John H. Rath
A study of the life of John H. Rath most clearly demonstrates that success does not depend so much upon opportunities as the ability to dominate conditions.
A native of Germany, he was born near Kiel on the 24th of July, 1864, being the eldest child of Fred and Katrina (Burk) Rath. The father spent his entire life in the land of his nativity but the mother came to the United States in 1886, locating at Davenport, Iowa, where she passed away one year later. The other five children in the family are as follows: Christ, a farmer of Cedar county, Nebraska; August, who follows the same vocation in Nishnabotny township, Crawford county; Dora, the wife of Charles Bundy, of Los Angeles, Califomia; Charles, farming in Washington township; and William, a farmer of Minor county, South Dakota.
John H. Rath obtained his education in the common schools of his native land, where he resided until he had attained his majority, at which time he decided to avail himself of the better opportunities afforded young men in America. Upon his arrival in the United States he made his way westward to Davenport, Iowa, where he worked at the mason's trade for two years and then removed to Crawford county. He worked as a farm hand in East Boyer township during the first year of his residence here, after which he went to Nishnabotny township, where he farmed as a renter for seven years. By means of thrift, good management and close application he acquired the capital which enabled him to buy a farm at the end of that period, and he came to Washington township, where he purchased three hundred and sixty acres of land, which he still owns and cultivates. He has effected many and extensive improvements upon his homestead during his occupancy, making it one of the valuable properties of the county. The buildings and fences are all substantially constructed and kept in repair, the pastures contain a high grade of stock, while the fields are cultivated in accordance with the best methods of modern agriculture, all of which pay tribute to the progressive ideas and capable supervision of the owner.
Mr. Rath has been twice married, his first union being with Miss Eliza Schroeder, a native of Germany, who passed away in 1899, and they became the parents of the following children: Henry, Otto, Rudolph, Freda, Elsie and Carl, all of whom are at home with the exception of Carl, who' is living in Los Angeles, California.
In 1901 Mr. Rath was united in marriage to Miss Katie Jurgensen, and unto them have been born three children: Clara, Herbert and Robert.
The family attend the services of the Lutheran church with which the parents are identified by membership. Mr. Rath is an ardent advocate of the principles of democracy, the candidates and policy of which party always are given his support. He stands well in the estimation of his-fellow citizens, having but recently been elected to the office of township trustee, while he is serving his third term on the board of school directors. In addition to his extensive. agricultural interests Mr. Rath is a stockholder as well as one of the organizers of the Farmers Lumber Company of Buck Grove and he also owns stock in the lumber company at Manilla. He is the type of man who, in the advancement of his private interests, never loses sight of his responsibilities as a public citizen and thus would be an acquisition to any community.
Source: History of Crawford County, Iowa. Vol. II. Chicago: The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., 1911.