Crawford County, Iowa, IAGenWeb


Paul F. Fiene

One of the younger business men of Charter Oak, Iowa, who by his efforts in early life has risen to a prominent position in the commercial circles of his home town is Paul F. Fiene, cashier and manager of the First National Bank.

He was born in Chicago, April 7, 1875, a son of G. F. and Margaret (Fink) Fiene. His father was born in Rodenwald, Hanover, Germany, December 20, 1842, and came with his parents, Fred and Dorothea (Kruse) Fiene, to this country, settling in Addison, Illinois, in 1846. After securing such education as could be obtained in the public schools he worked at the cabinet-maker's trade and also learned the butchering business, continuing thus employed until 1864, when he removed to Chicago and was there married to Miss Margaret Fink, May 20, 1866.

Of this union the following eight children were horn: Carl A., who lives in Orange, California; Martha, now the wife of Herman Lorentzen, of Denison; Anna, who married M. M. Black of Charter Oak; Paul F.; Ernst, who was born February I, 1879, and is a minister of the Lutheran church at Niagara Falls, New York; Martin, who resides in Aberdeen, South Dakota; Emma and Susanna, who are living at home with their mother.

Fred Fiene continued to follow the cabinet-maker's trade in Chicago and by careful economy was enabled to save enough from his wages to build a comfortable home, but unfortunately just after its completion it and all of his other possessions were destroyed by the great Chicago fire of 1871. Although the house was insured for one thousand, seven hundred dollars he only received eleven dollars, as the fire insurance companies were compelled to go into bankruptcy.

However, Mr. Fiene erected another house but, becoming discouraged at the prospects, in 1875 he came to Hanover township, Crawford county, Iowa, and here settled on one hundred and sixty acres of raw and unbroken prairie land, which he proceeded to break and cultivate, and here he built a little home for his family. He improved his place and later bought sixty acres more. He resided there until 1892, when he disposed of this property and purchased a two hundred and forty acre farm near Charter Oak, where he followed general farming and stockraising until 1903, when he retired from active life and made his home in Charter Oak, selling his farm in 1906. His death occurred January 22, 1907.

Mrs. Margaret Fiene, the mother of Paul F., was born in Langer, Hesse-Darmstadt, Germany, June 4, 1845, her parents being Fred and Susanna (Keime) Fink, the former of whom was born September 3, 1822, and the latter October 22, 1820. The father emigrated from Hesse-Darmstadt in 1847, arriving in Chicago with only eight dollars in his possession.

He secured employment on a farm near that city and later was engaged in various occupations, during which time he managed to save enough money to buy a one acre plot of land in the vicinity of what is now Lincoln Park. This steadily increased in value and eventually he sold a one-eighth part of his plot for five hundred dollars, which formed a nucleus for his subsequent business enterprises, and he began building houses and selling them at a liberal profit. He also handled real estate and continued to follow both undertakings until he had acquired a comfortable competence, solely the result of his individual efforts and business acumen.

To Mr. and Mrs. Fink were born nine children, of whom four daughters survive, as follows: Margaret, the widow of G. F. Fiene; Mrs. August Schultz, who resides in Schleswig, Iowa; Johanna, the wife of Martin Kretchmer; Adelheid, who married Theodore Gottman and lives in Chicago.

After passing through the various grades of the German Lutheran parochial school in Hanover township, Crawford county, Paul F. Fiene pursued a general business course. He remained at home, assisting his father on the farm, until twenty-three years old, when he entered the employ of the First National Bank at Charter Oak as bookkeeper, a position he held until 1901, when his efficiency was recognized and he was promoted cashier and transferred to a branch bank of the same firm at Ricketts, Iowa. There he remained for three years and then, in 1904, returned to Charter Oak to take up the duties of cashier and general manager of the First National Bank.

This is one of the solid financial institutions of the state, having a capital of forty thousand dollars, with a surplus of $10,000, and besides general banking it does a real-estate and insurance business. Mr. Fiene is financially interested in the bank and also owns three hundred and twenty acres of farm land in South Dakota, upon which he has made all up-to-date improvements, the house and buildings being equipped with every modern convenience. The old homestead in Addison, where Mr. Fiene's father first settled, is now owned by his cousin, Otto Fiene.

On August 12, 1905, Mr. Fiene was united in marriage to Miss Julia Dicke, of Shawano county, Wisconsin, a daughter of the Rev. P. H. and Catherine (Detzler) Dicke, the former of whom is a native of Wurtemberg, Germany. He studied for the ministry in his youth and all his life has been spent in preaching the gospel as understood by the German Lutheran church. His active labors have now ceased, however, and at the age of ninety years he is enjoying the results of a well spent Christian life.

To Mr. and Mrs. Fiene has been born one child, a daughter, named Irma. Mr. Fiene has always given his active support to the republican party and while his business affairs preeminently occupy his close attention he has found time to serve his township in public office, holding the position of town clerk for two terms; when he resigned. At present he is serving as a member of the school board. In his religious views he has always been a consistent adherent of the Lutheran faith. He is a man, still young in years, who, by his perseverance, pluck and unfailing industry, has won for himself a place in the foremost ranks among his fellow citizens, who know him to be thoroughly reliable in all his business dealings, as well as devoted to the best interests of the community in which he resides.

Source: History of Crawford County, Iowa. Vol. II. Chicago: The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., 1911.