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Past and Present of Livingston County
Volume 2. Biographies
by Major A. J. Roof. 1913
A history of the agricultural progress made in Livingston county would be incomplete without prominent mention of B. W. Wenke, whose name is well worthy to be represented in this volume as one of the foremost agriculturists of the section and the owner of a valuable farm of two hundred and twenty acres, located on section 32, Jackson township. Coming to this district in the fall of 1873, Mr. Wenke was born in Lee county, Iowa, at the city of Fort Madison, July 6, 1846, and is a son of John T. and Mary Wenke, the parents, of German birth, having both passed away, finding their fast resting place in the Catholic cemetery at Fort Madison, Iowa. There they were well known and highly esteemed for their many substantial qualities of character and the Christian lives they led, faithful to the religion of their forbears.
B. W. Wenke received his education in the schools of Fort Madison, Iowa, laying aside his text-books at the age of fourteen years. From that time until he reached twenty years he assisted his father in his work and then founded the B. W. Wenke Soda Factory, selling out his establishment after conducting it for about two years. Engaging along other business lines for a successive period of two years. he then came to Chillicothe, near which city he rented a farm which he cultivated until he came to Jackson township,, acquiring one hundred and eight acres of land, on which he settled. There he gave his time and attention from morning until night to bringing his acres to a high state of productivity and his efforts were attended with such success that he was later able to extend the boundaries of his property to two hundred and twenty acres. Following general farming, he plants such grains as are suitable to soil and climate, using most of his harvests for feeding and raising live stock, deriving a gratifying income from this activity. Since becoming possessed of the farm he has made thereon a number of improvements and instituted equipment that has greatly increased the value of the property.
At Fort Madison, Iowa, Mr. Wenke was married on April 12, 1864, to Miss Lizzie Rosen, a daughter of Bernard and Mary A. (Hatting) Rosen. The former was well known in his days as a carpenter and contractor and one of the old settlers of Fort Madison. Both parents, however, have passed away, being buried in the Catholic cemetery at Fort Madison, Iowa. Mr. and Mrs. Wenke are the parents of seven children: Kate, the wife of M. A. Moss, a farmer of Jackson township; Bernard, who follows that occupation in the same township; Lizzie, who married Stephen Freesmeire, who is engaged in the dairy business at Fort Madison, Iowa; Ella, the wife of Frank Flaherty, farming in Pawnee county, Kansas; Annie, who married P. Lewis, an agriculturist of Morrisville, Missouri; Stella, the wife of William Epperson, an agriculturist of Caldwell county, residing near Cowgill; and Arthur, making his home on his father's farm. Mr. and Mrs. Wenke also have twenty-four grandchildren.
Independent in his political views, Mr. Wenke follows the dictates of his own judgment in supporting measures and candidates according to their best qualifications. For eight years he has done efficient work as director of the school board, the cause of education finding in him a warm champion. His religious faith is that of the Catholic church, to which he gives his faithful support. Successful in the best sense of the word, Mr. Wenke has become prosperous by close attention to business, incessant industry and indefatigable energy, giving a large share of credit for his attainments. however, to the good services of his true and faithful wife, who with him shared times, good and bad. To this harmonious partnership must to a large extent be attributed the excellent results obtained.