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Cherokee County Biographies

Joseph D. Wirt

JOSEPH D. WIRT, a progressive and enterprising farmer of Amherst Township, Cherokee County, was born in Lycoming County, Pennsylvania, June 18, 1842 and is the son of William and Elizabeth (Yond) Wirt, natives of Pennsylvania.  His father now resides in Jackson County, Iowa, but the mother is deceased.  Our subject was reared in his native State until he had attained his twelfth year, and then the family removed to Iowa.  He was trained to agricultural pursuits, and obtained his education in the common schools.  When the great Rebellion broke out he determined to go to the defense of the nation and accordingly, August 17, 1862 he enlisted in Company A, Twenty-fourth Iowa Volunteer Infantry and served three years.  He was promoted to Corporal, was was twice wounded, once with grape and canister, and once with a spent ball.  He participated in a number of battles and skirmishes, the most important being Champion Hill, Vicksburg, Raymond and the Red River Expedition under General Banks.  After the declaration of peace he returned to Iowa and engaged in farming with his father for three years.

 In 1869 he went to Missouri and remained there one year, when he migrated as far north as Yankton, Dakota Territory, where he resided until 1879 engaged in farming.  He then came to Cherokee County, and located in Amherst Township, renting land for three years.  He then purchased eighty acres and founded a home for his family.  He first erected a small building in which they lived until 1888 when he built a fine frame dwelling which is the one of the handsomest in that part of the county.  He has added another eighty acres to his first purchase and now has 160 acres under excellent cultivation.  He has planted five and a half acres of grove which adds much to the beauty of the farm.  Mr. Wirt is a live, energetic man and stands in the front ranks of the Cherokee County farmers.  Politically he affiliates with the Republican party and in 1888 was elected trustee of the township.  On March 24, 1873 occurred the wedding of Joseph D. Wirt and Miss Maggie Guenther, daughter of Jacob and Elizabeth (Young) Guenther.  Her father was a native of Germany and her mother was born in Pennsylvania.  She was born in Lycoming County, Pennsylvania, February 11, 1849.  Mr. and Mrs. Wirt are the parents of six children: Frank C., Fred H., Willie, Ive, Bessie N. and Lewis E.  The parents are members of the Methodist Episcopal Church and the family are among the most worthy and respected of Cherokee County.

Biographical History of Cherokee County, IA, W. W. Dunbar & Co Publishers, 1889

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