1914 Biographies
T & V

History of Franklin County, Iowa by I. L. Stuart. 2 vols. Chicago: S. J. Clarke Pub. Co., 1914.
Transcribed by Don Turner, former coordinator of this website.



William F. Thielke

William F. Thielke, engaged in general farming and stock-raising on one hundred and sixty acres of land on section 33, Osceola township, was born in Freeport, Illinois, October 2, 1861. He is a son of August and Dorothy (Richtsmeier) Thielke, natives of Germany, the latter born in Lippe Detmold. The parents came to America about the year 1852 and located in Freeport, Illinois, where they made their home for seventeen years thereafter. At the end of that time, in 1869, they moved to Ackley, Iowa, and, the father purchased one hundred and sixty acres of land on section 33, Osceola township. He died May 29, 1887, when almost seventy-eight years of age, and his wife passed. away September 15, 1878, when she was fifty-eight years of age. They were members of the German Evangelical church. In their family were nine children: August, residing in Hardin county; Henry, of Ackley, Hardin county; Herman, deceased; Amelia, the wife of Louis Hirth, of Franklin county; Mary, who married George Rudolph, of Osceola township; Carolina, the wife of H. C. Richtsmeier, of Hardin county; Minnie and Elizabeth, at home; and William F., of this review. The three oldest children were born in the city of Polle, Kreis Hameln, Hanover, Germany, and the others were all born in Freeport, Illinois.

William F. Thielke acquired his education in the public schools of Freeport, Illinois, and he came to Iowa with his parents in 1869. During his father's lifetime he aided in the operation of the homestead and after his father's death inherited the farm, which he still operates. He gives his attention to general agricultural pursuits and also engages extensively in stock-raising and, being a progressive and farsighted business man, has met with gratifying success in the conduct of his interests. He is a member of the Evangelical church and in politics votes independently, supporting men and measures rather than parties. He is a man of high character and is held in great esteem in his community.

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John Thies

Mr. & Mrs. John Thies
Mr. & Mrs. John Thies


John Thies, who has been a resident of Franklin county since 1874, is numbered among the progressive and representative farmers of Grant township, where he owns five hundred and sixty acres of improved land. He was born in Ogle county, Illinois, December 18, 1867 and is a son of Fred and Louisa (Deaker) Thies, natives of Germany. The father came to America when he was still a boy and learned the tailor's trade, which he afterwards followed for a number of years, later turning his attention to farming. He died in Illinois in 1865, while his wife, who long survived him, was called to her final rest on the 25th of June, 1902. They became the parents of eight children, of whom three are still living: Fred, of Lyon county, Iowa; John, of this review; and Charles, of Iowa Falls.

John Thies was a youth of thirteen when in 1874 he came to Franklin county with his widowed mother, who purchased one hundred and sixty acres of land in Grant township. There he grew to manhood, assisting in the work of the fields until twenty-four years of age, when he purchased eighty acres of his mother's farm, this tract being the nucleus of his later extensive holdings. He possessed a thorough knowledge of farming and by dint of close application and perseverance won almost immediate success in his undertakings as an agriculturist. Progressive, practical and ambitious, he has carried on his farming interest along scientific lines and has achieved a well merited measure of prosperity, being now one of the largest landowners in the vicinity. He has five hundred and sixty acres of improved land on sections 11, 15, 16, 23 and 21, Grant township, and his farming and stock-raising interests have grown every year more extensive and-important.

On the 17th of November, 1885, Mr. Thies married Miss Henrietta Haupt, a native of Franklin county and a daughter of Fred Carl and Hedwig (Helmcker) Haupt, both of whom were born in Germany. Emigrating to the United States, they first located in Pennsylvania and in 1860 came to Franklin county, Iowa, and settled in Osceola township, where they spent the remainder of their lives. They became the parents of five children, three of whom grew to maturity, as follows: Fred, who resides on the old homestead; Mary Elizabeth, the deceased wife of Ernest Brocka, of Butler county, Iowa; and Mrs. Henrietta Thies.

