John Engelken, one of the enterprising and practical farmers of Richmond township, Nemaha county, residing on section 5, was born in Hanover, Germany, on the 20th of February, 1844, and is the eldest of six children of Bernard and Mary (Cooper) Engelken, natives of Germany. The father was a farmer by occupation, and in 1854, bidding adieu to friends and country, he crossed the Atlantic to the New World, taking up his abode in Jo Daviess county, Illinois, where he secured government land at a dollar and a quarter per acre. He improved a farm there, making it his home until 1880, when he came to Kansas. He died at the home of our subject, September 28, 1897, and his widow is now living with her son John, at the age of seventy-nine years.
Mr. Engelken, of this review, was a lad of six summers when he came with his parents to the New World. He began his education in the fatherland, but completed his studies in the district schools of Jo Daviess county, Illinois. Having arrived at years of maturity, he was married, in Dorchester, Allamakee county, Iowa, May 28, 1872, to Mary Schulte, who was born in Davenport, Iowa, October 30, 1855, her parents being John B. and Mary Schulte, who were natives of Hanover, Germany, whence they came to America in early life. The mother died when Mrs. Engelken was about eight years of age, and her father passed away when seventy-nine years of age. Our subject and his wife are the parents of nine children, namely: Mary, the wife of Bernard Rottinghouse, of Nemaha county; Margaret, the wife of Henry Rethmann, of Nemaha township, Nemaha county, Kansas; Ellen; Kate; Bernard, deceased; Elizabeth, Henry, Nora and Otilda.
After his marriage Mr. Engelken located in Allamakee county, Iowa, where he engaged in general farming until 1880, when he came to Nemaha county, Kansas. Here he purchased a tract of wild prairie land, which he has transformed into an excellent farm, making all of the improvements upon the place. He first built a barn, and in that the family lived through the summer, when a substantial residence was erected. In 1897 he built a very large barn, and these, with the other improvements upon the place, stand as monuments to the thrift and enterprise of the owner. Mr. Engelken has two hundred and forty-two acres, all under cultivation, and his diligence has resulted in the acquirement of a handsome competence. His political support is given to the Democratic party. For more than ten years he has served as the school clerk. He is a prominent member and one of the officers of St. Mary's Catholic church, and aided in building the house of worship. His life has been quietly passed, yet has been characterized by fidelity to every duty. Such a career is worthy of emulation.