Franz Reetz, who for nearly thirty years past has been a resident of Crawford county and for a number of years has been in business at Charter Oak, is a native of Germany.
He was born October 14, 1848, a son of Ferdinand and Caroline (Melvert) Reetz. The parents were both born in the old country and the father died there at the age of forty-five years. The mother came to America in 1869 and lived for some time in Chicago. Subsequently she took up her residence with her children in Crawford county, Iowa, passing away in 1893. There were ten children in their family, two of whom died in infancy, the others being: Bertha, the widow of Albert Grube; Franz, the subject of this review; August, a farmer of Milford, Illinois; and Julius, Laura, Minnie, Hulda and Therese, all of whom are deceased.
Franz Reetz was educated in the public schools of Germany and continued in his native land until twenty-four years of age. After coming to America in 1872 he took up his residence in Chicago, where he worked in a rolling mill. In 1882 he came to Crawford county, Iowa, and began the cultivation of a farm of eighty acres, which he had previously purchased. After three years he sold his place and bought one hundred and sixty acres, which he cultivated to good advantage for sixteen years. This farm he also sold and then rented a building in Charter Oak, in which he conducted a liquor business for four years. He is now the owner of a hotel and feed barn and is known as one of the prosperous business men of the town.
On the 25th of November, 1871, Mr. Reetz was united in marriage to Miss Hermina Schwinke, who was born in Germany, November 16, 1845, a daughter of Gottlieb and Frederica (Tepke) Schwinke. The parents were both natives of Germany. They came to America and after spending two years at Chicago settled in Crawford county, Iowa, where they continued during the remainder of their lives. The father was called away in November, 1890, and the mother January 30, 1891. There were nine children in their family, two of whom are now living: Hermina; and August, of Chicago.
Eleven children have been born to Mr. and Mrs. Reetz, namely: Ottelie, who was born March 11, 1879, is now the wife of William Lenz, of Crawford county; Emma, born February 3, 1881, wife of August Martins, of Charter Oak; Matilda, born February 5. 1885, is now Mrs. Louis Riessen, of Crawford county; John, born August 6, 1899, is married and is a merchant of this county; Ida B., born June 27. 1899, is now living at home; and Bertha, Hermina, August, Hulda, Minnie and Frank, all of whom are deceased.
Mr. Reetz has never given much attention to politics nor has he sought public office, preferring to devote his attention to his business. From his early years he has been acquainted with labor and has now acquired a comfortable competence. He and his wife are members of the German Lutheran church.
Source: History of Crawford County, Iowa. Vol. II. Chicago: The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., 1911.