N. J. Gesman is a well known real estate dealer of Pella and has also been prominent in the political affairs
of the city, serving for two terms as mayor, during which time he was instrumental in closing up saloons and objectionable
resorts. He was born in Pella on the 1st of November, 1865, a son of N. J. and Anna (de Jong) Gesman, both natives
of Holland. The father was but a child when brought by his father, A. G. Gesman, to the United States in 1847,
and the family resided in St. Louis for two years but in 1849 removed to Pella. A. G. Gesman, being a carpenter,
built many of the first residences in this city and followed contracting until his demise, which occurred about
N. J. Gesman, Sr., was but eleven years of age when the family came to Pella and he received the greater part of
his education here. He studied law and was admitted to the bar about 1872, but prior to this he engaged in teaching
school for a time. He continued in the practice of his profession here until about 1890 and won a reputation as
a lawyer of ability and integrity. He was connected with many phases of life in the city, as, in addition to his
experience as teacher and his practice as a lawyer, he was for the last seven years of his life a minister in the
Dutch Reformed church and for a time owned and edited the Pella Gazette. He passed away in 1894. His wife is a
daughter of Arie de Jong, who in 1855 brought his family from Holland to the United States and came direct to Pella.
Mrs. Gesman survives her husband and resides in Pella at the age of seventy nine years. She is an active church
worker, as was Mr. Gesman, the latter being one of the founders of the Second Reformed church. They had nine children,
three of whom died in infancy. Arie is now living in Omaha; Mrs. John Korver is a resident of Pella; G. A. lives
in Lavina, Montana; N. J., of this review, is the next of the family; and Mrs. S. B. Grant resides in Pella.
N. J. Gesman of this review received a public school education and subsequently attended the Central University
of Iowa at Pella. After leaving school he clerked in the city for several years, but in 1888 went west, remaining
there until two, when he returned to Pella. During the fourteen years that have since passed he has deyoted his
time to the real estate business and has become recognized as an authority upon realty values. He has negotiated
many important transfers of property and is recognized as one of the prosperous business men of the city.
Mr. Gesman is a democrat in his political belief and has taken a prominent part in public affairs of the city.
In 1909 he was elected mayor and reelected in 1911. The question at issue was the liquor business and his election
meant the complete rout of the saloon interests. He enforced the law strictly and under his administration all
saloons and objectionable resorts were closed. It was also while he was mayor that the bonds were issued for the
city water, light and sewers. All who know him concede his sincerity and integrity and honor him for the moral
courage which characterizes all of his transactions.
History of Marion County, Iowa
And its People
John W. Wright, Supervising Editor
W. A. Young, Associate
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co.
Marion County, IA
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