Jacob A. Lindenman, her first cousin (son of Johann’s sister) and immigrated to the U.S. J.A. Lindenman was the sponsor for Johann and his family to come to this country.

Elise Hackstrauss must have died as Johann married Bertha Hunziker in 1888 (she was born June 13, 1865.) They had 4 children all born in Kirchleerau: Bertha, born Oct. 17, 1890, and died sometime in infancy; Friedrich Pluss, born Mar. 28, 1892, Johann Rudolf, born July 11, 1894; and the second Bertha, born Aug. 11, 1898. Johann was a farmer and a butcher, and Bertha did extra work at home for a factory, braiding straw for hats. They lived in a stone and plaster house with a thatched roof on a few acres in the foothills.

They immigrated to this country in 1903 after receiving a letter from America apparently encouraging the move. They disposed of their property and stopped in Paris, France to visit an old aunt of Johann’s before continuing to LeHavre, France from where their ship sailed. In Paris, they visited the Eiffel Tower where Johann climbed to the top and Bertha and the children watched from below. She was too frightened to climb herself. Also in Paris, Bertha, the little girl, narrowly escaped being run over by a train, and after that, Bertha, the mother, gave her husband an ultimatum—either on to America or back to Switzerland as she had seen enough of Paris.

They set sail from LeHavre, France on June 13, 1903 on S.S. La Gascogne and arrived in New York 2 weeks later. There were 41 passengers on board with Johann the oldest at age 62. Bertha was 38, Friedrich was 11, Johann Rudolf was 8, and Bertha was 6. There was only one other family on board, and they had just one child. Most of the other passengers were in their early twenties and were unmarried. Bertha, the mother, was terribly seasick on the trip and had to be carried on deck everyday by her husband (probably to get some fresh air outside of the hold of the ship). They traveled as third class passengers and accommodations were very poor. On arrival, their entire worldly goods consisted of 2 feather beds, 3 pillows, some kitchen tools, a few clothes, Johann’s shotgun, 2 wooden trunks painted green, and 2 willow basket-like suitcases. The larger willow suitcase housed all their “treasures”, the baptismal certificates, family Bible, photos, buttons from Johann’s Swiss militia uniform, and a hunting or deer horn made from a mountain goat’s horn. They also had in their possession their train tickets to Ireton, Ia. and a little money. Johann had $6.80 and Bertha had $19.50.

They traveled by train from New York to Ireton. A memorable event for them was eating bananas for the first time. A fellow passenger bought some from a vendor and shared them with the family, and they were delighted with the new-found fruit.

On arrival in Ireton, they stayed on a farm for a few days (possibly with the Lindenmans) until Johann found work. Then they moved to the Montgomery place where Johann helped Mr. Montgomery with the farm work. They were amazed with the large size of the farms and all the machinery available to help do the work. After the “old country” it must have really seemed like the “golden land.”

John and Bertha bought a home in Ireton after a while. It was across from the White family and about 1˝ blocks east from the railroad depot. They lived there for many years, and the house still stands today. John died Nov. 25, 1931 at the age of 90. He had walked to town that day (as was his habit), walking straight as a stick. He came home, had a drink of water, and died. Bertha continued in the home for many years. She had a boarder, Bill Hillman, who had a room upstairs and did the manual work around the house. He continued in the house even after she was unable to take care of herself and went to live with her daughter’s family in Hawarden. He lived there until his health failed and he was placed in a nursing home in Hawarden. He lived at the nursing home until his death. The home was sold after he left.

Bertha is remembered by her grandchildren for the bags of fruits and hoarhound candy she had for them when they came to visit. She also saw that they had shoes when times were hard (times when they were cutting out cardboard soles out of cereal boxes to place inside their shoes to cover up the holes in the soles). She also helped out her son Fred’s 6 children who were left motherless and were placed in various homes in the county, by providing suits for the boys upon graduation from high school and handing out a dollar here and there. She was very hard up herself but always seemed to find a little to share with others.

