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Fayette County, Iowa
Past and Present of Fayette County Iowa, 1910
Author: G. Blessin
B. F. Bowen & Company, Indianapolis, Indiana
Vol. I, Biographical Sketches
JOHN H. ERNST
(Photo in source book)
It is always pleasant and profitable to contemplate the career of a man who has made a success of life and won the honor and respect of his fellow citizens. Such is the record of the well-known retired farmer whose name heads this sketch, than whom a more whole-souled or popular man it would be difficult to find within the limits of the township where he has his home.
John H. Ernst is a native of the state of Ohio, where he was born on the 27th of August, 1841, a son of John D. and Katherine (Pfeiffer) Ernst. These parents were both natives of Germany, where they were reared and married. In May, 1834, attracted by the allurements held out to them by a free country, where unlimited opportunities awaited them, they took passage on the slow-going sailing vessel and six weeks later landed on the shore of this country. They at once located in Richland county, Ohio, and a few years later moved to Geauga county, the same state. They were pioneers of the former county, where they owned a large tract of land, as they did also in Geauga county. In the fatherland Mr. Ernst had followed the trade of a butcher, but after coming to the United States he devoted his attention to the tilling of the soil, in which he met with fair success.
On November 8, 1856, the family came to East Dubuque, Illinois, from which point they went by team and boat to Highland, where the father bought land.
Subsequently he sold out there and moved to Missouri, where he spent the remainder of his days. He was the father of four children, namely: Frederick was a pioneer farmer, owning land in Clayton and Fayette counties, Iowa, subsequently retiring and moving to Elgin, Iowa, where his death occurred in 1909; Charlotte, who lived in Ohio, is deceased; Irene Ely, who resides in Elgin; John H., the immediate subject of this sketch. Frederick was a member of an Iowa regiment during the Civil war and took part in Sherman's famous march to the sea. John D. Ernst, the father of these children, was a Democrat in political faith and always took an active interest in political affairs though he never held office. Religiously, he belonged to the Evangelical church.
John H. Ernst was reared and educated in his native county, attending the public schools of the locality. In young manhood he accompanied his parents on their removal to the west, where he gave his attention to farming. On taking up the battle of life on his own account, he rented land in Illyria township, Fayette county, Iowa, where he remained five years, meeting with a fair degree of success, and at the end of that period he bought a farm in the same township, the tract comprising one hundred and twenty acres of splendid land. He devoted his energies exclusively to the improvement of the place, making many permanent and substantial improvements in the same, until it became known as one of the best farms in that section of Fayette county. He gave his personal attention to every detail of the farm work, thus keeping in close touch with its operation, and his efforts were rewarded with abundant crops annually. In 1907 Mr. Ernst retired from active labor and moved to West Union, where he has since resided. During his active years on the farm Mr. Ernst gave considerable attention to the raising of livestock, in which he met with gratifying success, being considered a good judge of stock.
In 1866 Mr. Ernst was married to Johanna Ernst, a daughter of Christian and Christina (Beaschler) Ernst, natives of Germany who married after coming to the United States, locating in Geauga county, Ohio, where their deaths occurred. Three children were born to this union, Eugene P., Myrtle and Edith, the brother deceased. Mrs. Ernst died December 14, 1895.
Politically, Mr. Ernst is a staunch Republican and has taken an intelligent interest in local public affairs, though he has never aspired to nor held public office of any nature. He is a member of Abernathy post No. 48, Grand Army of the Republic, this membership being peculiarly consistent from the fact that in the fall of 1861 he enlisted in the military service of his country, becoming a member of company D, Seventh Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry, joining this regiment while on a visit to that state. He served three years and was then transferred to the Fifth Ohio Regiment, which was later reorganized. In November 1864, Mr. Ernst was given an honorable discharge and immediately returned to is home. He had given his country nearly three years of valiant and efficient service and has just reason to be proud of his military record. In every avenue of life's activities he has been faithful to the duties which have confronted him and by a life of right living and irreproachable conduct he has earned and retains the sincere regard of all with whom he has been thrown in contact.
Mr. Ernst has one of the model home of the city of West Union, being located on the east hill overlooking the city, and here he has five acres to devote his time to.
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