When John Dietz, now living retired on his farm in Crawford county, took up his residence in Willow township there were only a few houses between his place and Dow City. The country was largely wild and unoccupied and even the most enthusiastic friends of Crawford county could not have prophesied the marvelous changes which have since been made. It is by men of great perseverance, zeal and untiring industry that the improvements witnessed today have been accomplished.
Mr. Dietz was born at Milwaukee, Wisconsin, April 15, 1849, a son of Casper and Margaret (Sherm) Dietz. The father was born in Germany and after his marriage came with his wife to the United States. They lived in Milwaukee for a while and then removed to Chicago, continuing in that city and vicinity until the death of the father, which occurred when his son John was about twelve years of age. The mother had died five years before. There were seven children in the family, namely: Anna, now the wife of Fred Eggers, of Denison, Iowa; Josephine, of St. Louis, Missouri; Matilda and Margaret, both of Chicago; Frank, who is deceased; John, of this review; and Peter, who lives in Dakota.
Educated in the public schools, John Dietz began learning the shoemaker's trade, to which he devoted two years, and then spent three years in learning cigar-making. Leaving Chicago, he drove a team for a year on the construction of the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad in Iowa, at the end of which time he began working on a farm in Knox county, Illinois. About 1881 he arrived in Crawford county, Iowa, and for three years rented land of Judge Dow, then settling in Willow township, where he has since lived. He has developed his farm from the virgin soil and has made many improvements, being now the owner of two hundred and forty acres of highly productive land, As he is a man of industrious and thrifty habits he has acquired a competency so that there will be no difficulty in keeping the wolf from the door during the remainder of his life.
In 1877 Mr. Dietz was united in marriage to Miss M. A. Munson, and five children came to bless their union: Arthur L., who is now living on the home farm; and Phina, Inas, Emma and Nellie, all of whom are deceased. The son Arthur has charge of his father's farm and is handling it most admirably. He was married to Miss Lizzie Bartell and they have three children: George, Lester and Mabel. Mrs. M. A. Dietz died in 1893, and in 1899 Mr. Dietz was again married, the lady of his choice being Miss Dora Hare, who departed this life in 1908.
Born in the folds of the Catholic church, Mr. Dietz is not at present an attendant upon any religious services. He has been a liberal contributor in behalf of the needy, and no deserving applicant for assistance has ever been turned unassisted from his door. Politically he adheres to the democratic party. He has served in a number of township offices, having been trustee for about twelve years and also president of the board, displaying in the discharge of his duties the same interest which he has shown in the management of his own business affairs. He is a true friend of education and has rendered valuable assistance to the cause as member of the school board. While promoting his individual success, he has never forgotten his duties as a citizen and as a member of the great brotherhood of man.
Source: History of Crawford County, Iowa. Vol. II. Chicago: The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., 1911.