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"Luzerne's History and Present"
Excerpts from The 1910 History of Benton County, Iowa, page 384.
Some of the first houses erected in Luzerne were moved from Buckeye. Isaac B. Howe and his wife, Hannah R., proprietors of the town, recorded the plat April 17, 1868, and for a couple of years, the growth of the place was quite noticeable. In 1870 it had forty building of all descriptions, including a fine public school finished that year and a flourishing Lutheran church... The population of the village in the late seventies was about three hundred, mostly Germans.

Luzerne has now about a dozen business places, including two general stores, two cream stations, an elevator, a blacksmith shop, bank and hotel. The town school is attended by forty pupils, while about twice that number is enrolled in the parochial school connected with the German Lutheran church. Residents of the place, young and old, are intelligent and industrious, and although Luzerne has not materially grown for some time past, its people appear happy and contented.

Pioneer Merchant
E. J. Ditzler, who erected the first store at Luzerne, was a Pennsylvania Dutchman, who had resided for several years in Ohio and Illinois before coming to Iowa in the fall of 1856. He first located at Cedar Rapids, where he engaged in the draying business. He continued in this line for a number of years in various towns in Iowa until 1867, when he established himself as Luzerne's pioneer merchant. His was a real old-fashioned general store, as he carried a full line of staple and fancy drygoods, groceries, hardware ready-made clothing hats,caps, boots and shoes, besides dealing in grain and general produce. He was also the first postmaster at Luzerne and held the office for a number of years.

Worthy Retired Pioneer
Luzerne has a number of able and substantial retired farmers, but none more esteemed than Henry Wehrmann. He came with his parents to the United States in 1851, being then eighteen years old, and after farming four years in Illinois the family decided to locate on lands west of the Mississippi river. Family and family goods were loaded into a box car for the terminus of the road at Rock Island, but before that place was reached the train was wrecked and wife and mother fatally injured. The sad but not discouraged widower moved bravely on toward his far western home, the son Henry, then twelve years of age, faithfully assisting his father during the following decade to found another homestead in Iowa township, Benton County. He entered a quarter section himself in 1859, which was the basis of his life competency. In 1890 he and his wife moved to Luzerne to enjoy the good things which they had earned - not only the comforts of industry but the honors of moral excellence.

Transcribed, 1998, by Sue Soden.



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