Family Stories

Embert Bergemeyer, Biography

from History of Clayton County, Iowa

Embert Bergemeyer, the present efficient and popular sheriff of Clayton County is a Norwegian by birth, but a thorough American at heart.  He was born in the city of Christiania, Norway, June 8th, 1877, the son of Elias Bergemeyer.  He came to America with his parents, landing in New York July 14, 1888, and the family came at once to McGregor, where they had relatives among the early Norwegian pioneers.  As a lad he worked on the farm and attended the rural schools of Clayton and Mendon townships.  His has been a life of hard work and his younger days he spent farming and threshing in the northern part of the county.  He was married in 1899 to Miss Anna Allen of McGregor and to them one son, Clinton Bergemeyer was born.  The death of his wife ended this happy union.  On November 24th, 1903, he was married to Miss Sarah Margaret Bertsinger of McGregor and they have a charming daughter, Marjorie Regina.  For a number of years Mr. Bergemeyer was in the drayage and ice business at McGregor which business he sold in 1908.  For five years he was city marshal of McGregor and also a constable for Mendon township.  It was his efficiency as peace officer and his genial good-heartedness which makes him highly popular with all the men, that led to his nomination for sheriff on the Democratic ticket in 1910.  There were three candidates in the primary election, Mr. Bergemeyer winning by a plurality of thirty-six votes.  At the election, however, in November, 1910, he defeated his opponent, Douglas Brown, by a majority of 1,078.  In the primary of 1912 he had no opposition and in the election of that year he received one of the largest majorities ever given a candidate for sheriff, being elected over Frank Wood, Republican, by a majority of 1,764.  Again, in 1914, he had no opposition from his own party at the primary and he was elected by a majority almost as large, he receiving 1,689 more votes than his opponent, J. P. Hurley, the Republican candidate.  In the primary of 1916 there was a four-cornered fight in which Mr. Bergemeyer was the winner by 125 over his nearest opponent, and he is at present the Democratic nominee for sheriff.  There is no question but that he has been a faithful, efficient and capable officer and a worthy successor to such men as James Davis, W. A. Benton, E. E. Benton, Martin Dittmer, and others who have made Clayton County noted for its excellent sheriffs.  During the year of 1915, from some unknown cause, a fire broke out in the roof of the county jail, which is also the sheriff’s residence, and at this time he lost a large portion of his household goods.  As an officer, Mr. Bergemeyer has been eminently successful.  There have been no jail deliveries during his term and all the work of his office has been attended to promptly and with courtesy, but with due firmness and proper regard for the law.  While, fortunately, there have been no serious crimes committed in the county during the last few years where the criminals were unknown, nevertheless Mr. Bergemeyer is entitled to much credit for his clever detective work in a number of instances.  One clever capture, due largely to his detective ability was the breaking up of an arson gang which set fire to a new residence in the eastern part of the county in 1913.  Mr. Bergemeyer followed the clues in the case and succeeded not only in capturing those guilty of this crime but in unearthing the burning of the Haggen barn in which horses and live stock were ruthlessly burned to death.  Mr. Bergemeyer is one of the best liked men in Clayton County.  He is capable, both physically and mentally, for the exacting office which he holds, and while he is inexorable in the performance of his duty, he has a kindness of heart and a sympathy for his fellows which makes him an ideal officer.  He has taken an active part in all civic movements at McGregor and Elkader and throughout the county, and his friends predict that he will be triumphantly elected this fall.

3 replies »

  1. Mr Embert Bergemeyer was born in the small mountain village Dalsbygda, 400 km north of Oslo. His parents Elias and Gea left a very small farm, which his parents had built, with their children and many other family members for a better fortune in America in late winter 1888.

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