J. F. Baudler is president of the First National Bank of Fontanelle and in business cirlces occupies a most enviable position. He is honored and respected by all, not alone by reason of the success he has achieved but also owing to the straightforward business policy that he has ever followed. Moreover, his record proves that success is not a matter of genius or of luck, as held by some, but is rather the outcome of clear judgment, experience and enterprise.
Mr. Baudler is a native of Saxe-Coburg, Germany, where his birth occurred July 6, 1855. His parents were Ernest and Elizabeth (Kaiser) Baudler, both of whom spent their entire lives in Germany. The son was reared under the parental roof and was educated in the public schools of his native country. In accordance with the laws of the land he served for three years in the German army, from 1874 until 1877. His father was a farmer by occupation, and after leaving the army, Mr. Baudler worked on his father’s farm until 1883, when he came to the United States, bringing with him a capital of but twenty dollars.
He first took up his abode in Bureau county, Illinois, where he was employed as a farm hand, thus gaining his start in the new world. In the spring of 1885 he was united in marriage to Miss Elizabeth Ritter, also a native of Germany, who came to the United States in 1884.
Immediately following their marriage they removed to the west, making their way to Iowa. They settled in Jackson township, Adair county, where Mr. Baudler rented a half section of land owned by an Illinois man. The farm was badly run down at that time and was largely covered with a growth of briars, so that his neighbors predicted that he would starve to death before he could get the place into a cultivable condition. With determination and characteristic energy, however, he began his work, cleared the farm and in the course of time transformed the place into productive fields from which he annually gathered good harvests. He also extended his efforts to the live-stock business, beginning, however, with but five cows and five hogs. A few years later he bought with his first carload of cattle an eighty-acre farm, and from that time has continued to prosper, increasing his farming interests and his live-stock business from time to time until he is now one of the substantial residents of Adair county. He still owns two hundred and forty acres of valuable land and has sold off two hundred acres since his removal to Fontanelle.
In 1904 he took up his abode in the town, where the succeeding years have been passed, and he is today one of the foremost business men of the city. Some time after removing to Fontanelle he purchased some stock in the First National Bank and in 1912 he bought the stock of William Johnson in the bank and was elected president of the institution. He still owns the controlling interest and remains at the head of the bank, carefully directing its policy and winning for it a substantial measure of success. He has made a close study of the banking business and his laudable ambition and energy have been elements in the growth of the institution.
To Mr. and Mrs. Baudler have been born four children, as follows: Katherine, the wife of Ernest Miller, who operates his father’s farm; Lydia, who gave her hand in marriage to Diedrich Stamberger, of LaSalle county, Illinois; Louise, who is the wife of Fred Welsch, of LaSalle county, Illinois; and Pauline, at home.
Mr. Baudler and his family are all members of the German Lutheran church and are interested in those elements which are forces in the moral development of the community. In 1906 he returned to his native land for a visit, spending about six months in that country. His political indorsement is given to the republican party and he keeps well informed on the questions and issues of the day. Though of German birth, he is strictly American in spriti and interests. The man who comes to the new world to establish his home should no longer remain a “German-American” or retain any other term which indicates in a way a half-hearted allegiance to his adopted land. Mr. Baudler, since becoming allied with the new world, is thoroughly American and his attitude toward all question relative to the welfare of his community is that of a public-spirited citizen. He has given generously to further plans for the public good and his business life has been such as has been such as has added to the material prosperity of the district in which he lives. His example indicates what may be accomplished when energy points out the way and his record proves that success and an honored name may be gained simultaneously.