Judged by the standard of industry, perseverance and sound management, William Bretthauer, of Charter Oak, is one of the fortunate citizens of Crawford county. He is also the owner of one of the highly productive farms of the township and is recognized as one of the valuable members of an intelligent community. He owes his present happy condition entirely to his own exertions.
He is a native of Clinton county, Iowa, born May 5, 1865, a son of Christian and Mina (Plough) Bretthauer, both of whom were born in Germany. They were married in America and came to Iowa in 1851, spending the first two years in this state in Jackson county. They then removed to Clinton county, where Mr. Bretthauer engaged in farming until his youngest heir became of age. He died in August, 1873. The mother is still living on the old homestead with one of her sons and has now reached the age of seventy-one years.
Nine children were born to them, namely: August, now deceased; Henry, of Monona county, Iowa; Emma, the wife of Julia Brodersen, of Huron, South Dakota; Anna, who died at the age of three years; Herman, of Clinton county; William, the subject of this review; Minnie, now the wife of Martin Petersen, of Preston, Iowa; Louis, who is living on the old homestead in Clinton county; and Charley, who died at the age of twenty-seven years.
William Bretthauer was reared upon his father's farm and possessed advantages of education in the district schools of the neighborhood. He remained at home until twenty-two years of age and then worked for wages for three years. In 1890 he purchased eighty acres which constitutes a part of the farm that he now owns and has since made further additions until his farm comprises one hundred and eighty acres of well cultivated land. He has followed a wise and judicious system of mixed farming, dividing the risks and profits among varied interests rather than staking it all upon one enterprise. He is a fancier of shorthorn cattle and also feeds cattle and hogs for market, using all his grain in this way. He has shown excellent judgment in business and as his stock meets with a ready sale, his resources each year represent a gratifying increase.
In 1890 Mr. Bretthauer was united in marriage to Miss Emma Fehmerling, who was born in Germany, February 23, 1868, a daughter of Gottlieb and Sophia (Kramer) Fehmerling. They came to America in 1884, first stopping in Chicago, and two years later settled in Crawford county, Iowa, where the father operated a brickyard. In 1893 he moved to Hanover township, where he continned until his death, which occurred in 1901, the mother passing away in November, 1906.
Eleven children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Fehmerling, namely: Freda, the widow of Charles Schelm, of Denison, Iowa; Emma, now Mrs. William Bretthauer; Gottlieb, of Nebraska; and Dorothea, Johanna, Gustave, Wilhelm, Louise, Charles, Henry and Augusta, all of whom are deceased.
Mr. and Mrs. Bretthauer have seven children: Lulu, who was born October 11, 1891, and is now attending college at Denison; Edna, who was born October 28, 1893, and will enter college in the fall of 1911; Carl, who was born July 15, 1895, and is now a student of the Charter Oak high school; Martin, who was born September 13, 1896, and is now finishing the German course in school; Anna. born July 29, 1900; Ruth, born March 14, 1904; and Mildred, born April 14, 1907.
Mr. Bretthauer is greatly interested in education, as is also his wife, and they are giving their children the very best advantages available, thus preparing them thoroughly for the great battle of life. Alert, enterprising and efficient, Mr. Bretthauer uses his best energies in everything he undertakes and never allows himself to be cast down by difficulties. This is the secret of his success. He and his wife are consistent members of the German Lutheran church and firm believers in the authority and inspiration of the Bible. Politically he casts his vote in support of the democratic party.
Source: History of Crawford County, Iowa. Vol. II. Chicago: The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., 1911.