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Klemme, William H. Hon. 1849 - 1943


Posted By: Joy Moore (email)
Date: 3/24/2021 at 08:40:42

Source: Decorah Republican Apr. 4, 1901 P 1 C 6,7


Hon. Wm. H. Klemme, of Winnesheik County

The REPUBLICAN was not fully posted last week when it spoke of Hon. Wm. H. Klemme as a candidate for the State Senate from the Winnesheik-Howard district. Other plans were on foot and a movement maturing that was not then disclosed to the public. What that was is revealed in the headlines of this article.
Mr. Klemme's candidacy is a creditable one because it comes about in a natural way. Partial friends, whom he had made in his political career—not home admirers or flatterers—suggested the idea to him so pleasingly that he decided to submit the thought to acquaintances and friends all over the state with whom he had been associated in two General Assemblies, as well as otherwise, with a determination to abide by the responses. When these were received there was such hearty unanimity and so much of approval, that Mr. Klemme decided the problem in the affirmative. Last Saturday he settled the question and notified his friends of his willingness to try for the Lieutenant Governorship.
These kindly letters, as we have read them, fully justify Mr. Klemme in making the decision, and lead his home friends to endorse his action. The duties of the office, are, ordinarily, only those of presiding officer of the Senate; and the position is one that any citizen who has a taste for parlimentary law and the affairs of public bodies, may honorably aspire. Mr. Klemme is a self-made man. All his quirements have been secured by strenuous exertions, and by exertions that that{sic} are in every way honorable to him. He has failed in nothing he has over earnestly attempted, and if he realizes the height of his ambition at this time he will proceed to fit himself if for a creditable performance of the duties of the office. Here at home he needs no introduction; but for the information of those having a lesser acquaintance we submit a biographical sketch of his life, published in the Memorial Record of Iowa, prepared by the Lewis Company:
Hon. William Henry Klemme, General Assemblyman from Winniesheik county and residing at Ridgeway, Iowa, was born on his father's farm near Blue Creek, Franklin County, Indiana, Feb.
17, 1849, his parents being Henry William and Anna Katherine (Gesell) Klemme.
John H. Klemme, grandfather of our subject was born at Husgreimer, Kurhesen, Germany, Feb. 2, 1792, and died August 21, 1881. He married Charlotte Wellhousen, who was born at the same place as her husband, May 5, 1798 and died March 12, 1870. Philip Gesell, maternal grandfather of our subject, was born at Framersheim, Germany. March 10, 1790, and died June 7, 1871. He married Aplona Ritter, who was born at Nonesheim, Germany, May 20, 1794 and died Feb. 21, 1884. Henry William Klemme, father of our subject and the founder of the American branch of the family, was born in Hausenhach, Kur{?}, Germany, August 28, 1821,and now resides at Elma, Iowa. He married Anna Katherine Gesell, April, 12, 1846 who was born at Farmersheim, Hessen Darmstadt, Germany, June 25, 1825. To Mr. and Mrs. H. M. Klemme were born fourteen children (eleven boys and three girls.) our subject being the second child. Nine of those children were born in Franklin County, Indiana, and five in Winnesheik County, Iowa. Thirteen are still living, and twelve are married and established in homes. Of this remarkable family it might be said that every member is doing well in some walk of life, and they belong to that substantial clan of citizens which, by industry and perseverance, establish homes, accumulate property, and thus add to the wealth of the community
Mr. W. H. Klemme, the gentleman whom name heads this sketch, accompanied his parents to Iowa, in March, 1862. The father purchased a tract of 200 acres, which came direct from the government at $1.25 per acre, and located in Lincoln township. Our subject remained with his father until twenty-one years of age. He then farmed for himself for three years. Being of a frugal disposition he accumulated some means, and in the spring of 1873, he came to Ridgeway and purchased the lumber business, which he has conducted without interruption until the present time, but has greatly increased its scope, adding farm implements, buggies, lime, coal. etc., to the general stock in trade. He also established a similar business at Elma, Iowa, and put two brothers in charge of it. Mr. Klemme still gives some attention to farming, having acreage in this state, Minnesota and South Dakota.
Our subject was married March 22, 1870, to Miss Mary Augusta Bolles, a daughter of Dr. George and Mary (Powers) Bolles, who was born at Pleasant Lake. Steuben County, Indiana. January 8. 1851. Dr. Bolles practised medicine for twelve years in Indiana, and in 1857 engaged in the mercantile business, at Bluffton. Iowa. In 1864, he moved to Decorah, where he continued in the same line of trade for four years, and was then in the same line of business in Ridgeway till 1873. The next year was spent in visiting on the Pacific coast, principally in California, after which he returned to Ridgeway and there Mrs. Bolle{s} died. Dr. Bolles now located in Coleman, South Dakota, where he still makes his home and conducts a store of general merchandise. The only child of Mr. and Mrs. W. H. Klemme, Nellie Rosamond, was born March 10, 1871 and married Dr. James D. Parker, a practising physician at Fayette, Iowa, August 23, l892; they have one child, Hugh Klemme Parker, born April 11, 1894.
Mr. Klemme has always affiliated with the Republican part. He served as justice of the peace at Ridgeway for fourteen years, and as postmaster for four years. In 1893 he was nominated by his party for the legislature, and after a hard fight was elected. As a member of the Twenty-fifth General Assembly he served on the following standing committees: Municipal Corporations. Private Corporations, Printing, Labor, and School for Deaf and Dumb. He was also chairman of the visiting committee to the Home for Orphans and Indigent Children, located at Davenport.
In 18{?} our subject was unanimously renominated by his party and returned to the Legislature by a handsome majority of the popular vote.
Mr, Klemme is a remarkable man in many respects. His early education was very limited, his father's family being so large that the boys were expected to work and not to spend much time in school. But our subject had other ambitions than those of a farmer. When he took hold of the lumber business at Ridgeway, he threw a force and energy into it that surprised even his friends. Being elected Justice of the Peace, he found himself in an office that required considerable knowledge of the law, and he had not even a lawyer in Ridgeway whom to consult. Nothing daunted, Mr. Klemme at once purchased a set of law books and began their study. He found that he was fond of the law, as a study, and by diligent application, he is today much better versed on legal questions than many that practise at the bar. And this is typical of the man. Whatever he takes hold of succeeds. His qualities of honesty and frugality peculiar of the German race are strongly marked in him. But he is more than that; he has a worthy ambition to be somebody and do something: and that he will succeed is generally conceded by all who come in contact with the man.

