1914 Biographies
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History of Franklin County, Iowa by I. L. Stuart. 2 vols. Chicago: S. J. Clarke Pub. Co., 1914.
Transcribed by Don Turner, former coordinator of this website.


Charles W. Raisch

Charles W. Raisch, who since 1896 has lived upon his present farm of eighty acres on section 27, Osceola township, successfully engaged in general farming and stock-raising, was born in Germany, September 1, 1863. He is a son of Gotlieb W. and Louisa Fredericka (Hess) Raisch, natives of Germany. They came to Ackley in July, 1880, and the father died there April 27, 1902, his wife surviving him until December, 1907. To their union were born nine children: Fredericka L., the wife of Philip Paulus, of Buffalo, New York; Gotleib F., of Reeve township; Charles W., of this review; Sophie L., who married Ely Behrens, of Waverly, Iowa; Christian F., of Hardin county; Gotthilf H., of Dumont; Amelia, who married Christian Walton, of Oakland, California; Bertha L., the wife of Eugene Friz, of Oakland, California; and, Henry, deceased.

Charles W. Raisch came to America with his parents in 1880 and remained at home until he was twenty-four years of age. He then began farming independently and in 1896 made his first purchase of land, buying the eighty acres on section 27, Osceola township, upon which he still resides. This property he has improved with substantial buildings, including a modern silo, and he has installed excellent equipment, making the place valuable and productive in the highest degree. He is a stock-raiser on an extensive scale and makes a specialty of Duroc Jersey hogs and Holstein cattle.

Mr. Raisch married Miss Lenna Adell Whitney, who was born in Illinois, September 9, 1864, and who came to Franklin county in her infancy. Mr. And Mrs. Raisch have adopted two children: Frederick Arthur, aged twenty-one; and Mary Effie, aged thirteen. Mr. Raisch is a member of the Presbyterian church and connected fraternally with the Modern Woodmen of America. He gives his political allegiance to the republican party and has been honored by his fellow citizens by election to various positions of trust and responsibility, including the office of township assessor, which he has held for the past fourteen years. He has made a most commendable official record and enjoys to the fullest extent the confidence and good-will of those with whom he has been brought in contact.

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James Redding

Since 1876 James Redding has been connected with farming interests of Franklin county, and he is now the owner of two hundred acres of land whereon he engages successfully in general farming and stock-raising. He was born in Ireland, December 29, 1835, and is a son of John and Bridget (Ryan) Redding, also natives of the Emerald isle, who came to America, locating in Dubuque county, Iowa, in 1836. Forty years later they moved to Franklin county and there passed away in 1893. To their union were born eight children: James, of this review; Mary, the wife of John Flanagan, of Dubuque county; Ann and Michael, who reside in Ackley; John, Josephine and Frank, deceased; and Katherine, who married Thomas King, of Osceola township.

James Redding was reared in Dubuque county, Iowa, and acquired his education in the public schools. After beginning his active career he farmed upon rented land there until 1876. In that year he came to Franklin county with his parents and purchased eighty acres of land, which he developed and improved for ten years thereafter. At the end of that time he sold this and bought a farm of one hundred acres, which he afterward disposed of, buying one hundred and sixty acres. When he sold this he purchased his present farm of two hundred acres on section 36, Reeve township. This he has improved with substantial barns and outbuildings and upon it has since engaged in general farming and stock-raising, meeting with gratifying and well deserved success.

On the 21st of January, 1873, Mr. Redding was united in marriage to Miss Mary Markham, a native of Iowa, and they became the parents of nine children: twins, who died in infancy; John, a resident of Franklin county; Clem and Leo, at home; Maggie, deceased; Maggie, second of the name, who has also passed away; Irene, at home; and Agnes, deceased. Mr. Redding is a member of the Roman Catholic church and gives his political allegiance to the republican party. No record of the agricultural development of Franklin county would be complete without the history of his honorable and useful career, for he is recognized throughout the community as one of its most valuable and estimable citizens.

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J. Albert Reeve

J. Albert Reeve, a native son of Franklin county, a representative of one of its honored pioneer families and one of the progressive farmers and extensive stock feeders and shippers of this locality, is a son of James B. and Adeline (Riggs) Reeve, natives of Connecticut. The father came to Iowa in' October, 1852, and here purchased a farm in Reeve township. He was one of the pioneer settlers of this locality, assisting in the organization of the county and serving as the first county judge. He took up the first claim in Franklin county and Reeve township was named in his honor. At the time of the Civil war he raised Company H of the Thirty-second Iowa Infantry, was elected its captain and went to the front in June, 1863. He died at Fort Pillow, Tennessee, and his wife has also passed away.

They were the parents of eleven children: Fernando L., who was a member of the Ninth Iowa Infantry in the Civil war and who died in Andersonville prison in August, 1864; Theodore H., who was a member of the same regiment and who is now engaged in the practice of law and also conducts a real-estate office at Dewey, Oklahoma; Orilla M., who married John T. James, of Arkansas; Orson G., a member of the Iowa state legislature; Beulah M., deceased; John R., who is engaged in the coal and grain business in Hampton; Susan M., the wife of H. A. Clock, of Long Beach, California; J. Albert, of this review; Ella, the wife of F. Foster, of St. Marys, Idaho; Herman D., who was secretary to Congressman Hall and who is now practicing law in Washington, D. C.; and Emily A., a teacher in a missionary school in India.

J. Albert Reeve was reared at home and acquired his education in the district schools. During his entire active life he has been engaged in farming and his success in this field is the result of wide experience and thorough familiarity with the best and most practical agricultural methods. In 1873 he made his first purchase of land, buying eighty acres in Morgan township. He has added to this from time to time until he is today one of the most extensive landholders in the county, owning seven hundred and twenty acres in Morgan, Reeve and Hamilton townships. His property is all well improved and under a high state of cultivation, returning bounteous harvests as a result of the care and labor bestowed upon it. In addition to dairy farming Mr. Reeve is a stock breeder and dealer on an extensive scale, shipping a large amount of cattle annually.