Mr. and Mrs. Thies have become the parents of nine children, namely: Louise H., the wife of John Lehmann, of Grant township; John F., who in October, 1913, wedded Emma Burmaster and now resides in Grant township; Henry A.; Fred W.; Ernest M.; Henrietta M. E.; George C.; Lena A. E.; and Frank Theodore, who died on the 15th of January, 1908.

Mr. Thies is an active member of the Emanuel Lutheran church of Grant township and has served as a trustee of the same for thirteen years. He is also serving as township trustee and the cause of education finds in him a capable and earnest supporter as a school director. During the years of his residence in Grant township he has been carried forward into important relations with agricultural interests and has won for himself an enviable position in both business and social circles. He is now a stockholder of the Bradford Savings Bank of Bradford, Iowa, which he helped to organize in 1906, the bank building being erected the following year.

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Olin W. Thomas

Olin W. Thomas, a representative of a well known family of Franklin county and one of the progressive and successful agriculturists of Hamilton township, is a native son of this locality, born December 13, 1871. His father, Theodore Thomas, was born in Ogle county, Illinois, October 2, 1844, and when he was seventeen years of age enlisted at Byron, Illinois, in Company B, Ninety-second Illinois Volunteer Infantry. He served for three years, taking part in Sherman's march to the sea, and was mustered out at Concord, North Carolina, receiving his honorable discharge at Chicago, Illinois. In the spring of 1868 he moved to Iowa and located near Faulkner, where he remained until 1876. Hethen moved to Franklin county and settled on a farm on sections 23 and 26, Reeve township, whereon he has since resided. He owns two hundred and seven acres of valuable land and is regarded as one of the most successful farmers and stock-raisers of this locality. He and his wife, who was in her maidenhood Miss Elizabeth Wagner, a native of Ogle county, Illinois, became the parents of seven children: Winnie, who died in infancy; Olin W., of this review; Elias W., of Craig, Colorado; Edna Elizabeth, the wife of R. E. Towle, of Hampton; Theodore L. and Frank A., who reside in Geneva; and Henry R., of Hampton.

Olin W. Thomas was reared upon the home farm and acquired his education in the district schools of Franklin county. From an early age he assisted in the operation of the homestead and thus became familiar with the best and most practical agricultural methods. At the age of twenty-three he rented eighty-five acres and after one year rented another tract of one hundred and forty acres. This farm he operated for six years and then moved to Osceola township, where he continued active in agricultural pursuits for eight years. In 1909 he bought one hundred and sixty acres on section 13, Hamilton township, and upon this property has since resided. He has greatly improved the farm, providing it with substantial buildings and modern equipment, and upon the property engages in general farming and stock-raising, both branches of his activities being extensive and important.

On the 21st of March 7 1894, Mr. Thomas was united in marriage to Miss May L. Jones, a native of Grundy county and a daughter of John Jones. Mr. and Mrs. Thomas have four children: Wava E., born March 16, 1895; Floyd A., who was born June 9, 1898, and who died December 2, 1900; Mildred E., whose birth occurred September 24, 1902; and Myrna M., born March 26, 1906. Mr. Thomas is a member of the Christian church, and his political allegiance is given to the republican party. He is one of the most progressive and successful of Franklin county's native sons, and his influence has been a tangible force for good in the community.

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Theodore Thomas

Agricultural interests of Franklin county find a worthy and progressive representative in Theodore Thomas, who has been engaged in farming in Reeve township since 1876, winning in the interval a degree of success which places him among the representative agriculturists of his locality. He was born in Ogle county, Illinois, October 2, 1844, and is a son of Elias and Susan (Rice) Thomas, natives of Washington county, Maryland. The parents went to Illinois in 1837, and the father engaged in farming in Ogle county until his death, which occurred in Januarv, 1881. His wife has also passed away, dying September 13, 1907, at the advanced age of ninety-one. She came of a long-lived family, her mother having reached the age of one hundred and three years, four months and three days. Mr. and Mrs. Elias Thomas became the parents of six children: Catherine, deceased; Drusilla, the widow of B. F. Stevenson, of Leaf River, Illinois; Sarah deceased; Theodore, of this review; Barbara, the wife of David Emmett, of Mount Morris, Illinois; and Frances, the wife of William Gaffin, also of Mount Morris.

