IAGenWeb Project - Clayton co.

Dominic F. Willmes

Dominic F. Willmes is of the second generation honorably linked with the history of Clayton county, and he is actively associated with the agricultural industry in his native county, as one of its progressive and thrifty farmers. He was formerly a successful and popular representative of the pedagogic profession in the county, and is known as a steadfast, upright and vigorous citizen who takes a loyal interest in community affairs, and who is of broad mental ken and well fortified convictions.

On the old homestead farm in Section 3, Boardman township, this county, Mr. Willmes was born on the 7th day of March, 1877, a son of John and Mary (Miller) Willmes, both natives of the Grand Duchy of Luxemburg, Germany. As a boy John Willmes accompanied four of his elder brothers on their immigration to America, and they became pioneer settlers in Clayton county, Iowa, where they came into possession of more than five hundred acres of land, in Boardman township. John Willmes became the owner of the seventy acres which constitutes the homestead farm on which his widow and two sons now reside, in Section 3, Boardman township. He later added eighty acres to his farm and developed one of the fine landed estates of the county, with incidental precedence as one of the representative exponents of agricultural industry in this favored section of the Hawkeye State. He continued his residence on the farm until his death, which occurred October 29th, 1884, and a loyal citizen and man of affairs he commanded unqualified popular esteem. He was always ready to lend his aid in the furtherance of measures and enterprises projected for the general good of the community, was a Democrat in his political proclivities and was a zealous communicant of the Catholic church, as is also his widow, who still remains on the old homestead, as previously stated. He served as secretary and treasurer of the school board of his district but had naught of ambition for political preferment. Of the five children the eldest is Peter, who is now a successful farmer in Shelby county, this state; Nicholas is deceased, his death having occurred when he was about 8 years of age; Catherine remains at home with her widowed mother, as do also the younger sons, Dominic F., and Simon, who have charge of the active work and management of the finely improved farm, which comprises in the aggregate one hundred and eighty-three acres.

Reared under the invigorating discipline of the farm, Dominic F. Willmes early began to contribute his quota to its work, and thus he waxed strong in physical powers the while he was profiting duly also by the advantages of the public schools, in which he continued his studies until he had completed the curriculum of the high school at Elkader, the county seat. Thereafter he devoted five years to successful work as a teacher in the rural schools of the county, and he then amplified his education by completing a through commercial course in the Wisconsin Business College, in the city of LaCrosse, Wisconsin, in which institute he was graduated as a member of the class of 1899. Since his graduation he has been associated with his brother Simon in the management of the old home farm, and they have made the same exemplify most fully the characteristics of thrift and prosperity, the while they are well upholding the honors of the family name.

Mr. Willmes is a stalwart and effective advocate of the principles and policies for which the Democratic party stands sponsor, and in 1908 he had the distinction of being elected county auditor, an office of which he continued the incumbent for four years and in which he gave a most efficient and popular administration. Prior to his election to his office he had served six years as assessor of Boardman township, and these preferments indicate his unqualified popularity in the county that has ever represented his home. He is a communicant of the Catholic church, and is a sterling native son of Clayton county who is especially worthy of recognization in this history. His name is still found enrolled on the list of eligible bachelors 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. 446-448

-OCR scanned by S. Ferrall


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