Source: Decorah Republican Oct. 3, 1895 P 2 C 4

Republican Candidate for Representative in the 2Sth General Assembly.
Above we present a portrait of this gentleman. While his acquaintance with the people of Winnesheik County is wide there are hundreds of electors who have never met him and they will be glad to see what the gentleman they have once voted for and elected,—and expect to do so again this year—looks like. He is Hoosier-born, but of German descent. His father was born in Hesse Cassel, and his mother in Darmstadt, but both came to this country in early life before character and habits were formed one at the age of fourteen and the other twelve. Born in Franklin Co , Ind., Feb. 17th, 1849, into a family where religion was a matter of every-day, practical living, Mr. Klemme was educated to a high regard for everything that is right, pure and true. When he was thirteen years old his parents came to Iowa, and in 1862 made government entry of a farm near Ridgeway, of which the senior Klemme yet remains the owner. On this the subject of our sketch learned what the hard work as well as the independence of a farmer’s life is. When he attained his majority he started in as a farmer upon his own account; but soon after this the railway came along, made a station at Ridgeway, and Mr. K. seeing a business opening at that station engaged in the lumber trade. This occupation he has followed for twenty-two years, and if it has not given him wealth it has furnished him the comforts of a moderate competence. During this time he has held numerous local offices, such as postmaster, justice of the peace, &c. In the latter office he has served twelve years, and it is a matter of pride to him that his earnest endeavor is to act as a peace maker, and prevent litigation rather than foment discord for fees’ sake. To this end he strives to post himself in the statutes of the state, and reading the Northwestern Reporter in order to lear what are the constructions the higher court gives to these laws. This has made him largely a local advisor to his towns, men in most of the ordinary legal affairs of every-day life. In 1893 he was nominated for Representative to the 25th General Assembly, at a time when there was legitimate doubts as to his success, after the county had been represented by a Democrat for two sessions. Many expressed their doubts as to his ability to make the race but Mr. Klemme went at once into the field, and night and day spared not the least exertion for the benefit of the entire ticket. Making no claims to speaking talent, he did promise to spare no pains, as a working member, if elected. The result was a most triumphant election, and his record as a member shows that he fulfilled every promise he made his constituents. When he goes back as an “old member” it will be with an added influence that will be still more advantageous to his constituency. The chief characteristic of Mr. Klemme is earnestness and push. Whatever he undertakes to do is done with all his might and with a sincere resolution to accomplish results, His first desire is to ascertain what is right, and to do all that is possible to accomplish it.


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