Mr. Reeve is a staunch republican and although he is not an active politician he takes an intelligent interest in public affairs and is always ready to cooperate in any movement for the advancement of the county and state. Having resided in Franklin county since his birth, he is well and favorably known here and his record is such as commends him to the respect and good-will of all with whom he is associated.

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Hon. Orson G. Reeve

Hon Orson G. Reeve
Hon. Orson G. Reeve


Hon. Orson G. Reeve, representing his district in the state legislature and recognized for many years as one of the representative citizens of Franklin county, makes his home in Hampton, where he has lived since retiring from active farm life, having turned over the management and cultivation of his farm to his sons. He was born in Ashtabula, Ohio, July 4, 1846, his parents being James B. and Adeline (Riggs) Reeve, both of whom were natives of Connecticut. The father came to Iowa in October, 1852, and here established a home for his family upon a farm in Reeve township. He was one of the pioneer settlers here, assisting in the organization of the county and was the first county judge. In many ways he left the impress of his individuality upon the progress and development of this section of the state. He took up the first claim in the county and Reeve township was named in his honor. At the time of the Civil war he raised Company H, of the Thirty-second Iowa Infantry, was elected its captain, went to the front and in June, 1863, died at Fort Pillow, Tennessee. His wife has also passed away. They were the parents of eleven children: Fernando L., who was a member of the Ninth Iowa Infantry in the Civil war and died in Andersonville prison in August, 1864; Theodore H., who was also a member of the same regiment and is now engaged in the practice of law and also conducts a real-estate business at Dewey, Oklahoma; Orilla M., who is the wife of John T. James, of Arkansas; Orson G.; Beulah M., deceased; John R., who is engaged in the coal and grain business in Hampton; Susan M., the wife of H. A. Clock, of Long Beach, California; Albert, living in Reeve township; Ella, the wife of F. Foster, of St. Marys, Idaho; Herman D., who was secretary to Congressman Hall and is now practicing law in Washington, D. C.; and Emily A., teacher in a missionary school in India.

Orson G. Reeve was a little lad of but seven years when brought by his parents to this county, where he was reared and educated, having the usual experiences of the pioneer lad who is reared on the frontier. He was but seventeen years of age, when in June, 1863, about the time of his father's death, he offered his services to the government as a union soldier, joining Company G, Eighth Iowa Calvary, with which he served for two years, being honorably discharged on the 30th of September, 1865, at Macon, Georgia. He participated in a number of hotly contested engagements and went through all the rigors and hardships of war, yet had not attained his majority, when after two years of service at the front he returned home. At once he resumed farming and has always lived in Reeve township. He made agricultural pursuits his life work and is still the owner of two hundred and forty acres of rich, valuable and productive land, which is now being cultivated by his sons while, having retired from business cares, Mr. Reeve is spending his days in the enjoyment of well earned rest. He removed to Hampton on the 1st of March, 1913, and there occupies a beautiful and commodious home.

In politics Mr. Reeve has always been a stalwart republican, casting his first vote for Lincoln when but eighteen years of age. This privilege came to him through the fact that he was serving as a soldier and-the right of franchise was accorded to all soldiers in the field. On the 17th of March, 1913, he was elected to the state legislature to fill a vacancy caused by the death of Frank Thayer, so that he is now a member of the Iowa general assembly. He had previously held every office in Reeve township and in all had proven himself a loyal official, prompt and faithful in the discharge of every duty devolving upon him

On the 3oth of September, 1872, Mr. Reeve was united in marriage to Miss Sarah M. Parks, a native of Jo Daviess county, Illinois, and to them have been born eight children: Olive, at home; Orilla M., who is an osteopathic practitioner in Mason City, Iowa; Adele, the wife of W. L. Johnson, a farmer of Reeve township; Charles H. who died May 13, 1913; John J., who follows farming in Reeve township; Lew, Myra and Lovell, all at home. Fraternally he is connected with the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and with the Grand Army of the Republic, and he is as true and loyal to his country today as when he followed the old flag upon the battle fields of the south.

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William C. Rice

For over forty years William C. Rice has been a resident of Franklin county, having come here in 1870. In early days he made his living as a hunter when wild animals were still plentiful and he is now a successful apiarist. He was born in Indiana, January 6, 1838, and is a son of Nicholas and Delilah (Samuels) Rice. The father, a boat builder by trade, moved to Knox county, Illinois, in 1838, and came to Iowa in 1851, locating in Hardin county, where he built the first sawmill. When he settled in that county there were only five other families in the neighborhood. He passed the rest of his life there, and his wife died in Cherokee county. They were the parents of ten children: Jacob K., of Port Angeles, Washington; Jonathan, deceased; Henry Harrison, also deceased; James N., of Cherokee county; William C.; Marilda S., the widow of W. B. Fail, of Kansas; Catherine and Emma, deceased; Clementine T., the widow of Charles Marx, of Lemon Cove, California; and N. John, also of Lemon Cove, that state.

William C. Rice was reared under the parental roof and acquired such an education as the early schools provided. At the age of seventeen he worked in a sawmill his father owned and for seven years followed that occupation in Hardin county. After his marriage he turned his attention to farming, buying in 1862 eighty acres of land near Ackley, at the rate of six dollars per acre, and remained there for about three years. He greatly improved this property, selling three years later at twenty-five dollars per acre. He then removed to Ackley, where at that time the Illinois Central Railroad was in course of construction. Mr. Rice had been quite successful as a hunter in those days, shooting elk and other wild animals. He shipped these to New York, having a contract with a firm in that city. As a game collector he also trapped and caught buffalo, cranes, wild geese, beaver, swan and antelope. Mr. Rice was for many years a hunter and disposed of his animals at an advantageous price in eastern markets. He captured more wolves than any other man in his section, receiving a bounty for his efforts, and he estimates the number of these animals that he killed at over three thousand.

