Ever since becoming a resident of Crawford county agricultural pursuits have claimed the attention of Jacob Gessmann, who is residing on a homestead of two hundred and forty acres on section 20, Nishnabotny township, where he engages in general farming and stock-feeding.
He is a native of Wurtemberg, Germany, his natal day being the 14th of March, 1853, and is a son of Frederick and Christina (Bender) Gessmann, also natives of the fatherland. They spent their entire lives in the old country, where the father engaged in gardening. Ten children were born to them, six of whom have become residents of the United States: Christina, who is seventy-three years of age and lives in Germany; Godfrey, now deceased, also of Germany; Frederick, of Chicago, who passed away in 1895; Frederica, a resident of Germany; Carl, who is a farmer in Germany; William, living in Nishnabotny township; Jacob, our subject; Louisa, of Chicago; Minnie, a resident of the same place; and Catharina, who died near Denison in 1910.
In the common schools of his native land Jacob Gessmann acquired his education, following which he engaged in gardening being employed in a vineyard until he was twenty-seven years of age, at which time he determined to become a citizen of the United States. He took passage for America in 1880, sailing from Hamburg and landing in New York, whence he proceeded to Chicago, where he resided for two years, engaging in various occupations. In 1882 he came to Crawford county, Iowa, where he and his brother each bought forty acres of land, which they cultivated together for five or six years, at the expiration of which time they purchased another two hundred acres. They continued to make such improvements in their property as they were able from time to time and at the end of five years they bought another two hundred acres, upon which they erected good, substantial buildings. They continued to live upon this for eight years and then Jacob Gessmann removed to his present homestead on section 20, Nishnabotny township. During the period of his residence here he has made many improvements upon his farm, which is now under a high state of cultivation. Although he is engaged in general farming he is an extensive stock feeder and is meeting with success from both sources.
In 1877, before leaving his native land, Mr. Gessmann was united in marriage to Miss Carolina Hoffman, and they have become the parents of nine children: Minnie, who has never married and is a resident of San Francisco, California; Anna, the wife of Hugo Boettger, of Redlands, California; Carrie, the wife of John Heppee, also of Redlands; Kate, who married Fred Bell, of Denison, Iowa; Charles, who is at home; Matilda, who became the wife of James McMahon, of Manilla; and Bertha, Carrie and Albert, all of whom are at home.
The family affiliate with the Evangelical Lutheran denomination of Manilla, while politically Mr. Gessmann has always supported the men and measures of the republican party ever since becoming a citizen of the United States, although he has never held any official position save that of school director. He has been rewarded with more than average success in his undertakings, and in addition to his extensive realty holdings was one of the organizers of the Farmers Lumber Yard of Manilla, as well as a member of the first board of directors, in which capacity he continues to serve.
Source: History of Crawford County, Iowa. Vol. II. Chicago: The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., 1911.