Theodore Thomas remained at home until he was seventeen years of age and then enlisted at Byron, Illinois, in Company B, Ninety-second Illinois Volunteer Infantry, serving afterward for three years and taking part In Sherman's march to the sea. He was mustered out at Concord, North Carolina, and received his honorable discharge at Chicago, Illinois. He immediately returned to the home farm and in the spring of 1868 moved to Iowa, locating near Faulkner, where he remained until 1876. In that year he moved to Reeve township, Franklin county, settling upon a farm on sections 23 and 26, Reeve township, where he has since resided. He owns two hundred and seven acres of valuable land and in the course of years has by intelligent management and constant supervision made this a very valuable and attractive property. He engages in general farming and stock-raising, both branches being important sources of income to him

On the 2Ist Of March 1867, Mr. Thomas married Miss Elizabeth Wagner, a native of Ogle county, Illinois, and they became the parents of seven children: Winnie, who died in infancy; Olin W., of Hamilton township; Elias W., of Craig, Colorado; Edna Elizabeth, the wife of, R. E. Towle, of Hampton; Theodore L. and Frank A., who resides in Geneva; and Henry R., of Hampton. Mr. Thomas is a member of the Christian church. He gives his political allegiance to the republican party and was township trustee for nine years, serving with credit and ability. He prefers, however, to concentrate his attention upon his business affairs which, capably conducted, have brought him richly merited success.

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George Daniel Thompson

George Daniel Thompson is operating one hundred and sixty acres of excellent land on section 7, Geneva township, and has made this one of the finest farms in his locality. He is a man to whom prosperity has come as the result of hard work, perseverance and energy, for he started out to earn his own livelihood at an early age and has steadily worked his way upward to success. He was born in this township, June 9, 1808, and is a son of William H. Thompson, a native of New Hampshire, born in 1831. The father grew to manhood on a farm in that state, attending the common school and academy in his native town, where he also engaged in teaching. In the fall of 1855 he came to Iowa and Franklin county and purchased from the government the farm that remained his home until his death, which occurred August 26, 1913. On the 7th of May, 1857, he was married to Miss Lucy Elizabeth Joslin, also a native of New Hampshire, who died in October, 1911. To this union were born six children. George Daniel, of this review; Julia E., who died in childhood; Abraham Lincoln, who also passed away in childhood; Herbert W., whose death occurred in 1894; Clarence Henry, who passed away in the same year; and Roland Joslin, of Reeve township. William H. Thompson took a leading part in community affairs during his residence in Franklin county, serving as the first township clerk and afterward holding other positions of trust and responsibility. He was a gentleman of rare mental capacity and one who always stood in the front ranks for the best interests of the people of his locality. He loved Franklin county with a loyal affection and was always eager to do all that he could to better the condition of its citizens. Few men are more loyal to duty and few leave a cleaner life's record behind them.