In 1870 Mr. Rice came-to Franklin county, locating at Oakland Valley, and there he has since made his home. He has given much attention to bee culture and has derived a gratifying income from this source. He owns one block and two lots in Oakland and is also the possessor of twenty acres of valuable timber and farmland.

On September 25, 1856, Mr. Rice was united in marriage to Miss Mary Elizabeth Barnum, a relative of P. T. Barnum, and a daughter of Jabez and Anna L. (Goodsell) Barnum, natives of New York. Mrs. Rice, at the age of seventeen, taught the first school held at Steamboat Rock, Iowa. Her father was one of the pioneers of Hardin county, having entered land there in 1854. Both parents passed away in that county. They had the following children: Abraham G., Joseph S. and Olive, deceased; a son and a daughter who died in infancy; Mary Elizabeth, the wife of our subject; and Cordelia, Emory E., Anna and Lura, all deceased. Mr. and Mrs. Rice had ten children: Frank M., of Popejoy; Rosetta, deceased; Burton B., of Nebraska; Irene M., of Cedar Falls; Iva L., who married F. C. Holmes, of Iowa Falls; Myrta D., the wife of L. B. Patterson, of Des Moines, Iowa; Daisy M., at home, who is a teacher in the Waterloo schools; Blanche R., also a teacher, and the widow of T. W. Christopher, at home; Loretta V., of Minneapolis, Minnesota; and a son who died in infancy.

Mr. Rice is one of the well known and highly esteemed residents of this section. Although he has passed his seventy-sixth birthday, he is still hale and hearty and takes interest in all affairs that affect his township, county, state or nation. In his political faith he is a progressive republican and for two terms has served as township assessor of Oakland township, performing his duties in a highly satisfactory manner. He has the full confidence of his friends and neighbors, who know him to be a man of good character and a public-spirited citizen.

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James Howard Richards

James Howard Richards is closely associated with agricultural interests of Franklin county as the owner of the old Richards homestead of one hundred and sixty acres on section 14, Reeve township. He was born upon this property May 7, 1879, and is a son of W. H. and Sarah (Combellick) Richards, of whom further mention is made elsewhere in this work.

James H. Richards acquired his education in the public schools of Franklin county and since the beginning of his active life has been engaged in farming, his long experience being one of the most important factors in his success. In 1910 he bought the old homestead of one hundred and sixty acres, and here he has since carried on general farming and stock-raising, acquiring important interests along both lines.

On the 7th of December, 1904, Mr. Richards was united in marriage to Miss Norma Nobles, a native of Franklin county and one of four children: a son who died in infancy; Fannie, the wife of Sherwood Clock, of Hampton; Norma, the wife of the subject of this review; and Helen, at home. Mr. and Mrs. Richards have two children: Lois Margaret, born February 14, 1909; and James William, whose birth occurred January 21, 1913.

Mr. Richards is a member of the Methodist church and is connected fraternally with the Knights of Pythias. He gives his political allegiance to the republican party and is at present secretary of the school board, the cause of education finding in him an earnest and able supporter. He is one of the progressive and active farmers of this locality, and his success is well merited, for he is capable in management and displays untiring energy in carrying forward his interests.

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William H. Richards

William H. Richards is a veteran of the Civil war, living retired in Hampton after many years of close connection with agricultural interests of Franklin county. He was born in Jo Daviess county, Illinois, February 20, 1843, and is a son of James and Elizabeth (Vincent) Richards, natives of England. The parents came to America in 1838 and the father afterward spent the greater portion of his time in California, where he engaged in mining. The father died in 1870 and the mother in December, 1912, at the age of eighty six years. To their union were born five children: William H., of this review; Sarah, the wife of B. Ball, of Osage, Iowa; Pierce, of Galena, Illinois; James, who died in the Union army during the Civil war; and Joseph, who passed away when he was still a child.

William H. Richards was reared in Illinois and remained at home until he was nineteen years of age. In August, 1862, he enlisted in Company A, Ninety-sixth Illinois Volunteer Infantry, and served for three years, receiving his discharge as color bearer and corporal. He participated in many of the most important engagements of the Civil war, twenty-seven or twenty-eight battles and skirmishes in all, among them the battles of Chickamauga, Lookout Mountain and Missionary Ridge. His regiment of four hundred men was held as a reserve at Chickamauga and there lost two hundred and fifteen men in six hours of fighting. After his discharge he returned to Illinois and thence in 1872 moved to Franklin county, Iowa. He bought eighty acres of land in Reeve township and remained upon this farm until his retirement, increasing its dimensions to three hundred and twenty acres and making it by his intelligent management one of the most valuable and productive farms in the locality. In 1904 Mr. Richards disposed of his property and moved into Hampton, where he now resides.

On the 3d of July, 1870, Mr. Richards married Miss Sarah Combellick, a native of Illinois, and they became the parents of nine children: Alice, the wife of E. Sheppard, of Reeve township; Anna E., deceased; Edith, the widow of William Thorpe; James Howard, who is operating the old homestead in Reeve township; Sarah Lillian, the wife of Arthur Rick, of Plankington, South Dakota; Ruth, who married William Luke, of Bradford, Iowa; Gertrude, the wife of Leslie Hobbie; J. Thomas Harvey, engaged in farming; and Phyllis Irene, at home.

Mr. Richards is a member of the Methodist church and is connected fraternally with the local post of the Grand Army of the Republic. He gives his political allegiance to the republican party and has served with credit and ability as school director. Throughout the entire period of his residence in Franklin county he has contributed in substantial measure to community growth and upbuilding, and his retirement rewards many years of earnest and faithful labor.

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Henry F. Richtsmeier

Henry F. Richtsmeier is carrying on general farming and stockraising upon one hundred and sixty acres of land on section 7, Osceola township, and is numbered among the successful and progressive agriculturists of his locality. He was born in Illinois, August 12, 1874, and is a son of Henry F. and Martha (Stoneberg) Richtsmeier, natives of Germany. The father came to America when he was twelve years of age and located in Illinois, where he grew to manhood. He moved to Iowa in 1883 and purchased a farm in Grant township, this county, whereon he resided until his death, which occurred on the 4th of February, 1909. His wife survives him and still resides upon the homestead. To their union were born seven children: Henry F., of this review; Fred, of Franklin county; John, residing in Bradford; William, of Geneva; and Herman, Frank and Christ, of Grant township.

