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Biographies

Amund J. Amundsen

Amund J. Amundsen, one of the representative farmers of Swan Lake township, Emmet county, was born in Norway on the 2nd of October, 1851, and is a son of John and Rachel1 Amundsen, both of whom were natives of Norway, where they continued to reside until 1865, when they brought their family to America and located upon a farm in Allamakee county, Iowa. Subsequently they became residents of Emmet county, the father purchasing a farm in Center township upon which he and his wife spent their remaining days. In their family were seven children, five of whom are still living.

In his native land Amund J. Amundsen attended school, being fourteen years old at the time of the emigration of the family to America in 1865. He remained under the parental roof until he had attained his majority, early acquiring a knowledge of agricultural pursuits, and during the following ten years worked as a farm hand. At the end of that time he went to North Dakota, where he served as manager of a large farm for three years. Returning to Emmet county he was then able to purchase eighty acres of land which he later sold and then bought the farm on section 29, Swan Lake township, where he now resides. Here he owns one hundred and ninety-three acres of very valuable and productive land, which he has placed under excellent cultivation and upon which he has made many improvements, including the erection of good and substantial buildings. He makes a specialty of the raising and feeding of stock and in all his undertakings has met with well deserved success.

In 1882 Mr. Amundsen married Miss Amelia Amundsen, who though of the same name was no relation. She, too, was born in Norway and has become the mother of seven children, namely: George A., now a resident of Illinois; Rubena E., the wife of Clarence Sorum; John A.; Henry B.; Oren E.; Mabel Bertena; and Aline May. Mr. and Mrs. Amundsen are members of the Lutheran church and are numbered among the leading citizens of the community in which they reside. He is a self-made man and the success which has attended his efforts is due entirely to his own industry, enterprise and good management.

(History of Emmet County & Dickinson County, Iowa, Vol. 2, 1917)
Submitted by Cathy Danielson


Chris P. Andersen

Chris P. Andersen, a well established dealer in hardware and farm machinery at Ringsted, is entitled to the credit which is accorded a man who has succeeded through his own unaided efforts as he has at all times been dependent solely upon his own resources. His birth occurred in Denmark, March 15, 1865, and his parents were Jens P. and Christina Sorensen, who in 1881 came with their family to the United States. After remaining for a few months in Chicago they located on section 24, Denmark township, Emmet county, the father purchasing eighty acres of land. He engaged in farming for some time, but the last years of his life were spent in the enjoyment of a well earned leisure. Both he and his wife are buried in St. Paul's cemetery.

Chris P. Andersen, who is the sixth in order of birth in a family of eight children, received the greater part of his education in the schools of Denmark, but attended the district schools of this county for two years. He worked for his father until he attained his majority and then went to Chicago and was for seventeen years in the employ of the Pullman Car Company, ten years of that time being spent as traveling inspector. Later he was for six years foreman in the car shops of the Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific Railroad Company in Chicago, but at the end of that time returned to Emmet county and purchased two hundred acres on section 23, Denmark township, which he cultivated for two years and which he still owns. In connection with his nephew, J. P. Nelsen, he purchased the Fink Brothers hardware and farm machinery business in Ringsted and has proved very successful as a merchant. He carries a well selected and up-to-date stock and has gained an enviable reputation for fair dealing.

In 1892 Mr. Andersen was united in marriage to Miss Sophia Bonnicksen, a daughter of Knut and Petrea (Juhl) Bonnicksen, who lived for a number of years upon the farm now owned by Mr. Andersen but are now deceased and are buried in St. Paul's cemetery. To Mr. and Mrs. Andersen have been born six children, namely: Edna, the wife of Harry Fink, of Ringsted; Alma, who is teaching in Palo Alto county; Ruth, who is teaching in Denmark township; Esther, who is attending the Iowa Teachers' College at Cedar Falls; and Agnes and Irene, both in school at Ringsted.

The principles which have governed Mr. Andersen in all relations of, life are found in the teachings of the Danish Lutheran church and he is an active member of St. Paul's congregation. He votes for the best man, irrespective of party affiliations, and takes a commendable interest in all things pertaining to the welfare of the community, especially to the advancement of the public schools, and was for some time school director in Ringsted. The unqualified respect in which he is held by his fellow citizens is proof of his genuine worth.

