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Krebs, Fred

KREBS, SPEAR, HOGAN

Posted By: mjv (email)
Date: 7/28/2021 at 12:25:49

Fred Krebs, farmer, was born in Wernigersock, Prussia, in 1820, and is the son of Henry and Louisa (Spear) Krebs. Henry Krebs was born in Prussia, but his wife was a native of Hanover. He was a gardener near the village mentioned, where he and his wife lived and died. They were the parents of seven children, of whom our subject is the only one now living.

Frederick Krebs, our subject, was reared and educated in Prussia, and while a resident of that country was engaged in the same business as his father, except that to this was added a knowledge of hothouse gardening, and this of itself is a wonderful science. The propagation of plants and gather of seeds, which were sent throughout almost the whole world, was for many years his business. He was educated in German and Latin in the schools of his native country, and from his majority was enlisted in the German army, in which he served three years. His money was carefully saved, both from his service and from his labor until a small sum of cash was at his command, when efforts were again made to place him in the ranks, but being on good terms with the military officers he was given a pass, and with his money in his pocket he sailed from Bremen March 15, 1848. After seven weeks’ voyage he hailed with delight the shores of America. He landed at New York, and hearing that many market gardeners were located in Cincinnati, Ohio, he purchased passage to that city, but in going down North River his boat was wrecked in the night, and he escaped only with his life and part of his clothes. A valuable trunk full of the choicest of seeds was lost. He was taken from the wreck to Albany, N. Y., and at once engaged with John Kittle, an English farmer, for $4 per month, as he was desirous of learning the English language. He worked for Kittle one year, and then went to Connecticut, from whence he returned two years later and began work again for Mr. Kittle at $11 per month.

When he came to America Mr. K. had $25 left, but he carefully saved his money and in 1853 determined to come West, hearing that lands could be secured cheaply there. So with about $300, the result of his earnings, he started for Chicago, but on his arrival was disgusted with the place, so he concluded to emigrate to Iowa. He reached Washington County in November, 1853, entered an 80-acre tract, where he yet resides, and set to work to erect a pole cabin. After this was done and he was fairly settled, the cabin was accidentally burned while he was getting his breakfast. For six weeks afterward he slept under a tree, while building another cabin. His story of how the wolves used to come near and howl their dismal music in his ears while trying to sleep on the open prairie is truly amusing. Sometimes he would seize his pitchfork and jump up from his blanket, but the wolves would scamper away, only to return again as soon as he had composed himself to sleep. The site of the old cabin is yet marked by some evidences of former habitation, but a frame building was later completed. He made some improvements and bought a yoke of cattle, but most of his breaking was hired. About this time he concluded he had kept bachelor quarters long enough, so in 1857, he was married to Rachel, daughter of John Hogan, who lived in English River Township, and was one of the first settlers of the county. The ceremony was performed by Jacob Mausk, Esq., and the young couple began their domestic life in the new farm house which was built by Frederick’s own hands. The walls were devoid of plastering, but it was a shelter from the winter winds and the summer’s sun, and from the time of their marriage prosperity began. Children came to grace their prairie home, and the walls of the old bachelor quarters were made to ring with childish glee. The joy of his wife and family, and the possession of a farm of his own in a free country were almost more than he had hoped for in the old country.

Mr. Krebs made brick with his own hands, and lined the inside of his house, which then white-sashed gave it a cheerful appearance, but the old house has long been replaced by a handsome frame dwelling, and large barns have been erected. The 80-acre farm was the nucleus of his present fine farm of 700 acres, highly improved, except a small portion of timber; 1513 rods of osage hedge surround his farms, all of which is under fence, and is situated in the most fertile part of the township. He has become by his own energy a wealthy man and through all the hardships of the new country his good wife has bravely done her part, and now at middle age enjoys with him the fruits of a well spent life. They are the parents of six sons and four daughters: Mary, a daughter by the first husband of Mrs. Krebs, wedded James Patterson, a farmer of English River Township; Louisa wedded Jacob Frank, a farmer living near our subject; Jane is the wife of Jacob Leuser, the Postmaster of Kalona, and dealer in hardware; Henry is a bachelor and a farmer in this township; Frederick, Jr., John, Charles, Gottlieb and Rachel are all unmarried and reside with their parents upon the old homestead.

For some years Mr. Krebs has served upon the School Board, yet even now he cannot read the English language well. In his own language he is well educated, and all his children have been given a good common-school education. Success has crowned the life of Frederick Krebs, and his is known and honored among the best people of the county for his honesty and purity in private and public life. Wilhelm, their fourth son, is somewhere in the West, but his whereabouts is unknown.

Mr. and Mrs. Krebs are both Free-thinkers in the fullest sense. They love the Protestant institutions and freedom in everything, both politically and religious.

Source: Portrait and Biographical Album of Washington County, Iowa (1887). Excerpt from Biographical Sketch of Frederick Krebs, page 551-553.


 

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