Henry F. Richtsmeier was nine years of age when he moved with his parents to Franklin county and has been a resident of this part of Iowa since that time. In his childhood he learned farming through practical experience upon his father's property, and his entire active life has been given over to this occupation. He now rents the homestead of one hundred and sixty acres on section 7, Osceola township, and here carries on general farming and stock-raising, both branches having become under his able management important and profitable.

On the 15th of February, 1899, Mr. Richtsmeier was united in marriage to Miss Tillie Heitland, a native of Germany and a daughter of Henry and Maggie (Nortman) Heitland, also natives of the fatherland. They came to America in 1891, locating in Grant township, this county, where the father engaged in farming for ten years. He is now living retired in Buffalo Center, Iowa. In this family were ten children: Henry and Herman, who reside in Hardin county; Vina, of Buffalo Center; Tillie, wife of the subject of this review; George, of Buffalo Center; Elizabeth, the wife of William Marske, of Portland, Oregon; Maggie, who married John Sleeper, of Iowa; Jennie, the wife of Cort Micelsen, of Portland, Oregon; Gertrude, who resides in Hardin county, Iowa; and a son who died in infancy.

Mr. and Mrs. Richtsmeier had three children, Martha Rose and Jennie Gertrude, at home, and one who died in infancy. Mr. Richtsmeier is a member of the Lutheran church and gives his political allegiance to the democratic party. In business his course has been characterized by strict fidelity to principle, and in social relations he has displayed a courtesy and cordiality which have won him many friends.

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William Avery Riddle

William Avery Riddle, a worthy native son and representative agriculturist of Franklin county, has here resided throughout his entire life, covering a period of more than a half century. He and his wife own a farm of one hundred and sixty acres on section 31, Ross township. He was born in what is now Richland township, then Clinton township, on the 7th of February, 1859, his parents being T. C. and Sarah (Colt) Riddle, who were born, reared and married in New York. In 1856 they came to Iowa, locating in Poweshiek county, and two years later took up their abode among the earliest settlers of Franklin county, settling on a tract of land near Old Chapin. T. C. Riddle devoted his attention to general agricultural pursuits throughout his entire business career and passed away in 1877, the community thus losing one of its pioneer farmers and esteemed citizens. His widow, who survives at the age of eighty-six years, now makes her home at Vincent, Webster county, Iowa. She is a devoted member of the Baptist church, to which Mr. Riddle also belonged.

Our subject was named for an early settler of this county, William Avery. He grew to manhood in Old Chapin and has made farming his life work. His holdings now embrace one hundred and sixty acres of rich and productive land on section 31, Ross township, and in connection with the cultivation of cereals he makes a specialty of the raising of shorthorn cattle, meeting with gratifying success in both branches of his business. Industry and perseverance have been among his salient characteristics, and he has long enjoyed an enviable reputation as one of the substantial and respected citizens of his native county.

In Franklin county Mr. Riddle was united in marriage to Miss Florence Rowe, a native of England and a sister of W. H. Rowe, a sketch of whom appears on another page of this work. They have a daughter, Lola, who is the wife of O. J. Clock, of Geneva, this county.

Mr. Riddle is a republican in his political views and made a commendable record as township trustee, in which capacity he served for six years. He is a worthy exemplar of the Masonic fraternity, belonging to the lodge at Sheffield. He has remained a resident of Franklin county from his birth to the present time, and that his life has ever been upright and honorable is indicated in the fact that the associates of his boyhood and youth are still numbered among his staunch friends and admirers. Mr. Riddle has vivid recollections of early days and has witnessed the marked transformation which has occurred as pioneer conditions have given way before the onward march of civilization.

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Albert L. Roberts

Albert L. Roberts, who has valuable agricultural interests in Franklin county, owning and operating one hundred and thirty-seven acres of land on section 2, Reeve township, was born in Hampton, Iowa, January 2, 1873. He is a son of Cyrus and Mary Jane (Triplett) Roberts, the former a native of England and the latter of Wisconsin. The father settled in that state after his arrival in America and from there moved to Franklin county, Iowa, in 1869. He took up his residence in Hampton and turned his attention to the shoemaker's trade. He and his wife-became the parents of five children: Emma, who married Arthur Whitcomb, of Hampton; Albert L., of this review; Edna, who married J. C. Hand, of Hampton; Flora, at home; and a son, who died in infancy.

Albert L. Roberts began his independent career as a farmer and is still identified with that line of work. He owns one hundred and thirty-seven acres on section 2, Reeve township, a property upon which he engages successfully in general farming and stock-raising. For a number of years he was interested in real estate in Hampton, owning a city block, three houses and five vacant lots, which he still holds. He was the proprietor of an ice business there for five years and is known in commercial circles as a man of force, ability and enterprise. He has also a homestead claim in New Mexico.

On the 16th of June, 1909, Mr. Roberts was united in marriage to Miss Lura Church, a native of Franklin county, and they have become the parents of two children, Eugene Sylvester and Mary Sibyl.

Mr. Roberts is a member of the Methodist church, is connected fraternally with the Modern Woodmen of America, the Knights of Pythias and the Masonic lodge and gives his political allegiance to the republican party. He is numbered among the most successful and representative agriculturists of Franklin county and enjoys the warm and sincere regard of all with whom he comes in contact.

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Joseph Henry Roberts

Joseph Henry Roberts, engaged in general farming upon the Roberts homestead of one hundred and sixty acres on section 7, Reeve township, was born in Franklin county, October 8, 1881. He is a son of Joseph R. and Josephine (Lyne) Roberts, natives of England and now residents of Hampton. In their family are three children: Joseph Henry, of this review; Ethel, at home; and Nellie, the wife of Dr. C. O. Brewster, of Britt, Iowa.

