Cerro Gordo County Iowa
Part of the IaGenWeb Project
- Came from Illiniois and Settled on Virgin Land
Mr. Brentner was born in Worms, Germany, in 1802. At the age of 13 he ran away from his home in Rheims because it was proposed to apprentice him to a tailor. He came to Virginia and learned the trade of carpenter and also married Julia Printz. Together they moved to Springfield, Mo., and then to Rockford, Ill. Evidently Mr. Brentner was quite a traveler for those days, and no doubt, it was by team and wagon. Iowa was beginning to attract attention. Railroads had reached the Mississippi opposite Clinton and Dubuque.
At every place on the Mississippi, where there was a ferry, there was a constant stream of wagons and cattle being transported. The Dubuque Tribune said, "And almost countless number of immigrants are crowding our streets." A book, "Iowa As it Is," published in 1855, for the information of intending settlers, has this to say: "In the northwestern part of the state lies a district unsurveyed and not yet on the market. It is 190 miles long, from east to west along the Minnesota line, and 80 miles in width and includes the counties of Worth, Cerro Gordo, Franklin, Hancock, Kossuth, Emmet, Palo Alto, Pocahontas, Dickenson, Clay, Buena Vista, Osceola, O'Brien, Cherokee, Buncombe, Sioux and Plymouth."
Speaking of its appearance, it says, "There are distances of 10 to 15 miles without any timber and sometimes the open prairie is 20 miles wide, without a bush to be seen higher than the wild indigo or compass plant." Into this virgin land came Mr. and Mrs. Brentner and settled down along the banks of Lime creek. The map, dated 1856, shows Clear Lake emptying into Lime creek and that into the Shell Rock. Floyd county has two settlements, St. Charles and Floyd Crossing. Mitchell county has Osage, St. Ansgar and Mitchell. Butler has Clarksville. There is not a town marked in the 24 counties west of Cerro Gordo.
Rockford, Ill., seems to have been the home of many of the early settlers of Cerro Gordo county; among them George Brentner, A.C. Owen, John B. Long and John L. McMillan. Probably, the good reports of the country sent back to the old home caused others to come. Fuel, water and shelter were of first importance to the early settlers and so Brentner selected a site along Lime creek and in the timber. It was on the north bank of Lime creek just opposite the north edge of East park.
Previous to coming to Iowa he went to California during the gold rush and he seems to have done well. After his return he entered land on the present site of Mason City which he and John B. Long platted. Practically all the north part of Mason City is on his original entry including the Central park. At one time he owned all of section 3 and the east half of SE 1/4 of section 4 in Mason township.
For years he lived at the corner of Fourth street northwest and Washington avenue. He died April 9, 1885. Mrs. Brentner died in 1879. They had a large family. Some of the children were George W., Peyton B., Adaline (Mrs. Whitney), Rebecca (Mrs. Clark), Leander L. and Margaret Jane (Mrs. Plummer) the last named being the mother of Mrs. Frank Wacholz.
Submission by Sharyl Ferrell, June of 2011
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