(History of Emmet County & Dickinson County, Iowa, Vol. 2, 1917)
Submitted by Cathy Danielson


James L. Brown

James L. Brown, who owns and operates four hundred and seventy-two acres of fine land in Center township, Emmet county, is fully entitled to the honor that is given to a man who through his own efforts has gained prosperity and a place among the leading citizens of his community. He was born on the 19th of March, 1863, in Norway, of which country his parents, Lars and Anna Brown, were also natives. The mother passed away there, but in 1886 the father came to America, where his last years were spent.

James L. Brown is one of a family of six children, of whom four survive, and his education was that afforded by the public schools of Norway. In 1882, when nineteen years old, he came to America as he had heard highly favorable reports concerning conditions here, and he first located in Polk county, Iowa. After working on the railroad for two months he was employed on a farm in Wright county, Iowa, for a time and in 1885 also worked on a farm in Kendall county, Illinois. Subsequently he rented a farm in Wright county, this state, which he cultivated for three years. During that time he carefully saved his money and was able to buy eighty acres in Wright county, which he farmed until 1898, when he disposed of the place and purchased his present home farm on section 35, Center township, Emmet county. His holdings now comprise four hundred and seventy-two acres, all under cultivation and well improved, and he derives a substantial income from the sale of his grain and stock. In his methods of work he is at once practical and progressive and he also makes a close study-of the market so as to sell to the best advantage.

Mr. Brown was married in 1888 to Miss Maggie Larson, a native of Clinton county, Iowa, and a daughter of Thomas and Christina Larson, who located in that county on their emigration to America. The mother has passed away, but the father survives. Eight children have been born to Mr. and Mrs. Brown: Anna C., the wife of Swen Berg; Tilda J., who married Lewis Berg; Clarence C.; Lloyd S.; Joseph M.; Lars Elmer; Milford E.; and Vernon T.

Mr. Brown loyally supports the candidates and measures of the republican party, at the polls as he is a firm believer in its principles. For two terms he held the office of township assessor and is now acting as county supervisor. He has also served as school director. Both he and his wife are identified with the Lutheran church, which fact is indicative of the keen interest they take in forces working for the moral uplift of their community.

(History of Emmet County & Dickinson County, Iowa, Vol. 2, 1917)
Submitted by Cathy Danielson


Charles S. Churchill

Charles S. Churchill, of Armstrong, has the reputation of being one of the most skilled carpenters of the town and his services are in great demand. He is also a leading factor in public affairs, having been called to many local offices. He was born in Jackson county, Iowa, January 25, 1859, and is a son of Samuel B. and Elizabeth (Smith) Churchill, born respectively in New York and in Canada. After leaving Jackson county, Iowa, the family removed to Mitchell county, whence in 1872 they came to Emmet county. The father bought a relinquishment on a homestead claim in Armstrong Grove township and devoted the remainder of his life to the operation of his farm. His death occurred in September, 1885, but the mother survives and is still living upon the home place.

Charles S. Churchill obtained his education in the schools of Mitchell and Emmet counties, Iowa, and gave his father the benefit of his labor until he was twenty-five years of age. He then rented land and three years later bought eighty acres in Armstrong Grove township, on which he resided continuously until 1896. He engaged in general farming and stock raising and derived a gratifying annual income from his land. As time passed his resources steadily increased and in 1896 he sold his place and removed to Armstrong, where he has since followed the carpenter's trade. He is very proficient in that line of work and has erected many of the best buildings in the town. He owns his home and another good residence, which he rents.

In March, 1884, Mr. Churchill was united in marriage to Miss Amanda J. Clark and they have become the parents of five children, Sadie and Mina, twins; Mary, Addie and Lilly. Mr. Churchill believes firmly in the principles of the republican party and for years has taken an active part in political affairs. For eighteen years he held the office of constable, is now street commissioner and is also serving as city marshal and water commissioner, having been appointed to the last two offices in May, 1916. He is very conscientious in the discharge of his official duties and no trust reposed in him has ever been betrayed. His life has been a busy and active one and has made for the advancement of his community as well as for individual success.