Joseph Henry Roberts acquired his education in the public and high schools of Hampton and following the completion of his studies assumed the management of the homestead, which he has since successfully operated, engaging in general farming. He owns also eighty acres of choice land on section 6, Reeve township, and by his intelligent management and careful supervision has made this a productive and valuable farm.

On the 11th of January, 1905, Mr. Roberts was united in marriage to Miss Amy Bertha Staley, a daughter of James K. and Susan (Lacey) Staley, the former a native of Ohio and the latter of Marshall county, Iowa. The father has passed away and the mother makes her home in Hampton. In their family were five children: Nettie, the wife of W. S. Hevermann; Solomon, of Des Moines, Iowa; Amy Bertha, wife of the subject of this review; James D., of Des Moines; and Edmund, of Hampton. Mr. and Mrs. Roberts became the parents of five children: Harry R., who was born November 15, 1905; Amy Grace, deceased; Gladys M., born April 30, 1909; Lester L., who has passed away; and Dewitt C., who was born June 11, 1912.

Mr. Roberts is connected fraternally with the Modern Woodmen of America and is a devout member of the Baptist church. He gives his political allegiance to the republican party and is now serving with credit and ability as secretary of the school board. He is a young man of force, ambition and enterprise and, he stands high in the esteem and confidence of his fellow citizens.

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Richard Rodemeyer, Sr.

Richard Rodemeyer, Sr., became the owner of four hundred acres of valuable land in Franklin county, Iowa, and his property holdings were the visible evidences of a life of-well directed thrift and intelligent effort. He was born in Landesbergen, in the kingdom of Hanover, Germany, October 21, 1845, and in childhood lost his father. His mother afterward came to America, where she resided for a number of years prior to her demise. In the common schools of his native country Richard Rodemeyer pursued his education and in June, 1866, when in the twenty-first year of his age, he crossed the Atlantic to the new world, making his way to Chicago. The reports concerning the favorable business opportunities of America led him to make this change in residence, and he continued in Chicago until after the great fire in that city in October, 1871.

It was on the 18th of February, 1872, that Mr. Rodemeyer was united in marriage to Miss Hulda Steffen, who was then living with her sister in Chicago. She was born December 26, 1842, at Schiefelbein, Prussia, Germany, and when a small child was left an orphan. Her father was a government forester and subsequent to his death and that of her mother Mrs. Rodemeyer went to London, England, and thence came to the United States.

Following their marriage Mr. and Mrs. Rodemeyer removed from Chicago to Waterloo, Iowa, where for three years he engaged in farming. On the expiration of that period they took up their abode in Franklin county, and as a result of his careful management and judicious investment Mr. Rodemeyer became the owner of four hundred acres of fine land. Year after year he carefully tilled the soil and as time passed on his well cultivated crops brought him a substantial financial return. At length he determined to retire and spend his remaining days in the enjoyment of well earned and well merited rest. Accordingly in 1905 he left the farm and he and his wife took up their abode in Latimer.

They were the parents of seven sons and two daughters: Louie F. D.; Herman H. and William, twins; Richard; Pauline; Frederick D., manager for the Interstate Lumber Company at Alexander, Iowa; Edward, who died January 17, 1904; Ernest D.; and Lena. The first break in the familv circle was occasioned by the death of the son Edward in 1904. Nine years later Mr. Rodemeyer passed away, dying on the 20th of August, 1913, after an illness of nearly six weeks.

Both he and his wife were members of the Lutheran church and its teachings proved the guiding spirit in their lives. In politics Mr. Rodemeyer was a staunch democrat. He was fond of reading and during his leisure hours was usually found with book or paper in his hand. He thus became a well informed man and one who could converse in interesting manner upon any of the subjects of general public moment. During his long residence in Iowa he made many friends and the high esteem in which he was uniformly held by his acquaintances indicated the sterling worth of his character.

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Frederick D. Rodemeyer

Frederick D. Rodemeyer, a worthy native son and representative young citizen of Franklin county, has for the past seven years been in charge of the yards of the Interstate Lumber Company at Alexander and in this connection has made an enviable business record. His birth occurred in Hamilton township this county, on the 26th of January, 1881, his parents being Richard and Hulda (Steffen) Rodemeyer, the former born in Landesbergen, Hanover, Germany on the 21st of October, 1845, and the latter in Schiefelbein, Prussia, Germany. Richard Rodemeyer emigrated to the United States in June, 1866, settling first in Chicago, Illinois, where he was married on the 18th of February, 1872. Subsequently he removed with his wife to Waterloo, Blackhawk county, Iowa, and three years later came to Franklin county, locating on a farm in Hamilton township. Here he successfully carried on agricultural pursuits for many years or until 1905, when he put aside the active work of the fields and during the remainder of his life resided in a comfortable home at Latimer, there passing away on the 20th of August, 1913. His widow and youngest daughter still reside in that abode. To Mr. and Mrs. Richard Rodemeyer were born nine children, eight of whom still survive, as follows: Louie, who lives on the old home farm in Hamilton township; Herman and William, twins, who make their home east of Coulter, Iowa; Richard, Jr., living in Hamilton township; Mrs. Pauline Meyer, who makes her home near Latimer, Iowa; Frederick D., of this review; Ernest, a resident of Hamilton township; and Lena, who lives with her mother in Latimer. Edward passed away January 17, 1904, at the age of twenty. The three eldest children of this family were born in Waterloo, Iowa, while the younger members are natives of Hamilton township, this county, where all were reared.

Frederick D. Rodemeyer grew to manhood in his native county, attending the common schools in the acquirement of an education and assisting his father in the work of the home farm until eighteen years of age. He then began earning his own livelihood, being employed as a farm hand by Joseph Roberts in 1900-01, while during the following year he worked for Edward Heuer, of Burdette, Iowa, and in 1902-03 was in the service of Jefferson Pearse, of Geneva, Iowa. On the 19th of February, 1903, when twenty-two years of age, he entered the service of the Interstate Lumber Company of Hampton, Iowa, remaining at that place until March 1, 1906. On the 1st of May following he went to Barron, Wisconsin, to build the lumberyards of the firm at that place, while on the 1st of November, 1906, he was placed in charge of the Alexander yards of the Interstate Lumber Company. In this capacity he has remained to the present time, ably and wisely promoting the interests of the concern which he represents. He owns an attractive and well furnished home in Alexander and is widely recognized as one of the successful and representative young citizens of the town.

