Numbered among the native sons of Nemaha county, Joseph Koch was born in Richmond township on the 29th of November, 1859, and like many of the residents of this locality is of German lineage. His father, John Koch, was a native of Prussia, Germany, in which land he remained until forty-five years of age, when he sold his farm there and came to the new world, establishing a home in Wisconsin, where he remained tintil 1857. He then came to what is now Nemaha county, Kansas, locating on Wildcat creek, where he purchased one hundred and sixty acres of land for one hundred and fifty dollars. The entire tract was in its primitive condition and not a furrow had been turned or an improvement made upon the quarter-section of prairie which came into possession of Mr. Koch. However, he devoted his energies untiringly to the work of cultivation and became the owner of valuable property, upon which he resided until his death, which occurred when he was about eighty years of age. Being one of the first settlers in the county he witnessed much of its growth. He also aided in building four churches in St. Benedict and was actively connected with other measures which led to the substantial improvement of this section of the state, so that in his death the community lost one of its valued citizens, as well as one of its honored pioneers. His wife bore the maiden name of Anna Maria Wilbert and is also a native of Prussia, Germany, whence she came to America with her husband. She is still residing on the old homestead. one of the honored early pioneer women left to tell the tale of life when Nemaha county was situated on the wild western frontier. In the family were ten children, Mr. Koch being the ninth in order of birth and the youngest now living.
He was reared in his native township on the old homestead farm, attended the schools of St. Benedict for about two months during the winter season and throughout the remainder of the year assisted in the work of the farm, early becoming familiar with all the duties connected with the devehopment of the fields. On the 6th of June, 1882, he married Miss Sophia Novak, who was born in Ostrer, Germany, and was ten years of age when she came to America with her parents, Joseph and Sophia Novak. They were early settlers in Nemaha county and still reside on section 8, Richmond township. Mr. and Mrs. Koch began their domestic life on section 7, Richmond township, where they lived until 1894, when he erected their present residence on section 19. They have a very comfortable eight-room house standing in the midst of a fine farm of one hundred and six acres, which is under a high state of cultivation. Mr. Koch carries on general farming and his indefatigable labors have been crowned with a well merited degree of success. His marriage has been blessed with five chihdren, -- Lucy, Anna, Eddie, May and Minnie. All are natives of Richmond township, Nemaha county.
In his political views Mr. Koch is a Republican and keeps well informed on the issues of the day. He has held a number of minor offices in his township, discharging his duties in a prompt and faithful manner. He and his family are communicants of St. Mary's Catholic church and he assisted liberally in the erection of the house of worship at St. Benedict. He has always resided in the county of his nativity and the fact that many of his friends are numbered among those who have known him from boyhood is an indication of his sterling worth and his well spent life.
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