Henry Reinking, who lives in a comfortable, modern residence in Schleswig. where he enjoys the ease and comfort denied him during the early years of his life, is in every sense of the word a self-made man.
He was born in Germany on the 19th of February, 1838, a son of Ernest and Louisa (Meyer) Reinking, who spent their entire lives in the fatherland. Twelve children were born to them, as follows: Dedrich, William and Charles, who are deceased; Henry, our subject; Ferdinand, who is a resident of Chicago; Louis, living in Wheaton, Illinois; Fritz, who resides in Cedar county, Iowa; and Ernest, Minna, Lena and Louisa, deceased ; and Sophie, who is the wife of Joe Pnactretz, of Cedar county.
Henry Reinking spent his boyhood and youth in the land of his birth. but he was an ambitious young man and at the age of eighteen years decided that his chances of attaining his aspiration were much better in the new world than in the old, so in 1856 he took passage for the United States. He located near Chicago on his arrival and obtained employment as a farm hand, which occupation he followed for three years. At the end of that period he made a trip to the old country and upon his return again took a position on a farm in the locality where he had previously worked, which he retained until 1862.
In the latter year be showed his loyalty to the country of his adoption by enlisting in Company I, One Hundred and Fifth Illinois Volunteer Infantry and going to the front to uphold the Union cause. Although he was wounded he most faithfully and valiantly served until peace was restored and he was mustered out as a sergeant At the close of the war he again returned to Chicago and undertook farm work but in 1867 removed to Cedar county, Iowa, where he bought eighty acres of land. After cultivating this for five years he sold it and went to Butler county and purchased two hundred and twenty acres, being engaged in general farming there until 1872, at which time he disposed of his property and removed to Crawford county.
Here he rented one hundred and sixty acres for three years and then bought one-half section in Ida county. He was a tireless worker and capable manager, which combined with thrift and determination, enabled him to add to his holdings another three hundred and twenty acres, so that he now owns an entire section of highly cultivated land, which his four sons are operating. Mr. Reinking's life is but one of the many examples of what may be accomplished by application and perseverance, and it is one well worthy of emulation.
Mr. Reinking was united in marriage on the 4th of October, 1867, to Miss Louisa Meyer, of Cedar county, Iowa, a daughter of Frederick and Caroline (Sieling) Meyer, who were the parents of eight children, as follows: Henry, a resident of Kansas; Fred, now residing in Woodbury county, Iowa; Louis, who lives in Dakota; William, living in Minnesota; Louisa, the wife of Henry Reinking; Caroline, who married Charles Reinking, of Woodbury county; Emma, deceased; and Minnie, the wife of John Peterson.
Mr. and Mrs. Reinking had six children, but only four are now living: Fritz, Charles, August and William, all of whom are on the old homestead in Ida county. Louis, the second born, and Lena, the third child and only daughter, are both deceased.
The family affiliate with the Lutheran church. Mr. Reinking has always supported the men and measures of the republican party and despite his extensive personal interests has ever found time to serve in various minor offices in his township. He is a public-spirited, progressive man who would be an acquisition to any community, and his abilities have always been recognized and accorded the respect which is their due. He has ever been a loyal citizen and feels he has nothing to regret and much to be grateful for in having emigrated to the United States.
Source: History of Crawford County, Iowa. Vol. II. Chicago: The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., 1911.