George D. Thompson acquired his education in the district schools of Geneva township and began his independent career at the age of twenty, when he went to South Dakota, where he engaged in breaking prairie land. He afterward walked to Yankton and thence went by rowboat down the Missouri river over five hundred miles into Nebraska , where he secured a position as a harvest hand. He worked his way north to Minnesota and thence returned home. In December of the same year he went to the timber section of Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin, and went up in the woods eighty miles and worked until June and then came down and saw the big flood. He then went to St. Paul and down the river to Dubuque and then home for harvest. In the fall he drove a span of mules back to the woods and hauled logs through the winter, which proved to be a very hard one. He worked on Thorn Apple river about four miles from the Deitz farm where the fight with the officers occurred. Mr. Thompson drove logs on the Fisher in the spring and then went to St. Paul, Minnesota, whence he went to Farmington, Minnesota, and worked in the harvest and threshing. He went home in the fall and bought a span of horses, which he took up and sold, and then came back and bought another span and worked on the Flambeau, hauling supplies from Phillips, Price county, Wisconsin. In the spring he sold the horses and drove logs on Mud Brook. He then returned to Farmington and harvested and threshed again. In the fall he went home and bought five horses, which he drove up into the woods, where he sold three, hauling supplies with the remaining team until spring, when he sold this team also. He drove logs on the river and then went to North Dakota, where he harvested. He then returned home and remained there that winter, going to Nebraska with six horses in the spring. In 1887 he came to Franklin county from Nebraska, repeating this journey several times. He rented a farm in Nebraska during one of his stays there and operated this for six years, from 1888 to 1894. In the latter year he moved to Chapman but again returned to Franklin county, where he rented one hundred and sixty acres of his father's homestead, a property upon which he has since resided. He is a stock-raiser on an extensive scale, feeding and shipping three loads of cattle every year.

Mr. Thompson was united in marriage to Miss Susan Hays, a daughter of Henry W. and Mary (Lewis) Hays, natives of Lincolnshire, England. Mr. and Mrs. Thompson became the parents of four children; Cleon Henry, who was born January 17, 1886, and who died October 24, 1887; Wilbur H., whose birth occurred November 4, 1888, and who is now a resident of Fernwood, Idaho; a son who died in infancy; and Orva McKinley, who was born June 9, 1893, and who is now residing in Wardner, Idaho.

Mr. Thompson is connected fraternally with the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and the Masonic lodge. He gives his political allegiance to the progressive party, has served six years as township trustee and is now town clerk. He is a man of many excellent qualities of character, and his industry, integrity and ability have. brought him a gratifying degree of success.

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James Harvey Tobias

James Harvey Tobias has been connected with agricultural interests of Franklin county since 1875 and has risen in the interval to be one of the leading farmers of Marion township, where he owns two hundred and forty acres of valuable land. He was born in Hamburg, Pennsylvania, July 17, 1861, and is a son of William and Caroline (Krause) Tobias, also natives of the Keystone state. They went from Pennsylvania to Ogle county, Illinois, and there the mother's death occurred in 1869. The father afterward moved to Lafayette county, Wisconsin, and at the end of ten years went to Wichita, Kansas, where he now resides. He and his wife became the parents of nine children, four of whom survive, as follows: Carrie, the wife of H. A. Cunningham, of Maryville, Missouri; Emma J., who married E. J. Rickart, of Texas county, Missouri; James Harvey, of this review; and Samuel, of Enid, Oklahoma.

When James H. Tobias was fourteen years of age he came to Franklin county and began working as a farm laborer continuing thus until 1891, when he rented land. In 1905 he purchased one hundred and sixty acres of land in Scott township and after cultivating this for five years disposed of it. In 1911 he purchased two hundred and forty acres on section 20, Marion township, and here he has since engaged in general farming and stock-raising, meeting with substantial and well deserved success.

Mr. Tobias married Miss Clara E. Carpenter, a native of Galena, Illinois, and they became the parents of two children: a son who died in infancy; and Hazel M., born February 25, 1903. Mr. Tobias is a member of the Methodist church and a republican in his political beliefs. He belongs to the Masonic lodge of Hampton and was master of this organization for two years. He is a man of many sterling traits of character, reliable in business, progressive in citizenship and at all times trustworthy and straightforward.

