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John W. Bakker
The History of Renville County, Volume 2
Compiled by Franklyn Curtiss-Wedge
p. 1059-1060

John W. Bakker, deceased, was born in Emden, Germany, March 25, 1834, and came to America with his family in 1869. He located at Forreston, Ill., where he followed farming for seven years. Then he moved to Grundy Center, Grundy county, Iowa, and farmed there for about eleven years. In the fall of 1886 he came to Renville county and purchased 200 acres of land in section 5, Crooks township. In the spring of 1867 he and his family moved to this county and he then purchased 240 acres of improved land in Ericson township on which he located. He engaged in farming and became land agent for Prince & Co., and was very influential in getting the Germans and Hollanders from Illinois and Iowa to settle in Ericson and Crooks township. During five years he sold over 13,000 acres for this company. He was also agent for the O'Connor Land Co. He added to his holdings until he owned nearly a thousand acres. He was the founder of the Emden German Christian Reform church in Ericson township and worked hard for its support, and was an elder for very many years. He remained on his farm until 1902 when he retired to Renville where he died Jan. 4, 1913. His widow still survives. He was married in Germany to Henderika Spanhout and the following children were born: W. J., of Crooks township; George, of Crooks township; John, of Renville; M. J., of Crooks, and Harm, of Renville. Five children are deceased: Mena, Harm, Maggie, Gerret and one unnamed. At the time of Mr. Bakker's retirement he divided his land among his then six living children, giving each 160 acres of land.

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