IAGenWeb Project - Clayton co.

The Clayton County Register Biography Series:
"Oldest Persons"

~transcribed by Sharyl Ferrall for Clayton county IAGenWeb, September 2015

Notes: In the early 1930's, the Clayton County Register ran a series of biographies featuring the "oldest persons in each town and township in the county". The articles were written by various correspondents and most included a photo of the subject. I have included the photos, even though they reproduced very poorly on microfilm, being grainy and overly dark images. I also attempted to find the obituaries of as many of the subjects as possible. In many cases they give substantially more information than the biography.

Scroll through the biographies or click on a name:

Dorthea Baade
Albert & Isabell Barnhart
Jane Bissell
Mina Bolsinger
William Duwe
Helen Fonda
Marie Hamann
John L. Hansel
Thomas Hanson
Harriet Hyde
Joseph M. Jennings
Bartholmew Krauss
Margaret Lewis
Caroline Liers
Eliza Lowe
Barbara Meier
W.J. Nading
William H. & Lena Oelke
Omar B. Oldham
Harriet Orvis
Christoph H. Overbeck
Johnanna Rodenburg
John Schacherer
Freda Schaub
Newton C. Shappell
Andrew J. Smith
Mary Stiefel
Margaret Tujetsch
Lena Wessel
Walter M. Wilbur
Mary Wooldridge

~*~*~ ~*~*~ ~*~*~

Dorthea Baade
by Elizabeth M. Debes

The subject of this article was born on Dec. 23, 1843, in West Pregnitz, Germany.

She, her husband and one daughter came to America in May, 1868, it taking them two weeks to cross the ocean, arriving in New York, from there they came by train to Iowa, making their home with her husband's uncle, who lived at Cedar Creek, until the spring, when they moved on a farm east of St. Olaf. Her they lived five years, after which they purchased a farm west of Farmersburg, living there for 31 years and later moving northeast of Farmerburg, where she now has spent 26 years.

She is the mother of eight children, six of them living. Her husband died, Feb. 18, 1907, since then her son has lived with her.

Her health the last several years has not been the best, although she does most of the housework, with the exception of washing, and the weekly cleaning which is done by her daughters.

Mrs. Baade worked hard during her youth, she relates of times when in Germany, she received the small amount of wages of $1.50 a week, and then paid her own board. She bought butter at 3 lbs for $1.00. She also remembers the time when she carried eggs and butter to market at Bismark, receiving 5 cents a dozen for eggs and 6 cents a lb for butter. They sold hogs at 2 cents a lb, and oats at 15 cents a bushel.

Mrs. Baade is a great lover of flowers and has many different varities in her garden. She has lived 87 years, they have been useful years, and she has tried to the best of her ability to make them profitable ones.

~The Clayton County Register, January 15, 1931

Note: Mrs. Baade died in 1933 and is buried in the Farmersburg-Wagner cemetery. I was not able to find an obituary.

Albert Barnhart
Isabell (Morley) Barnhart

by Mrs. Fred Larson

Mr. and Mrs. Albert Barnhart are the oldest couple in the town of Osterdock. Mr. Barnhart was born in Iowa Jan. 26, 1854, and Isabell Morley Barnhart was born near Pittsburgh, Pa., Aug. 10, 1852.

This couple has been married 53 years and were sucessfully engaged in farming near Osterdock for 40 years. They retired from the farm 16 years ago, and built a fine new home in Osterdock where they are now residing, and enjoying fairly good health.

Their farm is located about three miles from Osterdock and they still enjoy going to the farm and helping with the work. Their only son, Fred, now lives on the farm.

Besides this one son they have six daughters. One of which lives in Cedar Rapids and Mr. and Mrs. Barnhart quite often make an auto trip to Cedar Rapids for a visit. Although Mr. Barnhart is 76 and Mrs. Barnhart is 77 they enjoy automobile riding and spend quite a bit of time in this recreation. Mr. Barnhart does all of his own driving.

At the time that the Barnhart's moved to Osterdock sixteen years ago there was one saloon, run by a Mr. Sullivan, in the building now occupied by Morley's store. The town also boasted of two general stores run by John Moser and J.C. Kickbush.

Until just recently Mrs. Barnhart has been doing all of her own house work, but at the present time their granddaughter is helping her. Mr. Barnhart takes great pride in his garden which he plants and takes care of every year.

~The Clayton County Register, May 1, 1930

Albert Barnhart Obituary
Isabell (Morley) Barnhart Death notice

Rebecca 'Jane' (Dempster) Bissell
by Mrs. C.E. Lovett

The subject of this article was born April 15, 1849, in Michigan, on the banks of the Huron river. Her parents left Scotland in 1841 coming to America in a sailing vessel. They had five children when they left Scotland and a son, John, was born six weeks after they reached Michigan. On the way over a baby took sick on the ship and a shark followed them for days. When the baby died it was buried in the sea and the shark got the body.

Her parents left Michigan in 1852 when she was three years old and came to Iowa. They crossed the Mississippi river at Dunleith, now East Dubuque, in a rowboat. The first night they were unable to find a house to sleep in and were forced to spend the night in a coal shed, her father holding her in his arms all night.

They then came to Taylorville, where her father built a log house for them to live in. She can remember one day when a drove of deer came right into their door yard. The following summer there was a big yellow rattle snake close to the cabin and her father shot it, which was not unusual, as snakes were quite plentiful in those days.

Mrs. Bissell worked hard during her youth, driving the team, helping to get the crops in and harvested. She did not do any house work and never went to school after she was fourteen years old. That schooling she had was in the winter, as she worked on the farm as long as the weather would permit.

She was united in marriage in 1865 to James Bissell and has kept house for sixty-five years and says that she has never seen the time when she could not find something to do. She is the mother of nine children, five of them living. Her husband died July 15, 1925. Since then she has lived alone, doing all of her own work.

She has done a great deal of fancy work and delights in piecing quilts. Just recently she has crocheted a rug, and can do anything that is to be done with anything from a needle to a pitchfork. She is a great lover of flowers and has many different varieties in her garden, which is an exceptionally fine one. She is a member of the Methodist church and attends church and prayer meeting when able. She is very cheerful and it does one good to visit with her.

Her health the past two years has not been the best and a graddaughter stays with her while attending school. She has lived 82 years and hopes that they have been useful years. She has tried to make them profitable ones. Her father was 82 when he passed away, her mother, was 90 and she has a brother who is 90 years old, living in Tindle, South Dakota.

~The Clayton County Register, November 20, 1930

Rebecca Jane Bissell Obituary

Mina (Hart) Bolsinger
by Marga Bolsinger


The three living sisters, left-right: Mary, Mrs. Mina Bolsinger and Amanda

Mrs. Mina Bolsinger is the oldest woman in this neighborhood. She was born in Star County, Oio, October 22, 1850. Sometime in the 40's a family by the name of Gizleman migrated from Star County, Ohio, to Clayton county, Iowa, and settled near Osterdock. They wrote to friends in Ohio of the wonderful opportunity to secure good farms along the Big Turkey. Harts, Nolans and Spanglers were thus induced to leave the east and try frontier experiences in this new and sparsely settled section.

Mr. John and Mrs. Leah Hart, parents of this sketch, came in 1852 by team, bringing what household goods they could and a family of six children, five girls and one boy. One boy remained in the east to learn the saddler's trade. Mina was the youngest at this time.

The Harts settled near Osterdock and lived there the rest of their lives, exceept for two years they lived at Harden, north of Ellkader. They moved there in 1866 and in 1868, August 9th, Mina was married to Jackson Bolsinger, and returned to a farm in Millville township. Mr. Bolsinger died Feb. 28, 1921, and since then she has lived alone, raising chickens and tending her garden and truck patch.

She is located near the school house and often boards the teacher. In the flood of 1925 she met with a great loss. Her house was swept from the foundation and wrecked. The goods in the lower story were a complete loss, and if she had not carried rugs, chairs and other articles of furniture she was able to move to the upstairs, before she left the house at ten o'clock at night, she would have had nothing to start anew with at the age of 75. She escaped then by wading water to the bridge and crossing to the hill on the opposite side. The bridge was swept away and she was left across the river from her home till the flood subsided. The next day she watched neighbors trying to care for her goods, but could not cross to help. The shock was almost more than she was able to stand, for she had a lovely home, well furnished, but gradually the memory of it faded and she recovered much of her former hopefulness and forward spirit.