(History of Emmet County & Dickinson County, Iowa, Vol. 2, 1917)
Submitted by Cathy Danielson


Walter R. Cummins

Walter R. Cummins, a representative and progressive agriculturist of Iowa Lake township, Emmet county, cultivates three hundred and twenty acres of valuable land on section 25. His birth occurred at Painted Post, Steuben county, New York, on the 10th of July, 1863, his parents being Dwight and Martha (Drake) Cummins, who were natives of Vermont and Ohio respectively. The father, who worked at the millwright's trade throughout his active business career, resided in La Salle county, Illinois, during the greater part of his life. His demise occurred January 15, 1893, when he had attained the age of seventy-four years, but his widow still survives and makes her home in Illinois.

Walter R. Cummins was reared and educated in Illinois and there learned the millwright's trade, to which he devoted his time and energies until 1903. In that year, however, he turned his attention to general agricultural pursuits in La Salle county, Illinois, and was thus engaged for four years.

On the 28th of February, 1907, he came to Emmet county, Iowa, and rented a half section of land in Iowa Lake township, in the cultivation of which he has been engaged continuously to the present time. He served as secretary and treasurer of the Lake Road Telephone Company for one year and is widely recognized as an enterprising citizen and successful agriculturist of his community.

On the 25th of December, 1883, Mr. Cummins was united in marriage to Miss Emma Benton, by whom he has five children, namely: Vivian D., who has held the office of township assessor for four years; Minnie, who is the wife of Roy Drake and resides in Armstrong; and Edna, Rufus and Ralph, all at home.

Since age conferred upon him the right of franchise Mr. Cummins has supported the men and measures of the republican party. He is now serving in the capacity of trustee, having been elected to that position for a three years term in the fall of 1916, and he has also been school director, acting as president of the board of education for seven years. Fraternally he is identified with the Modern Woodmen of America, while his religious faith is that of the Methodist church. He has become widely known during the period of his residence in Emmet county and his circle of friends is almost coextensive with the circle of his acquaintance.

(History of Emmet County & Dickinson County, Iowa, Vol. 2, 1917)
Submitted by Cathy Danielson


Harvey J. Felkey

Harvey J. Felkey, who is living practically retired in Armstrong, Emmet county, has been a factor in both the agricultural and commercial development of the county and is still financially interested in a number of local business concerns. He was born in Livingston county, Illinois, December 27, 1849, and is a son of Daniel and Florinda (Brooks) Felkey, natives, respectively, of Ohio and of Pennsylvania. They became early settlers of Livingston county, Illinois, and the father purchased land there which he farmed until 1862, when removal was made to Mitchell county, Iowa. After cultivating land there for several years he went to South Dakota, where he farmed for five years. He then came to Emmet county, Iowa, and bought land here, to the operation of which he devoted his time and attention until he removed to Armstrong, where he conducted a store during the remainder of his life, passing away in October, 1910. He was survived by his widow for only a short time, as her death occurred in February, 1911.

Harvey J. Felkey grew to manhood in Mitchell county, Iowa, and attended the public schools there in the acquirement of his education. After becoming of age he engaged in farming for two years in Mitchell county and in 1874 he arrived in Emmet county, Iowa, and purchased a farm in Armstrong Grove township. For more than a quarter of a century he engaged in the raising of grain and stock upon that place, but in March, 1900, removed to Armstrong and engaged in the clothing business there. After three years he disposed of that business and has since lived practically retired. He is, however, treasurer of the Farmers' Elevator Company and of the Armstrong Cement Company and is a director of the First National Bank of Armstrong.

On New Year's Day, 1872, Mr. Felkey was married to Miss Rebecca Godfrey, whose parents, Samuel and Matilda (Dickson) Godfrey, were natives, respectively, of Scotland and Ireland. They emigrated to America many years ago and after living for a time in New York went to Wisconsin, where the father purchased land from the government. In 1864 he went to Mitchell county, Iowa, and there resided until his death in 1880. The mother passed away three years later. Mr. and Mrs. Felkey have become the parents of four children: One who died in infancy; Lelah, who became the wife of C. A. Mathews and died February 29, 1916, at the age of thirty-nine years and ten months, leaving three children, Grace, Milo and Maynard; Roy B., who is farming in Armstrong Grove township; and Florence, the wife of J. V. Burkhead, a merchant of Armstrong.

