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Druf, Fred A.


Posted By: mjv (email)
Date: 10/13/2020 at 17:48:23

Fred A. Druf, merchant, and recent Mayor of the city of Riverside, was born in Evansville, Ind., in the year 1841. He is the son of C. C. and Catharine Druf, both of whom were natives of Prussia. The former emigrated to America in 1836, and the latter two years later. They both drifted to Evansville, where they were afterward married. By trade C. C. Druf was a miller, and was engaged in that business during his residence in Indiana. In 1843 the family emigrated to Natchez, Miss., where Mr. Druf was engaged in building for about a year. While a resident of Natchez, their only daughter, Mary C., was born. In 1844 the family removed to Iowa Township, Washington County, and entered 240 acres of land on section 21, which was their home until 1877, when they removed to Riverside, where the last six years of Mr. Druf’s life were spent. Upon this land he built a two-story log cabin, long since torn away and replaced, first by a frame and afterward by a brick residence. Upon this farm, under three large oak trees which graced their dooryard, the first Fourth of July celebration of this township was held, and perhaps the first one in the county. Nathaniel McClure was speaker of the day. Dinner was served under the trees, on rough plank tables. The total population of Iowa Township at that time was represented at the celebration, numbering twenty-four souls. At that festal board the patriotism of the pioneer was no less manifest than to-day, when with martial band and caparisoned steeds the crown parade the principal streets of a great city, whose march is heralded by the boom of cannon and the firing of guns. Those bronzed and bearded men, with their wives and children, had emigrated to the new country to find and make homes, and as the hearty hand-clasp was given and the crown separated, three as hearty cheers as were ever given for the “Red, White and Blue” were borne away and echoed in the distant hills.

C. C. Druf was one of the first Township Trustees of Iowa Township, and perhaps served in less important offices at an early day. He was not a politician in any sense, but during his life was an ardent Democrat, and the principles so warmly advocated by the father are endorsed by the son, who is a leader in Democratic local politics in this township. The attention of C. C. Druf was wholly confined to agriculture during his working days in this county, and before his death he was one of the wealthy farmers having accumulated money by hard work. He retained until his death his first entry of lands, which were at that time divided between his children. In 1877 he and his wife came to Riverside to spend their declining years, but their life’s journey was almost ended. His death occurred in the spring of 1883, and his devoted wife survived him one year. In the death of Mr. and Mrs. Druf the county sustained the loss of one of her first and most highly respected families. Their daughter became the wife of Joseph R. Rose, a son of A. B. Rose, one of the original proprietors of the town plat of Riverside, whose personal history appears in this volume. The family are now residents of LaCrosse, Rush Co., Kan., where Mr. Rose is engaged in the furniture business, and also owns a couple of fine farms, and, like his father, is an enterprising man.

Our subject, Fred A. Druf, was educated in this township, and until his marriage remained with his father on the farm. At the age of twenty-eight years he left the farm and engaged in the mercantile trade. His marriage with Miss Mary M., daughter of Isaac and Bertha (Noble) Whitehead, was celebrated in December, 1862. He had just returned from the army, in which he had enlisted as a member of Co. F, 1st Iowa Vol. Cav. His service was of an active character from the time of his enlistment until he was discharged on account of disability. He afterward recovered sufficiently to enable him to do farm work, and for eight years he managed the old homestead. He then began business in Yatton, putting in a stock of general merchandise, where he remained until Riverside was platted and the village started, when he moved his goods to the new town, and has since remained one of her merchants. In addition to his general store, Mayor Druf has embarked in the lumber business, and is also engaged in the grain business. He, in partnership with T. H. Ford, purchased and shipped stock until 1881, when the firm was dissolved. The firm of Cress & Druf began business June 1, 1887, following the old firm of Mechling & Cress, in the same line, and in the first store building erected in Riverside.

With inclinations towards politics, Mr. Druf has always been a party leader, as mentioned elsewhere, and has done more to further the interests of his party than perhaps any other man in the township. He was the first Mayor of the village of Riverside after the incorporation of the same, and as proof of his adaptability for the position he has since been twice elected, and is the present incumbent. He has been Town Recorder and Secretary of the School Board for a number of years, in all of which he has shown a fine business record. Having no children of their own, Mr. and Mrs. Druf adopted a daughter, Ida Violetta, now in her eleventh year.

Source: Portrait and Biographical Album of Washington County, Iowa (1887). Excerpt from Biographical Sketch of Fred A Druf, pages 509-510.


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