All of her life except from the spring of 1871 to the fall of 1873 has been near here. Those three years were spent in Dakota, where Bolsinger had a homestead of 160 acres. Grasshoppers and hard times caused them to return to their old home. Two children, Nora and Norman were born in Dakota, and Florence, George, Rhoda and Oscar, in Iowa. All are living, and two of her sisters, Mary and Amanda are all, except Mina, that is left of a large family.

She can recall when deer and other game and wild turkeys were plentiful and luxuries unknown. When everybody lived in houses made of logs, and the upstairs was a loft. When in Dakota she lived in a sod house.

Always active and busy [illegible] thing, ever ready to help in sickness, and ready to lend a helping hand, so you will find Grandma Bolsinger in her little home north of Graham, Iowa.

~The Clayton County Register, July 24, 1930

Note: Mrs. Bolsinger died July 3, 1938. I was not able to find an obituary.

William Duwe
by Mrs. Kate Randall

Wm. Duwe has been a resident of Clayton County since he was a lad of about ten years, and he has maintained his home in the county for more than seventy-four years. During which time he has won for himself distinctive independence and prosperity, shown himself loyal and upright in all things and thus gaining an invaluable place in the popular confidencee and good will of the community. He is now living virtually retired in the village of Clayton.

Mr. Duwe was born in Germany on the 28th of March, 1843, and is a son of George and Fredericka Duwe, who immigrated to America in 1853, and established their home in the pioneer German colony at Guttenberg. The mother lived only three weeks after the arrival of the family in America, and of her nine children, five are now living. The father eventually became one of the representative farmers of Clayton county and here his death occurred in the year of 1875.

Wm. Duwe gained his rudimentary education in his native land, and after the coming of the family to America he attended the pioneer schools of this county. He continued to assist his father in the work on the home farm until he had arrived at his legal majority and he then rented a farm for one year. The next year he purchased a farm, residing on the same for about one year. He then traded it for a house and lot in the village of Guttenberg, where he established his residence in 1865.

He remained in Guttenberg until 1873 when he sold his property and moved to Clayton where he conducted a hotel and retail liquor business for many years with marked success.

He retired from active business in 1897 and they since continued to live in their attractive home in Clayton. Mr. Duwe is a staunch advocate of the principles and policies of the Democratic party, was for a number of years a member of the school board and has served several terms as township trustee of Clayton township. He gives a liberal support to the Catholic church of which his wife is a devoted communicant.

In the year of 1863 was solemnized the marriage of Mr. Duwe to Miss Mary Ann Osterdock, who was born in the state of Indiana and moved to this county when she was but a child. Her parents spent the remainder of their lives on a farm here.

Mr. Duwe in his declining years, is living alone, his wife having passed away in August, 1929. Their five children preceeded their mother in death, namely: George L.; Amelia L., Mrs. Christ Beckman; Anna M., Mrs. E.J. Crawford; Elizabeth E., Mrs. Floyd Duff, and William H.

Mr. Duwe is getting very feeble and celebrated his 87th birthday on March 28th, but he is still able to come up town for his mail and do his own shopping.

~The Clayton County Register, April 17, 1930

William E. Duwe Obituary

Helen Clementine Fonda
by Lorene Kurdelmeyer

Miss Helen Clementine Fonda was born ninety-five years ago in West Troy, New York, on the twenty-seventh day of July, 1835. In October of 1855 she with her parents, brothers and sisters, came west, settling in Monona. It was in this vicinity that she taught school for many years. Later she went to Dakota, where she had a claim, and also taught school while there. She returned in 1883 and has made her home in Monona ever since.

"Aunt Clem", as she is better known to everyone in Monona, is the last living member of a family of twelve children. Nine of these children grew to manhood and womanhood and each and every one lived to a ripe old age. The average age of these nine children was ninety-six years.

"Aunt Clem" has been a faithful member of the Pilgrim's Evangelical church and always attended its services regularly as long as she was able. She often apologized to her pastor for not being able to attend services more regularly in the later years, but she was always told that she had done her best and most of us would all do well if we, like her, could attend services until our ninetieth year.

A year ago this August, "Aunt Clem" suffered a fall, which fractured her hip, and as a result of this has been bedfast ever since, but she is receiving the best care that loving hands can give by her niece, Miss G. Helen Fonda, with whom she has made her home for many, many years.

~The Clayton County Register, October 23, 1930

Helen Clementine Fonda Obituary

Marie (Busacker) Hamann
by Bernadine Roggman

On April 29th, 1851, Mr. Wollweaver, with 300 followers left Germany to establish a colony, to be known as the "Liberty Colony," in the United States of America. These people fled to America because of a revolution in Germany, due to the uprising of the common people against their rulers, demanding more rights.

Among this group of followers was a family by the name of Jonchinn Busacker, and their daughter, Marie Busacker, our sketch. Marie, then a child, now in her 85th year, but with a wonderful clear mind, loves to tell of this journey across the ocean on the Hamburg Line Steamship. There were on the water ten weeks and three days, and landed at Guttenberg on July 10.

They spent their first night in Fleck's warehouse, there being only five houses in Guttenberg at that time; no school and no church. On steamboat went up the river once a week to bring mail.

The next morning after landing, Mr. Wollweaver came with two wagons and ox teams to take the colonists to their destination, which was a tract of 900 acres of land, located about three miles from Elkport, part of which is now known as the Aug. Lundt farm. Just before they started on their journey, the oxen being very warm, regardless of their drivers, walked into the river, wagons and all, to get a drink. There being no roads or bridges at that time, they had to make their was as best they could. The forded the Turkey river just above its junction with the Volga.

"Liberty Colony," however, was short lived and after nine weeks all came to an end. John Thoms, who was considered wealthy and had brought money from Germany, bought the land and returned each member of the colony their $40 membership fee. The colonists scattered, and the only living member remaining, to Mrs. Hamann's knowledge, besides herself, if Fritz Schroeder of Guttenberg.

Mrs. Hamann was born Sept. 20, 1845, in Ludwigslust-Mecklenberg Schwerin, Germany. She never enjoyed the privilege of going to school, the only schooling she had was while she went to confirmation school under Rev. Adam. she was confirmed in the St. John's Lutheran church at Guttenberg, the same year the church was built.

Although her school days were few, one engaged in conversation with her would never know it. She is well posted on all current events, reads the papers, and has read many good books. Low German is her native tongue, but she speaks very good high German, and does very well with the English language.

She keeps house for herself and her son John, baking her own bread, and doing practicall all her own sewing. The other morning when I went to call on her at 6:30 she was sitting at the sewing machine hemming towels.

She was married to Henry Hamann, Dec 16, 1862. This union was blessed with four children. Henry Hamann of Chicago, Supt. of the American Express the past forty years; John at home, Bertha Baxter of Ames, Iowa, and Amanda, deceased.

In 1875 the Hamann's bought the Samuel Murdock farm, one mile south of Garnavillo. At the time of the purchase Murdock told them it was "the Paradise of Iowa." This place has been her home ever since. Mrs. Hamann has enjoyed good health all through her long life.

~The Clayton County Register, July 17, 1930

Note: Mrs. Hamann died in 1933. I was not able to find an obituary.

John L. 'Tobe' Hansel
by Dorothy Gull

Mr. John L. Hansel, better known in this community as "Tobe," was born in Green county, Pennsylvania in 1844. In 1850 his folks brought their family to Iowa. The trip was made by steamboat down the Ohio to the Mississippi and then up that river to Dubuque. It took them about five weeks to make the trip, which was filled with many hardships and sufferings.

When the Hansel's arrived at Dubuque there were only a few shacks along the river bank and one of the men who lived there was induced to bring the Hansel family to Colesburg with an ox team. Colesburg at that time was known as Potts Settlement and was a thriving little place with only two houses.

For the next two or three years they had no stoves and were forced to do all of their cooking in a bake oven. During these years they lived on a diet made up chiefly of corn-meal and mush, as they had to go to Dubuque and sometimes to McGregor for their groceries. During the first few years that the Hansel's lived in this vicinity they raised mostly small grain and some livestock. It was a great deal of work to raise wheat at that time, as th eonly means of threshing it was with a flail.

