Roder, August (History - 1867)


Janet Schwarze





----Source: 1918 History of Clark County, Wisconsin

AUGUST RODER, a prosperous farmer and business man of Pine Valley Township, was born in Silicia, Germany, June 4, 1867, his parents being Carl and Anna (Hankey) Roder. In June, 1866, the family took passage in a sailing vessel for the United States, where they landed at New York, after a five weeks' voyage. Besides August there was another child, Christine, now Mrs. Henry Sterns, of Duluth, Minn. Mrs. Roder had a sister, Mrs. Ernst Nitschke, who resided in Sheboygan County, Wis., and accordingly they headed in that direction. After arriving at Milwaukee they drove by team to Adell, Sheboygan County, where they located for awhile, Mr. Roder following his trade of shoemaker and sometimes working on farms. They were practically without money when they arrived, their only capital being good health. While living in Sheboygan County two more children were born: Ernestine, now Mrs. Ernst Nitschke, of Lynn Township, Clark County, and Paul, who resides on the old homestead in Grant Township. Carl Roder located in Section 13, Grant Township, getting forty acres of wild land, to which he had to cut a road. The next year he built a log house, 20 by 26 feet in size, and a log barn. He began the work of clearing his place without stock or implements, working at times for his neighbors and finally got enough money to buy a span of steers. Neillsville, from which they got their supplies, carrying them on their backs, was seven miles away. There Carl Roder resided until his death in May, 1914, at the age of 82 years. Before that time, however, he had bought and cleared another tract of eighty acres in Section 19, Lynn Township. A faithful member of the German Lutheran Church, he helped to establish the church in Section 12, Grant Township, known as St. John's Church, and was one of its officers for thirty years. His wife died Nov. 3, 1905, at the age of 71 years. In addition to the children already mentioned, they had one more, Amelia, who was born in Clark County, and is now Mrs. Karl Krause, of Grant Township. August Roder was 9 years of age when he arrived in Wisconsin with his parents and sister, Christine. He had already attended school in Germany and he subsequently continued his studies for awhile in Sheboygan County, where also he was confirmed in the Lutheran Church. After coming to Clark County the axe took the place of his school books and he was kept busy assisting his father in clearing the land. At the age of 19 he struck out for himself, working on farms and in the lumber camps in winter. After awhile he took up threshing, an occupation in which he continued subsequently for twenty-seven years, and in which he was a pioneer in this section, being also one of the first to get a steam engine.


His industrial activities, however, were not confined to this branch of agriculture, for in the meanwhile he bought eighty acres of land in Section 26, Grant Township, on which stood an old log house in a small clearing. The land he cleared up himself, developing it into a farm which he sold in 1915. October, 1909, Mr. Roder bought eighty acres in Section 24, Pine Valley Township, this being an improved place. Here he has built a good two-story brick veneer house, 30 by 32 feet in ground dimensions, and a basement barn, 36 by 70 feet. He raises a good grade of stock and has taken rank among the successful agriculturists of his township. Aside from these activities Mr. Roder helped to start the Farmers' State Bank of Granton, and was one of its directors for a number of years. As a responsible citizen of his township, he has served in public office, having formerly been a member of the side board three years, chairman four years, and having served sixteen years as school clerk. He is a shareholder in the Co-operative Butter Factory at Neillsville.


Mr. Roder was married Jan. 25, 1899, to Elvira Ayers, who was born in Neillsville, Clark County, daughter of M. B. Ayers, an early settler in the county, who is now dead. Her mother, who is still living, was in maidenhood, Anna Miller, belonging to a family that helped to found the village of Neillsville. Mr. and Mrs. Roder are the parents of six children: Margaret, Carl, August, Alice, John and Ruth, all of whom reside at home.



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