Article from the Decorah newspaper, June 10, 1948, written by Louis G. Krumm, grandson of Gottlob Krumm, second settler in Winneshiek County, Iowa.  Louis G. Krumm was the grandfather of Bill Price.


(Editor’s note: This story is one you should clip out and save)

This is Winneshiek county centennial month. The first permanent settlers homesteaded in the county exactly 100 years ago, Hamilton Campbell on June 7 and Gottlob Krumm on June 29.

L. G. Krumm, 408 Fifth Avenue, Decorah, a grandson of one of these settlers, corrects some errors in hitherto accepted county histories and adds some sidelights on pioneer life in this centennial article:

"Some time ago in discussing the settlement of Winneshiek county with a Luther College professor, he asked me to be interviewed or to write what I knew about early settlers at Ft. Atkinson, to which place my grandparents on my paternal side came in 1848 just one hundred years ago this month.

"Gottlob Krumm was the second permanent settler to locate in this county, the exact date being June 29th 1848. Hamilton Campbell of Castalia was the first one, coming 22 days earlier. There are a few errors in histories of Winneshiek county which are to be seen at the public library about the year, but I wish to emphasize the fact that the year was 1848. The next year, more settlers came to the Ft. Atkinson, Festina vicinity and Decorah also got its first one.

"Gottlob Krumm served five years in the German army and his brother being of military age, they decided to leave Europe in the big emigration to this country about that time. Grandfather had a wife and two small children. The older one, Chris, became my father.

"It is said he was the only passenger on the sailing ship who did not experience sea-sickness. The trip over the Atlantic took six weeks.

"After getting to Iowa they lived in a wigwam a few weeks until a log house was erected near two springs. A few years later the children wandered away one day and a big search did not locate them until late in the evening, when they were found asleep in the tall grass, their hands full of flowers.

"My grandma told me that she hid from Indians several times, taking the children with her when the men folks were afield. She also stated that had she known all the hardships in store for them she would never have left Europe.

"Grandfather Krumm was by trade a locksmith. Here in Iowa he erected a blacksmith shop on the farm he got from the government, which, until a few years ago still stood. He shod oxen and horses, making the nails and shoes early in the day before customers arrived. He worked at this trade until rheumatism compelled him to quit in later life. The writer still owns a hand sled he made in his shop, out of burr oak wood and ironed off in good shape. This sled is about 65 to 68 yrs. old.

"McGregor was the trading point and one winter day Granddad started with a grist or load of wheat for there. Later in the day a severe blizzard came up, such as we occasionally experience in our own times. After wandering around for some time he became lost, unyoked the oxen and tied them. The night was spent kicking against the endgate to keep his feet from freezing. When the storm abated next day he found he was not over a mile from home.

"Six more children were born to this couple, one dying in her teens and all the others living to a ripe old age. Three are still living at ages 88 to 92. My father lived to age 96.

"Gottlieb Krumm, the brother of Gottlob, in later years married and raised a large family about 2 or 3 miles west of Ft. Atkinson. The oldest son, Henry, is 93 years old and lives at Mason City. Another lives at Canton, S. D. and is over 80 years of age and still drives his car for a visit at Ft. Atkinson and Decorah every year.

"The Krumm farm remained in possession of the children for 50 years or more until after the death of my father, when one of his heirs sued for a division of the property and it was sold. Up to this time it was the home of the youngest daughter, Miss Rose Krumm, who resides near there at present.

"Before closing I wish to state that a soldier at the Fort had homesteaded at a date said to be earlier than 1848, but he was called to duty elsewhere and did not return for some time so can not be said to be the first permanent settler. This soldier was A. R. Young, and Mrs. A. F. Porter of this city is his granddaughter. Also of interest is the fact that one of Napoleon’s soldiers who went into Russia with his army and came back safely and settled between Ft. Atkinson and Festina near the "Smallest church in the world" as we know it. His name was A. F. Gaertner.

"Early history does not interested present day people so much, so I will close trusting I have not bored you too much."

L. G. Krumm

150 years in Winneshiek County | Gottlob Krumm obituary | Gottlob and Regina Krumm | Gottlob and Gottlieb Krumm | Krumm family photos | genealogy | home
First Winneshiek County Settlers Arrived 100 Years Ago
Copyright 1998 by Bill Price
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