Crawford County, Iowa, IAGenWeb


Hon. Rudolph Carl Henry Lehfeldt

The history of Crawford county would be incomplete and unsatisfactory were there failure to make prominent reference to the Hon. Rudolph Carl Henry Lehfeldt, whom his fellow townsmen have honored with election to the office of state senator. His record as a business man is at the same time worthy of earnest consideration as showing what may be accomplished by determination and energy when guided by sound, practical judgment and characterized by integrity.

Mr. Lehfeldt is a native of Germany, his birth having occurred in Curan by Lubeck, December 28, 1840. His grandparents in the paternal line were Joachim and Helena (Schroeder) Lehfeldt, farming people of Germany, and there reared a family of three children: John, Henry and Anna.

Of these John Lehfeldt was the father of R. C. H. Lehfeldt and was born in Holstein, Germany, where he learned the distiller's trade. He married Mary Stehn, also a native of Holstein and a daughter of John Stehn, a sheep man of Germany, who spent his entire life there. The death of John Lehfeldt occurred in 1846, when he was sixty-one years of age, while his wife passed away in 1844 at the age of fifty-two years. They were both Lutherans in religious faith. Their family numbered eight children, six sons and two daughters: Henry, deceased; Wilhelm, of Holstein, Germany; Fritz, of Denison, Iowa; Louis, who passed away in Germany; Herman, who also lives in the fatherland; Emma, the wife of Carl Hansen, of Los Angeles, California; Anna, the deceased wife of Herman Braun; and Rudolph C. H., of this review.

The last named was reared in the land of his nativity, attended the public schools and afterward became connected with the sheep industry. In 1870 he came to America, settling near Denison, where he purchased two hundred and thirteen acres of land. For fifteen years he was connected with general agricultural pursuits in this county and in 1885 removed to Montana. residing in the vicinity of Billings until 1890. He then again came to Denison and lived upon the old home farm for a year, after which he purchased the Lafe Goodrich farm of three hundred and ninety-two acres. On this he engaged extensively in feeding sheep until 1901, when he left the farm and erected a beautiful home in Denison, which he still occupies. He yet owns both of his farms and from his property derives a substantial income, but he has sold the sheep business to his sons.

On the 2d of November, 1864, Mr. Lehfeldt was married to Miss Mary Witt, who died in 1873, leaving four children. Ludwig lives in Billings, Montana, and has the following children: Clara, Hilda. Rudolph and Herbert. Herman married Otilla Nerdenenberg, by whom he has five children: Hedwig, Martha, Victor, Otilla and Hertha. Olga is the wife of John Schroeder, of Billings, by whom she has three children: Amanda, Walter and Herman, Alvina married Rudolph Molt, also of Billings, and their family consists of three children: Emma, Bertha and Alma.

In 1880 Mr. Lehfeldt was again married, his second union being with Miss Mary Schroeder, by whom he had one son, William, who wedded Edna Marie Eicker and is now living near Billings, Montana.

On the 5th of January, 1894, Mr. Lehfeldt married for his third wife, Miss Sophia Leptien, a daughter of Detleff and Helena (Braach) Leptien, Mrs. Lehfeldt was born in Marengo, Iowa, in the vicinity of which her parents settled at a very early day on coming to this country from Holstein, Germany. They now live in Redlands, California. They were the parents of five children: Fred, Louis, Sophia, Mary and Charlotte.

The marriage of Mr. and Mrs. Lehfeldt has also been blessed with five children, as follows: Hertha, Eldor, Martha, Erma and Carl.

The parents are members of the Lutheran church and Mr. Lehfeldt is a republican, well versed on the questions of the day and active in the work of the party. In 1894 he was elected state senator and represented his district during the four succeeding years when the general assembly was in session. He is a self-made man and his is a creditable record, showing what may be accomplished when one has the will to dare and to do. He has never taken advantage of the necessities of his fellowmen but has conducted business interests along progressive lines and prosperity has been the reward. Both he and his wife have a wide acquaintance in the county and their friends are many.

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