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John Sijwassink biography

JOHN SYWASSINK....That the life history of John Sywassink is a record of success is due to the persistent effort and intelligently directed industry which he has displayed through the many years of his connection with agricultural interests of Muscatine county. Although reared a city boy, he nevertheless sought his fortune amid the scenes of farm life and has never regretted his choice of agriculture as a lifework, for the prosperity which has attended his efforts has been most gratifying and substantial. His entire life has been spent within the borders of Muscatine county, his birth having occurred in the city of Muscatine on the 18th of November, 1860. His parents, John W. and Jennie Gertrude ( Warrenhuise ) Sywassink, were natives of Holland, where the former was born on the 5th of November, 1829, and the latter on the 22d of October, that year. Ther were reared and in early life sailed for the new world on the same ship, which left Holland on the 5th of September, 1854, and arrived in the United States on the 11th of November, whereupon they made their way direct to Muscatine, Iowa. They had been acquainted in their native country and a year after their arrival here were united in marriage, the ceremony being celebrated on the 16th of November, 1855. They continued to make their home in this city until 1880, and for twenty-seven years Mr. Sywassink was employed as a laborer by the Musser Lumber Company. At the expiration of that period he removed to a farm about five miles west of Muscatine and there was engaged in agricultural pursuits for ten tears, after which he retired from active life. He and his wife were both devoted and faithful Christians, having joined the German Presbyterian church in 1857. They remained members of that denomination until 1890, when it was reorganized and became the Dutch Reformed church, at which time they became identified with the new organization and continued to hold membership therein. They traveled life's journey happily together for many years, living to celebrate their golden wedding anniversary, and were only separated by the death of the wife on the 23d of October,1908. Mr. Sywassink survives and makes his home in Moscow. Their family consisted of six children, as follows : Jennie, the deceased wife of John Van Gent ; John, of this review ; Garret William, a resident of Muscatine ; Henry, also of this city ; George, who passed away in 1902 ; and Benjamin, of Moscow township. Spending the period of his boyhood and youth in his native city, John Sywassink enjoyed good educational privileges as a pupil of the grammar school, which he attended until graduated threrfrom in due course of time. He was still but a lad when he accepted his first position as water carrier in Musser Lumber Company's yards and for four years was employed in that capacity, receiving at first for his labors twenty-five cents per day, then fifty cents and later seventy-five cents. He was employed by that company as a laborer for about eight years and then became identified with the Young America Flour Mills, with which he remained as deliverer for five years. Up to this time he had been imbued with s spirit of ambition and determination, for throughout the intervening years he had been actuated by a desire that someday his efforts should more directly benefit himself. He therefore practiced strict economy and at length was able to invest in real estate in Muscatine. Upon severing his connection with the flour mills he purchased his present farm, trading his property in as partial payment. This farm, located on section 19, Sweetland township, has remained his home for the past twenty-two years and is now one of the valuable properties of the township. It consists of one hundred and eighty acres, all under a high state of cultivation, and as he has prospered in his undertakings he has been able to add to his holdings, being now the owner of another tract of one hundred acres on section 24, this township, which is now being operated by his son-in-law. Energy, industry and perseverence have ever been salient characteristics in his career and have been supplimented by a capacity for hard work and wise management which has insured a most gratifying degree of success in his agricultural enterprise. It was on the 27th of December, 1883, that Mr. Sywassink was united in marriage to Miss Louise Charlotte Kemper, who was born in Montpelier township, Muscatine county, on the 23d of November, 1859. She is a daughter of Henry and Charlotte ( Weinberg ) Kemper, who are now deceased and are mentioned elsewhere in this volume in the sketch of their son John Kemper. Unto Mr. and Mrs. Sywassink have been born seven children, as follows : Lottie, the wife of William Testrake, who is operating his father-in-law's farm in Montpelior township ; Gertrude, John, Henry, Charles, Louise and Nettie, all at home. In politics Mr. Sywassink keeps well informed on the questions and issues of the day and gives stalwart support to the republican party. He has ever championed the cause of education, having for thirteen years served as school officer of district No. 4. He holds membership in the Methodist Episcopal church at Sweetland, of which he is a trustee, and does all in his power to extend its influence through the community. Indeed all matters pertaining to the material, political, intellectual and moral welfare of the county are of deep interest to him and solicit his earnest effort in their behalf. Possessed of those qualities which ever inspire respect and confidence in one's fellowmen, the life record of John Sywassink is in contradistinction to the old adage the " A prophet is never without honor save in his own country," for in Muscatine county, within whose boundaries his entire life has been spent, he has won for himself a circle of friends which is almost coextensive with the circle of his acquaintance.

Owner/Source History of Muscatine County Iowa, Volume II, Biographical, 1911, page 616,

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