Deer and wolves were plentiful near their farm and many wild turkeys filled the woods, these were hunted for food. The country was overrun by Indians but they never caused any great trouble.

Mr. Hansel can remember when they used to dress pork and haul it to the McGregor market, where it brought the enourmous price of 23 cents a pound.

The first threshing machines that were used in this community were hauled here from McGregor by horses. Mr. Hansel brought two here in this manner. He has been interested in threshing machines ever since they were first made and at the present time owns a machine and does the threshing for his neighboring farmers, going with the machine from place to place - but of course does not run it on account of his advanced age.

Mr. Hansel has lived on the place where he is now for sixty-one or two years. He is a man of eighty-six winters and summers and is still enjoying good health.

~The Clayton County Register, October 16, 1930

John L. Hansel Obituary

Thomas Hanson
by Elizabeth Christen

The oldest person in this section of Marion township is Thomas Hanson, who was born at Christianna, Oslo, Norway, on January 23, 1848. He remained in Norway until August, 1869, when at 21 years of age he and his mother, who was 74 years old at the time, started from Norway to America, going to Hull from Christianna in a packet boat. When going through the Christianna Fjord they ran into a sail ship, sinking it in the Fjord.

The voyage across the ocean from Hull to Quebec required eleven days. From Quebec they went to Grand Haven, Michigan. Here Mr. Hanson was offered a job to help load a ship at fifty cents an hour. This was a very high wage rate to him, who had been accustomed to working for very poor wages in Norway. He took the job, but in order to get the fifty cents an hour he was compelled to work for 23 hours without a rest.

From Grand Haven he and his mother came to McGregor and then to Highland township, where for a time they made their home with Jim Paulson. Mr. Hanson worked in this vicinity for 5 years and in 1852 was united in marriage to Eliza Baumgartner.

In 1876 they moved to a farm in Plymouth county, Iowa, near Le Mars. The following four years were known as the grasshopper years, as each year the grasshoppers became more numerous, totally destroying the crops in 1880.

In 1884 Mr. Hanson and family returned to Clayton county to the farm which he now owns. So he has resided on this farm continuously for 46 years with the exception of a couple of trips to Texas where he purchased some land.

His wife passed away on September 8, 1923, and his youngest son, Henry, on April 11, 1926. The remaining sons and daughters are Mrs. Ernest Meyer of West Union; Mrs. Martha Chapman, Fred, Edwin, Adolph and Ellen, all of Elgin, and Theodore, who makes his home at La Grange, Mo.

In spite of his 82 years, Mr. Hanson is still active, having helped with the farm work all this summer. Reading is his favorite hobby and he spends many hours in reading, especially during the winter.

Most of Mr. Hanson's relatives have reached the age of 80 or more before they passed away. His mother died at the age of 94, a sister at 86, a brother at 90 and he has a sister living in Norway who is now 90 years of age. They are the only surviving members of a family of nine children.

~The Clayton County Register, January 22, 1931

Thomas Hanson Obituary

Harriet (Brown) Hyde
by Dorothy Gull

Mrs. Harriet Brown Hyde was born in Pennsylvania in 1847. Her folks came to Iowa when she was five years old. Her father died the first year they were here, so her mother went around among the neighbors and patched for them to earn enough to keep the family together.

They came to Dubuque by a steamboat, which was a long and hard journey and made the trip from Dubuque to what is now Colesburg with an oxen team. Mrs. Hyde never went to school very much because her folks were poor and the children had to help make the living for the family. The school that Mrs. Hyde did attend was called "Bushes' School". Mrs. Hyde was one of the early members of the congregation of Pott's church. This is now what is known as the Fairview church.

Mrs. Hyde has fifty grandchildren and eighteen great-grandchildren. She has pieced a quilt for each grand-child and some of her great-grandchildren. Mrs. Hyde has pieced quilts all her life. She estimates that she has pieced nearly a thousand quilts during her lifetime. She does not use glasses while she is quilting and does all of her stitching by hand.

Mrs. Hyde has lived on the farm where she is now living for over fifty years. She remembers of her folks having a barrel of honey at one time. This had been gathered from bee trees which they found in the woods. She can also remember of a deer being killed just a short distance from their back door. Mrs. Hyde tells of a very interesting incident about a rattlesnake. She and her brothers and sisters always slept on the floor and one morning when they awoke there was a rattlesnake coming from a rat hole. When it was killed it was found to have twelve rattles.

Mrs. Hyde says she can't remember of a summer being as dry as this past summer has been. A few years ago her brother killed a lynx a short distance from their home. Evidence of the fact that Indians once infested this section is proven by the finding of a tomahawk on her farm.

Mrs. Hyde sweeps the floor, washes dishes and makes the beds. She is still enjoying life in good health.

~The Clayton County Register, November 13, 1930

Harriet (Brown) Hyde Obituary

Joseph M. Jennings

Mr. Jennings was born in Warren County, Illinois, Nov. 11, 1848. In 1847 his parents came to Iowa and located at Iowa City, later moving to Delaware county and bought a farm located in Sperry township where they came to make their home.

When Mr. Jennings was 18 years old he enlisted in Company A of the Thirty-Fifth Iowa Infantry*. During his time in the service he spent one year in Texas and saw action in many of the southern battles of the Civil War among them that of Vicksburg. He served 3 years, returning home in 1865.

On March 25, 1866 he was married to Ellen Crane, who was born in Winnebago county, Illinois, September 18, 1843. They had five children, Joseph Henry, James S., Walter E., Samuel O., and Hester Ellen.

Mr. Jennings has ever been active in Sabbath School work. He is a licensed minister in the United Brethern church and is an earnest worker in all which tend to promote the moral welfare and happiness of his fellow beings.

In March 1908 he left the farm and moved to Volga City and on June 25, 1908, Mrs. Jennings passed away. After her death he went to Clarksville, Iowa, where he took a charge and preached until 1912 when he returned to Volga City, where on June 25, 1912, he was united in marriage to Mrs. Martha Beavers of Strawberry Point.

He has lived in Volga City ever since, and is the last soldier of the Civil War living in Sperry township. He attended Sunday School and church as long as he was able, and taught a Sunday School class until his health became so bad that he had to resign. He is becoming so feeble now that he cannot leave the house. He has a great many callers which hs is always pleased to see. He has six grandchildren and six great grandchildren.

~The Clayton County Register, March 27, 1930

Note: pension records show that he served in the 34th IA Inf. and 38th IA Inf., not the 35th

Joseph M. Jenning Obituary

Bartholmew Krauss
by Martha Jordan

Bartholmew Krauss was born in Bavaria, Germany, and with Mrs. Krauss and their 9-year-old son, they came to this country in 1867. They came by rail as far as Manchester and from there the three walked to Arlington, to the home of Adam Linder, who came to this country six years before.

The next year Mr. Krauss began farming, which occupation he followed until he moved to Strawberry Point, 43 years ago. Mrs. Krauss, formerly Miss Anna Margaret Wesender, died Nov. 4, 1919. Mr. Krauss has one son and three daughters; John, of Kirby, Oregon; Mrs. Jake Falk of Cresco, Ia.; Mrs. Minnie Schug and Miss Elizabeth Krauss of Strawberry Point; four grandchildren, and five great grandchildren.

A few years ago Mr. Krauss lost his eyesight and since that time remains at home. Aside from this affliction he enjoys good health. His daughters, Mrs. Minnie Schug and Miss Elizabeth Krauss, live with him and give him the best of care.

He is the oldest living member of the Immanuel Evangelical Lutheran church of Strawberry Point, having joined a short time after the church was organized, Oct. 6, 1878.

Wednesday, Jan. 22, Mr. Krauss quietly celebrated his ninety-second birthday by receiving his many friends who called to pay their respects. When dinner was served a prettily decorated birthday cake adorned the table.

~The Clayton County Register, April 10, 1930

Bartholomew Kraus Obituary

Margaret (Hyde) Morley Davidson Lewis
by Dolores Hall


Mrs. John Lewis and four of her great grandchildren, from left to right:
Opal, Gladys and June Lighty, New York City, and Esther Fritz of Littleport.