On the 8th of December, 1909, Mr. Rodemeyer was united in marriage to Miss Bertha Yaw, who was born in Scott township, this county, on the 27th of September, 1891, acquired her education in the common schools of Alexander and has always remained within the borders of Franklin county. A sketch of her father, George S. Yaw, appears on another page of this work. Mr. and Mrs. Rodemeyer have two sons: Boyd Yaw, whose natal day was April 9, 1911; and Robert Frederick, whose birth occurred on the 5th of June, 1913. Both were born in Alexander.

In his political views Mr. Rodemeyer is independent, supporting men and measures rather than party. He was reared in the faith of the German Lutheran church, while his wife inclines toward the Methodist Episcopal faith. They are well known and highly esteemed throughout the community and have gained an extensive circle of friends during their lifelong residence here.

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Claude F. Roemer

Claude F. Roemer & son
Claude F. Roemer & son


One of the important commercial enterprises of Hampton is the implement and automobile business conducted by Roemer & Gibson. Claude F. Roemer, the senior partner is a wide-awake and progressive man who readily recognizes and utilizes opportunities and by his business activity contributes to the material upbuilding of the city in which he makes his home. He was born in Cedar Falls, Iowa, February 27, 1871, a son of Conrad ,and Catherine (Humbert) Roemer. The father was a native of Germany, born in 1832, and at the age of twenty years he came to America, landing in New York in 1852. It was subsequent to that time that he met and married Catherine Humbert, a native of the Empire state. In 1857 they removed westward to Cedar Falls and Mr. Roemer, who was a carpenter, there followed his trade, becoming identified with building operations in that locality. He died in Hampton on the 25th of July, 1898, while his wife survived almost fifteen years, passing away on the 12th of March, 1913., In their family were eleven children: William, who died in infancy; Amelia, the wife of E. C. Keefer of Ladysmith, Wisconsin; Charles C., whose home is in Mahon, Missouri; Lydia, who became the wife of George Kuyler of Franklin county and died in 1893; George, a farmer now living in Hampton; Julia, the wife of F. D. Smith, a banker of Latimer, Iowa; Edward A., who resides in Creighton, Nebraska; Christina, deceased; Claude F.; Daniel R., a farmer of Hampton; and Harvey, who is engaged in the real-estate business in Manson, Iowa.

Claude F. Roemer attended the district schools and starting out in life for himself at the age of twenty years, came to Hampton, where he established an implement and pump business. The enterprise was successful from the beginning and the trade has steadily grown so that he is now accorded a liberal patronage that brings a good financial return. He built a fine building with concrete sides and pressed brick front, forty by one hundred and four feet, and three stories in height. In 1912 Mr. Roemer took in Mr. Gibson as a partner and the business is conducted under the name of Roemer & Gibson. The firm is now handling a large line of automobiles, including the Maxwell, the Marion, the Auburn and the Chalmers cars and in addition handles the McCormick Harvesters, the John Deere farm machinery and buggies and vehicles. The firm also owns valuable property including two hundred and eighty-four acres of land near Hampton and one hundred and sixty acres in Minnesota.

On the 8th of November, 1899, Mr. Roemer was united in marriage to Miss Hester Crawford of this county. Five children have been born of this marriage: Louis and Louise, born September 9, 1900; Hugh, who was born January 3, 1905, and died September S, 1911; Claude F., born April 4, 1910; and Gretchen, born July 20, 1912.

At the time of the Spanish-American war Mr. Roemer enlisted. He was a member of the State National Guards and with his regiment left Des Moines on the 26th of April, 1898. The troops proceeded to the camp at Chickamauga, but were never called into action. Mr. Roemer returned with the rank of sergeant. Politically he is a republican, well informed on the questions and issues of the day. He has served as a member of the town council and as school director. He belongs to the Methodist church, in the work of which he takes an active interest, serving at the present time as superintendent of the Sunday school. He belongs to the Knights of Pythias fraternity, in which he has filled all of the chairs, and he is likewise connected with the Modern Woodmen of America. At a recent convention held at Des Moines, Mr. Roemer was elected president of the Iowa Implement Dealers Association. He is known as a public-spirited man, ever ready to promote public progress in any possible way. In business, too, he has made continuous advancement and is now one of the substantial and prosperous merchants of his adopted city.

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Otto Roline

The industry that more than any other has raised the United States to a foremost place amongst the nations of the world is that of farming and it is to the agriculturist that the people of this country must give thanks for this gratifying accomplishment. This result has been brought about by the sons of all nations who have settled in this country and among the foremost agriculturists who have been an important factor in farming development are the Swedish Americans. To this hardy race belongs Otto Roline, who owns a valuable place of two hundred and seventy-five acres in Morgan township, Franklin county. He was born in Sweden, March 2, 1862 and is a son of Anderson and Mary (Peterson) Roline, natives of that country. There both the father and mother died. Of their eight children all are deceased but our subject. Four died in infancy and the others were Peter, August, and Emanuel.

Otto Roline was reared in the parental home in his native land and attended public school until he was old enough to engage in farm labor. He worked along that line for two years and then made his way to Norway, where he remained for a similar period of time. Returning to Sweden, he again spent two years in that country. Stories having reached him of the golden opportunities that were awaiting the young man in America, he made his way to this country and coming to Dows, farmed in the vicinity, carefully saving his earnings. In 1883 he bought one hundred and sixty acres of land in Morgan township, which he cultivated with such good success that he was enabled to extend the boundaries of his farm so that he now owns two hundred and seventy-five acres. His land is highly improved, and his buildings are kept in good repair. He engages in general farming, planting the cereals most suitable to soil and climate, and also gives his attention to stock-raising.

