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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
Joseph Menges, a representative citizen and leading farmer of Fairfield Township, residing on section 24, is the owner of three hundred and forty-four acres of land. This is divided into fields of convenient size which are highly cultivated and improved. A pleasant and commodious residence is neatly and tastefully furnished, and the barns and outbuildings are models of convenience. Good grades of Durham cattle, Poland-China hogs and other stock are there found, and the farm is complete in all its appointments.
The owner of the homestead was born in Baden, Germany, September 3, 1829, and is a son of Jacob Menges who was born and reared in Baden, and was a farmer and brickmaker. He served in the war against Napoleon, during which time he visited Paris. At the age of eighteen he married Elizabeth Hemrech and in 1848 with their family of three children they came to America, locating first in Oneida County, N. Y., where on a farm and in the town of Feronia they spent five years. The West with its superior advantages and opportunities attracted them, and in 1853 they took up their residence upon the farm which is now the home of our subject. Mr. Menges first purchased forty acres of land, only four of which had been broken, and upon this cleared space a log cabin, 12x13 feet had been erected. For miles around stretched the open prairie with only occasionally an isolated settlement. Devoting himself assiduously to the cultivation and development of his land Mr. Menges spent the remainder of his life upon that farm, dying May 18, 1868, at the age of seventy-one years. His wife died December 29, 1879, at the age of seventy-eight years, three months and twenty-seven days. Both were members of the Catholic Church. Mr. Menges was a Republican in politics, but took no active interest in public affairs. The three children of the family were, Phillip, who went to Kansas in 1858, but had to leave on account of the border troubles; Joseph, of this sketch; and Peter who died of cholera in New York in 1850.
Our subject was but nineteen years of age when he crossed the Atlantic to America. He had acquired a common-school education in his mother tongue and had worked upon a farm and in a brickyard. After coming to this country he worked upon a canal, in New York, in the summer time and returning home at winter, would attend school where he would be taught English. He worked with his father for some time and later took charge of the home farm, which is now his property. In those early days Freeport, Ill., was the nearest railway point, the pioneers had to go long distances to market and mill, and the facilities for traveling were not then very superior, as ox-teams were mostly used and the roads were often almost impassable. He worked on steadily hoping to acquire property sufficient for all the wants of himself and family, and this goal he has reached. As a citizen he is faithful to every duty but does not take a very active part in public affairs, content to devote his time and attention to his business interests. However he has borne his share in the up-building and development of the county and is numbered among its worthy early settlers. He is a Republican in politics, having supported that party since its organization on questions of national importance, but at local elections when he is acquainted with the candidates he uses his judgment in making up his ticket.
In 1857 Mr. Menges was united in marriage with Charlotte Aulves, the wedding being celebrated on the 23d of July. The lady was born in Hanover, Germany, and is a daughter of Bernhardt and Mary (Garvy) Aulves, who in 1842, when Charlotte was six years old, crossed the Atlantic to America. After three years spent in Cincinnati, Ohio, they settled near Guttenberg, Clayton County, Iowa, where Mr. Aulves is still engaged in farming. Two brothers and two sisters of the family are yet living. Unto Mr. and Mrs. Menges were born three children, but Jacob, who was born in 1863, died August 19, 1868; Ella is the wife of T. T. Stetter, of Brush Creek; Henry, who married Jennie Creig, of Brush Creek, is living on the old home farm.
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