Biography of Fredolen Heer
Jefferson County, IA Biographies





FREDOLEN HEER.
One of Jefferson county's well known German citizens is Fredolen Heer, who for many years was successfully engaged in general farming and stock raising, but is now living retired in Glasgow. He was born in Baden, his natal day being the 6th of March, 1837, and his parents Andrew and Catherine (Bartley) Heer, both of whom are now deceased, the father having passed away in 1873 and the mother in 1880. Andrew Heer was always engaged in the grain business in Germany, in connection with which for many years he also operated a farm.

Fredolen Heer remained at home with his parents until he was fifteen years of age, pursuing his education in the common schools of his native land. Together with an elder brother in 1854 he took passage for the United States, arriving in New York city in the month of January. They soon secured employment in a rubber factory in New Brunswick, New Jersey. at fifty cents per day, while they paid seven dollars per month for their board. He remained in the service of this company for eighteen months, and at the end of that time went to Rome, New York, where for a time he worked in a brickyard at twelve dollars per month. From there he went to Utica, walking the greater part of the distance, and worked on the Erie canal until 1856. His next removal was to Burlington, Iowa, where he went to work for the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad, which company was at that time extending their lines westward. He continued in their service for a year, then went to Des Moines, but failing to find work in that city cane to Jefferson county. On the 17th of November, 1857, he went to work for a farmer at eleven dollars per month, following this occupation for the succeeding four years. Although his wages were small he was thrifty and during that period managed to save enough to enable him to begin farming as a renter at the end of that time. He applied himself diligently and by practicing the most rigid economy at the end of four years had sufficient capital to buy one hundred and twenty acres of land. This land had never been cultivated and was entirely without improvements, but he assiduously applied himself to clearing it and in connection with the operation of his own fields he rented a tract of one hundred and twenty acres that he cultivated. His efforts were rewarded by such lucrative returns that he subsequently extended the boundaries of his homestead by the addition of another tract of one hundred and eight acres, making his holdings aggregate two hundred and twenty eight acres. He improved his property as his resources increased by the erection of a comfortable residence, substantial barns and outbuildings, providing ample shelter for both his stock and grain. His fields were always tilled under his personal supervision and given the careful attention that resulted in abundant harvests that brought the highest market prices. A man of practical ideas he used intelligence and discretion in all of his undertakings, his efforts always being directed toward a definite purpose. In connection with the operation of his fields he devoted much attention to stock raising, and annually marketed fifty head of hogs while he kept twenty head of cattle and six horses. Long years of patient industry and thrift united with clear judgment in all matters of business enabled Mr. Heer to acquire a competence that warranted his retirement in 1905, when he rented his farm and removed to Glasgow. Here he bought a house and three acres of land, and during the period of his occupancy he has effected many and extensive improvements in his place and now owns one of the most attractive residence properties in the town. The income from his rentals and his other investments provides him with all of the necessities and many of the luxuries of life, thus enabling him to enjoy in his latter years the ease and comfort denied his youth.

On the 8th of April, 1862, Mr. Heer was united in marriage to Miss Louisa Unkriech, a daughter of Henry and Fredericka Unkriech. The parents were both natives of Germany, where the father held the position of tax collector in connection with which he also farmed until 1859, when he came to this country, locating in Jefferson county. Here he purchased two hundred acres of land in Round Prairie township that he was improving, when his efforts in this direction were terminated by death in January, 1862 The mother survived for sixteen years thereafter, her demise occurring in 1876. Mr. and Mrs. Heer were the parents of ten children, two of whom died in infancy. The others were as follows: Louis, who died at the age of eighteen months; Mary, the wife of Frank Dill, a farmer of Round Prairie township; Anna, who married Milton Whitney, and is living in the vicinity of Broken Bow, Nebraska; Eva, the wife of Charles Stump, of Birmingham, Iowa; Frank, who is farming in North Dakota; Charles, a merchant of Fairfield; William, who is farming in North Dakota; and Kate, the wife of Charles McLaren, of Mount Pleasant, Iowa. On the 28th of September, 1902, the family were called upon to mourn the loss of the wife and mother, who for fourteen years previous had been an invalid. On the 26th of August, 1909, Mr. Heer was married to Miss Annie Sturgis, a daughter of William and Maria (Cole) Sturgis, the father a native of. South Carolina and the mother of Indiana. The parents were among the early settlers of Jefferson county, the father having owned and improved a farm in Round Prairie township until his death in 1880. The mother survived him until 1887.

Both Mr. and Mrs. Heer affiliate with the Methodist Episcopal church, and his political allegiance is given to the democratic party. He has always taken an active interest in all township affairs, and while living in Round Prairie township served as trustee and road supervisor, and he was also a member of the board of school directors. Mr. Heer is one of the self made men of Jefferson county, having come to America when little more than a boy and without either capital or influence has attained a position that well entitles him to the esteem and regard he is accorded by his many friends.

From:
History of Jefferson County, Iowa
A Record of Settlement, Organizatin,
Progress and Achievement Vol II
BY: Charles J. Fulton
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co.
Chiago 1914


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