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D. H. Pieper
Born February 2, 1851


D. H. Pieper is one of the well-to-do farmers of Greenfield township whose prosperity is wholly due to his own exertions. He was born in Whitley county, Indiana, February 2, 1851, and is a son of Frederick and Catherine (Ecker) Pieper. The father was of German birth and was only sixteen years of age when he took passage for this country. He was wholly without funds, even to pay his way across the ocean, so upon landing to defray the cost of the journey he sold his labor to the highest bidder. He was bought by one of the legislators of Pennsylvania, who held him until he had given the value of the money paid. The man was a kind master, however, and Frederick Pieper remained with him four years longer than was required. In 1854, with his family, he came to Iowa, reaching Rome township, Jones county, June 7 of that year. He procured a homestead there and had just become well settled and was beginning to get a good start in the new country, when in 1860 the great Comanche cyclone crossed that part of the county afflicting Mr. Pieper most severely. The home, only a log house to be sure, was razed and the father and two daughters, Susan, a girl of twelve years, and Annie, only nine months old, were found about half a mile away. The two girls were dead and had been stripped of their clothes by the wind. Mr. Pieper was severely injured, but had chances of life, while his wife, who was not carried far from the home, had several of her ribs broken. The mother and the two uninjured sons were cared for by neighbors, the father and the daughters were taken to Fayette Smith's home, a log cabin about half a mile north of the scene of the disaster. This house was built in 1852 and is still standing upon a part of D. H. Pieper's farm, as is the granary in which the bodies of his sisters were temporarily laid. Others who suffered in that storm were the Allen family and a man named John Niles, who were living about a mile west of Mr. Pieper's home. They were all killed and are buried, in unmarked graves, in the cemetery at Mechanicsville. All his property was destroyed and himself compelled to lie in a helpless condition for many weeks, Frederick Pieper was all but discouraged by what had happened to him. The kind and cheering words of his friends, however, gave him new heart and with the restoration of his health he again took up the battle of life. With what success he waged it can only be judged by the fact that when his days were over he was comfortably situated as regards personal possessions. Eight children were born to him and his wife: Susan, who was killed in the cvclone; D. H., of this sketch; Caroline, deceased; Samuel, residing in Olin; Catherine, who lives in Cedar Rapids; William, of Olin, Iowa; Annie, who was killed in the cyclone; and Fred, who is at present on the old homestead in Rome township.
D. H. Pieper was but three years of age when his parents came to this county and can well remember the destruction of the great Comanche cyclone that wrecked his old home. Should his memory fail he has constant reminders in the fact that eighty acres of the old place, the scene of the disaster, are now in his possession, and the little log cabin and the old granary are ever able to revive the tale of death and suffering. Upon his father's death the responsibility of the home farm and the guidance of affairs devolved upon him. He met the demands made upon him, the fields were improved, and the rest of the family started well along the road of success. Mr. Pieper has prospered with the passage of the years. His landholdings now amount to two hundred and eighty acres, substantial buildings have been erected and progressive means have been employed to prolong the fertility of the soil, until his farm has come to be considered one of the choicest in Greenfield township.
On the 26th of December 1875, Mr. Pieper wedded Miss Anna Hempy, who was born May 23, 1851, a daughter of George and Drusella (Miller) Hempy, and one of a family of nine children. The others were Lafayette, of Greenfield township; Mrs. Sophia Stabb, also of that township; Thomas, deceased; Marion, who lives in Greenfield township; Jacob, deceased; Mrs. Callie Stearns, of Springville, Iowa; Benjamin, of Lisbon, Iowa and George, who is living on the old homestead in Greenfield township. Mr. and Mrs. Pieper have had two children: Chauncey D., born April 4, 1882; and Haidee C., born August 10, 1891. Both live at home. In addition to rearing his own children, Mr. Pieper has taken for a specified time a boy, Herman Pieper, to whom he is giving a home and all its advantages just as if he had adopted him. He takes as much interest in him as in his own son, and accords him all the privileges and the opportunities for education the latter enjoyed.
In his political views Mr. Pieper is in sympathy with the democratic party, and while not a seeker for official distinction has served as township trustee for two terms, or six years, and as a member of the school board. He and his son Chauncey are Masons belonging to Patmos Lodge, No. 155, A.F.&A.M., of Mechanicsville; and Mechanics Chapter, No. 134, R.A.M.; and he is also a member of the Modern Brotherhood of America of Mechanicsville, of Tipton, Iowa. Mr. Pieper belongs to that large class of men who in looking over the prosperity that the years have brought to them can say that it is due entirely to their own efforts. His life again demonstrates the truth of the statement that industry will accomplish many things hard and seemingly impossible.

Source: History of Jones County, Iowa, Past and Present, R. M. Corbitt, S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., Chicago, 1910, p. 602.

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