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Delaware County, Iowa

 Biography Directory


Jacob Kleespies


Bremen Township


      JACOB KLEESPIES, an enterprising farmer of Bremen township, Delaware county, is a native of Bavaria, Germany, and was born May 15,1826. He comes of German ancestry, his parents and grandparents on both sides having been natives of the Fatherland. His great grandfather Kleespies, however, was born in England, but went to Germany when a young man and there married a French lady. His name in English was Cloverpoint. This was translated into the corresponding word in German, Kleespies, on his adopting Germany as his home. The paternal grandfather of the subject of this notice was an officer in the Austrian army and was for a number of years in the service of his country. Our subjectís father, Adam Kleespies came to this country in 1859 and two years later enlisted in the Union army, entering the One Hundred and Seventh New York volunteer infantry. He served only about seven months, when he was taken sick and was discharged for disability. He returned to Germany, but came again to the United States in 1870 and lived with his son Jacob in Delaware county, Iowa, the remainder of his life, dying in 1882, aged eighty-two.


     Jacob Kleespies was reared in his native place and received what would in this country be accounted a good common school education. He sailed for the United States from Bremen, Germany, on the second day of February, 1850. He reached New York April 28th, following. He had a rough and stormy passage and one that was by no means calculated to give him a good impression of the new world into which he was about to be ushered. He went to Newark, N. J., on reaching this country, where he remained until March, 1854, engaged as a farm hand, near that city. April 1, 1854, he came to Iowa, stopping at Dubuque. He found employment there for about four years as a teamster and in the machine shops, and finally in October, 1858, he came to Delaware county, settling in Colony township, where he rented a farm and for about five years engaged in farming in that township. In April, 1864, he bought a farm in Bremen township, to which he moved and where he has since resided, having been steadily engaged in farming. When he purchased his place it was all raw prairie and he had to begin at the beginning. It is now one of the best improved farms in that vicinity, his farm consisting of two hundred and fifty acres, all of which is in cultivation, well stocked and furnished with all needful buildings and other conveniences.


      Mr. Kleespies married, November 26, 1853, taking as his wife Miss Elizabeth Frey, a native of Bavaria, Germany, who came to the United States in 1852, marrying at Newark, N. J. The result of this union has been nine children: John J., born April 21, 1855 (now deceased); Caroline, born January 27, 1857, being now the wife of Anthony Brown, of Dubuque county, Iowa; Mary, born April 14, 1859, now the wife of George Nefzger, of Delaware county; Joseph, born August 16, 1861, a farmer in Lyon county, Iowa; George, born June 16, 1863 (now deceased); William, born October 1, 1864; Valentine, born October 23, 1867; Adam, born August 17, 1870, and Anthony, born March 26, 1874 (now deceased).


      Mr. Kleespies had the great misfortune to lose his wife April 10, 1887, she dying at that date, being then in her fifty-seventh year. She was a devout member of the Catholic church, in which church Mr. Kleespies was also reared, and in which he remains an active communicant.

~ source: Biographical souvenir of the counties of Delaware and Buchanan, Iowa; Chicago : F. A. Battey, 1890. Page 448-449; LDS microfilm #985424

~ contributed by Thom Carlson