IAGenWeb Project - Clayton co.


John Schmalfeld, a prominent farmer and a breeder of cattle and hogs in Clayton County, makes his home on section 17, Farmersburg Township. He was born on the 14th of March, 1817, in Mecklenberg, Germany, and was reared to manhood in that country. He is the son of John and Eliza (Neimann) Schmalfeld, both of whom were natives of Germany and never removed from the Fatherland. The father of our subject was a tiller of the soil in that country, and he also served in the German army for four years. The parents are both deceased. There were eight children born to this couuple, only three of whom survive: John, our subject; Joachim, who is living at the age of seventy-seven years; and Christopher, aged seventy-five years.

The subject of this biography came to this country in the year 1852, and after being on the water for fifty-three days landed in the city of New Orleans, and subsequently came to Iowa and settled in Clayton County. Not one of his old neighbors that were here upon his arrival are now living. The territory into which he moved was then noghing more than a dense wilderness, but in the forty-two years that he has resided here he has seen the great change that the state of Iowa has undergone. He was, as were the great majority of the people at that time, quite poor, and lived in a "straw-thatched hut," but by ceaseless labor he has acquired an estate consisting of one hundred and ninety acres of land, one hundred and forty of which are now under cultivation.

On Christmas Day, 1852, Mr. Schmalfeld was united in marriage with Miss Mary Wendt, a daughter of Joachim and Anna (Kohn) Wendt, both of whom are natives of Germany, as was also the daughter. Five children blessed this union, only one of whom is now living. He is named John after his father, and was born April 10, 1861. He was reared on the farm in this township and attended the district school here as well as the one at McGregor, and thus had the advantage of both a German and an English education. The parents were both members of the Lutheran Church.

Mr. Schmalfeld was married the second time. Miss Lizzie Henning became his companion for life. Her parents were both natives of Germany, and her mother's maiden name was Katie Schulte. The daughter was born in this county on the 28th of February, 1868, and was educated in a German and English school. She is the mother of two children, one of whom is deceased. The one living is Arno John Christopher. The mother is an earnest worker in the Lutheran Church.

Mr. Schmalfeld is considered upright and honorable in all of his dealings with his fellow-men, is straightforward and true-hearted, and is moral in the truest degree. He is a Democrat in politics, is apt and logical in his views relative to public matters, and is looked upon as one of the solid men of Clayton County. He is one whose enterprise is a boon to any city, in that he prevents it from becoming indifferent to those improvements which are the pivot wheel about which advancement revolves. He is hearty and hale, and enjoys life at the age of four-score years.

source: Portrait and Biographical Record of Dubuque, Jones and Clayton Counties; Chicago: Chapman Pub. Co., 1894; pg 534-535
-transcribed by Sharyl Ferrall

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