One of the early settlers of Des Moines county and now among the most influential and substantial citizens of Benton township, is Joseph Schuler, who has been an interested witness of the development of this section of the State from a condition approximating that of a wilderness, and has borne his part in advancing the material and moral interests of the community. He owns and cultivates a rich farm of fifty-six acres in Section 23, Benton township.
Mr. Schuler was born in Baden, Germany on April 10, 1841, and came to the United States with his parents in 1847. He was the son of Marcellus and Gertrude (Kinburger) Schuler. The father was a farmer, and upon coming to the new country he located in Shelby county, Ohio, where he purchased land and made his home for seven years. At the end of that time he came to Burlington, where he engaged in the grocery business until 1860, when he removed to Benton township. There he purchased a forty-acre tract of farming land, and made a home for himself and his family until the time of his death, which occurred at the ripe old age of eighty years. He was always a loyal Democrat in politics, having decided when he first became a naturalized citizen that that party most closely represented his ideas of what a popular government should be.
The mother was also born in Germany, and she lived to the age of sixty-eight years. She was the mother of three children, all of whom are still living, our subject being the oldest. The other two are: Charles, who resides on the old home place in Benton township; Catherine, widow of William Hoppe, who resides in Burlington, Iowa.
Joseph Schuler received his early education in the public schools in Ohio, and later in Burlington. He remained at home, and after the family bought the place in Benton township, worked on the farm until the breaking out of the Civil War. Then his love for his country inspired him to take up arms in defense of the Union, and he enlisted in July, 1862, in Company E, of the Twenty-fifth Iowa Infantry, and served with that company for one year. At the end of that time he re-enlisted, this time in Company F, of the Eighth Iowa Veteran Volunteers, and served till the close of the war. He was in some of the hardest sieges and most severely fought battles of the war during this time. He saw service at Vicksburg, Arkansas Post, Fort Spanish, and at Mobile, Ala. When the strife ended and the great host dissolved in peace, he received his discharge at Selma, Alabama.
After his discharge he returned to Iowa, and located in Benton township, where he farmed for some years, first renting land, then later buying the place on which he is now located, and where he has ever since lived. Here he carries on a business of general farming, with some stock-raising, and is very successful in the conduct of his affairs. He has made many improvements in the place from time to time, and has seen many changes in the county, always doing his share toward bringing about the advancement of the community.
Mr. Schuler was united in marriage on May 28, 1868, to Miss Mary E. Meyers, who was born in the city of Burlington, Jan. 29, 1850, the daughter of Christopher Meyers. Christopher Meyers was an early settler of Burlington, who followed the occupation of farming throughout his entire life, farming in Burlington township, where he died at the age of sixty-nine years.
To Mr. and Mrs. Schuler have been born ten children, and the hand of death has never yet entered the circle. The children are: Anna, wife of Henry Tackenburg, being a liveryman of Mediapolis, whose life history is recorded elsewhere in this volume, and to whom has been born one daughter, Esther; Charles E., who lives in Benton township; John F., who resides in Burlington, where he is engaged in a retail grocery business; Julia, wife of Edward Colby, of Mediapolis, who has two children, Wesley and Maria; Elizabeth, wife of Martin Welch, a hardware merchant of Mediapolis, who has one child, Ralph; Ellen; Edward; Pearl; Hattie; and Lillian. All of Mr. Schuler's children were born and educated in Des Moines county. He has reared a nice family, of which he has every reason to be proud, as they are a credit to the various communities in which they make their homes, and reflect great credit on their upbringing.
Politically, Mr. Schuler is a Democrat, deeply interested in the growth and development of his party, and recognized as one of its powers in local ranks, although he has never aspired to the holding of public office. He always evinces a strong interest in public affairs, being a consistent advocate of all worthy movements having for their object the promotion of the community's interests. As a farmer he has been highly successful by reason of his business ability and his attitude of readiness toward opportunities, coupled with sane and sound judgment and keen foresight, which have enabled him to carry his ventures to the desired issue. As a man and a citizen he enjoys the general respect because of his honorable and upright methods in all matters in which he comes into contact with his fellow-men.