Mrs. John Lewis, nee Margaret Hyde, daughter of John and Hannah Hyde, was born Feb. 18, 1845, in Green county, Pennsylvania. She had six sisters and three brothers. All are dead except her youngest brother, George Hyde, who is living in Guttenberg. She was the sixth child of the family.

In 1850 she came to Iowa with her parents. They made the trip in a covered wagon, bringing with them only a very few household goods, the trip took them nearly three weeks. When they arrived at Colesburg there were only three houses in that town. Her parents located on a farm in Mallory township and when they had any produce to sell they had to take it to Guttenberg to be shipped out on the river.

In June, 1865, she was united in marriage to Brooks Morley. To this union three children were born, namely: Ben Morley of Guttenberg, Mrs. Hannah Marty of Dubuque, and Margaret, who has passed away. They engaged in farming near Colesburg for seven years and then moved to Colesburg where they operated a hotel. The year following Mr. Morley died.

She later married John Davidson. They had one child, now Mrs. Ruth Willman of Elkport. They continued at the hotel business for several years, when Mr. Davidson went to visit relatives in Missouri and died while there. She then sold her hotel and went to live with her parents on Wayman in Elk township.

In March, 1880, she was married to John Lewis. They had one son, George Lewis, who is now living in Minnesota. They also engaged in farming and lived in Osterdock for one year. They then moved onto a farm in Jefferson township where they lived for nearly ten years. After this they moved to Guttenberg where they managed a hotel for two years. They sold this business and moved to Elkport.

In September, 1927, Mr. Lewis died at Elkport. For the next two years her son, Ben Morley lived with her, but at the present time she is making her home with her daughter, Mrs. Ruth Willman.

Mrs. Lewis has twenty-seven grandchildren and twenty-two great grandchildren. She celebrated her eighty-fifth birthday February 18, when a number of ladies had dinner with her. Mrs. Lewis has fairly good health and a great many visitors whom she is always glad to see.

~The Clayton County Register, June 5, 1930

Margaret (Hyde) Lewis Obituary

Caroline (Venus) Liers
by Mrs. Kate Randall

Caroline Venus Liers, daughter of Joseph and Christine Klein Venus, was born at the Colony Communia, Clayton county, Iowa, Feb. 24, 1854. She lived in the old community house where she was born until at the age of four her father built the house where Clem Whittle now lives, which is still the old landmark.

The old community house, where she was born, was built in the early forties and has long since been torn down.

February 4th, 1874, she was united in marriage to Frank H. Liers of Elkader. To this union seven children were born, five sons and two daughters, all were born in Clayton county.

In 1886 Frank sold his property in Elkader and moved to Clayton, with the exception of eleven years in Dubuque and two years in Texas, they have resided in Clayton ever since.

Mrs. Liers received her common school education in the little colony school house, which is still standing there. Only all of the surrounding timber has been cut and the country looks quite different than it did seventy years ago when she had her first English lesson there.

There were twelve children in the Venus family, three of whom are living. Mrs. Liers is the third youngest.

In those early days that Mrs. Liers spent at the Colony, all of the neighbors hauled their farm produce to Clayton or McGregor. It was always a two day trip. During the busy season of the year, when the horses had to be worked in the fields, Mrs. Liers and her sister Emma used to walk to Elkader, six miles, with a basket of eggs. They had private customers here and received 5 cents a dozen for eggs and 10 cents a pound for the butter. They considered themselves quite fortunate to have private customers from whom they received cash for their produce.

January 4th, 1925, Mr. and Mrs. Liers celebrated their Golden Wedding anniversary. On March 12th, 1926, Mr. Liers died. Mrs. Liers is now living on Singing Water farm, near Clayton, with her youngest daughter, Louise Marie Liers. Josephine, another daughter, is a missionary in India.

~The Clayton County Register, July 3, 1930

Caroline (Venus) Liers Obituary

Elizabeth 'Eliza' (Dempstor) Lowe
by Mrs. C.E. Lovett

Eliza Lowe is the daughter of John and Margaret Dempstor. Her parents came to this country from Scotland in 1841. The trip was made in a sailing vessel and required three months' time. After arriving in America they went to Michigan where Eliza was born in Wayne county on Sept. 8, 1846, one of a family of thirteen children.

She came with her parents from Michigan to Dubuque in 1846 with an ox team. They crossed the Mississippi at this point and came on to Taylorville, where her father built a log house. Her father just had $500.00 when they got to Taylorville. When they passed through Volga City on their way to their new home, this city had only two houses.

She was united in marriage to David Lowe, Dec. 12, 1866, by the Rev. N.R. George, U.B. minister. Her sister Jane and James Bissell were married at the same time, both with the same ceremony, at the James Bissell home. An oyster supper was served after the wedding.

Mr. and Mrs. Lowe live on a farm just west of Volga City until 1910, when they bought a residence in town and have since lived here. Mr. Lowe passed away Feb 17, 1920.

Mrs. Lowe has always been a hard working woman. She does her own housework and always has a fine garden and lots of flowers. She made and cared for her garden the past year in spite of her 84 years. She raises a few chickens every year besides her other duties. Mrs. Lowe has enjoyed good health and at the present time her grandson, Roy Boleyn, lives with her to keep her company.

She is the mother of five children, two now living. she has eight great-grandchildren living, the oldest is nineteen.

Her marriage certificate was written on a sheet of writing paper. She has her father's first naturalization papers, which were taken out in 1852. She has a very keep memory and can relate many of the hardships of pioneer life, is very interesting to talk to and has had a number of very interesting experiences.

~The Clayton County Register, December 11, 1930

Eliza (Dempster) Lowe Obituary

Barbara (Zier) Meier

Barbara Meier (nee Zier) was born at Leuteshien, Baden, Germany, Dec. 24, 1836, and came to this country in the spring of 1858, being 57 days crossing the ocean on a sailboat, and landing in St. Louis. She came to Clayton, Ia., by boat and from there to Giard township.

She was married June 13, 1858, to Michael Meier. To this union four children were born, three daughters and one son. One daughter died in 1879, and her husband in 1904.

In the spring of 1859 they started farming in Giard township and after renting nine years moved to their farm in Farmersburg township now occupied by her son J.D. Meier, where Mrs. Meier is still living.

Mrs. Meier has been an invalid for the last sixteen months and is confined to her bed. She is the oldest living charter member of the Prairie Evangelical church.

~The Clayton County Register, May 8, 1930

Barbara (Zier) Meier Obituary

William J. Nading
by Mrs. A.A. Purvis

W.J. Nading of Littleport, Cox Creek township, was born in Edwards County, Ill., May 5, 1848, and came to Iowa with his parents when he was four months old. He stayed with his parents on the farm until about 20 years of age.

February 13, 1868, he was married to Corintha Metcalf, and to this union were born eleven boys and two girls. Mrs. Nading passed away July 26, 1897.

Since her death he has lived with his children, but at the present time he is living on a part of the old homestead that his father settled on when coming to Iowa. His principal occupation in all these years has been buying timber land and cutting off the timber. Cordwood was made of most of the timber, although some barn frames, logs, and walnut lumber was marketed, all of the sales being made in and around Littleport. At that time he practically gave walnut lumber away, there being so much of it that it was not considered valuable.

At the present time Mr. Nading has a shrubbery patch on which grapes, strawberries, raspberries, plums, and black beries are raised. He does all of the work in caring for this 1 acre plot alone except in berry picking time, when he employs extra help.

Mr. Nading is in excellent health and has never had to call a doctor or be under a doctor's care. Mrs. Nading was an invalid for a long time before her death and he devoted all of his time during that period to caring for her.

~The Clayton County Register, June 26, 1930

William J. Nading Obituary

William H. Oelke
Lena (Schmalfeldt) Oelke

by Mina Dahlstrom

Mr. and Mrs. Wm. H. Oelke came to this country from Germany in 1851. Mr. Oelke was born in Hanover, Jan. 25, 1840. Mrs. Oelke, nee Lena Smalfeldt, was born in Mecklenberg Schwerin, Sept. 19, 1847.

Both came to America with their parents, who were on the same sailing vessel. Eleven weeks and three days were required for the boat to reach New Orleans. At New Orleans they boarded a steamboat for the trip up the Father of Waters to Guttenberg. At Guttenberg they hired a team for the trip to their new home, which was known in those days as the Malle farm. They were the only Germans in this section and were forced to learn the English language.

