In 1847 two families immigrated from Bavaria to Iowa. They were closely related – a sister and brother and their families. Both families had relatively high education levels, they both came with some skills and a moderate amount of money and both families settled in Dubuque County, Iowa. But they had very different lives in America. First let’s look at the Lattner Family. Joseph and Veronica Wieser Lattner brought their three sons to the U.S. in 1847. After some initial roving the family settled in Dubuque County, Iowa. Here is a biographical sketch of their eldest son.
Extracted from Portrait and Biographical Record of Dubuque, Jones and Clayton Counties, Iowa, 1894. Reprinted by Higginson Book Co., Salem, Massachusetts, p. 212
PAUL LATTNER, now deceased, was for many years one of the most prosperous and influential businessmen of Worthington. He was a native of Germany, having been born in Volketshousen, June 29,1832, and was the eldest of three sons born to Joseph and Veronica Lattner. The father of our subject was likewise a native of the Fatherland and was born February 4, 1803, while his good wife was born the same day and month but in the year 1810.
Joseph Lattner was a mechanic and upon emigrating to the New World with his family in 1847 located at Port Jarvis, N.Y., where he was employed with the railroad force in the construction of the New York & Erie Road. Three years later he moved to Zanesville, Ohio, and while there was contractor for the Lake Shore Road. He departed this life in 1852, and after his decease his widow and children spent a year in Hamilton, Ontario, after which they moved to Niagara Falls, N.Y.
The subject of this sketch, in company with his brothers Jacob and Wendelin, also followed contracting, building many roads in the west, among the last work of the kind being a three-mile track for the Dubuque & Pacific, now the Illinois Central Road, in this county. R. B. Moran, who let the contract, failed in business and the brothers were obliged to accept a large amount of land in payment for their services. In 1860 they laid out the now thriving town of Lattner’s and opened up in the mercantile business. The following year the Lattner brothers erected a steam sawmill in the place and in 1864 completed the construction of the woolen mill. The firm was a most prosperous one; the brothers amassed a considerable fortune and continued together until 1872, when the connection was dissolved.
Paul Lattner conducted the mercantile trade in the above place until 1886, when he disposed of his interest, and a year later we find him located in Worthington, where his younger brother, the Hon. Wendelin Lattner, was engaged in the mercantile business. Our subject followed farming near the city for three years after coming here, and in 1880 opened up a hotel, which he carried on in the most profitable manner until his decease, which occurred January 14, 1891.
Our subject served for many years as Justice of the Peace at Lattner’s, and was consequently known as Squire Lattner. He also held the position of Postmaster of the above place, and in 1884 was appointed to the same position at Worthington by President Cleveland. He was Notary Public for some time, and in 1875 was brought prominently before the public as a candidate for the Legislature and was defeated by a very small majority. He had filled the position of Township, Clerk eight years. He was a citizen always on the side of every social and moral reform and none knew him but to respect and love him. As a friend he was stanch and true, and the poor and distressed found in him a cheerful helper, to whom no appeal was made in vain.
Paul Lattner was married in Independence, Iowa, November 15, 1857, to Miss Amanda Lesher, a native of Ohio, and of Dutch ancestry. At his death our subject left a family of fifteen children, nine sons and six daughters. The eldest, Jacob F. is editor of the Cedar Rapids Journal. Wendline H. is one of the proprietors of the Kansas City Star. Samuel B. is engaged in the hardware business in Worthington. Joseph is a tinsmith in the employ of his brother Samuel. Paul is an engineer at Kansas City; John, George, Peter and Raymond are at home with their widowed mother. The eldest daughter, Mary Amanda, is now Sister Mary Boniface, of the Franciscan Order of Dubuque. Susan is the wife of P. Vandever, of Dyersville; Clara is Mrs. John Klassen, residing in Granville, this state, where her husband is engaged in the hardware business; Ella, Rosa and Anna are at home. The family occupies a pleasant home in Worthington, which was built by Mrs. Lattner after the decease of our subject.
Samuel B. Lattner, the third son of our subject, was born at Lattner’s, February 5, 1862, where he was given a good education. When only twenty years of age he engaged in the livery business in Worthington, and continued thus to operate for three years when he disposed of his stables and opened up a hardware establishment and has built up a large and profitable trade. He also handles agricultural implements and owns a large warehouse stocked with all kinds of carriages and buggies, to which branch of business he gives his personal attention. On the death of his honored father he was appointed Notary Public in his place, and is still the incumbent of the position he has been Village Clerk since the incorporation of the place, and also has been Treasurer of the School Board for the past five years. Like all of his ancestors he is a Democrat in politics and a devout member of the Catholic Church.
Samuel Lattner was married in 1885 to Miss Mary, daughter of Daniel Gerhart, a retired farmer of Hopkinton, and this state. To them have been born three daughters, Emma, Laura and Rebecca. This gentleman occupies one of the finest residences in the place. It is pleasantly located on an elevation just south of the business portion of Worthington and commands a good view of the surrounding country. Samuel Lattner has ever borne his part in the development and upbuilding of his community and is a prominent and influential citizen, highly respected throughout this section, where he has a large circle of friends and acquaintances.
Next up the story of Veronica Wieser Lattner’s brother Anton Wieser and his family’s life in Iowa.