Among the successful farmers of Charter Oak township is Jurgen Koch, whose place is one of the most productive of its size in the township.
He was born in Denmark, December 23, 1865, a son of Heinrich and Anna M. (Jensen) Koch, the former of whom was born in Germany and the latter in Denmark, where they were married and have ever since lived. Eleven children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Koch, two of whom died in infancy, the others being: Jurgen, the subject of this review; Louisa, now deceased; Johan and Christina, both of whom are married and living in Denmark; Marie, the wife of Agner Larsen, of New York; Laura, now Mrs. Lauritz Jensen, of New York; Louisa, of Denmark; Wilhelm, deceased; and Carl, who is married and still lives in the old country.
Jurgen Koch was educated in his native land and remained with his parents until eighteen years of age, when he went to Germany, where he continued for four years. Having decided to seek more favorable opportunities than were presented in the older countries of Europe, he came to America in 1888 and settled in Crawford county, Iowa, working for four years as a farm hand. He was a young man of highly industrious habits and having saved his earnings, he rented land for two years and then purchased eighty acres, which he sold after having raised crops upon it for four years. He had now acquired sufficient capital to enable him to embark in business upon a more extensive scale and he purchased one hundred and twenty acres of good land on section IS, Charter Oak township, upon which he established his permanent home. He has greatly improved his place by the erection of buildings and fences and set out shade and ornamental trees until it is one of the beautiful features of the landscape and it also yields him an income which has made him practically independent.
On the 7th of February, 1892, Mr. Koch was united in marriage to Miss Maria Thies, who was born in Germany, July 12, 1875, a daughter of Heinrich and Marie (Quietmeier) Thies, both natives of Germany. The family removed to America in 1888, taking up their residence in Monona county, Iowa, where they continued until the death of the mother in 1908. Mr. Thies disposed of his farm and is now paying a visit to Germany.
There were seven children in his family: Sophia, now the wife of Henry Kiepe, of Crawford county; Fritz, of Monona county; Maria, now the wife of Jurgen Koch; Carl, of Charter Oak township; Heinrich, who died after arriving at maturity; and Wilhelmina and Dorothy, both of whom died in infancy.
Seven children came to brighten the home of Mr. and Mrs. Koch, namely: Anna, who was born August 5, 1892; Elsie, born May 25, 1894; Laura, born March 20, 1896; Martha, born April 10, 1898; Marie, born May 25, 1900; Esther, born March 30, 1903; and Edgar, born September 8, 1905.
Mr. Koch owes his success entirely to his own undaunted courage. As a young man he dreamed of the comfort and prosperity which he believed could he found in the new world and he had the courage to leave home and friends and begin life on his own account among strangers. His dreams have been realized and he is now in possession of a comfortable competency and is also one of the highly respected men of the community. He and his family are identified with the German Lutheran church, to which they give their earnest adherence. Politically he is affiliated with the democratic party and although he has never urged any claims for office, he has served with great acceptance for six years as assessor of his township.
Source: History of Crawford County, Iowa. Vol. II. Chicago: The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., 1911.