From here they moved to a place near Clayton Center. After living there a while his father bought the place which is now known as the Vogt farm near Clayton Center. Mr. Oelke's father worked at the capenter trade and his mother car.. [illegible sentence] .. the produce from the farm in McGregor, the trip being made by driving either horses or mules. Practically all of their trading was done there too.

Mr. Oelke worked for his father until 21 years of age. The next six months he worked for Judge Crary, after which about fifteen boys including himself, with Mr. and Mrs. Read as chaperons, decided to go to California. The trip was made in a covered wagon, following the tril of the Gold Rush in 1849. They met with many hadships in dodging the Indians and in four months' time they had reached Nevada, where Mr. Oelke left the group.

After remaining in Nevada for some time he continued on to California, arriving there about Christmas time. He spent three years in that state doing odd jobs, such as wood cutting, farm work and carpenter work. He then enlisted in the army, at Aurora, Nevada, and served two years, before returning home. This trip was made by stage to Quincy, Ill., and from there by boat to McGregor.

On Oct. 26, 1866, he was married to Lena Smalfeldt in Garnavillo and settled on a farm one mile east of Farmersburg, where they lived until 1900, when they retired from the farm and moved to Farmersburg. To this union were born nine children, on dying in infancy, William C. of Nodoway, Iowa; Helmuth A. of Farmersburg, Arthur of Pierce, Nebr., Emil of Wheaton, Ill., Adele at home, Elfrieda near Garnavillo, Ewald of Alexandria, S. Dak., Hugo at home; also seventeen grandchildren and seven great grandchildren.

Both are enjoying fairly good health and are still active. Mr. Oelke daily feeds his chickens and both enjoy their daily paper. Mr. Oelke has a fine memory and can tell many interesting tales, having watched the development of transportation from the time of the ox team to the airplane.

~The Clayton County Register, November 27, 1930

Note: much nicer photos of this couple can be seen in the Oelke Family Album.

William Henry Oelke Obituary
Caroline Louise 'Lena' (Schmalfeldt) Oelke Obituary

Omar Benjamin Oldham
by Dorothy Gull


Pictured are:
Mr. Omar B. Oldham, his son, Mr. Doyle Oldham, his grandson, Mr. Ralph Oldham and his great-grandson, Delbert Oldham

Fairview - Mr. Omar B. Oldham was born in Bedford county, Pennsylvania, eighty six years ago. Mr. Oldham came here in 1855, with his mother and father and two sisters and two brothers. Mr. Oldham's mother and one of his sisters died the first winter they were here.

The first five years that Mr. Oldham's folks were here were five of suffering and sorrow. The second year they lost the only cow they had, and so more hardships than ever followed.

When Mr. Oldham's folks came to this country they were holding church in a schoolhouse about eight or ten rods southwest of the present site of the Fairview church. In 1856 the present Fairview church was organized, but no church was built until seven years later. Mr. Oldham's sister was one of the charter members of the church. At this time there were quite a number of Methodists in the community. It was some distance to the Methodist church in what is now Colesburg, so they held services in the United Brethren church every other Sunday afternoon. After a while the Methodists built a church but most of the members left the community, and so the United Brethren people bought it and it is now known as Emerson Chapel.

Mr. Oldham can remember when a four-horse stage-coach went from Dyersville to Elkader. This coach carried mail and passengers. It stopped at a place called "News-Stand," which was just a few rods east of what is now the Jesse Walters residence. Later on News-Stand had a store and saw-mill and was then called Uppergraff. While it was still called News Stand the first postmaster was discharged because he go the mail so badly mixed up.

Mr. Oldham relates one of his experiences that was very interesting. One day while attending school in a school house just southwest of the Fairview church, a band of Indians came along. Of course all of the children had to see them, so they all went running out of the schoolroom. All of a sudden they noticed the old chief in the back of the band was loading his gun, then - did they run back into the school room!

These same Indians camped in a weeds near Colesburg and when Mr. Oldham's father was going to town one day he stopped in to get warm by their fire. He laid his gloves down -- he went on to Colesburg without any gloves.

Mr. Oldham said he could remember taking a sack of corn to town on a home-made hand sled and having it ground. Then they would live on Johnny-bread, corn-bread and mush.

Mr. Oldham is in good health and has a stature that is straight and erect. He carries himself like many men of forty do. He has seen the country grow from a wilderness to prosperous farms and from an ox-cart age to an airplane age.

~The Clayton County Register, September 25, 1930

Omar Benjamin Oldham Obituary

Harriet Orvis
by Thov. K. Thompson

Mrs. Harriet Orvis was born near Elgin, Kain County, Ill., June 28, 1840, and she was united in marriage in her early twenties to Waitstill Miller Orvis. To this union five children were born, namely: Harry, Frank, Fred, Herburt and Charles.

They came to Delaware county and purchased a farm near Manchester, Iowa, in the year of 1865. The trip was made in a covered wagon and required about ten days to complete the journey from the home in Illinois. About three years later they returned to their farm in Illinois, on account of times being so hard that it was considered desirable to discontinue the attempt to make a success in Iowa at that early date. However the Iowa home was retained, with the intentions that at some future date they would return, when conditions became more favorable.

This time appeared to be in the year of 1880, when a second trip was made by the covered wagon route. The party consisted of themselves and three sons, and immediately on arriving in Delaware county they settled upon a farm.

It may be well to state that there were no idle hands in this household and that all then learned the lessons of frugality and industry, which served them so well in later life. In these early years farm products sold at low prices and the subject of this article well remembers selling eggs at 6 cents per dozen and butter at 10 cents a pound.

Having a desire to retire from farming they purchased a home in Manchester in 1902. Two years later the husband and father died, on Oct. 23, 1904, and about one year later it was decided by Mrs. Orvis with her son Herburt to move to St. Olaf, Iowa, where she made her home with her son Herburt until the time of his death, which occurred about two years later.

Since that time she has made her home with her son Fred Orvis and with whom she now resides. Only two of her children are living. Her other son, Frank C. Orvis of Nelson, Nebraska, with his wife and his son Charles, made her a visit early this fall which pleased her very much.

At this time Mrs. Orvis is enjoying good health, considering her age of better than 90 years.

~The Clayton County Register, November 6, 1930

Harriet (Baker) Orvis Obituary

Christoph H. Overbeck
by Mrs. Arthur H. Berg

Christoph H. Overbeck, eldest son of the seven children of Adam and Louise (Wagman) Overbeck, was born in the Province of Hanover, Germany, on June 9, 1843. He attended school only one year and at the age of eight, he, with his his parents, sister and brothers, immigrated to America. The trip from their home to the sea port, Bremen, took them all one day. That night they slept on beds of straw in an old barn. The next morning they left Bremen in a sailboat for America. Six weeks and three days later they landed at Baltimore, Maryland. From here they went through a tunnel to a river where they got onto a flatboat, pulled by one horse with the help of men.

When they reached Pittsburg, Penn., a one-year-old brother died. He was buried at the foot of the Allegheny mountains where a number of others who had died of cholera were being buried. Plain wooden boxes were made to put the bodies in before burial.

They then took a boat down the Ohio River to Cincinnati, Ohio, where they stayed two weeks. Their journey was then continued down the Ohio to Indiana, where they were to make their way into the interior to Holland, Indiana, the home of his uncle. This settlement was thirty miles from the river and the distance had to be covered on foot, with only marked trees to guide their route. After arriving in Holland, they took quarters in an old shack. Here they just barely existed for several months as they had no butter, milk or flour and lived on a menu of corn bread for months.

[sentence illegible] ... invited them in to live with him the rest of the winter. In the spring they started for Iowa. They drove a team of oxen the thirty miles to Evansville, Ind., where they boarded an Ohio river boat. They spent one night in Evansville, but did not have enough money to stay at a hotel and Mr. Overbeck was put to bed on a pile of iron, with just some of their clothes to lay on.

The next day their trip was continued down the Ohio river, onto the Mississippi to St. Louis, Mo., where they changed boats for Guttenberg, Iowa. The trip up the Mississippi river was uneventful. After arriving in Guttenberg, he worked for his board a while, until his parents obtained a tract of government land and instituted the development of a 40 acre farm in Jefferson township, Section 21, on Little Cedar Creek, in 1854.

