|Birth: ||Nov. 21, 1854|
|Death: ||Mar. 8, 1916|
South Dakota, USA
JOHN F. LUKE, one of the men who have contributed by energy, enterprise
and public spirit to the present advanced state of prosperity and
civilization of Faulk county, may well be classed among her pioneer
citizens, and who without such distinction would be worthy a place in
the annals of the county. He is the owner of one of the most valuable
farms in township 120, range 68, where he has made his home for many
Mr. Luke was born in Dodge county, Wisconsin, on a farm, November 21,
1854. His father, Frederick Luke, was a native of Germany, and came to America in 1852, and settled in Dodge county on a farm, and worked at day labor. He was injured while working on a mill dam, and after
lingering for six months, died from the effects. Our subject was the
second child in a family of four children, and was six years of age at the time of his father's death. He was placed with another family, and
at the age of ten years, in compliance with the wishes of a Mr. Thomas Patrick, he joined that gentleman's family, first temporarily for the
purpose of helping husk corn, and then it was decided he should make
his home there, which he did until he reached his majority. He attended the public schools and received a fair education. After reaching the
age of twenty-one years he hired to Mr. Patrick for a few months, and
then began work by the day for others. This he continued for the next
seven years. He then determined to seek fortune in the west, and on
March 24, 1883, he reached Northville, Spink county, Dakota, and thence proceeded overland to Faulk county. He worked at anything he could find to do, and on April 5th of the same year located a claim to the
northwest quarter of section 34, township 120, range 68, as a pre-
emption. He built a board shanty, 12 x 14 feet, and sodded it outside.
During the summer he hired some breaking done, while he worked out
digging wells and grading for a railroad. His first attempt at a crop
was of sod corn, potatoes and beans, the potatoes only being worth
harvesting. A year later he was the owner of a team of horses, a wagon, a plow, a harrow and a cow and a few chickens. He lived on his pre-emption claim from 1885 to 1893, which had in the meantime been
converted into a homestead. In the latter year he removed to section 27 of the same township, where he erected a house, 16x 24 feet, with an addition, 16 x 16 feet. He provided a cellar, 16 x 24 feet, with eight-foot walls, stoned up, and a cement floor. Various outbuildings were erected, including a barn, 32 x 30 feet. This was swept away by a cyclone April 15, 1896, at which time he suffered considerable loss.
Notwithstanding drawbacks, he is now the owner of four hundred and
eighty acres of land, with two hundred acres under cultivation, seventy five acres of pasture, five acres of forest trees, together with various small fruits. All his improvements are of the best, he has a
large pond, formed by means of a dam, and has water all the year round, except possibly for a few days on unusually dry summers. He has devoted
his attention chiefly to wheat growing, though he has given
considerable care to the raising of stock. He keeps about twenty head
of cattle and sixteen head of horses. His best crop was in 1892, when
his wheat yield was eighteen bushels to the acre.
Mr. Luke was married March 23, 1884, to Miss Magdalena Schweickhard, a native of Dodge county, Wisconsin. Mrs. Luke's father, Jacob
Schweickhard, was born in Alsace, Germany, and came to America at the
age of twenty-five years, and settled in New York. He afterward became one of the earliest settlers of the state of Wisconsin, where he engaged in farming. Mrs. Luke's grandfather, Schultz, was a soldier of the first Napoleon, and followed that famous leader on his perilous invasion of Russia, was at Moscow, and returned with the few survivors
of that memorable campaign. Mrs. Luke, before her marriage, located in Faulk county in the spring of 1884, and took a tree-claim. She has
given invaluable aid and encouragement to her husband through all the
years of trying pioneer life. Their union has been blessed by the birth
of five children, named as follows: John D., born July 9, 1885; Minnie M., born May 19, 1887; Sarah L., born September 28, 1889; Nellie E., born May 19, 1893; and Belle E., March 4, 1896. In politics Mr. Luke is
a Republican, and takes an intelligent interest in public matters. He
is a member in good standing of the Modern Woodmen lodge, and he and
his wife are communicants of the Congregational church.
Our subject was one of the first to build shanty in his township, and
at that time there were little evidences of the coming greatness of
that section of the country. His first load of goods, hauled from
Northville, consisted of lumber, a barrel of pork, which cost twenty-
three dollars, a jug of syrup and seed beans and potatoes. As they were crossing Snake creek the wagon tipped over and dumped the entire load.
The next year he made a trip to Northville for a load of horse feed,
some furniture and a kitchen outfit, when the load stuck in the mud ten miles from Northville, and he worked all night trying to extricate it.
He recounts many of his pioneer experiences with interesting detail,
and his reminiscences form a portion of the history of the Dakotas.
Memorial and biographical record; an illustrated compendium of biography, containing a compendium of local biography, including biographical sketches of prominent old settlers and representative citizens of South Dakota" Published by G. A. Ogle & Co., Chicago, 1899. Pages 577-578.
Magdalena M Schweickhard Luke (1861 - 1938)
Minnie Linda Luke Hain (1887 - 1910)*
South Dakota, USA
Created by: Ozarkcheryl
Record added: Nov 06, 2012
Find A Grave Memorial# 100288611