History of Cerro Gordo County,
Biographies submitted by Kay Ehlers.
The senior member of the well known law firm of Ontjes & Law, engaged in the practice of law in Mason City, the subject of this brief sketch, is known as one of the able and representative younger members of the bar of this section of the state and he has been associated in practice with Harvey E. Law since the autumn of 1907, under the title already designated. A sketch of the career of his coadjutor appears on other pages of this volume.
Like his partner, Mr. Ontjes is native son of the state of Iowa . He was born in Butler county, on the 12th of October, 1884 , and is the son of Andrew and Caroline (Myer) Ontjes, who took up their residence in this state in the pioneer days. Andrew Ontjes made the overland trip from Illinois to Iowa in 1876, driving with a team and wagon to Dubuque and thence onward to Butler county, where he secured a tract of land and developed a valuable farm. He became one of the substantial capitalists and thoroughly representative and influential citizens of that county and for a number of years he was president of the bank at Aplington, Butler county, where he is now living virtually retired. He has been an active factor in connection with public affairs in this county but the honors and emoluments have had no allurement for him and he has invariably refused to become a candidate for office. He is a staunch Republican in politics, and both he and his wife hold membership in the Baptist church.
Of their seven children five sons and one daughter are living, one daughter, Jennie, having died at the age of twenty-five years. Three of the sons are prominently identified with the banking business, William is vice president of the State Exchange Bank at Sioux Falls , South Dakota ; O. A. is cashier of the Farmer's Savings Bank at Holland , Iowa ; and John is an executive of the bank at Sioux Falls , South Dakota . The other son, Andrew, is engaged in the grain business at Aplington , Iowa . The daughter, Lena , is now Mrs. De Buhr.
Fred A. Ontjes, the immediate subject of this sketch, passed his boyhood youth in Butler county, this state, where he early began to assist in the work of the home farm and after duly availing himself of the advantages of the public schools he was matriculated in the law department of the University of Iowa, at Iowa City, in which institution he was graduated as a member of the class of 1907 and from which he received the degree of Bachelor of Laws. Prior to his entrance in the University he had taken a preparatory course in Ellsworth College , at Iowa Falls , and had likewise pursued academic studies in the city of Des Moines . After his graduation Mr. Ontjes made a trip through the west for rest and recreation and he then took up his residence in Mason City, where he has been engaged in the practice of his profession since the fall of 1907, and his coadjutor, Mr. Law, was a fellow student in the law department of the state university. Mr. Ontjes has proved an able trial lawyer and conservative counselor and his firm has built up a substantial business in the work of the profession. In politics he is a staunch adherent of the Republican party and his religious views are in harmony with the tenets of the Baptist church, of which his parents are members. He is affiliated with the Masonic fraternity, the Knights of Pythias and the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks. Mr. Ontjes is a bachelor.