When 13 years old he had a severe attack of rheumatism, which ailment had been bothering him some since he was 9 years old. His mother cured the rheumatism with a simple home remedy and he hasn't been bothered with it since. At the age of 14 he walked eight miles to Guttenberg, where he attended confirmation school and was confirmed March 28, 1858, by Rev. Adams. In 1879 his father and two sisters died of typhoid fever. All were buried at Ceres.

On July 3, 1874, he was united im marriage to Miss Caroline Bierbaum, daughter of Gerhard and Caroline (Walke) Bierbaum. To this union twelve children were born, of which five are living. In 1876 they purchased a 270-acre farm in Grand Meadow township of Harley McMaster, at $45 per acre. This farm is now owned by Wm. Radloff. On the 5th [illegible] 1877 they [illegible] farm, driving their hogs, sheep and cattle from their farm near Ceres.

In 1894, with his family, he moved to Luana and was engaged in the hardware business for six years. His wife passed away on July 16, 1899. In 1904 he retired from all active business and has continued to reside in Luana. On Dec. 24th of the same year he was married to Mrs. Minna (Springborn) Neverman.

He is now past 37 years of age and still enjoys taking his fishing tackle and spending a day sitting along some river bend fishing.

~The Clayton County Register, October 9, 1930

Christoph Overbeck Obituary

Johanna (Kaiser) Rodenburg
by Mrs. Albert Rau

Mrs. Johanna Kaiser Rodenburg* was born in Mecklenberg, Germany, Oct. 1836. when Mrs. Rodenburg came to Guttenberg from Germany she made the entire trip by water. Leaving the old country in a sail boat which was bound for New Orleans. On the trip across the Atlantic ocean they encountered several storms in which the sails of the ship were broken. This made their progress very slow and six weeks were required to make the trip. Mrs. Rodenburg tells of one instance in a storm at sea in which a minister who had passage on the ship, took his turn at the pumps and would pray between times.

Eight of the passengers of the ship died during the voyage and their bodies were lowered into the sea. One of these was the husband of a family of two children and when his body was lowered into the water his wife lost her mind. She was later put off on an island and the two children brought on to America.

After staying for some time in New Orleans she took passage on a small boat bound for Guttenberg. When she landed at the site on which now stands Guttenberg there were only five houses.

In 1853 Johanna Kaiser was married to Wm. Rodenburg at Cassville, Wis. Up until 1913 when Mr. Rodenburg died they lived on a farm near Guttenberg.

In 1915 Mrs. Rodenburg moved to Guttenberg and has since lived with her son August and daughter, Carolina Friedlein.

Mr. Rodenburg came to Guttenberg when he was sixteen years old and not having any mother, Mr. and Mrs. R.E. Price of Elkader took care of him.

Mrs. Rodenburg was the mother of twelve children, three died in infancy and nine still survive. She has been a faithful member of the St. John's Lutheran church all of her life.

~The Clayton County Register, April 3, 1930

*Note: Obituary, gravestone & other records spell the surname Rodenberg

Johanna 'Annie' (Kaiser) Rodenberg Obituary

John Schacherer
by Lila Minkler

Edgewood's "Grand old man" will have reached the advanced age of 93 years, on Jun 5 of this year. Mr. John Schacherer was born in Alsace, France, in June, 1837. His schooling was received in that province, where at that time the pupils were taught both French and German simultaneously. One page of the text book was in German and the opposite in French. Hence he learned to speak, read and write both languages. Later, coming to this country another language [illegible sentence] ...order that he might be able to establish himself in the "New World" to which he came in 1856, making the voyage on a French sailing vessel, the Volent, which is the French word for flying. The trip took 36 days, and Mr. Schacherer has lived to see a trip to France made in as many hours.

After landing in this country, he spent one year assisting on a farm, near Buffalo, New York, which at that time was only a small town. In 1857, having earned and saved enough money to do so, he came west to Dubuque. After a time he found employment on a farm where he was paid the sum of $10 a month for his labors. Mr. Schacherer has lived in Dubuque and Delaware counties for 73 years.

On April 3, 1861, he married Miss Anna Leibold at Rickardsville, a small town northwest of Dubuque. In 1866 they moved to a farm one mile southwest of Edgewood, where they lived 36 years and where his grandson, Albert Putz now lives, as the farm is still in the possession of the family.

His wife passed away in 1906. For a time after that he lived with a daughter, Mrs. Domayer, in Dyersville, then came here to make his home with another daughter, Ms. John Putz, who died a little over a year ago. He still lives in the Putz home and is lovingly cared for by his son-in-law, Mr. Putz, and granddaughters, Bertha and Alice Putz.

Mr. and Mrs. Schacherer were the parents of twelve children, two of whom died in youth, and the above mentioned daughter. The rest are scattered but are near enough so that they visit their father often. Twenty-nine grandchildren and nine great grandchildren are proud to call him "Grandpa".

Mr. Schacherer eagerly awaits the arrival of the daily papers and turns immediately to the editorial page which he always reads, thereby keeping up with the times.

He has never been ill, but was laid up from an accident for several weeks at one time. This accident occurred when all of this land was timber. Mr. Schacherer left home in the early morning for his daily job, cutting and splitting one hundred rails. On this day while felling the first tree, he, in some way, was caught in the limbs as they fell and a very deep scalp wound resulted. He lay unconscious far into the day. When found he was unable to ride to his home as the jar of the buggy caused so much pain so he walked the entire distance. No more rails were split for over three weeks, and his good wife doctored the wound with salt and water daily and as Mr. Schacherer says, that was all that was needed. He is the picture of genial good health, happy and jovial.

He is a faithful attendant at church, wears glasses only for close reading, and shaves himself. It is a real inspiration to drop in of an afternoon and have a chat with this splendid man who can put we younger folk to shame with his ever cheerful personality.

~The Clayton County Register, April 24, 1930

John Schacherer Obituary

Freda (Idifeldt / Ihlendfeldt) Brandenburg Schaub
by Esther Voss

Miss Freda Idifeldt* was born in Pommern, Germany, Aug. 15, 1834. She was united in marriage in her early twenties to Charles Brandenburg. To this union four children were born.

They came to America in the year 1881. They came by rail to Guttenberg, from there they went to Garnavillo by team, near which place they immediately settled upon a farm, and it may well be believed that there were no idle hands in this little household, and that all then learned the lessons of frugality and industry which served them so well in later life. Some years later the husband and father died.

After several years the widow was again united in marriage to Mr. J. Shaub*.

Mrs. Shaub's first home was a huge log cabin. In these early years farm produce sold at low prices, butter sold at 10 cents a pound, eggs sold at seven cents a dozen.

Mrs. Shaub was blessed with four children by her first marriage, namely: Mrs. Mary Kahlstarf of Britt, Ia., Mrs. Lena Zittergruen of Garber and Mrs. Freda Reifeldt, who passed away in 1905.

Mrs. Shaub celebrated her 95th birthday Aug. 15, at the home of her son, Charles, with whom she resides. Mrs. Shaub is enjoying good health considering her age.

~The Clayton County Register, May 23, 1930

*Notes: The photo caption spells her surname as Schaub, but throughout the biography, it is spelled Shaub. The spelling in her obituary is Schaub, and maiden name is given as Ihlendfeldt. The Garnavillo cemetery sexton records also spell the surname as Schaub.

Freda (Ihlendfeldt) Brandenburg Schaub Obituary

Newton Chester 'Chet' Shappell
by Morga Bolsinger


Mr. and Mrs. Neuton Chester Shappell in front of their home in Graham.

Neuton* Chester Shappell, son of Andrew and Jane Shappell, was born in Wisconsin, August 27, 1851. His father was French and his mother English. Because he was called French-Canadian, he supposed he was born on the border land of France and Canada.

His mother died when he was a baby and his only sister died in infancy. He never knew he had a sister till he visited a medium in 1872. He had half-brothers and half-sisters, but does not know whether it was his father or his mother who was married twice, or both.

His father died in 1861 and from that time on he made his home with any one who would keep him. He passed some of his early years in the home of an uncle. His entire life seems to be one of hardship, yet he never let it worry him and always looked forward to brighter days.

