Through long years Joseph Rettele has been a resident of Nemaha county, and has not only witnessed its development and improvement but has aided in the work of progress, at all times manifesting a public-spirited interest in everything pertaining to the general welfare. He was born in Manitowoc county, Wisconsin, March 22, 1856, and is of German lineage. His father, Louis Rettele, was a native of Baden, Germany, and came to America when only eight years of age, in company with his parents, the family first locating in New York, near Rochester. Subsequently they removed to Wisconsin, taking up their abode near Milwaukee, where the father secured land and engaged in farming. There Louis Rettele was reared, and having attained his majority he secured a claim, upon which he lived until 1867, when he came to Nemaha county, Kansas. In this locality he carried on agricultural pursuits until his death, which occurred April 12, 1899. He was one of the well-known settlers of the county and was a consistent member of the Catholic church. He wedded Mary Magdalene Koelzer, a native of Germany, who came to America in early life and died in May, 1881. In the family of this worthy couple were four children, three of whom are now living, -- Joseph; Mary M., widow of Michael Kongs, and a resident of Richmond township; Peter J., of St. Benedict; and William, who was an ordained priest and died in New Mexico, October 3, 1885.
Joseph Rettele, the subject of this review, the second child of the family, when eleven years of age, accompanied his parents on their removal to Nemaha county, and in the schools of this locality and of Wisconsin pursued his education. The old log schoolhouse in which he conned his lessons in St. Benedict is yet standing. To the work of the farm he largely devoted his energies through his boyhood and youth, and to his father he gave the benefit of his services until the latter's death. In Richmond township, on the 18th of November, 1879, occurred the marriage of Mr. Rettele and Miss Mary A. Stein, who was born in Richmond township, Nemaha county, January 8, 1862. Her father, Mathias Stein, was born in Germany, but during his boyhood came to the new world, making his way first to Iowa, whence he came to Kansas about 1860. He married Elizabeth Daltrub, a native of Germany, and during her girlhood she crossed the briny deep. Both Mr. and Mrs. Stein died in Kansas, the mother on the 24th of May, 1883, the father on the 24th of May, 1891. They had ten children, of whom Mrs. Rettele is the eldest. She was born and reared in Richmond township, and by her marriage she has become the mother of eight children, all born on the farm which is now their home, namely: Louis, William, Peter, Lizzie, Annie, Frank, Benedict and Catherine.
Mr. Rettele is the owner of two hundred acres of rich and arable land, all of which is under a high state of cultivation. He carries on general farming and also makes a specialty of raising hogs. When he came to his present home there was not an improvement upon the place, but as the years passed he added buildings, fences and all modern accessories and conveniences, and he is now the owner of a very attractive and valuable property. His political support is given the Democracy, and he has held the offices of township clerk and constable. He has also served as a member of the school board, and the cause of education has found in him a warm friend. He withholds his aid and co-operation from no movement calculated to prove a public benefit, yet withal he is practical, believing in the judicious expenditure of money for improvement. He well may be called a self-made man, his efforts having resulted in the acquirement of a comfortable competence.