Sydow, Charles and Mary (Klein)

(Sherry Chadwick)

Bio Photo

Charles F. Sydow

Christian Carl "Charles” Frederick William (Von) Sydow was born in Brandenburg, Prussia 21 Nov 1833. His father was Baron Charles von Sydow (of Sydow Hof) and his mother was called “Minnie." Baron von Sydow had a large estate in Prussia and was quite wealthy. He also had a house in Berlin. The story goes that Baron von Sydow was obligated to give a son up to serve in the King’s guard. That son was “Charles.” To be in the guard you had to be completely devoted and you could not marry. You lived and died in a soldier's home. Charles had other ideas and sailed for America. Before leaving Prussia, Charles had received a good education in a university. He learned accounting and several languages, including English. He also learned the violin. Charles had 7 known brothers: Otto Carl (12 Jan 1830-7 Aug 1884), Hermann (b. 1832), Emil (b. 1835), William (b. 1839), August, Adolf and Fritz.

Charles came to the U.S. on 16 Aug 1856 aboard the steamship Borussia from Hamburg docking in New York. On the ship’s manifest he listed his name as Carl and his occupation as clerk. Since Charles had friends in Milwaukee. Wl, he stayed with them a short time. He toured the southern states but preferred the north. He initially lived in McGregor, IA. When the Civil War broke out, he enlisted in the 27th Iowa Infantry, Company D on 20 Aug 1862. Charles was promoted to second lieutenant as a result of bravery at the Battle of Pleasant Hill, LA. He fought in other battles which included: Old Oak, LA; Lake Chicot, AR; Tupelo. MS; Old Town Creek, MS and Fort Blakley, AL. After being mustered out on 8 Aug 1865, Charles became a hotel keeper.

On 1 Jan 1866, he married Maria Anna “Mary” Klein in Prairie du Chien, Wl. Mary was born 15 Aug 1847 in Franklin Co., IN. Her parents were Nicholas and Ursula (Huber) Klein of Alsace, France. Charles and Mary moved to Conover, IA in 1866. Charles bought and sold several properties in Conover. He became a produce dealer and held many positions in Conover. He was the first recorder, a justice of the peace, assessor and postmaster. He served on the Board of County Supervisors. Charles built a large, two-story house. The homestead had many animals which included cattle, horses, peacocks and a couple of St. Bernards. Charles cultivated his own variety of strawberry called "Alma Sydow” after his youngest daughter. Charles had nine daughters: Bertha, Laura, Hedwig, Emilie, Emma, Clara, Ottielia, Arabella and Alma. The older girls learned to speak English and German.

On 8 Jul 1890 Mary died of blood poisoning, two months after the birth of Alma. She was buried at Fort Atkinson, IA. Charles had developed a severe case of chronic rheumatism quite a few years before Mary’s death. One doctor pulled all his teeth as a treatment, but to no avail. Charles was unable to perform manual labor or conduct his profession. Subsequently he was awarded a war pension in 1882. Charles had been a member of the GAR (Grand Army of the Republic) and received a veteran’s medal for his military service. He died 19 Dec 1902 and is buried in Calmar Community Cemetery.

Bio Photo

Mary A. (Klein) Sydow

Bertha Clara was born 9 Nov 1866 in Conover. She became the surrogate mother to her younger sisters after their mother died. She never married and died of diphtheria 12 Nov 1896. She is buried in Calmar Community Cemetery. Hedwig “Haddie” Ursula was born 29 Jul 1869 in Conover. She learned to play the violin on her father’s Stradivarius. She worked as Postmaster before her marriage to William F. Novak, a Spillville storekeeper. They married 2 Sep 1902 in Spillville. William's parents were Joseph and Anna (Bouska) Novak of Bohemia. Hedwig and William moved to Sioux Falls, SD in the early 1900’s.


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