|F. J. Sokol
Born October 22, 1841
||Hon. F. J. Sokol is one of the prominent citizens of Jones county who has made for himself an enviable position in commercial and financial circles, yet without allowing personal interests or ambitions to dwarf his public spirit or activities. His is the record of a strenuous life-a record of strong individuality, sure of itself, stable in purpose, quick in perception, swift in decision, energetic and persistent in action.
Born in Bohemia on the 22d of October, 1841, Mr. Sokol is a son of Frank and Josephine (Mishka) Sokol, who were likewise natives of Bohemia. They came to the United States in the spring of 1854, settling in Jackson county, Iowa, where the father entered land. Their first home was a board shanty, in which they lived for one year, when a substantial log cabin was built, covered by a clapboard roof. In this they remained until 1870, when they removed from the township of Monmouth to Monmouth, Iowa, where they resided until called to their final rest, the father passing away May 30, 1891, while the mother died on the 8th of August, 1897. They were the parents of a large family but only four reached years of maturity and of these F. J. Sokol is the eldest. The others are: Josephine, the wife of William Bezdicheck, of What Cheer, Iowa; J. H., living in Maquoketa, Iowa; and George, whose home is in Monmouth, this state.
F. J. Sokol spent the first nineteen years of his life under the paternal roof and then went with a party overland to California, attracted by the recent discoveries of gold on the Pacific coast. They traveled with ox-teams, making their westward way over the long, hot stretches of sand and through the mountain passes, and when five months had elapsed they reached the Golden state. Mr. Sokol first went to where Lathrop now stands. It was then a ranch and there he remained for four years, working a part of the time in the gold fields and the remainder of the time on the farm. Upon his return to Iowa in 1865 he rented his father's farm in Jackson county for a year but in the spring of 1867 turned his attention to merchandising in Monmouth, Iowa, continuing in business at that point for ten years. He prospered in his undertaking so that during that decade he was enabled to purchase his father's farm. In the fall of 1880 he bought another farm in Jones county adjoining Onslow and to that place removed, residing on this farm for twenty-one years. The residence having in the meantime been taken into the corporate limits of the town. He did not operate the farm, however, but gave his attention to his business. In 1881 he purchased a lumberyard in the village of Onslow and carried on business in that line for a quarter of a century, enjoying an extensive and growing patronage. During the same period he bought a half interest in the Onslow Savings Bank with which he has since been identified in the capacity of vice president. In 1905, however, he retired from the active management of business interests to enjoy in well earned retirement the fruits of his former toil, business enterprise and carefully managed affairs. He still resides in Onslow in a beautiful residence which is located on a fifty-acre tract of land lying in Madison township. He also owns a farm of three hundred and twenty acres in Osceola county, Iowa. He is numbered among the prominent and influential residents of the part of the state in which he makes his home and his life record indicates what may be accomplished by persistent, earnest and indefatigable effort.
F. J. Sokol acquired the greater part of his education in Bohemia but also attended school for a short time after coming to this country, arriving in the new world with his parents in the spring of 1854. He has always been a broad reader and thorough student and has acquired a wide general knowledge in this way and thorough experience. He is widely recognized as a forceful man who has always conserved his energies and managed his interests to the best advantage, laboring for the welfare of the community as well as for individual interest.
In politics Mr. Sokol is a republican and in 1892 was appointed supervisor of Jones county to fill out an unexpired term, after which he was twice regularly elected to the office, serving on the board for a period of seven years. He was twice elected to the state legislature, serving in the twenty-eighth and twenty-ninth general assemblies with honor to himself and credit to his constituents. He has never been an aspirant for public office and to each office to which he has been elected his nominations have been made by acclamation. He was the first mayor of the village of Onslow, serving for four terms as chief executive of the town, his administration being businesslike, progressive, and public-spirited. He has filled all of the minor offices of the village and township except that of justice of the peace, and refused to serve in that capacity. His fraternal relations are with Keystone Lodge, No. 206, F.& A.M., of Wyoming, in which he was raised in 1869.
It was on the 3d of January, of the same year, that Mr. Sokol was united in marriage to Miss Anna Bezdicheck a native of Bohemia, born January 31, 1851, and a daughter of Vencil and Anna Bezdicheck, who came to the United States in 1858, settling in Jackson county, where the parents both died. Their family numbered four children and unto Mr. and Mrs. Sokol also four children have been born, namely: Blanche, the wife of W. D. Shuttleworth, of Osceola county, Iowa; Emma, who wedded Frank Shimerda, residing at Oxford junction, Jones county, this state; John M., a practicing physician of Spencer, Iowa; and George F., a resident of Sibley, Iowa, engaged in the lumber and cement business.
While neither Mr. nor Mrs. Sokol are affiliated with any church they are both believers in the Christian faith and Mrs. Sokol is active in both church and charitable work. Mr. Sokol has always been friendly to educational interests and has provided each of his children with advantages for college education. He stands for all that is progressive in the life of the community and for all that is essential to the welfare and up building of the state. While born across the water, there is no more loyal son of America within the borders of Jones county than F. J. Sokol and the honors which have been accorded him have been worthily won and worn. His business affairs have been so capably managed that he seems to have attained at any one point of his career the possibilities for successful accomplishment at that point and he has found that success is ambition's answer.
Source: History of Jones County, Iowa, Past and Present, R. M. Corbitt, S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., Chicago, 1910, p. 328.
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