Biography of John W. Rathjen
Iowa County, IA Biographies





John W. Rathjen, president of the Genoa Bluff Creamery Company, has demonstrated his ability as a business man and as an executive and under his direction the company has gained a place among the prosperous concerns of Iowa county. He also gives much time to the operation of his farm, which is located on section 29, Sumner township, and is well improved and developed. He was born in that township on the 28th of August, 1874, a son of Henry and Catherine (Bauer) Rathjen, natives of Schleswig-Holstein, Germany, and of Byrne, Germany, respectively. The father came to this country as a young man and the mother accompanied her parents on their emigration here in early womanhood. Both became residents of Dubuque county, Iowa, and there their marriage occurred. In the early '60s they removed to Iowa county and located in Sumner township, where the father bought forty acres of land. He later added to his holdings and held title to the farm on section 32, Sumner township, where his son Henry now lives. He died in Marengo on the 9th of January, 1905, but his widow survives and still makes her home there.

John W. Rathjen was reared under the parental roof and received his education in the district schools. The spring following his marriage he began farming for himself, renting the land which he now owns. In 1905 he purchased one hundred and sixty acres and in 1913 bought a one hundred and twenty acre tract, having since cultivated the two hundred and eighty acres which he owns. He is progressive and wide awake and applies the principles of efficient business management to his work as an agriculturist. He was one of the organizers of the Genoa Bluff Creamery Company and for a number of years has served as president of that corporation. He owns stock in the Ladora Lumber & Grain Company and in the Iowa County Mutual Telephone Company. He was for some time a member of the board of directors of the Ladora Lumber & Grain Company but resigned that office as his other interests demanded his entire attention.

Mr. Rathjen was married in 1898 to Miss Martha Schafbuch, a daughter of Jacob Schafbuch, a prominent farmer and early settler of Sumner township. Mr. and Mrs. Rathjen have three children: Leila E., Iva A. and Melvin J.

Mr. Rathjen is independent in politics, voting for the best candidates irrespective of their party affiliations. Both he and his wife belong to the German Reformed church and there are no more esteemed people in Sumner township than they. He has done much to insure the success of the Genoa Bluff Creamery Company and his work as a farmer has gained him gratifying material prosperity, but he values most of all the respect and esteem in which he is generally held by his fellow citizens.

From:
History of Iowa County, Iowa
And its People
By: James C. Dinwiddie
Vol II
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co.
Chiago 1915


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