Although born in a great city, Herman Baak has spent nearly all his life amid the inviting scenes of Crawford county and he has no cause to regret that his lot was cast in a farming community. He is a representative agriculturist of Soldier township and the owner of one of the most attractive farms in his part of the county.
A native of Chicago, he was born February 29, 1872, his parents being August and Sophia (Koch) Baak. They were born in Germany and came to America in 1868, passing the first six years in Chicago. In 1874 they arrived in Crawford county, Iowa, and Mr. Baak purchased one hundred and sixty acres, which he cultivated for six years. He then sold his farm and once more took up his residence at Chicago, where Mrs. Baak died in 1881. There were six children in their family, one of whom died in infancy. The others were: August, who died when a child; Herman, of this review; Emma, now the wife of Gustave Kroll, of Monona county, Iowa; Louis, who died at the age of four years; and Otto, who now lives in Chicago. The father returned to Crawford county with his children after the death of his wife and resumed farming, prosecuting his work with such energy that he became the owner of two hundred and forty acres of good land on section 33, Soldier township.
He was again married, in 1886, to Miss Sophia Wickman and continued upon his farm until his death, which occurred in June, 1907. By his second marriage four children were born, three of whom grew to maturity, namely: William, Richard and Ernest, all living in Crawford county. The mother of these children makes her home in Ida county, being now the wife of Fred Meyer.
Herman Baak was educated in the public schools and applied himself to agriculture and stock-raising, continuing with his father until twenty-four years of age. He then rented land for four years, at the end of which time he purchased a farm comprising two hundred and forty acres on sections 32 and 33, Soldier township. It is provided with modern improvements and the fields yield abundant annual harvests. Mr. Baak has been an extensive stock-raiser and fed all of his grain to his stock, thus realizing the highest return for his labor. He left the farm in the spring of 1911, however, and is now conducting a garage and auto business at Ricketts.
In 1896 Mr. Baak was married to Miss Minnie Schelrn, who was born in Crawford county, August 23, 1874, a daughter of Carl and Minnie (Sutroh) Schelm. Her parents were born in Germany and came to America, settling in Scott county, Iowa. Afterward they removed to Crawford county, where the father is engaged in farming.
The mother died in 1886, and two years later Mr. Schelm was married to Miss Freda Fermeling, a native of Germany. By his first marriage four children were born: Minnie, now Mrs. Herman Baak; Doretta, who is the wife of Fred Hemmyers, of Nebraska; and William and Albert, also of Nebraska. By his second union two children were born: Gustave, who died at the age of ten months; and George, who is now living with his mother in Denison. Mr. Schelm died in 1897.
Two children came to bless the union of Mr. and Mrs. Baak: Martha S., who was born August 28, 1898, and is now attending school; and Edna F., born November 26, 1899.
In politics Mr. Baak votes in support of honest government administered according to business principles. He has not been an aspirant for public office but served very acceptably as a member of the school board. He and his wife are sincere adherents of the Lutheran church and firm believers in its teachings. As a farmer he has been highly successful and in the discharge of his duties as a citizen and head of a family he is governed by motives of integrity and honor which constitute the foundation of good citizenship.
Source: History of Crawford County, Iowa. Vol. II. Chicago: The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., 1911.