Crawford County, Iowa, IAGenWeb


William Bertram

Another of the many sons of Germany who have contributed largely to the development of the natural resources of Crawford county is William Bertram, who owns an excellent farm of one hundred and sixty acres on section 20, Washington township.

He was born in Oldenburg on the 20th of October, 1858, and is a son of John and Sophia (Thompson) Bertram. The parents were also natives of the same place and there the father died in 1869, the mother having passed away some time previously.

Unto them were born the following children: Antoinette, still living in Germany; Johanna, who passed away in 1909; John, deceased; Hendrica, also living in the fatherland; William, our subject; Wilhelmina, residing in New York city; George, who died in 1908; and Sophia, who lives in Germany.

William Bertram acquired his education in the common schools of his native land and after laying aside his text-books he assisted his father in the cultivation of the home farm, remaining under the paternal roof until he had passed the twenty-fifth anniversary of his birth. At that time, however, he felt convinced that conditions in the United States must be much more favorable for an ambitious young man than in Europe so took passage for America. He landed in Baltimore, where he remained for three weeks, and then went to Newark, New Jersey. After a residence of eight months in the latter city he started westward, his destination being Macon county, Illinois, at which place he obtained employment for two months.

At the end of that time he went to Smith Center, Kansas, and after living there for two years he came to Crawford county, Iowa, first locating at Denison. The first year he was here he worked as a farm hand but on the expiration of that period his accumulated savings enabled him to begin farming for himself. He cultivated rented land for seven years and then bought his present place. Then, as now, he possessed those qualities of thrift, energy and determination, which always make for success in any vocation, and consequently he added to his original tract from time to time until now his realty holdings aggregate two hundred and forty acres, one hundred and sixty of which are on section 20, Washington township, and the remaining eighty on section 29.

On the 1st of March, 1889, Mr. Bertram married Miss Marie Louisa Kunz, who is also a native of Germaay, born in Abenrade, Schleswig-Holstein, October 31, 1866. Her parents were Andreas and Augusta (Lorenzen) Kunz, who spent their early life in the fatherland and came to the United States in 1881, locating in Denison, Iowa. Here the father passed away on the 28th of April, 1907, at the age of seventy-eight years, but the mother is still living in Denison, at the age of seventy-six.

Mrs. Bertram has three sisters and one brother, namely: Amelia, the wife of William Schiernbeck, of Davenport ; Nicolina, the wife of William Vondohlen, of Denison; Augusta, the wife of John Schnoor, also of Denison; and Andreas, a resident of Granite, Oklahoma.

Mr. and Mrs. Bertram have ten children: Augusta, the wife of William Barkhoff, of Logan, Iowa; Emma, who lives in Oklahoma; and William, John, Sophia, Bertha, Minnie, George, Henry and Mary, all at home.

The family attend the services of the Lutheran church, of which denomination the parents are communicants. Ever since acquiring the rights of franchise through naturalization, Mr. Bertram has given his political allegiance to the republican party, as the principles of that organization most nearly conform to his ideas of a government best adapted to subserve the interests of the majority. He takes an active interest in all local political matters and at present is serving as township trustee. He is one of the many young men who have come to the United States and, unfamiliar with either the language or customs, by his industry, resolution and persistence has won a position which makes him worthy of the esteem and respect of the community where he is residing.

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