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Delaware County, Iowa

 Biography Directory


Henry Ehlers





HENRY EHLERS, after whom the R. R. and P. O. "Ehlers" are named, is one of the most successful foreign born farmers of Delaware, Iowa. He first saw the light of day in Holstein, Germany, September 2, 1826. His parents, John and Magdalena (Strove) Ehlers, were natives of the same place, and died there at the respective ages of seventy-two and sixty-seven years, both of the faith of the Lutheran church. To this venerable couple were born five children in the following order: Claus, who is following the calling of his father, that of farming in his native country, Germany; Anna, wife of William Lentz, a mason and blacksmith, still in Holstein; Hans, a cabinetmaker, now living in Dubuque, Iowa; John, who died at the age of twenty-four years in his native country, and Henry, with whom this sketch is most connected.

Henry Ehlers was reared to farming in the old country, and there also was educated, and there he performed the military service due to his sovereign, William, serving three years and five months. At the conclusion of his term in the army he worked on a farm, and in less than two years saved enough money to pay his passage to America, and had left over when he arrived in Quebec, Canada, about $35 in cash. For the following nine months he worked for a railroad company, added his savings to the little capital he had on his arrival, and on the first day of April, 1855, was rich enough to land himself in Delaware county, Iowa, and purchased a tract of eighty acres of raw prairie land at $1 per acre, which tract he still retains as his homestead. Here he at once began his improvements, and by 1860 was able to erect his present fine residence. Industrious, shrewd and economical, he has been able to add to his first purchase eighty acres on section 25, making one hundred and sixty acres as a home farm; besides this he has bought one hundred and fifty acres in section 23 in Adams township,

and twenty acres of timberland in Jackson township, section 10, Linn county, and all now without encumbrance. His attention is not given altogether to farming, but dairying and live stock added to his business interests. Of the latter he keeps on hand an average of about sixty-five head and milks about twenty-two cows, the profits from the dairy alone amounting to quite an income. His barns he built in 1875 and in 1888, as his stock in its increase demanded additional accommodations, and these barns are in themselves models of convenience and comfort to their occupants.

Mr. Ehlers seems to have been a natural born soldier, for not satisfied with his military life in the old country, or disgusted with the pertinacity of the rebelling South in the late civil war, he enlisted in Company I, Fourth Iowa volunteer infantry, and served until the war was ended. During this service he was with General Sherman from Atlanta to the sea, taking part in all the engagements in which the Fourth Iowa participated, among them being that of Dentonville, N.C., in which he was under fire twenty-four consecutive hours. Finally, he reached Washington, D. C., took part in the grandest review the world ever witnessed, and in that city received an honorable discharge June 17, 1865.

The popularity of Mr. Ehlers is manifested in the fact that his fellow townsmen have entrusted him with all the township offices at different times, and also by the fact that he is now serving his third term as county supervisor for his township.

July 1, 1862, Mr. Ehlers was united in marriage with Miss Anna B. Mangold, a native of Switzerland, born December 20, 1830. For twenty-six years this lady was to him a loving and faithful companion, dying October 10, 1888, the mother of three children, born in the following order: William H., April 27, 1863; John H., March 7, 1886, and Caroline, August 12, 1869, all three living with their father.

To these children Mr. Ehlers has given most excellent advantages in educational matters, having sent them to the excellent public schools of his neighborhood and to the high school at Epworth, Dubuque county. Although not a communicant of any Christian church denomination, Mr. Ehlers is nevertheless a Christian at heart, and freely contributes of his means to all church organizations regardless of sect. In politics he is a republican, and it will be seen that he has faith in the principles of the party and that the party has faith in him by its having invested him with the various public trusts he has been charged with, the duties of which he has so faithfully performed.

~ source: Biographical souvenir of the counties of Delaware and Buchanan, Iowa; Chicago : F. A. Battey, 1890. Page 405-408; LDS microfilm #985424

~ contributed by Thom Carlson