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Fred Vahlsing

Fred Vahlsing has been connected with agricultural interests of Franklin county since 1889 and now owns eighty acres of land on section 10, Marion township, and also eighty on section 16. He was born in Germany, November 29, 1862, and is a son of Henry and Louisa (Meyers) Vahlsing, also natives of Germany. They came to America in 1866 and located in Cedar county, Iowa, where they spent six years. At the end of that time they removed to Butler county, where the mother died October 29, 1885, and where the father now resides. During the entire period -of. his active life he followed agricultural pursuits but for the last twenty years has lived retired. In his family were eight children: Minnie, the wife of A. H. Dohrmann; Henry, of Seaside, Oregon; Fred, of this review; Dick, a resident of Butler county; Louis, whose home is in Oregon; Louisa, the wife of F. D. Dohrmann, of Marion township; Annie, who married William Debbin, of Floyd county, this state; and Lena, the wife of A. W. Ashworth, of Astoria, Oregon.

Fred Vahlsing remained at home until he was twenty-one years of age and then began farming independently in Butler county. At the end of one year he went west, settling in Lander, Wyoming, where he engaged in the cattle business in 1887 and 1888, during which period he made the acquaintance of Theodore Roosevelt. In the latter year he returned to Iowa and in 1889 took up farming in Franklin county, renting land for two years. At the end of that time he bought eighty acres of land but sold this after one year, purchasing another tract similar in extent on section 10, Marion township. He now has one hundred and sixty acres in the same township and has since engaged in general farming. He has improved ihe property in every respect, erecting substantial buildings and installing modern equipment.

On the 20th of December, 1892, Mr. Vahlslng married Miss Louisa Bruns and they have become the parents of six children: Matilda, born April 5, 1894; William, deceased; a son who died in infancy; Louisa, born December 14, 1899; Fred, born May 13, 1902; and another son who died in infancy.

Mr. Vahlsing is a member of the Evangelical church and is independent in his political views. His long residence here has made him widely known and his upright and honorable life has commended him to the esteem and confidence of his fellow citizens.

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James H. Van Nuys

James H. Van Nuys, a well known farmer of Mott township, was born in Montgomery county, Ohio, November 6, 1843. When he was fourteen years of age he carried mail on horseback from Kokomo, Indiana, to Marion and from Kokomo to Camden, Indiana, remaining in that state until 1858, when with his mother and two sisters he removed to Iowa, locating in Mott township. For many years thereafter he engaged in farming. He owns two hundred and thirty acres of excellent land, equipped with modern buildings and laborsaving machinery, and is today one of the leading agriculturists in this section of the state.

On the 9th of January, 1870, Mr. Van Nuys was united in marriage to Miss Lucy A. Carbaugh, who was born August 22, 1846, in Fostoria, Ohio, and came with her parents, Samuel and Mary Carbaugh, to Iowa in 1855, settling first on a farm in Geneva township, this county. In 1870 the family moved to Hampton, where her father for a number of years conducted a store. Mrs. Van Nuys and her daughter Lou met a tragic death by drowning in Beed's lake August 18, 1913. In the family were three children: Walter J., who is mentioned below; Lou Emma, who previous to her death was a private nurse in the family of E. P. Ripley, of Chicago; and Florence, the wife of F. J. Scantlebury.

Mr. Van Nuys is a prominent member of the Masonic fraternity, belongs to. the Methodist church and gives his political allegiance to the republican party, being now in the tenth year of his able service as overseer of the port.

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Walter James Van Nuys

Walter James Van Nuys was born in Mott township, this county, September 21, 1873, and is a son of James H. Van Nuys, whose sketch appears above. He was reared at home and acquired his education in the Hampton grammar and high schools. Following the completion of his studies he turned his attention to the mercantile business and has for some time been connected with the Cooney Grocery Company.

On the 7th of September, 1898, Mr. Van Nuys was united in marriage to Miss Clara Jane McNeil, a native of Franklin county, and to their union have been born three children: Donald, Dorothea Lucy and James C. Mr. Van Nuys is a member of the Masonic lodge and belongs to the Methodist church. He gives his political allegiance to the republican party and from 1905 to 1909 served as clerk of the court.

