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Fayette County, Iowa  

 Biography Directory


Portrait & Biographical Album of Fayette County Iowa

Containing Full Page Portraits and Biographical Sketches of

Prominent and Representative Citizens of the County

Lake City Publishing Co., Chicago

March 1891


~Page 259~


John Pitzenberger

John Pitzenberger, deceased, was one of the prominent early settlers of this county and a leading business man of St. Lucas for some years. The active part which he took in public affairs made him widely known throughout the county, and wherever he formed acquaintances he made friends. This sketch will therefore be of interest to many of our readers and we gladly record it. Mr. Pitzenberger was born in Austria in June, 1839* and was a son of Andrew and Mary Pitzenberger, both of whom were born in that country in 1811. They continued to reside in their native land until 1846, when they came to this country and settled at Freeport, Ill. In 1850 they came to Iowa and became residents of Winnesheik County, Iowa, locating in Washington Township. The father died in Festina, in 1877, but the mother is still living at that place with her married son in her eightieth year. Their family numbered only three children of whom John is the eldest. Peter, who was born in 1842, came to America with his parents and in Winnesheik County where he yet resides wedded Mary Dwarchak, by whom he has eight children. Mathias, the youngest, was born in Austria, and was therefore quite young when the family came to this country. He married in Festina, Winneshiek County, and is now proprietor of a hardware store there.


John Pitzenberger was a lad of twelve summers when he took up his residence in Freeport, Stephenson County, Ill. Five years were there spent after which in 1855 he crossed the Mississippi into Iowa, locating in Washington Township, Winneshiek County, where he made his home until 1861. Those early years were years of hardship, filled with the trials and disadvantages incident to pioneer life. His farm produce he had to haul to McGregor, a distance of fifty miles with ox-teams and four or five days were necessary to make the trip. Wheat sold from thirty to forty cents per bushel and dressed pork brought only from $2 to $2.50 per hundred. The modern Fayette County farmer knows nothing of the hardships and privations which the early settler had to endure. Mr. Pitzenberger was a man of great energy and perseverance and by industry and good management overcame the obstacles in his path, until at length he became a substantial farmer, having accumulated a fine property.


He was married in 1862 in Winneshiek County, the lady of his choice being Miss Mary Rasenbeck, a native of Bohemia, Austria, born February 2, 1844, and a daughter of Frank and Catherine Rasenbeck. Her father was born in 1809, and was burned to death in a prairie fire April 30, 1863, his little daughter Frances narrowly escaping a like fate. The mother who was born in 1816, is now living in St. Lucas, Iowa, having married Harmon Hinker, who was born in Germany in 1813. The family bade good-bye to their native land in 1848 and crossed the deep Atlantic. They located in Cleveland, Ohio, and the same year came to St. Lucas. In their family were three children, of whom Mrs. Pitzenberger is the eldest; Anna, who was born in Austria, died in this country in 1860; and Frances, who was born in St. Lucas, Iowa, married Martin Bouska in Winneshiek County, and now resides in Eden Township, this county. Mr. and Mrs. Pitzenberger were parents of nine children, the eldest of whom is F. Joseph. He was born in Washington Township, Winneshiek County, August 8, 1863, and resides with his mother, having general superintendence of the affairs of the estate under direction of the administrators of whom his mother is one. He received his education in the public schools of this county and is employed as clerk in a general store in St. Lucas. Rosa, who was born on Christmas Eve of 1865, is the wife of John Kruse, of St. Lucas, and they and their three children reside on a farm. Mary, who was born February 15, 1867, became the wife of C. H. Witte in San Francisco, Cal., October 23, 1888. He was born in Brooklyn, N. Y., February 8, 1863, and their home is now in St. Lucas, where was born unto them a daughter, Helen, October 3, 1889. John born April 6, 1870, died April 18, 1872. Annie, born December 8, 1872, is at home. John Thomas, born on New Year's of 1875, died in July of 1876. Catherina was born November 16, 1877; Helena was born November 17, 1879 and Philip J., was born April 8, 1883.


Mr. Pitzenberger was for many years prominently identified with the history of Fayette County both as a business man and citizen. At the time of his death he owned three hundred and fifty acres of fine farming and timber land besides large interests in town property and bank stock and was successfully carrying on a general merchandise store in St. Lucas. He took a deep interest in everything pertaining to the upbuilding of the community or the advancement of the general welfare and was a man of sterling integrity, possessing the esteem and confidence of all who knew him. His death occurred November 19, 1887, at his home in St. Lucas from liver complaint and nervous prostration. Politically he was a Democrat and figured prominently in politics. In religious belief he was a Catholic, belonging to the church in St. Lucas. Mrs. Pitzenberger still survives him and is living in St. Lucas, where she has many warm friends and a large circle of acquaintances."




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