A dreamer and spinner of incredulous yarns which he vouches for, he remembers a man in Wisconsin who talked so loud he could print his words in stone, also one severe winter when there were six weeks sleighing in March.

He came to Iowa in 1878 and worked for Thomas Graham at Millville. Later he hired to Geo. Graham to work in his sawmill, and moved into a log house near the mill with his wife, Anna Smith, whom he married June 12, 1881 at Millville, Michael Marshall of that place performing the ceremony. On the day of their second wedding anniversary, Anna gave birth to a son and died.

On April 20, 1884, he married a second time. This time to Hannah Francis Goldsmith, a cousin to his first wife. They were married by Geo. Graham. They are the parents of ten children, all living, on in Utah, two in Nebraska, some in Iowa and some in Wisconsin.

After he quit work in the sawmill, he became mail carrier from Millville to Graham. From 1892 to 1899 he carried mail most of the time and much of the time he carried it afoot. After a time the mail route was extended to Turkey River and he moved to that place in 1898. Many times he had to walk the ridge roads and go more miles, as the river would be too deep to ford and there were no bridges. When the mail was extra heavy or a batch of missent mail was loaded on to him, he felt like dumping the whole sack into the water. Through slush and mud he has some thrilling experiences to relate. When he was late he was reported to the inspector and docked on his wages, so he resigned in 1899 and moved to Cassville.

His stay in Cassville was short and he soon returned to Graham, where he and his wife, who was 65 years old the 28th of last February, live by themselves in their little log house.

In the fall of 1929 they thought best to give up housekeeping and make their home with some of their children, who are able and more than willing to share their homes with them, but they soon became homesick and returned to their home where they expect to end their days.

Every day in summer that he is able to be about, Chet, as he is familiarly called by all, will be seen with an ax, push plow, oe or this two wheeled cart, busy at something.

~The Clayton County Register, August 14, 1930

*Note: His name is more commonly spelled Newton in other records

Newton Chester 'Chet' Shappell Obituary

Andrew Jackson 'Jack' Smith
by Morga Bolsinger

Andrew Jackson Smith, son of Samuel and Elizabeth Smith, was one of a family of two boys and six girls. His father was born in Pennsylvania and his mother came from Kentucky. He was born near Colesburg, Iowa, Feb 1, 1851.

When he was sixteen years old his mother gave birth to twin girls and died. The twins, Inez and Anis, were adopted by Levi and Ann Springer and lived with them till their marriage to sons of Thos. Radabaugh. Both were married the same day and live at Kalispel, Mont. One sister lives in Minnesota, one brother and three sisters are dead.

He was married to Elizabeth Kauffman, Jan. 1, 1874, and with the exception of two years has spent all his life in Millville Twp., Clayton county, Iowa.

Before his marriage, about 1872, he went to Norfolk, Nebr., and stayed two years. In 1880 he bought the farm where he now resides and moved there. He has builded himself a barn and a good house and is nicely situated in his old age.

For many years his wife was afflicted with abdominal dropsy, and had to be operated upon frequently. On Dec. 31, 1929, she had her forty-ninth operation, but weakened by the disease and old age, she died a few hours after the operation.

About twenty-one years ago one of Mrs. Smith's sisters died and left some children. One of these, Marie, was taken into the Jack Smith home and cared for. She married Fred Rosenweig and stayed on with her foster parents to care for them in their hours of need.

He also followed farming as an occupation, but now finds enjoyment in the companionship of two sons of the Rosenweigs. His health is the best it has been for years and he looks forward with hope to a ripe old age.

~The Clayton County Register, August 7, 1930

Obituary of Andrew Jackson 'Jack' Smith

Mary Stiefel
by Esther Voss


In the four generation picture are:
Mrs. Mary Stiefel, her daughter, Mrs. C. Schnepf, granddaughter, Mrs. Elsie Thomas, and great grandson, Richard Thomas.

It is with great pleasure that I write the story of one of Garber's highly respected and dearly loved citizens, Mrs. Mary Stiefel. She was born in Mearto, Germany, Dec. 6, 1841. She, with several friends made her way across the vast spaces of the Atlantic to America.

She was married to Christian Stiefel, who was also a native of Germany, on Oct. 8, 1859, in Bucks county, Spinnervile, Pa. They journeyed to Iowa in the year 1862 in which state they decided to make their home. By hard work and careful economy they accumulated enough capital to rent their first farm in Jefferson township, undergoing all the hardships of pioneering and benefiting by every opportunity offered in the new land.

Mrs. Stiefel distinctly remembers of buying three dozen eggs for ten cents, also 2 pounds of butter for ten cents. She bought calico for 40 cents a yard. With a neighbor they traded a revolver for a hog and five pigs, a musket for a cow and a calf, and one of the neighbor ladies traded with Mrs. Stiefel, giving her 12 chickens and a rooster for a calico dress. Thus you can see how hard it was to get clothing.

Mrs. Stiefel used tallow candles for lights. Their first home was a log cabin, the openings between the logs were plastered shut with clay, the furniture was mostly all home made. They used a trunk for their first table.

Mrs. Stiefel tells of an incident that was very amusing - one day while hauling a load of wheat to the mill at Guttenberg with a team of oxen, having arrived at the foot of the Guttenberg hill, the oxen saw another team of oxen drinking at a pond of water, in less time than it takes to tell it, her oxen were also at the pond drinking and the oxen refused to go any farther. Mrs. Stiefel knew the driver of the other team so he tried to get them started with no success so he told Mrs. Stiefel to stay there and as soon as he had his wheat unloaded he would return and help her. She waited for a while and then decided to walk to Guttenberg. On hearing a noise she looked up and saw her team of oxen coming along as nice as you please.

Mrs. Stiefel did a lot of farm work with oxen. The oxen did not have a harness but only had a yoke with two tugs. The oxen would always follow a road but had to be led when there was no path.

Mr. and Mrs. Stiefel celebrated their golden wedding in Garber in the year 1909 with all of the living children and grandchildren present. They also celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary.

This home was saddened when the husband and father died on April 23, 1923. Mrs. Stiefel is enjoying good health and is making her home with her daughter and son-in-law, Mr. and Mrs. C. Schnepf.

Mrs. Stiefel loves flowers and is never so happy as when busy caring for them or when her many friends call on her.

She had the four generation picture taken, with her is her daughter, Mrs. C. Schnepf, her granddaughter, Mrs. Elsie Thomas, and her great grandson, Richard Thomas. Mrs. Stiefel celebrated her 89th birthday on Dec. 6, 1929.

~The Clayton County Register, June 12, 1930

Maria (Mueller) Stiefel Obituary

Margaret Tujetsch
by Clothilda Stroschien


Mrs. Margaret Tujetsch was born at New Orleans, La., Jan. 12, 1850. On May 5, 1850, her parents came to Iowa and located two miles west of Guttenberg on a farm. She attended St. Mary's school at Guttenberg.

May 22, 1871, she was united in marriage to Christian Tujetsch of Elkader who was born in Tiellers, Granbinden, Switzerland, Oct. 16, 1839, and came to America in 1860, and located near Elkader. They had 12 children. Three preceded them in death.

Those living are Joe of Elkader, Fred of Union City, Pa., George of Ocana, Cal., Mrs. J.J. Meyer of Garnavillo township, Mrs. Joe Dozler of Elgin, Nebr., Mrs. P.J. Leibel of Burke, S.D., Mrs. Wm. Stroschein of West Haven, Mrs. Henry Stroschein of Elkport and Mary Tujetsch of Elkader.

After their marriage they lived three years on a farm five miles west of Elkader on the Volga City road. From there they moved to Guttenberg where Mr. Tujetsch worked seven years in the saw mill owned by Joe Zimmerman. After that they moved on a farm located three miles west of Guttenberg, where they remained until 15 years ago, when they moved two miles east of Garnavillo. They remained there but two years, then moved to Elkport where Mr. Tujetsch died on March 12, 1926.

After his death she made her home with her daughter, Mrs. Henry Stroschein, until Feb. 1, 1930, when she became seriously ill and was taken to the home of Mrs. Wm. Stroschein of West Haven, where she is enjoying the remainder of her life. She is a faithful member of St. Michael's parish of Garber.

