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NEMMERS, Rev. John N.


Posted By: Annette Lucas (email)
Date: 5/24/2021 at 00:12:29

SOURCE: History of Black Hawk County Iowa, And Its People. Vol. I. The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., 1915

Rev. John N. Nemmers, the zealous and popular pastor of the Gilbertville Roman Catholic church, was born in Jackson county, Iowa, in 1847, a son of Nicholas and Mary (Freiman) Nemmers, both of whom were born in the grand duchy of Luxemburg. The father was a carpenter by trade and in his young manhood emigrated to the United States. In 1846 he came overland by ox team from Chicago to Jackson county, this state, which was then raw prairie which had never been touched by the plow. With the coming of a few settlers rude log cabins were built which served as homes, roads were laid out, schools and churches were erected, and in all of this work Nicholas Nemmers did his part. He purchased government land at one dollar and twenty-five cents per acre and became eventually the owner of two hundred acres. He also practiced his trade and was one of the useful and prosperous citizens of his county, as well as one of the most influential men of his community, being appealed to for instruction and advice on many questions. He became quite prominent in the early history of Jackson county and remained there until 1880, when he removed to Le Mars. In 1890 he came to Gilbertville and passed the remaining years of his life with his son, John N. There were twelve children in the family, but our subject, the fourth in order of birth, was the first born in the United States.

Rev. Nemmers early learned the carpenter's trade from his father and also attended the district schools, thus laying the foundation for his wide general knowledge. The first schoolhouse was but a log cabin and the curriculum and methods of teaching were in harmony with the outward conditions. He subsequently attended parochial school, after which he was a student in St. Francis College at Milwaukee, Wisconsin, for eight years. In 1875 he was ordained priest and on the 22d of December of that year came to Gilbertville, where he has remained ever since. For almost four decades he has watched over those whose spiritual well-being is committed to his care and his congregation has grown in numbers and in faith under his guidance. He has also proved a business man of ability, has erected four church buildings and has managed wisely the financial affairs of the church. His sincerity and earnestness commend him to the respect of the community as a whole as well as to his parishioners. When he first came to Gilbertville he numbered among his flock all of the Catholics between and including Raymond and Barclay, and at the latter place he erected a church costing three thousand dollars. The Raymond and Barclay congregations were under his care for nineteen years. While his first care has ever been the upbuilding of the church of which he is pastor he has also taken an active part in various movements that have concerned the welfare of the whole town. He is a man of progressive ideas and his plans and efforts have been broadly constructive, seeking advancement along lines that will result in the permanent betterment of conditions. He finds a great deal of pleasure as well as profit in reading and his library is one of the best in Gilbertville. He has local financial interests, owning bank and interurban railway stock.


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