On May 1, 1883, Mr. Roline married Miss Johannah Peterson, a native of Sweden, and they became the parents of seven children: a son, who died in infancy; Rudolph, of Morgan township; a son, who died in infancy; and Hilmar, Arthur, Tekla and Victor, at home. Mr. Roline is a member of the Evangelical church and interested in its work. He gives his political allegiance to the republican party, whose candidates he has ever upheld at the polls, and he has served as school director of Morgan township. Not only has Mr. Roline attained to individual prosperity, but he has been a factor in agricultural development in Franklin county. He is highly esteemed by all who know him and has made many friends since locating here. He combines the good qualities of the Swedish race with the aggressiveness and enterprise that seem peculiar to this country.

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W. H. Rowe

W. H. Rowe, who has lived retired in Chapin for the past eight years, devoted his attention to general agricultural pursuits throughout his active business career and is still the owner of an excellent farm of one hundred and sixty acres in Richland township. He came to Franklin county with his parents in 1870 and has here resided continuously throughout the intervening forty-three years. His birth occurred in England on the 22d of May, 1852, his parents being William and Peggy (Jones) Rowe, who emigrated to the United States in 1866. They spent one year in Pennsylvania and subsequently lived for three years in Lafayette county, Wisconsin. In 1870 the family home was established in Richland township, Franklin county, Iowa, the father purchasing two hundred and twenty acres of land, on which stood a log house. Here he followed farming throughout the remainder of his active business career, spending his last days in honorable retirement at Chapin, where both he and his wife passed away. Their children were nine in number, as follows: Elizabeth Jane, who is a resident of Mason City, Iowa; Helen, living at Bisbee, Arizona; Thomas, whose demise occurred in Kansas; John, who makes his home in Madison, South Dakota; W. H., of this review; Alfred, of Hampton, Iowa; Mary, who is the wife of Charles Sency, of Mason City; Florence, who gave her hand in marriage to William Riddle, of Ross township; and one who died in infancy.

W. H. Rowe was a youth of fourteen when he accompanied his parents on their emigration to the new world and had attained the age of eighteen when the family came to this county in 1870. He purchased an unimproved farm of one hundred and sixty acres in Richland township and began its development, devoting his attention to its operation with such excellent results that he won the competence which now enables him to live retired. In 1905 he put aside the active work of the fields and took up his abode in Chapin, where he has remained during the past eight years.

In Franklin county Mr. Rowe wedded Miss Ella Engebretson, a sister of Evan Engebretson, of Hampton. To them were born four children, namely: Willard, who is married and lives in Ross township; Lottie, the wife of Royal Sanders, who resides on the farm of his father-in-law; one who died in infancy; and Alma, who passed away at the age of seven years.

In politics Mr. Rowe is a republican, loyally supporting the men and measures of that party at the polls. While living on the farm he held the office of township trustee and also acted as a school director. Fraternally he is identified with the Independent Order of Odd Fellows at Chapin. He has always shown great interest in all that pertains to the general welfare and has been known as a public-spirited man who has always found time and inclination to cooperate in the movements for the public good. In all the relations of life he has been honorable and straightforward, and his example is well worthy of emulation.

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George Rudolph

George Rudolph, who owns and operates one hundred and twenty acres of land on sections 22 and 27 Osceola township, was born in Germany, June 17, 1863. He is a son of John and Elizabeth (Weisenborn) Rudolph, natives of Germany, both of whom have passed away. They had three children: George, of this review; Henry, deceased; and Elizabeth, of Germany.

George Rudolph came to America in 1890 and located immediately in Franklin county, where he has since resided. Three years after his arrival he bought one hundred and twenty acres of land on sections 22 and 27, Osceola township, and upon this property has steadily carried forward the work of improvement and development along progressive and modern lines, erecting substantial buildings and installing modern equipment. He has today a valuable farm, which is the visible evidence of the care and labor he has bestowed upon it.

On the 21st of February, 1893, Mr. Rudolph was united in marriage to Miss Mary Tilka, and they became the parents of three children, Elizabeth, Emma and Mary, all of whom have passed away. Mr. Rudolph is a member of the Lutheran church and gives his political allegiance to the republican party. His life has been a busy and useful one, and his success is indicated in his ownership of one of the valuable farming properties of the community.

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J. R. Runton

J. R. Runton, one of the successful agriculturists and early settlers of Ross township, where he has resided continuously for the past thirty-seven years, is the owner of one hundred and sixty acres of rich and productive land on section 21. His birth occurred in England on the 6th of August, 1849, his parents being David and Elizabeth (Suggitt) Runton, who were likewise natives of that country. In 1856 they emigrated to the United States and after spending one winter in Lafayette county, Wisconsin, took up their abode at Apple River, Jo Daviess county, Illinois, where they resided throughout the remainder of their lives. The father was a carpenter by trade. His demise occurred when he had attained the age of fifty-eight years, while the mother was sixty-seven years old when called to her final rest. Both were faithful members of the Methodist Episcopal church. Their children were three in number, as follows: Dora, who passed away at Dixon, Illinois, and who was the wife of Robert Suggitt; J. R., of this review; and Mary, who died in 1866, at the age of fifteen years.

J. R. Runton, who was a lad of seven years when he accompanied his parents on their emigration to the new world, spent the period of his youth in Illinois and after acquiring his education worked at the carpenter's trade with his father until 1876. In that year he came to Franklin county, Iowa, and located on a tract of unimproved land comprising one hundred sixty acres in section 21, Ross township. This has remained in his possession to the present time, and as the years have gone by he has brought the place to a high state of cultivation and improvement, erecting substantial buildings and enhancing the value of the property in many ways. He is engaged in general farming, and his efforts in this connection have been attended with well merited and gratifying success.