~The Clayton County Register, June 19, 1930

Margaret (Seidel) Tujetsch Obituary

Helena 'Lena' Wessel
by Mrs. O.H. Berens

Wood - A gathering of unusual interest took place Sunday, June 29, at the basement of the Wood church, when about seventy relatives and friends met together to help Mr. and Mrs. B.F. Wessel celebrate their 20th wedding anniversary, also to honor Mrs. Lena Wessel, mother of John and Ben Wessel of this place, in the celebration of her 89th birthday, which occurred June 22, 1930.

Mrs. Lena Wessel, or "Grandma Wessel" as she is more commonly known, was born 89 years ago at Hanover, Germany, and after her arrival in this country at an early date, has spent the greater part of her married life near Colesburg. After the death of her husband she spent 19 years with her son and family, Mr. and Mrs. Gus Wessel at Colesburg. Since the death of her son she makes her home with her children. She is now passing the summer in the John Wessel home.

"Grandma" Wessel now, aside from being a little deaf, enjoys remarkable health for one of her year and also possesses a very keen and active mind, which, with her pleasant smile and her large knowledge of life, makes her a very interesting character.

After a wonderful "wedding and birthday dinner" at noon the group enjoyed a short program consisting of a solo, "God's Greatest Gift," by a granddaughter, Cora Wessel, and a little grandson, Bobby Wessel, sang, "That Wonderful Mother of Mine," substituting 'grandma' for mother. Rev. A.H. Meyer gave a very interesting short talk and all joined in the song [illegible]. The rest of the day was spent in visiting and taking snapshots of various groups.

Those who were present at this gathering were: A granddaughter, Mrs. Helen Widdel, and son Duane of Fenton, who is visiting relatives here at this time; Mr. and Mrs. George Schiendecker and daughter Virginia, Mr. Godfrey Schiendecker, Miss Olena Wessel, and Mr. and Mrs. George Breckmeyer of Charles City; Mr. and Mrs. Herman Woeste, Mr. and Mrs. Harvey Woeste and son Dale of Earlville; Mr. and Mrs. Fred Woeste and family of Greeley; Mr. and Mrs. Lawrence Gienapp of Waterloo; Mr. and Mrs. Watson Gull and Russell Gull, Cora and Bobby Wessel, Mr. and Mrs. Donald Wessel and children, Betty, Phylis and Garlyn, of Colesburg; Mr. and Mrs. Been Wessel and ten children, Viola, Vera, Elsie, Laura, Edna, Clifford, Lloyd, Doris and the twins Wayne and Willard; Mr. and Mrs. John Wessel; Grandma Wessel; Mr. and Mrs. Irving Wessel and daughter Leona; Mr. and Mrs. Howard Wessel and sons Harlyn and Eugene; Mr. and Mrs. John Kraus; Mr. and Mrs. Harley Kraus; Mr. and Mrs. Fred Friedley and grandson Marvin; Mr. and Mrs. Brockmeyer; Mr. and Mrs. Edward VonTalge and son Donald; Mr. and Mrs. O.H. Berens and daughter, Helen; Mr. and Mrs. [illegible] Meyer; Nick Moser; Mrs. Anna Rulon and Mrs. H. Berens. The whole community join in wishing for these worthy people many more such happy events.

~The Clayton County Register, July 10, 1930

Helena 'Lena' Wessel Obituary

Walter Myron Wilbur
by Mrs. C.E. Lovell

Walter Myron Wilbur was born in Randolph, Mass., April 16, 1847. His early life was spent in the eastern state. At the time of the Civil war he was very anxious to enlist, having three brothers in active service. They refused to take him on accounty of his youth and he became the sole support of a widowed mother and two sisters.

Two weeks before his twenty-first birthday he came to Iowa, arriving at Marshalltown. He came to this state with his brother and family, who later returned to the east. Two brothers remained here, George later became a lawyer at Gladbrook, Iowa. Walter made his home with George for about 15 years, during which time they operated a farm in partnership.

Walter and his brother George built the first frame building in the pretty little town of Gladbrook. George named the town for the little brook which flowed through the town site. As one of the early pioneers of Iowa they suffered many hardships, with only few railroads, travel being mostly by wagon, and a carriage considered a luxury. In those early days they cut their grain with a cradle. The first reaper they had was a self rake, this cut the grain which then had to be raked up and bound by hand.

He was married at Gladbrook, Sept. 15, 1885, to Mrs. Jennie Catton, a widow with two children. Two children were born to this union, Frank Otis of Independence and Ina Jane, now Mrs. Frank Oldfather near Volga City.

The aged parents sold their farm and have made their home with their daughter for over 17 years. Mr. and Mrs. Walter Wilbur are facing the sunset of life at the age of 83 and 79 years. They have been members of the Methodist church a great many years. Mr. Wilbur has been a regular attendant at Sunday school and church as long as he was able. He now helps with the chores around the house and barn, although quite feeble. He continued to drive his horse to Volga City until about six months ago when it was considered unsafe to let him [remainder of sentence illegible].

~The Clayton County Register, May 29th or May 30, 1930 (different dates on the two pages of the biography)

Walter Myron Wilbur Obituary

Mary (Burdine) Woolridge
by Lila Minkler


One day recently the writer went to the home of the subject of this sketch to interview her for this story and was much impressed to meet and talk to a woman of such advanced age who has kept up with the times and is such an engaging conversationalist. We enjoyed the half hour spent in ther cosy home and feel that the younger generation are the losers when they do not take time from the rush and whirl of this rapid age to call on our worthy elders and listen to their memories as they tell of their rich experiences of a by-gone day.

Mary Burdine Woolridge* will be 95 years old this fall, she was born in La Grange county, Indiana, Nov. 28, 1835, and came here with her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Isaac Burdine, when a very young child.

On the third of July, 1856, she married John A. Woolridge and the new home was established in the Ashbury community. Later they moved to a place on Bear Creek where Mr. Woolridge was employed as a cooper, which is the trade name for a man who made barrels, by a man named Taft. At this place their first two children were born.

Mr. Woolridge enlisted in the Civil War and was honorably discharged at its close. During this time the wife and mother had the family to feed and care for and all the hardships of that day had to be faced and conquered. At this time Mrs. Woolridge purchased a cow and a calf for which she paid the sum of $25. This was a great help in feeding her little ones.

Shortly after Mr. Woolridge returned from the was, the cow fell off the bank of a creek and broke her neck. Another calf was bought and with the one they already had, made a young ox team which was used to haul timber for the manufacture of barrels.

Later the farm now owned by Mrs. Lucy Wait Adams was purchased and the family lived there until 1885 when they moved to Edgewood where Mr. Woolridge followed his trade as a cooper. In 1900 they again made a move, this time to Oelwein, where Mr. Woolridge passed away in 1917. Mrs. Woolridge continued to live in Oelwein for a few years after the death of her husband, about 20 years in all, then came back to this place and has lived in the Story house for the past seven years.

When the Woolridge family moved to town in 1886, they built the house and barn which is just east of the C.J. Rulon home and is now owned by Charles Beddow.

Mrs. Woolridge is a member of the M.E. church here at this time. When their home was on Bear Creek they attended the Baptist Church of which Elder N.W. Bixby was pastor.

Eight children were born in this home, six of whom are living. One child, Charles, died in infancy, and John Archer, who was a well known and respected farmer living north of town, died in 1924. The other children are: Mrs. Melisa Jane Dowd of California, Francis Irving, or Frank as he is called in Edgewood, Willis Sheldon of Cedar Rapids, Otis T. of Clear Lake, Mrs. Ellen Brewer of Waterloo, and Jessie Edward of Leavenworth, S.D.

This very interesting lady has watched the growth of this community throughout the years, watched the timer lands give way to fertile fields of corn, has ween the wagon trail, where now in place of the covered wagon, a constant stream of automobiles whirl along and she often hears the hum of an airplane.

Because of failing eyesight, reading is difficult for her and her son Frank is a frequent visitor in her home, as is also her daughter-in-law, Mrs. Eva Woolridge and her son Earl, and the memories of a long and useful life come to keep her company as she walks through the twilight years.

~The Clayton County Register, October 2, 1930

Mary (Burdine) Wooldridge Obituary

*Note: Although the spelling Woolridge is used throughout the biography, her obituary and her gravestone spell the family surname as Wooldridge.

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