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Below is a family biography included in History of Union County, Iowa published by S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., in 1908.  These biographies are valuable for genealogy research in discovering missing ancestors or filling in the details of a family tree. Family biographies often include far more information than can be found in a census record or obituary.  Details will vary with each biography but will often include the date and place of birth, parent names including mothers' maiden name, name of wife including maiden name, her parents' names, name of children (including spouses if married), former places of residence, occupation details, military service, church and social organization affiliations, and more.  There are often ancestry details included that cannot be found in any other type of genealogical record.

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The German-American element in our citizenship has long been accounted an important one, for the sons of the fatherland have brought to the new world the same spirit of determination and successful accomplishment that has characterized them in their own country. One of the well known representatives of this class in Creston is Henry Detering, who was born in Germany in 1845.

His father, Henry Detering, Sr., also a native of the same country, was a farmer by occupation and made a good living for his family in the land of his nativity. In 1868 he emigrated to the United States, locating upon a farm at Nashville, Illinois. He owned a small tract of land there and made it his home for five years, after which he removed to Burlington, Iowa, where he also spent a few years. At a later date he lived with his son Henry and other children of the family, his last days being passed in Burlington, Iowa, where he died in 1881 at the ripe old age of eighty-one years. In her maidenhood his wife bore the name of Elizabeth Struck. She spent her entire life in Germany, where she died in 1853, at the age of forty-three years. Both were Christian people, holding membership with the Evangelical Lutheran church. They had the following children: Louisa, who is now the widow of Fred Freitag and lives in Burlington; Mary, the deceased wife of Fred Treger, who was a contractor and has also passed away; Caroline, the deceased wife of Leonard Bower; Fredericka, who married Gotlieb Niemeyer, a farmer near Burlington; Frederick, deceased; and Henry, of this review.

As a pupil in the common schools of his native country Henry Detering, Jr., mastered the elementary branches of learning and in business circles acquainted himself with the carpenter’s trade, which he followed for four years in Germany and again resumed subsequent to his arrival in the new world. He came to the United States in 1865 and has lived in Iowa since 1876, when he became a resident of Burlington. In 1877 he came to Creston and for some time has been foreman of the carpenter repair department of the Burlington Railroad Company at this place. In his native land he worked for nine months on a farm in order to earn the money to pay his passage to the land of the free. He has been in the employ of the Burlington Railroad Company for the past forty-one years and no higher testimonial of faithful and efficient service could be given than this fact, which shows that he has been trustworthy as well as capable.

In 1869 Mr. Detering was married to Miss Mary Volkmann, who was born in Germany, about six miles from the boyhood home of her husband. They, however, did not meet until they had become residents of this country, their acquaintance beginning in Burlington, although Mrs. Detering crossed the Atlantic to the United States in the same year as her husband. They now have six children: Mary, who is a nurse in Chicago; Clara, the wife of D. E. Eastman, cashier of the Creston freight house; Henry F., who is a machinist in the Burlington shops in Creston and is married; Julie, the wife of H. A. Ponto, a machinist in the Burlington shops at Creston, by whom she has one child; Minnie, at home; and Lena, a stenographer.

Mr. and Mrs. Detering are members of the German Evangelical Lutheran church, in the work of which they have taken a very active and helpful part, doing all in their power to promote its growth and extend its influence. Mr. Detering was one of the organizers of St. John’s church of that denomination and has been one of its officers from its establishment in 1878, while for the past quarter of a century he has been president of the board and was also secretary and treasurer thereof. He has acted as Sunday school superintendent since the organization of the school twenty-six years ago and his labors have been a potent element in the moral development of the community brought about through the direct influence of the German Evangelical Lutheran church. His life is manly and upright, and his sincerity and high principles are above question. In politics Mr. Detering is a democrat and has labored effectively for the welfare of the city as a member of the council from the fourth ward for four years. He has also been on the board of education for nine years and was recently re-elected for three years more. He and his family occupy a nice modern residence in Creston, which he owns, and they stand well in the community. Mr. Detering certainly deserves much credit for what he has accomplished, as he started out in life empty-handed, while his path was barred by many obstacles and difficulties. He has, however, worked his way steadily upward and at all times his life has been guided by honorable principles.

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This family biography is one of 247 biographies included in The History of Union County, Iowa published in 1908.  For the complete description, click here: Union County, Iowa History and Genealogy

View additional Union County, Iowa family biographies: Union County, Iowa Biographies

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