IAGenWeb Project - Clayton co.

Henry Schlake

Henry Schlake is consistently to be designated as one of the substantial and influential citizens of his native county and is a representative of one of its honored pioneer families, the name which he bears having been identified most worthily with the history of Clayton county for fully seventy years. He has substantial and varied capitalistic interests, not the least of which are those involved in the ownership of the splendid old homestead farm in Garnavillo township, on which he was born, the date of his nativity having been June 22, 1858.

He is a son of Joseph and Elizabeth Schlake, who were born and reared in Germany, where their marriage was solemnized and whence they immigrated to America in 1845. Shortly after their arrival in the land of their adoption they came to Iowa and numbered themselves among the early pioneer settlers of Clayton county. Here Joseph Schlake obtained a tract of wild land, in what is now Garnavillo township, and for several years thereafter he and his family resided in a primitive log house of the true pioneer type. Energy and earnest and honest endeavor brought to Mr. Schlake increasing prosperity with the passing years, and he eventually became the owner of one of the large and finely improved landed estates of the county, all of this having been incidental to his development of the original pioneer farm on which he located when this section of the state was still thinly populated and on the virtual frontier. This sterling pioneer couple continued to reside in Clayton county until their death, when well advanced in years, and their names merit enduring place on the roll of those worthy citizens who contributed to the development of the resources of and furthered the industrial and civic upbuilding of the county.

Of the four children the subject of this review is the elder of the two now living, and his sister, Louisa, is the wife of Charles F. Schmidt, their home being at Elkader, the county seat. Henry Schlake was reared under the conditions that obtained in the pioneer period of Clayton county history, and he soon gained the fellowship with honest toil that has made him enduringly appreciative of its dignity and value. He made good use also of the advantages afforded in the common schools of the locality and period and after attaining to his legal majority he rented the old homestead farm for a period of four years, at the expiration of which he purchased the property, his valuable landed estate now comprising three hundred and seventy-four acres, in sections 21 and 28, Garnavillo township. He added greatly to the improvements on this excellent demesne and continued to reside upon the farm, with status as one of the most progressive agriculturists and stock growers of the county, until 1910, when he removed with his family to the village of Garnavillo, where he has since lived virtually retired, save that he continues to give a general supervision to his farm and his other important capitalistic interests.

Several years ago Mr. Schlake purchased thirty-two acres of land lying within the corporate limits of the village of Garnavillo, and upon this property he has made excellent improvements, including the erection of a number of houses in addition to his own modern residence, which is one of the fine homes of the county. He is a director in the Garnavillo Savings Bank, of which he was one of the organizers, and is president of the Live Stock Commission Company of Clayton county. His political allegiance is given loyally and intelligently to the Republican party and he is serving in 1916 as trustee of Garnavillo township, besides having served several years as a member of the school board.

In the year 1882 was solemnized the marriage of Mr. Schlake to Miss Elizabeth Wilker, who was born in Garnavillo township, and who is a daughter of Clamer and Anna M. (Kurppenberg) Wilker, the other two surviving children being Fred and John Wilker, both still residents of Clayton county. On coming from their German Fatherland to the United States, in 1849, the parents of Mrs. Schlake established their residence in Ohio, but about a year later they became pioneers of Clayton county, Iowa, where they passed the remainder of their lives and where the father was long numbered among the successful farmers of Garnavillo township. In conclusion is entered brief record concerning the children of Mr. and Mrs. Schlake: Ida is the wife of Henry D. Backhaus of Worth county, Iowa; and Anna the wife of Henry J. Schroeder, of this county; John J. of Guttenberg; Albert has the active management of the old homestead farm; Herman C. is a farmer of Farmersburg township; Alma is the wife of Arthur Hamann, of this county; Ruth, Leroy, Nettie and Victor remain at the parental home; and Arthur died at the age of twenty-one years.

~source: History of Clayton County, Iowa; From The Earliest Historical Times Down to the Present; by Realto E. Price, Vol. II; 1916, pgs 362-363
~transcribed by Keith Schrader


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