JOHN C. FENSKE, a prosperous farmer and stock-raiser, residing on section 29, Emerald township, Faribault county, Minnesota, is a native of Germany, and possesses to a marked degree that thrift and energy which are so characteristic of his countrymen.
Mr. Fenske was born in Prussia, February 21, 1829, son of Joseph and Teresia (Hintz) Fenske, natives of the same province in which he was born. Both parents died in Prussia, -- the mother in 1835 and the father in 1847.
Their family was composed of four sons and three daughters. In 1851 John and his eldest brother, Andrew, emigrated to America, making the voyage from Hamburg, via Liverpool, to New York, and being seven weeks on the ocean. From New York they traveled by rail to Albany, thence by boat to Albany and on across the lakes to Milwaukee, Wisconsin. At Milwaukee they hired a team and drove to Princeton, and from there to Neshkoro, on the White river, where our subject was employed by Carl Farnum, at $12 per month. His brother had a family, and he took a homestead claim, upon which he settled and where he lived until 1863, when he removed to Green Lake County, same State, where he still resides. After remaining with his brother a short time the subject of our sketch went to Oak Grove and secured employment on a farm, working for
a man by the name of Fuller for one year, at a stipulated remuneration of $60, accepting for his pay two steers, valued at $40, and the remainder of the amount in clothing. He then hired to another man to do farm work at $12 per month. He afterwards sold his steers for $45 in gold, and this amount, together with a year's wages, afforded him a start in life. Going to Steven's Point he bought forty acres of timber land for $50, and subsequently sold it for double that price. With his $100 he then bought eighty acres of timber land.
Mr. Fenske was married April 5, 1856, to Louise Kruger, a native of the same place he was born, daughter of John G. and Willimena Augusta (Dotzauer) Kruger, the date of her birth being 1835. Her father died in 1839, and her mother afterward became the wife of John Henning. By the first marriage there were two daughters, -- Mrs. Fenske, and Rosa, wife of Adam Friday,of this county. By the second marriage there was one child, Carrie, wife of John Friday, of Wisconsin. In March, 1843, three years after her marriage
to Mr. Henning, the mother died. Mr. Henning afterward married her sister,with whom Mrs. Fenske lived and with whom, in 1852, she came to America. They were fifty-six days in making the voyage from Hamburg to New York, landing in the latter city September 2d. From New York City they came to Milwaukee, and soon afterward located in the town of Crystal Lake. There Mrs. Fenske worked in a country tavern, at fifty cents per week, until her marriage.
After their marriage Mr. Fenske and his wife settled down near Green Lake, where for nine months he worked for a farmer, receiving $17 per month wages and the use of a log house in which to live, Mrs. Fenske doing her part by boarding the farm hands. He next effected the purchase of a yoke of oxen, and cultivated the farm of Harrison Applebee, -- this being the year 1857. The next year he worked the farm of Daniel Stoples on shares. He then sold his eighty acres of land for $200, and bought forty acres within one mile
of Manchester, Wisconsin, paying $350 for the same and taking up his residence thereon January 16, 1859. He there made his home until September, 1866, when he sold it for $950. At that time he bought two horses and a covered wagon and started for Faribault County, Minnesota, reaching his destination October 8th. Here he purchased 112 acres of land, on which was a log house, 9 x 11 feet, the purchase price being $1,150, and here he made his home for seven years. Then he sold out for $1,600 and purchased 160 acres of partially improved land, for $1,100. This farm he still owns and occupies. He has six acres in grove, has his land all fenced, and his farm buildings are among the best in the township. In addition to his home place he owns eighty acres
in Rome township.
Mr. and Mrs. Fenske are the parents of eleven children, namely, Mary, wife of William Oelke; Louise, wife of Gustavus Schneider; Albert; Sarah, wife of Rudolph Gartze; William F.; Emma Amelia, who died in infancy; Lydia, wife of Fred G. Livenick [Levenick]; Lillie, wife of John F. Zupp; Eva May, wife of Paul Meyer; of Elmore; Joseph S.; Andrew M.; and Edward J.
Mr. Fenske has held the office of Supervisor for many years, and has served as Justice of the Peace and Constable. He and his wife are members of the Evangelical Association, in which he has been a Trustee for twenty-one years and for many years served as Class-leader. He may truly classed with the self-made men of the county. By his own honest industry and good
management, assisted and encouraged by his worthy companion, he has accumulated a nice property and is surrounded with all the comforts of life.