Jerry Dunkelberger, mayor of Newton, Kan., comes of stanch German ancestry, the Dunkelberger family having been founded in America about 1700 by one George Dunkelberger, who immigrated to this country from Germany and settled in Philadelphia, Pa., in which state and city a number of his descendants have attained prominent places in the professions, especially in the line of educational work.
Jerry Dunkelberger was born in Hegins, Schuylkill county, Pennsylvania, Dec. 9, 1868, son of William and Elizabeth (Holderman) Dunkelberger, natives of Pennsylvania. William Dunkelberger, son of Jacob Dunkelberger, also born in Pennsylvania, engaged in farming in that state until 1879, the year of his removal to Kansas, where he bought 160 acres of land in Macon township, Harvey county, which he has developed into a fine grain farm and on which he resides. There his wife, the mother of Jerry Dunkelberger, died Feb. 2, 1906. William Dunkelberger is a member of the Evangelical Association, a branch of the German Reform denomination. The Holderman family is also an old one in Pennsylvania, where Jacob Holderman, maternal grandfather of Jerry Dunkelberger, was born and where he spent his life as a farmer. Mr. Dunkelberger was educated in the common schools of Pennsylvania, and after the family's removal to Kansas attended the Salina Normal University at Salina. He began his independent career as an employe in the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe railroad shops, as a machinist, but later became a locomotive fireman, and from that position was promoted to that of engineer. After having served six years as an engineer he quit railroading and operated a threshing machine several years, and then began the sale of threshing machines as agent for the Minneapolis Thresher Company. Later, he engaged in the real estate business, dealing in his own properties, with which he was identified at the time of his election to the office of mayor of Newton, April 5, 1910, the first commissioned mayor of that city. He was reëlected to that office in 1911, the citizens thus expressing their approval of his administration and recognizing his efficiency in the management of the city's affairs. During his administration many civic improvements have been undertaken, the most important being the recent improvement of the waterworks plant at a cost of $30,000. The work of placing all electric light and telephone wires underground has been started, and a complete sewer system has been constructed. Mr. Dunkelberger was an active factor in securing the passage of an ordinance for the admittance of an interurban railway to connect the city with Wichita, which road is nearing completion.
Mr. Dunkelberger was married Jan. 21, 1897, to Mrs. Louise Klock, daughter of David Geise, who was born in Pennsylvania and spent his entire life in that state. Mr. and Mrs. Dunkelberger have three childrentwo daughters and one son: Melba, born March 11, 1899, and Neva, born Oct. 28, 1900, both of whom are attending school, and Jerry, born March 25, 1907. Mrs. Dunkelberger is a member of the Lutheran church. Fraternally, Mr. Dunkelberger is a Mason, being a member of the Blue Lodge and Chapter at Newton, and he is also a member of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers. In 1910 he served as president of the Harvey county division of the Kansas Anti-Horse Thief Association. He is interested in farming, being the owner of a fine farm in Macon township, in Harvey county, and is also a stockholder in various financial and commercial enterprises.Pages 285-286 from volume III, part 1 of Kansas: a cyclopedia of state history, embracing events, institutions, industries, counties, cities, towns, prominent persons, etc. ... / with a supplementary volume devoted to selected personal history and reminiscence. Standard Pub. Co. Chicago : 1912. 3 v. in 4. : front., ill., ports.; 28 cm. Vols. I-II edited by Frank W. Blackmar. Transcribed December 2002 by Carolyn Ward. This volume is identified at the Kansas State Historical Society as microfilm LM195. It is a two-part volume 3.
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