Due to failing health she was forced to leave her home in 1943 and went to live with her daughter Bertha and family, the Fay Houltons in Hawarden. She lived with them for five years until her death on Apr. 16, 1948. She is buried in the Ireton cemetery next to her husband.

RESEARCH NOTES: Added by Wilma J. Vande Berg From ancestry.com from births, marriages and deaths; and public member trees submitted by others. Some obits from local archives.

Johan Rudolf Pluss born 11 Jan 1841 Vordemwald, Aargau, Switzerland died 25 Nov 1931 Ireton IA. His parents were Heinrich Pluss 1800 1992 and Susanna Mauch 1806-1884.

Wife #1. In 1867, Mr. Pluss entered holy matrimony with Miss Rosetta Hochstrasser (aks Hackstrauss, ). Two children were born to them. Three years later she died.

Wife #2. – Bertha Hunziker born 13 Jun 1856 Kirchleerau, Aargau, Switzerland and died 16 Apr 1948 Ireton IA. Her parents were Rudolf Hunziker 1831-1879 and Anna Maria Widmer 1826-1867.

1910 Census of Reading Township Sioux County lists John R. Pluss age 69 born abt 1841 Switzerland and wife Bertha Pluss age 44 born about 1866 Switzerland. Came to USA in 1904, three living children. Rulolph Pluss 15 and Bertha Pluss 13. The 1920 census had John Pluss age 80 Reading Township and wife Bertha age 53. The 1925 Iowa census listed the parents of John and Bertha but were quite illegible and obviously misspelled.

Children of Johann Pluss and Elise/Rosetta Hochstrasen/Hochstraser

1. Elise Pluss age 23 born 13 Apr 1875 Switzerland died 21 Feb 1905 Ireton daughter of Johann Rudolph Pluss and Lise Hochstrasen married Jacob Linnenman on Oct 21, 1896 Ireton He was born 1870-1957 Four children were born to them. Children were Emma 1897-1980, Fred 1899-1959, Freda 1901-1974, Arthur Emil 1902-1983 (In the obit of Johann Pluss he married Rosetta Hochstraser in 1867 she died three years later.

2. Emil Pluss born 1867 was from Switzerland in parents’ obit. Not sure if this one but an Emil came in 1913 from Switzerland, 1920 and 1930 an Emil Pluss born abt 1867 single born in Switzerland was living in Milwaukee WI

Children of Johann Pluss and Bertha Hunziker:

3. Bertha born 1890 died in infancy Switzerland.

4. Fred Pluss born 28 Mar 1892 Switzerland died March 28, 1968 Sioux Falls buried Grace Hill Hawarden, He married Grace Mandan, they had four daughters – Mrs. Vinton Kane, Mrs Wm. Kratochvil, Mrs. Kenneth hanson and Mrs. Floyd Oldham and two sons- Howard and Arnold.

5. Rudolf Pluss died at age 18 born July 11, 1894 see obit. He died May 1912 of obstruction of the bowel.

6. Bertha Pluss born 11 Aug 1898 at Vordemwald Aargau Switzerland and died 18 May 1965 Corpus Christi TX. She marred Fay Herald Houlton 1898-1966, One child named Myrna Marie Houlton 1935-2008. She was living in Parker SD 1931.

