IAGenWeb Project - Clayton co.

John Kramer

John Kramer has precedence as one of the enterprising and representative merchants and prominent and influential citizens of his native place, the thriving and attractive little city of McGregor, where he is engaged in the clothing and men’s furnishing business, with a well stocked and handsomely appointed store in which centers a substantial and appreciative supporting patronage. The major part of his life has been passed in Clayton county, but for four years he maintained his residence in McKenzie county, North Dakota, where he still owns the well improved farm which he reclaimed from the virgin prairie.

Mr. Kramer was born at McGregor on the 26th of August, 1873, and is a son of Jacob and Katherine (Kahl) Kramer, both natives of Germany and both honored pioneers of Clayton county. Jacob Kramer was reared and educated in his native land and as a young man, in 1853, he immigrated to the United States, confident of his ability here to find better opportunities for the gaining of success and definite prosperity through personal effort. He remained for a time in Albany in the State of New York. In 1856 he came to Iowa and established his residence at McGregor, where he engaged in the work of his trade, that of carpenter, and where he became a successful contractor and builder in the pioneer days. He was influential in public affairs in the community, served for a time as village marshal, besides which his strong hold upon popular confidence and esteem was shown in his being called upon to serve as a member of the municipal council and also as a member of the board of education of McGregor. He became a naturalized citizen after establishing his home in this county, and it is worthy of note that in obtaining his naturalization papers he walked from McGregor to Garnavillo to apply for and perfect the same. In 1856 was solemnized the marriage of Jacob and Katherine (Kahl) Kramer. Both he and his wife were prominently concerned in the founding of the German Presbyterian Church of McGregor, and the first meeting of its incipient congregation was held in their home. Honored for his sterling character and worthy achievement, this sturdy pioneer citizen was summoned to eternal rest on the 30th of January, 1912, and his venerable widow still remains at the old home in McGregor, secure in the affectionate regard of all who know her. Of the children the eldest is Jacob, who still resides at McGregor; Minnie is the wife of William O. Warley, and they maintain their home in the State of North Dakota; William F. resides at McGregor; Charles F., Louis M. and Frederick likewise reside in this city; Kate died in 1914; and John, of this review, is the youngest of the number.

John Kramer is indebted to the public schools of McGregor for his early educational discipline, and at the age of fifteen years he assumed position in the freight office of the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railroad at McGregor. In compensation for his services he received thirty-five dollars a month, and for some time he continued to give to his mother each month all but five dollars of his earnings. He finally won advancement to the position of ticket agent at this station, and he retained this incumbency until he had attained to the age of twenty-six years. Thereafter he was associated with his sister Minnie in the dry-goods business at McGregor until 1906, when their establishment was virtually destroyed by fire. He then went to McKenzie county, North Dakota, where he entered claim a tract of government land, and instituted the reclamation and improvement of the same. In due time he perfected his title to the property, which he still owns and which comprises one hundred and sixty acres of fertile and productive land. On this farm Mr. Kramer continued to reside until 1910, since which year he has been conducting his present prosperous enterprises at McGregor, his attractive store showing at all times a select and comprehensive stock of men’s clothing and furnishing goods.

He is aligned as a loyal supporter of the cause of the Republican party and is affiliated with the local organizations of the Woodmen of the World and the M. B. A.’s. Mr. Kramer is alderman at large of the city of McGregor and secretary of the McGregor Building & Loan Association, while both he and his wife hold membership in the Presbyterian Church.

On the 17th of October, 1900, was solemnized the marriage of Mr. Kramer to Miss Stella Church, daughter of Lafayette F. and Corrinda (Wynne) Church, her father having for many years conducted prosperous livery business at McGregor. Mr. and Mrs. Kramer are popular factors in the social life of their native community, where their circle of friends is limited only by that of their acquaintances and where their attractive home is a center of generous hospitality and good cheer.

Their only child, Louis L., was born at McGregor, on the 5th of January, 1902, and is an ambitious young student in the public schools of his native place at the time of this writing, in 1916. He is a vigorous, generous and popular lad and a worthy scion of the third generation of the Kramer family in Clayton county.

source: History of Clayton County, Iowa; From The Earliest Historical Times Down to the Present; by Realto E. Price, Vol. II; pg. 223-224

-OCR scanned by S. Ferrall


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