Otto J. Staley
The name of Otto J. Staley represents industry, persistence and reliability and through these qualities he has acquired an honorable reputation in Crawford county and also a highly productive farm.
A native of Iowa City, Johnson county, Iowa, he was born August 30, 1852, and is a son of Arthur and Clara (Ray) Staley. (SEE NOTE BELOW) The father was born in Bavaria, Germany, and came to the United States in 1849, spending the first three years in this country at Zanesville, Ohio. He had learned the carpenter's trade in Germany and he followed that occupation at Zanesville. Having decided to come westward, he traveled by wagon down the Muskingum and Ohio rivers and up the Mississippi to Muscatine, Iowa, and then across the country by ox team to Iowa City. After working at his trade for a year in the state of his adoption, he moved to a farm which he had purchased about twelve miles north of Iowa City and later built the first house in the town of Solon.
He was one of the useful and enterprising citizens of Johnson county and lived to the advanced age of ninety three years and six months, being called away December 24, 1909. His remains were interred in the cemetery at Solon. His wife was also a native of Germany, but they were married in Ohio. She died at the family homestead in this state in 1887. In their family were seven children, namely: Frances, who married John Meyers, of Missouri; Clem, now living in Johnson county, Iowa; Otto J., the subject of this review; Eugene, who makes his home in the state of Washington; Freda, of Chicago; Mary, who is living on the home place; and Phillip, who purchased the old homestead and now lives there.
Otto J. Staley was educated in the public schools of Johnson county and continued with his parents until twenty-one years of age. In 1873 he came to Crawford county in a covered wagon, the journey requiring seven days, and he has ever since been identified with the agricultural interests of this county. He worked by the month, and later he and his brother rented the fann which he now owns. In 1906, having acquired the necessary capital, he began independently by purchasing eighty acres of raw land and applied himself so successfully to its cultivation that he now owns three hundred and twenty acres, which he has largely improved in value by the erection of buildings, fences, etc. He raises grains and also keeps blooded Norman and coach horses and other graded stock which he handles to excellent advantage.
In 1882 Mr. Staley was united in marriage to Miss Amelia Hofer, a native of Johnson county, Iowa, and a daughter of Jacob and Elizabeth (Meyers) Hofer. The parents were both born in Germany and were early settlers of Johnson county. There were seven children in their family, while fourteen children have been born to Mr. and Mrs. Staley, namely: Agnes, now the wife of Albert Pithan, of Willow township; Charles, also of Willow township; Mark, who lives at Herrick, South Dakota; William, of Hanover township; Frank and Clara, both of whom are at home; Luke, Leo and Leonard, triplets, Asa, Edith, Paul, Verna and Florence, all of whom are at home.
Mr. and Mrs. Staley are at the head of one of the most remarkable families of Iowa, and the excellent training they have given their children is evidence of the good sense and clear judgment of the parents. Ten of the children are still at home, while four have started out on their own account in the great school of life. Mr. Staley has from his boyhood recognized the value of labor and has applied himself with an energy and ability that have produced gratifying returns. He and his wife and family are sincere adherents of the Catholic church. Politically he supports the democratic party and has served with great satisfaction to the people as trustee and clerk of Charter Oak township.
NOTE from descendant Bob Kuehl: The father's name was Anton and the mother's name was Thekla Reich, both of whom were born in Bittelbronn, Hohenzollern, Germany.
Source: History of Crawford County, Iowa. Vol. II. Chicago: The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., 1911.