In Illinois, Mr. Runton wedded Miss Lucinda Emry, a native of Ohio, by whom he had three children. David E. Runton, who is married and has two children, is a photographer of Sheffield, Iowa. Lessie May gave her hand in marriage to G. W. Van Nest, who resides on the farm of his father-in-law. Joel E., born July 19, 1878, died at the age of thirteen months.

In politics Mr. Runton is a staunch republican, and for nine years he has ably served in the capacity of township trustee. His religious faith is indicated by his membership in the Methodist Episcopal church at Chapin, to which his wife also belongs. He is widely known in the community where he has so long resided, and his substantial characteristics have gained him the warm regard and unqualified trust of his fellow townsmen.

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A. H. Rust

A. H. Rust, who has lived in Franklin county for the past three decades, now resides on sections 13 and 24, Richland township, and owns one of the best equipped farms within the borders of the county. He devotes his attention to general agricultural pursuits, and his holdings embrace five hundred and seventy acres of productive land in Ross and Richland townships. His birth occurred in Germany on the 16th of November, 1854, his parents being H. A. and Altye (Lulling) Rust, of whom more extended mention is made on another page of this work in connection with the sketch of H. A. Rust, Jr., brother of our subject.

A. H. Rust was eleven years of age when he came to the United States with his parents, the family home being established in Stephenson county, Illinois. His education was largely acquired in the schools of his native land. At the early age of twelve he began working by the month as a farm hand and his father received his earnings until he had attained his majority. In December, 1882, he was married, and January 1, 1883, he came to Franklin county, Iowa, having a few months before purchased a slightly improved farm of one hundred and sixty acres in Richland township. The further development and cultivation of that property claimed his time and energies for a number of years, and there he carried on farming until 1900, when he purchased his present place in Richland township, which at that time had but few improvements. He has replaced the old structures by modern and substantial buildings, and the farm is now one of the best equipped and most attractive in the county, boasting a commodious residence and barns and also an evergreen grove. His holdings comprise five hundred and seventy acres of land in Ross and Richland township and in the conduct of his agricultural interests he has won a gratifying and richly merited measure of prosperity.

On the 12th of December, 1882, in Illinois, Mr. Rust was united in marriage to Miss Christina Lubbers, a native of Germany, by whom he has seven children: Heike A.; Henry L.; Albert G; Joseph; Altye M.; and Orville and Arthur, twins. All are still under the parental roof.

In politics Mr. Rust is a staunch republican. He has done valuable service for the cause of education as a school director, was formerly president of the board and now acts as secretary of the Richland township school board. He and his wife and children are devoted and consistent members of the Baptist church at Sheffield. One son, Henry L., is an ordained minister of the Baptist church and has served as pastor at Rockwell, Iowa, for the past five years. He is attending college at Des Moines. Mr. Rust is widely known here, .and his substantial qualities of manhood and of character have gained for him an enviable position in the regard of those with whom he has come in contact.

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H. A. Rust

H. A. Rust, one of the successful agriculturists of Franklin county residing on section 19, Ross township, is the owner of four hundred and ten acres of rich and productive land in Ross and Richland townships. He is likewise well known in financial circles here as president of the Chapin Savings Bank. His birth occurred in Germany on the 31st of July, 1858, his parents being H. A. and Altye (Lulling) Rust, likewise natives of that country. In 1866 they crossed the Atlantic to the United States settling near Freeport, Stephenson county, Illinois, where H. A. Rust, Sr., devoted his attention to general agricultural pursuits. In 1885 he came to Franklin county, Iowa, purchasing and locating on -a tract of one hundred and thirty acres on section 19, Ross township, which is now in possession of our subject. The small frame dwelling which stood on the place when it came into the father's possession is now used as a hen house. He improved the farm and operated the same with excellent results. His wife passed away thereon January 18, 1891, and he survived her for more than seventeen years, his demise occurring on the 11th of July, 1908. They were devoted and consistent members of the German Baptist church. H. A. Rust, Sr., had lived in Franklin county for almost a quarter of a century and had won many friends within its borders. To him and his wife were born eight children, as follows: Minnie, who gave her hand in marriage to George Van Gerpen, of Butler county, Iowa; Flora, who is the widow of Carl Schmidt and resides in Iowa Falls; Rye, who is the widow of Mene Bunger and makes her home in Kansas; Christina, the deceased wife of John Froning, of Richland township; Albert, who follows farming in Richland township; H. A., of this review; Alice, the wife of H. J. Merlien, of Parkersburg, Iowa; and Anna, who is the wife of H. E. Froning, of Chapin, Iowa.

H. A. Rust of this review was a lad of eight years when he accompanied his parents on their emigration to the United States and he was reared to manhood in Stephenson county, Illinois. He was a young man of twenty-seven years when he and his wife came to this county, and after the demise of his mother he purchased the old home farm in Ross township. As the years have passed and success has attended his undertakings, he has augmented his holdings by additional purchase until he now owns four hundred and ten acres of valuable land in Ross and Richland townships. His property is well improved in every particular, and he enjoys an enviable reputation as one of the prosperous, enterprising and progressive agriculturists of the county. He was one of the organizers of the Chapin Savings Bank and now serves as the chief executive officer of the institution, ably promoting its growth and success.

While still in Illinois, Mr. Rust was united in marriage to Miss Elizabeth Froning, her father being Fred Froning, an early settler of Franklin county. They are the parents of eight children, namely: Allie, who is the wife of Walter Nolte, of Hampton, Iowa; Anna, who gave her hand in marriage to Harry Baxter, of Richland township; Christine, a milliner residing at Latimer, Iowa; Lillie, the wife of Luther Fleener, of Indiana; Maud, the wife of Arthur Holmes, a farmer of Richland township; and Clara, George W. and Edna, who are still under the parental roof.

Mr. Rust gives his political allegiance to the democracy and has served as secretary of the school board. His religious faith is indicated by his membership in the Baptist church at Sheffield, to which his wife and children also belong. He stands high in business and social circles of this community, and his progressive spirit and the sterling qualities of his character have won him the confidence and respect of all who know him.

 

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1914 Biography Index

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