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Fayette County, Iowa
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
Frederick Meyer, a representative farmer of Jefferson Township residing on section 5, was born in Germany, July 17, 1831. His father was a weaver by trade and died in his native land in 1833. Twenty years later his widow crossed the Atlantic to America, locating in Dubuque County, Iowa, where she worked by the week for various families for five years when she became the wife of Mr. Legg, a man of English birth then engaged in farming in Dubuque County. His death occurred in 1875. Mr. and Mrs. Meyer were the parents of but two children - Frederick, of this sketch, and Henry, who in Germany wedded Mary Trenhold, and came to America in 1857.
Our subject was educated in his native land and at the age of twenty-five years, after bidding good-by to home and friends, sailed for America. He and his brother both purchased a twenty-acre tract of land in Dubuque County which they at once began clearing. From the timber they cut cord wood which they hauled to Dubuque and sold. Frederick also purchased another twenty acres and together they cultivated their property until 1870 when they sold out, Mr. Meyer receiving $1,200 for his share. He then came to this county and purchased eighty acres of land in Jefferson Township, removing his family into a little log cabin which had been built thereon. Only seven acres were broken, but with characteristic energy he placed the entire amount under the plow and in less than a year bought another eighty-acre tract. The pioneer cabin has long since been replaced by a substantial dwelling and the well-tilled fields which we today see bear little resemblance to the unbroken farm upon which he located twenty-one years ago. He gave his principal attention to the raising of wheat until 1880, when for two seasons the crop failed. He now devotes his time to general farming and his efforts have met with excellent success. He owns three hundred and twenty acres which at the time of his purchase sold for $10 per acre and was all wild prairie but it is now valued at $30 per acre.
In 1857 Mr. Meyer was united in marriage with Johanna Grimmel, a native of Germany who came to America with her parents in 1853. They located first in Dubuque County, where the father purchased land and embarked in farming. In the family were three sons and five daughters, all of whom came to America but only two are now living - Mrs. Meyer and Charles, who operates a farm in Dubuque County. With him lives the father, Henry Grimmel, who is now eighty-three years of age but has lost little of the vigor and activity which he possessed in early manhood. The farm upon which he located he has since sold. Unto Mr. and Mrs. Meyer were born the following children: Frederick C., who is operating one hundred and sixty acres of his father's farm, wedded Mary Beecher, by whom he has four children; Henry H. who married Catherine Beecher and has three children, is farming on his father's land; John married Julia Miche, by whom he has three daughters and operates a part of the old homestead; William H. is engaged in the general mercantile business in Oelwein; August, born September 3, 1867, died December 31, 1863 <sic>* ; Robert F. is at home; Albert, born March 7, 1872, was drowned in Otter Creek, July 22, 1888; Anna L., born October 2, 1876, is attending school, and Charlie, born July 4, 1878, died on the 13th of October of the same year.
In 1882 Mr. Meyer built a large barn 40X82 feet but on the 11th of June following it was entirely destroyed by a tornado and as there was no insurance upon it, it was an entire loss. There were seven head of horses in the barn at the time but these escaped uninjured. Other buildings were blown away, Mr. Meyer suffering a loss of $1,000.
Notwithstanding these reverses he has prospered in his business career and is now in comfortable circumstances. In politics he has supported the Republican party until quite recently, but now affiliates with a local party called the Reform party, pledged to support the best men for the place. He and his family belong to the Lutheran Church.
* Obviously August was not born September 3, 1867, or did not die December 31, 1863. But that is what is written in the history.
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