Carl Gronau, a successful real-estate dealer of Denison, has resided here for the past three decades and is widely recognized as one of the most valued and prosperous residents of Crawford county, owning between seven and eight thousand acres of land.
His birth occurred in Mecklenburg, Strelitz, Germany, on the 12th of January, 1844, his parents being Carl and Carolina (Kloeckner) Gronau, who were likewise natives of that country.
His paternal grandfather, Carl Gronau, was a wagonmaker by trade and served in the French and German war of 1806 as a soldier of the German army, participating in the battle of Austerlitz. He died when about seventy-six years of age, while his wife, who bore the maiden name of Carolina Wagner, passed away in early womanhood. Their children were Carl, Wilhelm and Augusta. William Kloeckner, the maternal grandfather of our subject, was a miller. He married Miss Sommer, who died in early womanhood.
Carl Gronau, the father of the gentleman whose name introduces this review, was a wagonmaker by trade. He came to America when seventy years of age and visited with his son Carl for one year. At the end of that time he returned to Germany and there passed away at the age of eighty-four years. At one time he served as an alderman in his city. Both he and his wife were Lutherans in religious faith, the latter living to attain the age of fifty-six years. They had eight sons, four of whom still survive, as follows: Carl, of this review; Frederick, living near Kiron, Crawford county; Rudolph, who is a resident of Strelitz, Germany; and Emil, a blacksmith of Spokane, Washington.
Carl Gronau was reared in his native land and attended the common schools in the acquirement of an education. After putting aside his text-books he was employed in his father's wagon shop and also did farm work. In accordance with the laws of the country, he likewise served in the regular army as a private' for three years. In 1869, when a young man of twenty-five years, he crossed the Atlantic to the United States, first spending one year in Jackson county, Iowa.
Removing to Chicago, Illinois, he there remained for two years, on the expiration of which period he returned to Jackson county and there made his home until 1881. In that year he came to Denison and this town has remained his place of residence during the intervening three decades. He conducted a wagon and blacksmith shop for six years and then embarked in the real-estate business, which still claims his attention. At one time he owned twelve farms but has disposed of these and now has lands in North and South Dakota, and in Alberta, Canada.
His property holdings embrace between seven and eight thousand acres of land. His business undertakings have been attended with a gratifying measure of success. During the first year of his residence in this country he erected a home and in 1900 built his present commodious and beautiful dwelling, standing on the site of the old Denison home-the first erected in the city of Denison. He has built a number of the substantial residences here and has also improved a number of farms, having spent over ten thousand dollars for improvements on his Dakota farms during the past year. He has long been regarded as a valued and leading citizen of Denison and Crawford county, having spent vast sums of money in developing property.
On the 24th of June, 1870, Mr. Gronau was joined in wedlock to Miss Mary Heiden, a native of Germany, who in 1869 came to America with her parents, Fritz and Carolina (Pankow) Heiden, the family home being established in jackson county, Iowa. There her father and mother spent the remainder of their lives, the former attaining the age of about eighty-one, while the latter was seventy-four years old when called to her final rest. They were the parents of two sons and two daughters, namely: Wilhelmina, Frederick, Mary and John.
Unto Mr. and Mrs. Gronau were born four children, as follows: Lena and William, who died of diphtheria in early life; Amanda, the wife of J. B. Sibbert, of Denison, by whom she has one son, Carl; and Louisa, living in Los Angeles, California, who is the wife of John D. Sievers and the mother of two sons, Paul and William Edward.
Mr. Gronau gives his political allegiance to the republican party and has served as a member of the city council for three years. He is enterprising and public-spirited to a marked degree and has always taken an active interest in those movements and measures instituted to promote the general welfare of Denison. In fact no history of the county would be complete without the record of his life and work. Fraternally he is identified with the Masons, belonging to Sylvan Lodge, No. 507, A. F. & A. M., while both he and his wife are members of the Eastern Star. Coming to America in early manhood, he wisely utilized the opportunities offered in a land unhampered by caste or class and worked his way steadily upward to a position of prominence and affluence.
Source: History of Crawford County, Iowa. Vol. II. Chicago: The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., 1911.