Note: Dyersville: Its History and its People (Published in 1939) John Christoph was born in Bavaria on May 2, 1832 of Michael and Anna Barbara Christoph who came to St. Louis with their family in 1844 and in 1846 came to Dubuque County, in the same year buying the Christoph homestead a mile and a quarter north of Dyersville. To this homestead John accompanied his parents and brothers and sisters after they farmed a season at McKee Settlement. In 1855 Mr. Christoph married Anna Maria Schwetzler who was born in 1835 in Tyrol, Austria, and came to Dyersville about 1854 with her brothers Joseph and John Schwetzler. Mr. and Mrs. John Christoph farmed their homestead on section 19, the present Anton Heiring farm until 1867, when they rented it out and bought the Bill Dyer farm on the north boundary of Dyersville, the present Valentine Christoph farm. He also owned controlling stock in the New Vienna Brewery for five years together with Messrs. Baemle and Ferring. Though engaged principally in agriculture, Mr. Christoph's native endowments led him into activities more public and civic in character. He advanced through the township cursus honorum, holding all township offices besides being the justice of the peace from 1862 to 1866. His Justice office was located in the vicinity of the present Emporium Store. In the fall of 1860 he was elected County Superintendent of Schools, and he was a member of the Iowa Legislature for four terms, 1864, 1870-1872-1873. Practically all of his papers and valuable documents (he wrote a fine legible hand) were destroyed when his home burned. That home was replaced on its exact spot by the present Val Christoph farm home. Mr. Christoph was attending a General Assembly at Des Moines in 1872 when his oldest son, John Jr., died at home of typhoid fever. One naturally wonders where Mr. Christoph acquired his lore and knowledge of the law. He was just a school boy when his parents left their native land and there were no advanced schools near enough for John to attend her. The answer to that indicates his unusual talents along with thrifty initiative. It is true his schooldays ended when John left Germany but he had made fine progress in those short years. besides, where there is a will there is a way. During their short stay at McKee Settlement John struck an acquaintanceship with a certain Mr. Crawford, who was a lawyer, later the Hon. Theophilus Crawford. Michael Christoph allowed his promising son to pursue a home course in law under the tutelage of this lawyer. Mr. and Mrs. Christoph were very active in church and school work. They gave the large bell to St. Francis Church in 1879 and the first piano to the Sisters of St. Francis who came here to teach the parochial school in 1876. They often furnished foodstuff from their farm to the Venerable Sisters and needy neighbors. True charity however begins at home and these noble pioneers proved this in a striking manner in the case of Mr. Christoph's brother-in-law, Joseph Schwetzler. He was one of the party of three Schwetzlers who came to Dyersville about 1854. After their sister Maria married Mr. Christoph, John and Joseph Schwetzler moved to St. Louis where they married and entered business enterprises. Around 1860 Joseph became totally paralyzed after a stroke so that he could neither walk nor talk for twenty years. his connections at St. Louis seemed quite willing to yield to Mrs. John Christoph's offer to take care of her stricken brother at her home. Annually a packed of clothes for Joseph came from his brother John, who was in the clothing business at St. Louis. Outside of that donation the keep of this pitiful invalid brother was pure charity on the part of Mr. and Mrs. Christoph. Joseph died in 1880. Mr. and Mrs. Christoph had the following children: Anna (Mrs. Henry Meyer, William, Caroline, and Teresa died in infancy, Elizabeth while a novice in the Convent at St. Donatus south of Dubuque died from blood poisoning caused by stepping in a thorn during vacation at home, John died of typhoid fever, Rose (Mrs. Joseph Weber, Valentine, Caecilia (Mrs. John Steger), Agatha (Mrs. Michael Stoeckl), and Pauline who died young. Mr. Christoph died August 30, 1883 of appendicitis, and his wife passed away March 16, 1891. Both were buried in St. Francis Cemetery. ----------------------------------------1880 Dubuque County Biographies---------------------------------------------------- HON. JOHN CHRISTOPH, farmer, Sec. 30; P. O. Dyersville; born May 2, 1832, in Bavaria; in 1844, came to America; in 1846, came to Dubuque Co., where he has since resided; he has always been engaged in farming, and was engaged about five years in the brewery business in New Vienna; he owns 415 acres of land; he has held all the township offices; was elected in the fall of 1860, County Superintendent; he has also been a member of the State Legislature, having served four terms, viz, 1864, 1870, 1872, and 1873. Married Anna Maria Schwerzler in 1855; she was born in Austria in 1835; they have five children - Anna, Rosa, Valentine, Tilla and Aggie. Democrat; Catholic Church.
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