A young man of eighteen when he came to America, William Bennigsdorf applied himself with such ability that in a few years he became a landowner and is now one of the substantial farmers of Charter Oak township and is known as one of the prosperous men of the county.
He is a native of Germany, born November 16. 1874, and a son of Henry and Anna (Meyer) Bennigsdorf, both of whom were born in Germany. The mother died in 1877, when William of this review was three years of age, and two years later the father was married to Louisa Butterbred, who died in the old country in 1906. The father came to America in 1907 and has since lived with his children.
By his first marriage seven children were born, six of whom grew to maturity, namely: Louisa, now the wife of Henry Haverling, of Howard county, Iowa; Minnie, the wife of Henry Meyers, of Denison; Fritz, of California; William, the subject of this review; Henry, who died in Germany; and Lena, who married Emiel Specht, of Charter Oak township, and is now deceased.
By his second marriage the father had two children, one of whom died in infancy, and the other, August, passed away at the age of twelve years.
William Bennigsdorf arrived in America in 1892. He was then eighteen years of age, abounding in life and energy and fully determined to make an honorable name for himself. He worked by the month until 1898 and then rented land for five years, acquiring the capital with which he purchased one hundred and twenty acres of land in Charter Oak township. The place is located on section 35 and its neat and attractive appearance is evidence of the care bestowed upon it by its fortunate owner. He raises grain and feeds stock, which he sends to the market in prime condition, thus commanding the highest prices. He has attained his responsible position by his intelligence and willingness to work, two highly important elements which almost invariably lead to success.
On March 2, 1898, Mr. Bennigsdorf was married to Miss Dora V. Wamser, who was born in Germany, March 4, 1872, and is a daughter of Hans P. and Margaret (Knuth) Wamser, both of whom spent their entire lives in the old country, the mother passing away in 1903 and the father seven years later.
To them eight children were born: Marie and Katrina, both of Germany; Anna, the wife of Peter Ketelsen, of Crawford county, Iowa; Magdelena, Christina and Margaret, all of whom are living in Germany; and Dora V., now Mrs. William Bennigsdorf. A daughter, Margaret, died in Germany at the age of fourteen years.
The union of Mr. and Mrs. Bennigsdorf has been blessed by the birth of five children, namely: Harry H., who was born January 12, 1900; Arthur E., born February 16, 1905; Herbert R., born January 3, 1907; aad Alvina and Clara I., both of whom died in infancy.
Mr. Bennigsdorf, like thousands of ambitious young men of Germany, had the courage to leave home and friends and seek in a foreign land the opportunities denied the great body of the people in the old countries of Europe. Actuated by a noble ideal, he applied himself to good purpose and he is now practically independent financially, although only thirty-seven years of age. He and his wife are consistent members of the German Lutheran church, and they have many friends in Crawford county.
Source: History of Crawford County, Iowa. Vol. II. Chicago: The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., 1911.