Claus J. Krohnke
One of the many worthy citizens which Germany has contributed to Iowa is Claus J. Krohnke, who for a period of more than twenty years was successfully identified with the agricultural development of Crawford county.
The eldest son of Hans and Annie (Bergman) Krohnke, his birth occurred in the fatherland on the 9th of November, 1843. The other children born to them were: Jurgen and Henry, who reside in Schleswig; Maggie, the wife of John Petersen, of Aberdeen, South Dakota; and Sophia, who has passed away.
The early years of Claus J. Krohnke's life were spent in the land of his nativity, in the common schools of which he obtained his education. Being an industrious and ambitious young man he became dissatisfied with conditions as he found them in Europe, and, feeling convinced that better advantages must be afforded in America, in 1869, accompanied by his brother Henry, he sailed for the United States. Upon his arrival in this country he immediately made his way westward, thinking he could find better opportunities in the more sparsely settled communities of the younger states.
Coming to Iowa, he located near Davenport, where he obtained employment upon a farm, his first duty being to plow the unbroken prairie, a most novel undertaking for the young German. whose experience had been confined to the cultivation of the well tilled fields of the old country. Following this he worked in a stone quarry, always carefully putting away a portion of his earnings each month, whatever his employment or wages, in order that he might later buy a farm of his own. After spending ten years near Davenport he accumulated the requisite capital to invest in land, so coming to Crawford county he bought an eighty acre tract, upon which he engaged in general farming and stock-raising. By means of close application, tireless energy and careful management he was able to add to his holdings from time to time until he acquired four hundred and forty acres of excellent land. He improved and carefully cultivated that farm for twenty-three years, at the expiration of which period he had acquired a competence which enabled him to buy a pleasant home in Schleswig, where he is now living retired.
In Cedar county on the 27th of October, 1870, Mr. Krohnke was united in marriage to Miss Mary Heech, a daughter of Stephen and Annie (Martins) Heech. Mrs. Krohnke is the second in order of birth and the eldest surviving child of Mr. and Mrs. Heech, Peter, the first born, having passed away. The others are: Claus, who is residing in Crawford county; and Catherine, the wife of Andrew Tiel, of Iowa.
Eight children have been born to Mr. and Mrs. Krohnke: Adam, of Linn county; Julius, living in Crawford county; Edward, who is still at home; Annie, the wife of John Harman, of this county; Bertha, who married Herman Peterson, of Otter Creek township; and Embria, who became the wife of August Kastner, also of Otter Creek township. The fourth and fifth in order of birth passed away in infancy.
The family is identified with the Lutheran church, in the faith of which denomination the parents were reared. An advocate of the principles of government as promulgated by the democratic party Mr. Krohnke always accords his political support to the candidates of that organization. He takes an active interest in public affairs and has served his township in the capacity of school trustee, justice of the peace and secretary of the school board, the duties of which offices he discharged in a highly creditable manner. Coming to the United States with a limited capital but an inexhaustible fund of energy and perseverance, Claus J. Krohnke has added another chapter to the history of America's selfmade men, the study of which must ever prove profitable as well as beneficial to the young men of the coming generations.
Source: History of Crawford County, Iowa. Vol. II. Chicago: The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., 1911.