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John Henry Dirks
Born December 18, 1850
John Henry Dirks, whose agricultural success has added to the fair name of Jones county and of Scotch Grove township in particular as one of the prosperous sections of the state, was born in Hanover, Germany, December 18, 1850, a son of Dirk and Maria (Jacobs) Dirks. They followed their son to this country in 1880 but after about four years sojourn here returned to their native land. There in 1887 the mother died and in the summer of the same year the father came again to the United States, making his home with his children. His death occurred June 15, 1898.
At home. under the wise guidance of his parents, John Henry Dirks received the practical education which supplemented the training he obtained in the public schools of his native land. In 1870, when be was about twenty years of age, he decided to come to the United States to make his fortune. After landing upon our shores he came to. Jones county, Iowa where worked for four years in the employ of Peter Schwartz. At the end of that time, as the latter wished to take a trip to Germany, Mr. Dirks rented his place and began farming on his own account. For sixteen years be prosecuted his labors as a tenant in different sections of the township and then, in 1888, bought at the. sheriff's sale the place which had belonged to Hugh McClain. It embraced one hundred and twenty acres, lying on section 31, Scotch Grove township. For the first two years of his possession, however, Mr. Dirks rented it to the son of Mr. McClain, not taking up his own residence upon it until 1890. Since that time it has been his home continuously.
In 1891 he purchased forty acres adjoining his place, so that his present farm has a total area of one hundred and sixty acres. In 1902 he purchased another tract of land of eighty acres in Wayne township, which he operates in conjunction with that on which he lives, This large acreage may well be contrasted with the three dollars which was the extent of his possessions when Mr. Dirks entered this country. His land holdings and the success he has won from his cultivation of the soil make him now one of the substantial farmers of this county.
On the 25th of June, 1886, Mr. Dirks was united in marriage to Miss Mary Otten, of Scotch Grove township. She is a native of Hanover, Germany, and came to this country in 1885. Nine children have been born to the couple: Mary, Anna, Dirk, Grace, Otto, Henry, Frederick, Herman and William. They are all at home. The family are members of the German Lutheran church, in harmony with whose teachings they order their lives, while politically Mr. Dirks has given his support to the republican party, for he feels that he has seen repeated demonstration of the value of its principles of government.

Source: History of Jones County, Iowa, Past and Present, R. M. Corbitt, S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., Chicago, 1910, p. 206.


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