Mr. Felkey is a trustee of Orange Grove township and has served in that capacity for twelve years, his long continuance in the office indicating the efficiency with which he discharges his duties. He has also held the office of school director. His political allegiance is given to the republican party and his religious faith is that of the Presbyterian church, while fraternally he belongs to the Masonic order and the Eastern Star. He is a man of unusual energy and ability and is recognized as a leader in his community.

(History of Emmet County & Dickinson County, Iowa, Vol. 2, 1917)
Submitted by Cathy Danielson


William A. Knoll

William A. Knoll is actively engaged in general farming on section 32, Center township, Emmet county. He was born in Ottawa, Illinois, on the 20th of December, 1891, a son of William H. and Minnie Knoll, who are natives of Illinois and Germany, respectively. The father devoted his life to farming and thus provided for the support of his family, numbering wife and four children: Edward, Ida, Rena and William A., all living at Ottawa, Illinois, save the subject of this review.

William A. Knoll spent the days of his boyhood and youth in his native city and the educational privileges which he there enjoyed well qualified him for life's practical and responsible duties. In 1900 his father purchased land in Center township, Emmet county, comprising the northwest quarter of section 32, and in 1914 William A. Knoll took up his abode upon this farm and has since devoted his time and energies to its .development and improvement. He is now busily engaged in its cultivation and his labors are bringing forth excellent results.

In 1915 Mr. Knoll was united in marriage to Miss Minnie Gephard, both of whose parents passed away in Ottawa, Illinois. Mr. and Mrs. Knoll have a daughter, Dorothy. The parents are members of the German Lutheran church and Mr. Knoll gives his political allegiance to the republican party, believing firmly in its principles. He stands for all that is progressive in citizenship and he is regarded as an ambitious, energetic young man whose success is the merited reward of earnest, persistent labor.

(History of Emmet County & Dickinson County, Iowa, Vol. 2, 1917)
Submitted by Cathy Danielson


August L. Koenecke

Among the enterprising young business men who are contributing in large measure to the commercial upbuilding of Dolliver is August L. Koenecke, who is the proprietor, of a hardware store. He was born in Martin county, Minnesota, March 31, 1884, of the marriage of Henry and Augusta (Deering) Koenecke, natives of Germany. For many years, however, they have been residents of Martin county, Minnesota, where the father is still engaged in farming. To them were born twelve children, of whom the only daughter, Mrs. William J. Parnell, is a resident of Estherville township and a son, Ed, is married and is engaged in farming in Emmet township, Emmet county.

August L. Koenecke attended the public schools until he was seven teen years of age and for four years thereafter worked for his father on the home farm. He then entered the employ of C. L. Jeglum & Company, hardware dealers of Huntington, Iowa, with whom he remained for five years. He was also associated with that business for a year with Albert Myhre, the successor of his first employers. He then entered the Estherville Business College, where he was a student for eight months, thus further preparing himself for a business career. After leaving that institution he was for six months in the employ of T. T. Sunde, Jr., a dealer in hardware and groceries at Huntington, and then entered business on his own account, buying out the hardware store of Gustav Reke at Dolliver. He is still conducting that business and has managed his affairs so efficiently that he has built up a large and profitable trade. He keeps in close touch with the needs of his patrons and has developed his business in every possible way.

In 1909 Mr. Koenecke was united in marriage to Miss Alice Reed, a daughter of S. B. and Sylvia Reed, of Dolliver. To this union has been born a daughter, Lomena. Mr. and Mrs. Koenecke are members respectively of the German Lutheran and Methodist churches and the principles which have been the determining factors in their lives are found in the teachings of .those denominations. He has held the office of town assessor and is now efficiently serving as chief of the fire department. The qualities of foresight, determination and sound judgment, which have made possible the success which he has gained, ensure his increased prosperity in future years.

(History of Emmet County & Dickinson County, Iowa, Vol. 2, 1917)
Submitted by Cathy Danielson

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