History of Cerro Gordo County,
Biographies submitted by Kay Ehlers.
Marius P. Floy, a prosperous farmer and cattle raiser owning some seven hundred acres of well improved land in Cerro Gordo county, was originally a subject of the Kaiser, his birth having occurred in Schleswig-Holstein, February 17, 1853 . His parents were Peter P. and Marie (Heningson) Floy. The father died in Germany in 1890 and the following year the mother and her family came to America and took up their residence in Cerro Gordo county. Here the mother resided until her demise in 1902, at the age of seventy-nine years. There is a large family of children, the following being the enumeration : Senek P., of Grimes township ; Karl P., of Grimes township ; Maria (Hansen) of Thornton, now a widow ; Peter P., of Grimes township ; Matz P., of Grimes township ; Martin P., of Grimes township ; Antonia P., of Grimes township; Ingeborg (Neve) of Franklin county.
Mr. Floy's father was a fur dealer, but a man of small means. Nevertheless the son received a good education in his native land and began his career as a wage earner, working upon farms. When he came to America his earthly possessions consisted of nothing but a ticket from New York to Chicago. He arrived in Chicago just after the fire of 1871 and work was scarce, so he went on to Kankakee county, where he was gratified to get work with a farmer who paid him sixteen dollars a month. After three years he came on to Sheffield and for two years worked for farmers in its vicinity. He was employed by John T. Richards and later he and Jacob Nissen rented land of him and operated it in partnership. The two in course of time bought two hundred acres of land. They broke the land and attempted to cultivate it and kept bachelors hall or “batched,” as life without a female housekeeper is termed. Mr. Floy also hunted extensively. But though they worked hard they lost the farm, only retaining their horses and machinery. Mr. Floy changed from wheat to cattle raising, purchased cows and calves and two hundred and forty acres on time at seven dollars an acre, paying eight per cent interest. This land forms a part of the present Floy homestead. The cattle raising proved financially successful and Mr. Floy has stuck to the business. Mr. Floy's large farm is highly improved, all of the improvements having been made by him. He handles a good grade of Polled Angus cattle, which he believes to be superior. He also raises many hogs. A part of his land is situated near Thornton. Mr. Floy was reared in the Lutheran church and has very liberal religious views. For many years he has given loyal allegiance to the Republican party and for the past sixteen years has served as school treasurer.Mr. Floy was married, February 9, 1882, the lady to become his wife being Miss Caroline Blumenstein, born July 27, 1860, in Jo Daviess county, Illinois. She is the daughter of Christian and Fredericka (Demmer) Blumenstein, natives of Germany, who came to the United States in 1854. The father died in Illinois in 1865, at the age of seventy-five years. Mrs. Floy came to the county in the spring of 1876 and she has ever since resided here. This couple are the parents of eight children, six of whom are living and at home. They are Maria ; Christian ; Josephine, who died in 1909 at the age of twenty-two ; Katherine, who is a teacher in the county schools ; Wilhelm ; Marcus and Henry (twins) ; and Elmer. The postoffice address is Thornton.
Charles Fromm, who is engaged in general farming and stock raising on his finely improved farm of one hundred and twenty acres in section 11, Lime Creek township, Cerro Gordo county, and whose post office address is Plymouth, Iowa, R. F. D. No. 5, took up his residence here in the spring of 1875. At first he rented the land, then he bought it, and here for a period of thirty-five years he has lived and successfully labored. His plow was the first to turn the soil of his now well cultivated fields, and he made all the improvements on his farm.
Mr. Fromm was born in Mecklenburg, now a part of Prussia, March 26, 1850, but his earliest recollections are of a home in Wisconsin, his parents, John and Johanna (Kludt) Fromm, having left the old country in the fall of 1851 and emigrated to America. They settled on a farm in Washington county, Wisconsin , where they passed the rest of their lives and died. They were members of the German Lutheran church, and were highly respected citizens of the community in which they lived. Their two sons, John and Charles, came from the Wisconsin home to Iowa and are residents of the same township.
After coming to this state Charles Fromm married Miss Catherine Werle, who was born in Washington county, Wisconsin , November 18, 1860 . Her parents, Jacob and Margaret (Schmidt) Werle, both of German birth, came as young people to America, for some years lived in Wisconsin, and subsequently came from that state to Iowa. Both died at Manley, Worth county, this state. To Mr. and Mrs. Fromm have been given a daughter and two sons, namely : Anna, wife of G. W. Edgar, of Rock Falls , Iowa , and John and Edward, at home, attending school.
Politically Mr. Fromm is independent. His religious creed is that of the German Lutheran church, in which he was reared and of which he is a worthy member.
John Fromm, one of the most extensive farmers and stock raisers of Lime Creek township, Cerro Gordo county, Iowa, was born in Mecklenburg, Germany, January 27, 1847, a son of John and Hannah (Kludt) Fromm. John Fromm Sr. was born in 1816 and died in 1892, and his wife, who was born in 1818, died in 1901. They were parents of seven children, all of whom survive, namely : Sophia, wife of John Nieman, of Wisconsin ; John ; Charles, of Lime Creek township ; Henry, of Milwaukee , Wisconsin ; and Fred, William and Andrew, all of Wisconsin . Mr. Fromm and his family left Germany in the fall of 1851, and after a voyage of seven weeks landed at New York. They proceeded at once to Milwaukee , and a week later located in Washington county, Wisconsin , where he purchased timber land and began clearing a place to erect a house and cultivate a farm, where he remained until his death. In his native country he had been a shepherd.
