John B. Dorfler
On the role of honored citizens of Crawford county who have nobly performed their life work and have passed to the world beyond is John B. Dorfler. He was for many years a resident of Soldier township and was the owner of one of its most valuable farms.
He was born in Germany, November 9, 1835, a son of Adam and Barbara Dorfler, both of whom were natives of Germany. The parents came to America in 1845 and spent two years at St. Louis, later settling on a farm in Muscatine county, Iowa, where they continued until their death. There were eight children in their family, namely: Adam, who died in Germany; John B., of this review; Elizabeth, the widow of Christ Will, of Muscatine; Margaret, now the wife of John Heubner, of Muscatine; George, who gave up his life for the cause of the Union at the time of the Civil war; Kate, who married Peter Hirshmann and both are now deceased; Katrina, the wife of George Hunt, of Muscatine; and Anna, who married George Shafer and both are deceased.
Mr. Dorfler of this review came to America with his parents when ten years of age. He was educated in Germany and in the public schools of Iowa, applying himself with a diligence that proved a true phophecy of the sturdy character which later in life became more clearly manifest. He devoted his energies to agriculture and stock-raising, and as opportunity presented invested his earnings in land, becoming the owner of nine hundred and sixty acres in Soldier township, a large part of which he developed until it was under excellent cultivation. He was a man of clear business judgment and ranked as one of the leaders in his part of the county.
On the 12th of November, 1868, Mr. Dorfler was united in marriage to Miss Augusta Stegemann, who was born in Germany, October 31, 1846, a daughter of Edward and Caroline (Rohdy) Stegemann. The parents came to the United States in 1868 and spent eight years in Muscatine county, then removing to Crawford county, where Mr. Stegemann successfully engaged in farming until his retirement in 1892. He died at Denison, May I, 1898, his wife being called away March 27, 1905. Eleven children were born to them, namely: Augusta, now the widow of John B. Dorfler; William, Minnie and Ernest, all of Crawford county; Otille, the widow of John Reimers of Crawford county; Albertina, the wife of Andrew P. Hollander, of Crawford county; Otto H., also of Crawford county; Gustav D., of North Platte, Nebraska ; Albert, of Crawford county; and Annie and Herman, both of whom died when young.
Six children came to brighten the home of Mr. and Mrs. Dorfler, namely: John, who was born May 24, 1871, and is now engaged in farming in Crawford county; Anna, born February 19, 1872; George, born January 6, 1874; Frank, born December 2, 1876; William, born November 24, 1879; and Elizabeth. born September 8, 1882. The five last named are all living at home.
Mr. Dorfler departed this life on the 5th of October, 1898, and the many expressions of regret throughout the community gave unqualified testimony as to his personal worth. Politically he was a supporter of the democratic party. He was not an office seeker but he served most creditably as road supervisor for three years and as member of the school board for seven years. Religiously he adhered to the Lutheran church, in whose doctrines he was an earnest believer. Mrs. Dorfler still lives upon the home farm, which now comprises four hundred and forty acres and is in charge of five of her children. She has an extensive acquaintance in the county and on account of her kindly disposition is greatly respected.
Source: History of Crawford County, Iowa. Vol. II. Chicago: The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., 1911.