This is an excerpt from the book "History of Union County" (Iowa) transcribed from images of pages 680-684
submitted by Connie Wallukait, July 2006
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History of Union County by George Ide 1908
FRED WESTERBECKFred Westerbeck, who since 1882 has made his home in Union county, while since 1866 he has resided in Iowa, is now located in Kent and is accounted one of the leading and influential residents of the village. He was born in Germany, October 18, 1845, and was therefore a young man of twenty-one years when he arrived in this state. His father, Albert Westerbeck, was a weaver by trade, and losing his wife during the early boyhood of their son Fred, the boy was put in a home where he was reared to manhood. He learned the trade of silk weaving and in 1866, when twenty-one years of age, crossed the Atlantic to America, joining his father, who had previously located at Burlington, Des Moines county, Iowa. Here Fred Westerbeck turned his attention to general agricultural pursuits, working by the day in Illinois with his brother. He afterward returned to Des Moines county, however, where he began farming on his own account, cultivating rented land there for fifteen years.
On the 12th of January, 1867 Fred Westerbeck was married in Burlington, Iowa to Miss Anna Stuckenhold, a native of Germany, and a daughter of Herman Stuckenhold, a pioneer of Des Moines county. On removing to Union county in 1882 Mr. and Mrs. Westerbeck settled in Platte township in the western part of the county, where he invested in eighty acres of land, which he began to farm and improve. Prospering in his undertakings here, his rich crops bringing him good harvests annually, he later bought eighty acres adjoining and afterward another eighty acres. He erected a good dwelling and substantial barn, developing a farm which was rich and productive, owing to the care and labor he bestowed upon the fields. He also raised and fed good grades of stock. At a later date he bought one hundred and twenty acres in Adams county, which he still owns and which he also improved. He continued to live upon the Platte township farm for fifteen years or until 1897, when he removed to Kent, where he erected an attractive and comfortable residence. Since that time he has made his home in the village and is accounted one of its prominent and influential citizens, aiding in molding its public policy and in shaping its destiny in accordance with progressive municipal ideas.
Unto Mr. and Mrs. Westerbeck have been born twelve children but they have lost seven, six of the number having died in infancy, while William passed away in 1906 at the age of thirty-six years. He married Augusta Kirchhoff and left three children, Henry, Emma and Ray. The other members of the family of Mr. and Mrs. Fred
Westerbeck are as follows: HENRY, who cultivates the old home farm and married Anne Rasche, by whom he has four children, Laura, Walter, Ralph and Elsie; IDA, the wife of Charles Schrader, a farmer of Des Moines county, by whom she has two children: Raymond and Mabel; AMANDA, the wife of Charles Heimke and the mother of two children, Bertha and Harold; LIZZIE, the wife of William Webber, a resident farmer of Adams county and the mother of two children, Frederick and Esther; and Lelia, at home.
Mr. Westerbeck, his wife and family attend and are members of the Methodist Episcopal church. In politics he is a democrat upon national questions, while in town and county affairs he votes independently. He has served his township in several minor offices, to which he has been called by the vote of his fellow citizens who recognize his worth and ability. Since living in Kent he was treasurer of the school board a short time and since the incorporation of the village in 1904 he has been its treasurer. His German courage and preseverance -- the national characteristics -- have won for him a goodly estate and a fine home in which to spend the evening of his days. He began life in America empty-handed in Des Moines county, and after living for fifteen years upon a rented farm he lost part of his savings and had to begin life over again in Union county. With the indomitable perseverance, which is one of his strong characteristics, he has succeeded in gaining a place among the men of affluence, having only the assistance of his estimable wife, who, however, has indeed proved to him a faithful companion and helpmate on life's journey. He has improved two farms since coming to western Iowa and is well and favorably known as one who has contributed to general progress here, while the sterling worth of his character has gained for him the high regard and confidence of his fellowmen.