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Fayette County, Iowa  

 History Directory

Past and Present of Fayette County Iowa, 1910

Author: G. Blessin


B. F. Bowen & Company, Indianapolis, Indiana


Vol. I, Biographical Sketches



~Page 864~


William Gremmels


The record of the subject of this sketch is that of a man of foreign birth who, coming to the United States in early life, has worked his way from a modest beginning to a position of eminent respectability as a citizen and to a prominent place among the leading farmers and stock raisers of the county of which he has long been an honored resident. William Gremmels is a native of Germany, born at Ahstedt in the kingdom of Hanover, on the 5th day of June, 1851. His parents, Frederick and Dora (Buck) Gremmels, were also Hanoverians and spent the greater part of their lives in the city where the subject first saw the light of day. The father, a carpenter by trade, was for many years in the employ of the government first as a constructor and later as inspector of various public works. He was a man of sound practical intelligence, a master of his craft and stood high in the esteem of the people of his native place. He and his good wife died at Ashtedt and were laid to rest in the old cemetery where a number of their ancestors have long been sleeping the sleep that knows no waking. Frederick and Dora Gremmels were the parents of eight children, of whom the following are living: Henry, a carpenter, residing in Sioux Falls, South Dakota; Frederick, also a carpenter by trade and a resident of Iowa; Christian, deceased, who was an inspector of government works in Germany; Wilhelmina, who married Henry Aschermann, of Braunschweig, where they still live, and William, the subject of this review.


The following are the names of the deceased members of the family: Dora, Carl and Lena, all of whom departed this life in the fatherland. Christian Gremmels, the third in order of birth, was a mechanic of high standing in Hanover and, as stated above, held an important position in the public service. While still a young man he drew plans for the government bridge over the river Rhine at Cologne and Coblentz and no mechanic being willing to undertake the work, the contract was awarded to him. He finished the bridge in due time per specifications and it is today one of the finest structures of the kind spanning that historic stream. This work, which was completed in 1858, was three years in process of construction and it stands a monument to the skill and efficiency of the builder. Christian Gremmels had been in the employ of the Hanoverian government all of his life and had long ranked among the ablest and most trustworthy mechanics and inspectors in the public service of that country. He died November 24, 1909, in Zoeltle, Hanover.

William Gremmels attended the Lutheran schools of his native place during his childhood and early youth and while still quite young manifested the mechanical skill for which he has since been noted. He began working under his fatherís direction as soon as old enough to handle tools to advantage and at the age of sixteen was sufficiently advanced in carpentry to be styled a finished workman. Thinking to better his condition in a country where better opportunities obtained than in his native land, he came to the United States in 1867 and located at Dubuque, Iowa, where he soon secured remunerative employment as a carpenter and builder. After spending several years in that city, he revisited the land of his birth, but in due time returned to Dubuque, near which place he operated a saw-mill for his brother, and later took charge of mills for various other parties, continuing this line of business for several years, in connection with his trade. Becoming somewhat dissatisfied with mechanical work as a means of livelihood, Mr. Gremmels subsequently turned his attention to agriculture, which he carried on in Dubuque county until 1894, when he moved to Fayette county and purchased two hundred acres of land in Jefferson township, on which he has since lived and prospered. The year of his arrival he erected the large and commodious barn which still answers the purposes for which intended and in 1906 he built the large and imposing modern residence which the family now occupy and which is one of the most beautiful and attractive rural homes in the county. Mr. Gremmels has brought the farm to a high state of tillage, besides making all the improvements, his mechanical skill being greatly in his favor in adding to the beauty and value of his place. In connection with general agriculture, he devotes considerable attention to livestock and poultry and is also identified quite extensively in dairying. He has been signally successful since moving to his present place of abode, being at this time one of the financially solid men of the township in which he resides. His place, which is known as "Fairview Stock Farm," lies two and a half miles northeast of Oelwein and is one of the finest farms of its size in the county of Fayette, impressing the passersby as the home of an enterprising, up to date man whose interest in his calling he makes paramount to every other consideration.

Mr. Gremmels was first married in the year 1876 to Nathalia Schenkowitz, of Dubuque county, who died in 1880, leaving two children, Arthur, a farmer living in North Dakota, and Blanch, now Mrs. L. B. Miller, of Waterloo, Iowa.

On May 24, 1881, Mr. Gremmels contracted a matrimonial alliance with Mrs. Henrietta Gremmels, widow of Henry Gremmels, her union with him resulting in the birth of four children, viz: William F., engaged in merchandising at Oelwein; Henry, who is also in business at that place; Julia, wife of Joseph BECK, of Lincoln county, Colorado, and Charles, deceased. By her marriage with William Gremmels Mrs. Gremmels had three children: Warren A., a musician of Oelwein and who is also in the grocery business; Ada, widow of Robert BROWN, and Flora, who died in infancy. Mr. Gremmels and family are members of the Lutheran church and interested in all lines of religious and moral work under the auspices of the congregation to which they belong. He is a Republican in politics and while a resident of Dubuque county held various local offices, although never an aspirant for public honors. Mrs. Gremmels, the present wife of the subject, was born April 27, 1842, at Hoheneggelsen, Hanover, Germany, and is a daughter of Henry and Julia (FLORE) Rengell. These parents came to America in 1856 and settled on a farm in Dubuque county, Iowa, Mrs. Gremmels being their only child.

~transcribed for the Fayette Co IAGenWeb Project by Georgianna Gray


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