Transcribed by Teresa Kesterke from: Biographical Review of Des Moines County, Iowa: Containing Biographical and Genealogical Sketches of Many of the Prominent Citizens of To-day and Also of the Past, Hobart Publishing Company, Chicago, 1905.


A native of Des Moines county, Iowa, who was born in Pleasant Grove township, and now resides upon his farm of two hundred and ninety-nine acres of rich farm land, is John H. Giese. He is a son of John and Margaretta (Denghausen) Giese, and was born New Year's day, 1849. His parents were born in Germany, near Hanover. The father came to America when quite a young man, being only seventeen years of age, and after landing in New York, continued his journey west till he reached Cincinnati, Ohio, where he was engaged as a laborer for several years; later he came to Iowa, and located at Burlington, where he became a citizen of the United States, June 14, 1847. After working in a brick-yard there for one year, he moved to Pleasant Grove township, where he purchased a farm adjoining the property now owned by his son, John H. This farm of eighty acres consisted mostly of timber land, which he at once began to clear and prepare for a home. He was a very active and prosperous man in his day, and as time went on he added to his first purchase till he owned some three hundred acres of well-improved land, carrying on general farming and stock-raising to a large extent. He was always a strong Democrat, but was more interested in educational matters than in politics, being a member of the school board for a number of years. He was a member of the German Lutheran church. He was born April 19, 1817, and died April 26, 1896, about seventy-six years of age, and is buried in the cemetery in Pleasant Grove township.

The mother of our subject came to America about the same time that her husband did, and also resided in Ohio for a while, where she was married in Cincinnati. Mr. and Mrs. Giese were the parents of eight children, five of whom are living. Our subject is the third child in age. Mrs. Giese is now about eighty-five years old, has always been a very active woman, and still enjoys attending to some light duties. She was born Oct. 21, 1818. She also is a devoted member of the Lutheran church. Her declining days are spent at the home of her son, Dr. G. F. Giese, of Danville, Iowa, where he is practicing his profession.

John H. Giese, of this review, attended the common schools of Pleasant Grove district, and remained on the home farm assisting his father till he was twenty-three years of age, and then took a trip to the Pacific Ocean, and located in Fresno county, California. He remained there for eight years, being engaged in general farming, having taken up land from the government a homestead of one hundred and sixty acres, and a pre-emption of one hundred and sixty acres. He then returned to the home place in Iowa, and purchased a farm of two hundred acres adjoining the home place, and erected a beautiful large two-story frame house, a modern barn, and other buildings which are necessary for stock and grain. Success has crowned his every effort, and he has added to his original purchase till now he has one of the largest farms in the township, consisting of two hundred and ninety-nine acres. He raises Poland China hogs and Hereford cattle very extensively.

When Mr. Giese was about twenty-five years of age he married Miss Minnie Howison, Dec. 31, 1874. Mrs. Giese is a native of Delaware county, Ohio, and a daughter of Edwin and Sarah (Calvin) Howison. Her father was born in Prince William county, Virginia, and moved to Ohio at an early date, where he was a prosperous farmer in Delaware county for many years. He came to Iowa in 1857, and located in Des Moines county, where he continued farming in Franklin township for several years: he also farmed in Pleasant Grove township some years, till 1873, when he moved to California, locating in Fresno county, where his death occurred when he was eighty-four years old. He reposes in the cemetery near Fresno, Cal. He was a Democrat, but never aspired to public recognition. When a very young man he joined the Methodist church. Mrs. Giese's mother survived her good husband some time, her death occurring in March, 1905, in California, at the age of ninety-one years. She was born Sept. 25, 1813.

Mr. and Mrs. Howison were blessed with seven children, of whom three are living, and all but Mrs. Giese reside in California. Mrs. Giese received her education in the district schools of Pleasant Grove township. To Mr. and Mrs. Giese have been born three children, all living: Charles was born Oct. 31, 1875, in California, near Fresno, and attended the medical college at Iowa City, Iowa, where he was graduated, and also the medical college at Columbia, Mo.

He also was graduated with great credit in 1905 from the St. Louis Medical College. He is also a graduate of the Howe Academy at Mt. Pleasant, Iowa. Dr. Giese is now located at Holdrege, Nebr. Mary Giese married Dr. Carl E. Ritchey, a dentist, of New London, Iowa; Mrs. Ritchey was born in California, and educated at Mt. Pleasant, Iowa. Raymond C is attending the schools of Pleasant Grove township.

Mr. Giese followed in the footsteps of his father, as he has ever been a strong Democrat, holding the position of township trustee for some years, and has been the trusted treasurer of the school board for several terms. Mr. Giese and his good wife are influential members of the Cumberland Presbyterian church, where the former has been deacon for fifteen years, During the long years of Mr. Giese's residence in Des Moines county he has gained the confidence and good-will of the people by his honesty and integrity, and as a citizen receives the highest respect and esteem of all.

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