Buena Vista County, IA
IAGenWeb Project

Extracted from:  Wegerslev, C. H. and Thomas Walpole. 
 Past and Present of Buena Vista County, Iowa
Chicago:  S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., 1909, p. 512-14.

Transcribed by Paul Nagy

Biography of  John N. Reding

John N. Reding is a retired farmer living in Newell.  He was born in Luxemberg, Germany, November 15, 1832, his parents being Anton and Mary (Hemmer) Reding, who were also natives of the fatherland.  Little is known concerning the ancestral history of the family in the paternal line.  The maternal grandfather was Nicholas Hemmer, a native of Germany, who married Margaret Schmidt and followed the occupation of farming as a life work.  He died at the age of eighty-nine years, while his wife passed away when seventy-six years of age.  They were the parents of six children:  Jacob, Mary, John, John Peter, Nicholas and Margaret.


Anton Reding followed agricultural pursuits in Germany and died there about 1842 when a comparatively young man.  His wife survived him to the advanced age of eighty-nine years. Both were Catholics in religious faith.  Their family numbered three sons and three daughters:  Margaret and Nicholas, both deceased; John N.; John Peter, who has passed away; Margaret, the second of the name; and Susan, the wife of Prosper Roll.


John N. Reding was reared on the home farm in Germany and pursued his education in the public schools of that country.  He was a young man of twenty-five years when he crossed the Atlantic.  He had heard reports concerning business opportunities and advantages that led him to seek a home in the new world and for three years he continued as a resident here.  He then returned to Germany, but his love of the United States had taken strong hold upon him and in 1863 he once more came to American shores.  Making his way into the interior of the country, he settled at Worthington, Dubuque county, Iowa, where he lived for two years, and then removed to Delaware county.  In 1871 he cast in his lot with the early settlers of Sac county, at which time Indians still lived within its borders, remaining there for three or four years before they left for reservations farther west.  It was indeed a frontier district, having few modern improvements or evidences of a progressive civilization.  Mr. Reding, therefore, became one of the founders and upbuilders of the county.  He purchased one-half section of land in Delaware township and with characteristic energy began the arduous task of developing a new farm, on which he lived for thirteen years.  He then removed to Newell township, Buena Vista county, and bought seventy-one acres.  He later added thirty-one acres to that tract.  He afterward invested in eighty acres in Providence township but has since sold a portion of his land, his holdings embracing one hundred and eighty-two acres.  In 1893 he removed to Newell, where he has since lived retired, owning and occupying an attractive home in the village.  He was always an energetic farmer and his never faltering industry constituted the secret of his success.


In February, 1863, Mr. Reding was married to Anna Etien, a daughter of Nicholas and Anna (Busch) Etien.  She was born in Luxemberg, Germany.  Her parents were also natives of that country.  They had five children, of whom two are now living:  Mary, the wife of John Hamen, of Luxemberg; and Theressa, who is also living there.  Unto Mr. and Mrs. Reding have been born ten children, Katie, the eldest, is the wife of Matt Steger and they have seven children living; Theressa, the wife of Fred Wheeler; Theodore, John, Maggie, Gertrude, Verona and Esteline.  Mr. and Mrs. Steger occupy the old home farm of Mr. Reding in Newell township.  Mary, the second daughter, is the wife of John Benn, of South Shore, South Dakota, and they have ten children:  Annie, Nicholas, Joseph, Celia, Hubert, Kate, William, Walter, Henry and Leroy.  Frank, the eldest son of the family, follows farming in Providence township and married Mamie Kair, by whom he has four children:  Leroy, Archibald, Harvey and Ernest.  Josephine is the wife of John Sauter, engineer of the tile factory in Newell, and they have one living child, Archibald.  Wilhelmina is the wife of Chauncey Warren and has three children:  Irene Edna, Edison Lincoln and Gladdys.  Adolph, employed in the car shops at Devils Lake, North Dakota, married Lena Penner and has two children, John and Eva.  The other four children died in early childhood.  The mother passed away in 1883, at the age of forty-five years.  She was a member of the Catholic church, to which Mr. Reding also belongs.  He has now passed the seventy-fifth milestone on life's journey and is one of the respected and honored residents of the county.  He can relate many interesting incidents of the early days when northwestern Iowa was a wild and undeveloped region inhabited by Indians, while over the prairies roamed various kinds of wild animals.  Feathered game could be had in abundance and only here and there had a little home been built to show that the work of civilization had been begun in this district.  Mr. Reding bore his full share in the work of promoting the agricultural development and to his labors may be attributed the success which now enables him to live retired and enjoy the comforts and many luxuries of life.