Among the prosperous business men of Denison is John Fastje, well known as a manufacturer and dealer in furniture, who by enterprise and good management has gained an established reputation as one of the most progressive men in the community.
He was born in Oldenburg, Germany, December 10, 1864, a son of Bernhard and Fredericka (Kuzel) Fastje, both of whom were natives of the fatherland. The father was reared a farmer but after his marriage went into the restaurant business and was also constable. He died in 1871 at the age of forty-eight years. His widow came to America and made her home in Denison until called to her final rest in 1907, at the age of seventy-eight years. She and her husband were both faithful members of the Lutheran church. Her father was a shoemaker in Germany and was the head of a family of nine daughters. There were nine children also in the family of Bernhard and Fredericka Fastje, five of whom are now living, namely: Fredericka, wife of Fred Eisenhaur, of Denison; John, the subject of this review; Sophia, now Mrs. Henry Rogge, of Denison; Helena, wife of John Reeh, of Havre, Montana; and Henry, also of Havre.
John Fastje was educated in the public schools of Germany and learned the cabinet-maker's trade, at which he worked for a number of years after reaching his majority. In 1891, believing that conditions for advancement were more favorable in America he came to this country and settled at Denison, Iowa, where he followed the carpenter's trade, and also engaged successfully as contractor. In 1904 he began manufacturing and dealing in furniture and now has one of the most attractive stores in Denison, occupying three floors. He manufactures a complete line of bank and office fixtures and has built up a large and growing patronage.
On the 3d of May, 1891, Mr. Fastje was united in marriage to Miss Johanna Wessels, a native of Germany and a daughter of Frederick and Johanna (Wedel ) Wessels. Two children were born to this union: Freda and John. The wife and mother having been called away in 1893, Mr. Fastje was again married on the 20th of May, 1895, his second union being with Miss Anna Christiansen, a daughter of Hans and Meta Christiansen. Seven children came to bless this union, two of whom died in infancy. The others are Robert, William, Carl, Martha and Dorothea.
Mr. Fastje is a firm believer in the authority of the Bible and holds membership in the Lutheran church. His wife is a Methodist, although formerly identified with the Lutherans. Socially he is connected with the Odd Fellows and the North American Krugerverein. Ever since arriving in this country he has given his support to the democratic party, believing that in so doing he is advancing the best interests of the state and nation. He served faithfully as a soldier in the regular army in Germany and received many lessons that have been of great value to him as a private citizen. He has through his own efforts won his way to independence and has acquired not only a competence financially but a nobility of character, his friends feeling that in him they can absolutely trust and knowing that they will not be betrayed.
Source: History of Crawford County, Iowa. Vol. II. Chicago: The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., 1911.