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G. Everett Van Wert

G. Everett Van Wert, a representative of a well known family of Franklin county and now engaged in general farming upon the old Van Wert homestead on section 19, Ingham township, was born in Grundy county, this state, August 13, 1880. He is a son of Justus S. and Elizabeth (Rose) Van Wert, natives of New York, who came to Iowa in 1864 and located in Blackhawk county. From there they moved to Grundy and thence to Franklin county, locating in Mott township in 1888. The father engaged in farming here until his death, which occurred September 6, 1909. His wife survives him and resides upon the homestead. To them were born five children: Rose, the wife of G. C. Borchers, of Nora Springs, Iowa; Frank, deceased; G. Everett, of this review; Emma, the wife of W. H. Caldwell, of Ingham township; and Jessie, deceased. The Van Wert family has been in America since Revolutionary times and its present representatives are descended from the soldier of that name who was one of a party of three to capture Major Andre.

G. Everett Van Wert was reared at home and acquired his education in the public schools of Mott township and in a seminary at Nora Springs. He has been connected with farming interests since he began his independent career and the results of his practical experience are seen in his intelligent management of the homestead ,of four hundred acres on section 19, Ingham township. He follows only the most modern and progressive methods in the development of this property, which he has made one of the finest and most productive in the township.

On the 25th of December, 1903, Mr. Van Wert was united in marriage to Miss Mabel Hansell, a daughter of Othello V. and Isabel (Stewart) Hansell, natives of Iowa, for whom the town of Hansell was named. Her father is now engaged in farming in South Dakota. In his family were five children: Mabel, wife of the subject of this review; Laura who married M. A. Tucker of Hansell; George, of South Dakota; a son who died in infancy; and Gladys, deceased. Mr. and Mrs. Van Wert have become the parents of five children: Lela, who was born February 21, 1905; Mildred, born May 20, 1907; J. S., born January 2, 1910; and Bernice and Earl, both of whom died in infancy.

Mr. Van Wert is a member of the Church of Christ and he gives his political allegiance to the progressive party. He takes an intelligent interest in community advancement and is now serving in a creditable and able way as township assessor. He is one of the successful and progressive young agriculturists of the locality, and his record is a credit to a name that has long been an honored one in Franklin county.

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George William Van Every

George William Van Every, who has devoted his attention to general agricultural pursuits throughout his entire business career, is now the owner of an excellent farm comprising one hundred and eighty-four acres on section 31, Ross township. His birth occurred at Apple River, Illinois, on the 9th of April, 1875, his parents being David Edward and Anna (Goldsboro) Van Every, the former a native of Canada and the latter of England. They were married in Jo Daviess county, Illinois, and took up their abode in Franklin county, Iowa, in 1881, having here remained throughout the intervening thirty-two years. They now reside on a little farm in Richland township and are well known and highly esteemed throughout the community.

George W. Van Every, who was a lad of six years when he came to this county with his parents, remained at home until twenty-two years of age. Starting out as an agriculturist on his own account he first owned and operated a farm in South Dakota but subsequently sold the property. He next owned and cultivated a tract of land in Marion township, this county, and after disposing of that place purchased a forty-acre farm on section 2 Richland township, which he operated successfully for seven years or until 1913. In that year he sold the tract and bought one hundred and eighty-four acres of land in Ross township, where he has resided to the present time. He is an industrious and enterprising agriculturist and success has attended his well directed efforts.

In Franklin county, in 1898, Mr. Van Every was united in marriage to Miss Elizabeth Crawford, a daughter of James Crawford, of Mott township. They now have two children, Edra and Harry. Mr. Van Every is a republican in his political views and has served as assessor of Richland township for five years, while during one term he acted as constable. He has likewise been a school director, the cause of education ever finding in him a stanch champion. Fraternally he is identified with the Modern Woodmen of America at Chapin and the Independent Order of Odd Fellows at that place, being a charter member of the latter organization. The salient qualities of his life have ever commended him to the confidence, good-will and friendship of those with whom he comes in contact, and he has always enjoyed the warm regard of a host of friends.

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1914 Biography Index

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