J. F. Mentzer is well known in Marion county as one who for a number of years has been in public office and
at all times has discharged his duties in a manner creditable to himself and satisfactory to his constituents.
On the 1st of January, 1903, he was appointed postmaster of Knoxville by President Roosevelt and has since occupied
that position, making an excellent record in office.
Mr. Mentzer was born in Kosciusko county, Indiana, on the 3rst of August, 1863, and is a son of Cyrus and Nancy
(Erb) Mentzer. The father was born in Pennsylvania, as was his father, Jacob Mentzer, who came of Pennsylvania-Dutch
ancestry. The mother was a daughter of Abraham Erb, of Ohio, and it was in Indiana that she gave her hand in marriage
to Cyrus Mentzer. After living for some time in Kosciusko county, Indiana, they removed in 1873 to Pleasantville,
Iowa, where Mr. Mentzer engaged in business as a contractor and builder. In later life he took up his abode in
Knoxville, where he passed away in 1912. His wife survives. She holds membership in the Methodist church, of which
Mr. Mentzer was also a loyal adherent, and he belonged likewise to the Masonic fraternity and the Independent Order
of Odd Fellows. In their family were five children: Ida A., the wife of W. E. Johnson, a resident of Kansas; Ellis,
who was engaged in the commission business and died in New York city in 1898; J. F., of this review; Salome E.,
the wife of Dr. M. C. L. Wright, of Des Moines; and W. C., who is judge of the district court at Cheyenne, Wyoming.
J. F. Mentzer was a lad of ten summers when his parents brought their family to Iowa, since which time he has made
his home in Marion county. His education, begun in Indiana, was continued in the public schools of Pleasantville
and he engaged in farming in early manhood until twenty four years of age, after which he turned his attention
to the harness business in Pleasantville, continuing in that line for five years. In 1895 he was called to public
office, being elected sheriff of Marion county, to which position he was reelected, serving for four years. He
has the distinction of being the first republican sheriff ever reelected in the county, a fact indicative of the
faithfulness and capability with which he discharged the duties of the position. On the 1st of January, 1903, appointment
of President Roosevelt made him postmaster of Knoxville and he has since remained in the office, carefully and
systematically directing the care of the mails and their distribution.
On the 23d of November, 1885, Mr. Mentzer was married to Miss Mollie Spalti, who was born in Denver, Colorado,
a daughter of F. F. and Sarah (Caffrey) Spalti. The father, a farmer by occupation, was a native of Canton Glaras,
Switzerland, and in 1848, when nine years of age, came to the United States with his father, Fridolin Spalti, who
located near Pleasantville, Iowa, where he entered government land. F. F. Spalti remained in Denver for only two
years, after which he returned with his family to Marion county. The paternal grandfather of Mrs. Mentzer had three
brothers who came to the United States, Henry, John and Yost. Henry and Yost removed to California, while John
became a merchant of Pleasantville, where he also filled the office of postmaster. F. F. Spalti, a brother of Mrs.
Mentzer, is now a retired farmer, having for many years carried on agricultural pursuits and therein won a measure
of success that now enables him to rest from further labor.
Mr. and Mrs. Mentzer have become the parents of two children: Roche A., who was graduated from the State University
at Iowa City in 1913, having completed the law course, since which time he has engaged in practice as an attorney
of Knoxville; and L. Cleaves, at home. In politics Mr. Mentzer has always been a stalwart republican and no one
is in doubt as to his position, for he stands firmly by his convictions. He has belonged to Oriental Lodge, A.
F. & A. M., since 1897 and he likewise has membership with the Odd Fellows and the Knights of Pythias, having
held all the chairs in the local organizations of the two last named and having also been a member of the grand
lodge of both. He was likewise the first presiding officer in the camp of the Red Men at Pleasantville. His wife
attends the Presbyterian church. Both Mr. and Mrs. Mentzer are widely and favorably known in this county and have
a circle of friends almost coextensive with the circle of their acquaintance.
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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