NICKLAS GROSS, a successful farmer and stockman, owning three hundred and thirty acres of well improved land in Big Grove and Homer townships, has met with most of his success in Benton county. He was born in Hesse Province, Germany, near the City of Cassel, August 22, 1854, and is the son of John and Thora (Wenner) Gross, also natives of the same province. They came to America in 1864, bringing their two sons and two daughters, and located in Lee county, Illinois. In 1873 they removed to Benton county, Iowa, where both spent the remainder of their lives. John Gross died in November, 1893, at the age of nearly sixty-eight years, and his wife died in 1890, in her sixty-third year. They were members of the Evangelical church, where he was a trustee, steward, class leader, and an active worker in the interests of the society. He became owner of a good farmer, and at the time of his death was in comfortable circumstances.
John Gross and his wife had children as follows: Annie K., married Henry C. Messer, of Dysart, Iowa, and they have four daughters; Marguerite, twin of Annie K., married John Gresey, of Iowa, and died in 1875, aged about twenty-four years, leaving one daughter; Nicklas; and Casper C., proprietor of the brick yards at Garrison.
Nicklas Gross received his education in Lee county, Illinois, where he attended school winters until eighteen years of age, and since then has made his own way in the world. He had a small capital to start with, having worked for others in Illinois and also in Benton county, and his first purchase of land was made in Big Grove township; about 1879; this is his present home, although he has since added land from time to time. He is one of the most successful and prominent farmers in the county, and has made all possible improvements on his land.
Besides his farming interests Mr. Gross is a stockholder in Garrison Savings Bank, and also in Garrison Grain & Lumber Company. He feeds cattle and hogs for the market, and has some fine horses. Politically he is a Republican and has served as township trustee. He is a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and Modern Woodmen of America, of Garrison, and he and his wife, as well as part of the children, are members of the Evangelical church located near the farm.
In 1876 Mr. Gross married, in Benton county, Elizabeth, daughter of Louis and Elizabeth (Weley) Schadle, who came to Big Grove township in 1870. She was born in Indiana, where her parents located about 1850. They had a farm in Indiana, which they disposed of before moving to Iowa, and both died in Benton county. Mr. Gross and his wife have ten children, all living, and all born on the home farm, namely: Henry C.; Annie C.; Minnie M.; John; Emma, at home; Frank, at home; and Josie, Clara, Arthur and Earl, also living at home. Henry C. who lives in Homer township married Annie Heineman and they have three children, Gladys, Lloyd and Vernon. Annie C. married John C. Messer, living near Dysart on a farm, and they have two sons, LeRoy and Wesley. Minnie M. married John H. Brandt and lives in Big Grove township; their children are: Floyd, Inez and Kenneth. John married Elfreda Zimmer and lives in Homer township.