From the Thursday, December 3, 1931 Ireton Ledger:
Funeral services for the late John Pluss were held last Saturday afternoon at 2 o'clock from St. Paul's Lutheran church, conducted by Rev. F. W. Bruch. The services were attended by a large crowd of relatives and friends who came to pay their last respects to the departed. Following the services the body was laid to rest in the Lutheran cemetery.
John Rudolf Pluss was born January 11, 1841, in Teufenthal, Switzerland. His parents were Mr. and Mrs. Henry Pluss. Having completed the elementary schools, he was apprenticed to a master butcher, learning his trade. When 21 years old, Mr. Pluss entered the military service, serving several months each year during his residence in Switzerland. In 1867, Mr. Pluss entered holy matrimony with Miss Rosetta Hochstrasser. Two children were born to them. But three years later, in 1870, Mrs. Pluss passed away leaving her husband a widower and her children orphans. For a number of years Mr. Pluss followed his trade.
In 1888 he married Bertha Hunsicker. Four children were born to this union. In 1903 the family came to America and made their home on the Zimmerman farm south of Ireton. In 1911, Mr. and Mrs. Pluss retired to Ireton, where they made their home.
Mr. Pluss was favored with good health except for the last few weeks of his life, when his strength failed considerable due to his advanced age. Amid the tender care of his family, he departed this life on the morning of November 25, arriving at an age of 90 years, 10 months and 14 days. He is mourned by his widow, his children, Emil of Switzerland, Fred of Hawarden and Bertha Houlton of Parker, S. D.; also 17 grand children, and 4 great-grandchildren: two nephews, E. A. Lindenman and J. A, Lindenman and one niece, Mrs. Elsa Moser of California.
The departed was a baptized and confirmed member of the Lutheran church. Although not as active a church member as many others due to an impaired sense of hearing, his thumb worn Bible indicates his diligent search and study of the Word of God for his salvation. He was a devoted husband, a kind father, and a respected neighbor, honored for his honesty and unassuming manner.
Poster's note: In "Ireton, A Proud Heritage, 1882-1982", p. 447, the spelling of the maiden name of John's first wife is given as Hackstrauss. His second wife's maiden name was spelled Hunzicker in her obituary and on her tombstone.
The maiden name of John's mother is illegible in the 1925 Iowa census microfilm; however ancestry.com transcribes it as Susan Monroe. or (Mauch)
According to "Ireton, A Proud Heritage, 1882-1982", he was preceded in death by a daughter (from his first marriage), Elise (Pluss) Lindenman (Mrs. J.A. Lindeman) on Feb.21, 1905 in Ireton, Iowa; and a daughter, Bertha born October 17, 1890 and died in infancy in Switzerland.

Found no information on first wife Rosetta Hochstrasser Pluss … either obit or FamilySearch

From the Thursday, April 22, 1948 Hawarden Independent:
Pluss Services Conducted Here
Final Rites Held Sunday for 83 Year Old Woman Who Died at Home of Daughter in Hawarden
Funeral services for Mrs. Bertha Pluss, 83, who died last Friday morning in the home of her daughter, Mrs. Fay Houlton, were held Sunday afternoon. Brief services were held at the Barnard funeral home and services were then held at St. Paul's Lutheran church in Ireton. Rev. H. W. Krieger was in charge. Burial was at Ireton.
Bertha Hunzicker was born In Kirkleerau, Switzerland, in 1865. She became an orphan at an early age and made her home with her grandmother several years. She married John Rudolf Pluss at the age of 24. To this union were born four children, one passing away in Switzerland and Rudolf died at the age of 18.
In 1902 the family came to the United States, locating at Ireton, where she lived until five years ago when she came to Hawarden to live with her daughter.
Survivors are two children, Mrs. Houlton of Hawarden, and Fred Pluss of Sioux Falls, nine grandchildren and five great grandchildren.
She was a member of St. Paul's Lutheran church of Ireton.
Poster's note: According to "Ireton, A Proud Heritage, 1882-1982", Bertha was Johann Rudolf Pluss' 2nd wife. Johann and his first wife, the former Elise Hackstrauss, had at least two children: Elise (who married J.A. Lindenman and died at Ireton on February 21, 1905) and Emil (the book does not mention what became of Emil).
Bertha and Johann (John) were the parents of Bertha, b. Oct. 17, 1890 and died in infancy in Switzerland; Friederich (Fred) born March 28, 1892; Johann Rudolf (Rudolf) born July 11, 1894; and Bertha born August 11, 1898 (later Mrs. Fay Houlton mentioned above).
Bertha's husband died November 25, 1931 and is buried in Pleasant Hill cemetery in Ireton.
The 1925 census shows Bertha's mother's maiden name as Mary Mithwell or Muthwell but it is somewhat illegible.

No picture of the Pluss family was readily found in the local archives. If a reader has a picture of the family please contact our page coordinator to have submitted.


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