At the time his parents located in the wilds of Wisconsin John Fromm Jr. was but four years old. He was reared on a farm and received but a limited education. He ran away from home and enlisted, January 4, 1865, in Company K, Fourteenth Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry. He served until the end of the war, then returned home and remained there until the fall of 1870, when he purchased one hundred and sixty acres of land in Cerro Gordo county, a part of his present farm. There were but forty acres of this under cultivation, and at first Mr. Fromm worked for others. He erected a small house twelve by sixteen feet, where he lived alone until his marriage. He now owns two hundred and forty acres of well improved land, on which he has made all possible improvements and has planted trees. He is one of the most successful and enterprising farmers of that region and stands high in the community. He served as school officer and road superintendent and in politics is independent. He is public spirited and actively interested in local affairs and has always contributed his share to the progress and welfare of the community.
Mr. Fromm married, December 25, 1876 , Anna Kinney, born in Warren county, New Jersey , July 2, 1860 , daughter of John and Aurora (Butze) Kinney, the former a native of Pike county, Pennsylvania , born August 2, 1829 , and the mother, also born in Pike county, October 22, 1829 . They now live in Mason City , Iowa . They were parents of six children, of whom the following five survive : Charles, of Mason City ; Sarah, widow of Harding Hart, of Plymouth , Iowa ; John, of Spirit Lake , Iowa ; Mrs. Fromm ; and Elizabeth, wife of John Stanton, of Mason City . Mr. and Mrs. Kinney moved to Cerro Gordo county in September, 1866, and located near Rock Falls , where they purchased a farm. Later they moved to Worth county, Iowa , and for the last few years have lived with their children.
Eight children blessed the union of Mr. and Mrs. Fromm, of whom seven survive, namely: Aurora, wife of Delbert Pryor, of Minnesota ; Kate, at home ; Clara, wife of John Harry, of Plymouth, Iowa ; May, wife of Robert McClintock, of Mason City ; Bertha, Charles and John, at home ; Elizabeth, deceased.
It would be difficult to find in the annals of Cerro Gordo county a man who made a deeper impress upon the life of the community or touched it at more points than George E. Frost, large land owner, newspaper proprietor, organizer of the county's first bank, postmaster, county surveyor, last county judge and first county auditor, this by no means being a complete enumeration of his offices and activities. Mr. Frost was a New Englander, having been born at Bridgeport in Addison county, Vermont., April 1, 1834 , and he was at the prime of life when his death occurred in Clear Lake , June 28, 1887 . When Mr. Frost was but three years of age his parents, Levi and Mary E. (Devine) Frost, moved to Canton , St. Lawrence county, New York , and it was there that he grew to manhood, he being the only one of his brothers and sisters who survived to maturity. In 1854, when he was about twenty years of age, his father came westward to De Kalb county, Illinois , bringing his family with him. After a short residence in this state they removed to a farm near Marble Rock, Floyd county, Iowa, here living until they came, in 1860, to Clear Lake, where they resided until the death of the father in 1870 and that of the mother in 1871.
Soon after his arrival in Clear Lake Mr. Frost was appointed surveyor of Cerro Gordo county, a position which he held for five years. About this time he traded a farm which he owned in Floyd county for one hundred and sixty acres in Grant township. This he added to until it consisted of fourteen hundred acres and at the time of his death he owned two thousand acres in Cerro Gordo county, this constituting him a large land owner. In 1870 Mr. Frost purchased the Clear Lake Observer, which he sold in 1874 to Hon. M. P. Rosecrans, and upon the discontinuation of the paper by the latter, he purchased a new press and renewed its publication. In 1879 he sold it again to F. J. Bush, who gave it the name of the Clear Lake Mirror and it is still published under that name at the present day. In 1880 he established the Clear Lake Record, which he sold in 1885.
Mr. Frost was essentially a versatile business man, and among his manifold activities was the establishment of a real estate business in 1861. From 1865 to 1873 he acted as revenue collector and in 1874 was associated with Marcus Tuttle in the organization of the Clear Lake bank, this making them the first bankers of the town. At the termination of a year Mr. Frost purchased his partner's interest. In 1877 he sold his banking interest to W. A. Burnap and in 1880 bought it back again. In 1868-69 he served as county judge of Cerro Gordo county and later as county auditor, and as previously mentioned he was the last county judge and the first county auditor of Cerro Gordo county. He added to his record as a public servant the office of postmaster at Clear Lake , which he held from 1862 to 1877, with the exception of two short intervals.
Much of the unusual success of Mr. Frost was due to his remarkable mental activity and energetic business habits. He was public spirited and his own advancement was never at the expense of the common good, but rather to the contrary. He may be accounted on of Clear Lake 's pioneers and his memory will long by kept green in the town which was the scene of his activities.
On September 4, 1865 , Mr. Frost took as his wife, Miss Azubah D. Duncan, who was born in Canada , January 21, 1840 , and still resides at Clear Lake , in the beautiful family residence. Mrs. Frost was the daughter of Thomas and Almira (Thomas) Duncan, the father being a native of Scotland and the mother of New York . In 1863 they moved from McHenry county, Illinois , to Cerro Gordo county, locating in Lake township. It was there that the father died in 1871, after forty years' residence in America . The mother died April 20, 1895 , at the age of seventy-eight years. The marriage of Mrs. Frost's parents took place in Canada in 1838. Mr. and Mrs. Frost were the parents of three children, Agnes, wife of C. R. Woodford, and Mary and George E., the two latter being at home.