Biography of Christ. Madowse

Christ Madowse, a former county commissioner and a prominent farmer in Richardson County, Nebraska, was born on July 4, 1864, in Effingham County, Illinois. In 1883, he moved to Nebraska, initially living with his uncle, Hans Koso, before establishing himself independently. Madowse developed a successful farm of 210 acres in Barada precinct and 70 acres in Arago precinct. He operated a threshing rig and focused on breeding Missouri jacks and Shorthorn cattle. Married to Mary Ruegge on October 23, 1891, they had one daughter, Minnie. Madowse was active in the Lutheran church, local politics, and educational initiatives.

Christ. Madowse, former county commissioner, proprietor of a fine farm of two hundred and ten acres in sections 32 and 33 of the precinct of Barada and of seventy acres in section 4 of the precinct of Arago, owner of a threshing-rig which for years he has been operating in that part of the county and also a well-known stockman, giving his particular attention to the breeding of Missouri jacks of the “Mammoth” variety, is a native of the state of Illinois, but has been a resident of this county since he was nineteen years of age, having come here as a boy in the spring of 1883 to make his home with an uncle, Hans Koso, one of the pioneers of Richardson county, but two weeks later began to make his own way and has ever since been doing well, long having been recognized as one of the substantial farmers of that part of the county in which he lives. He was born on a farm in Effingham county, Illinois, July 4, 1864, son of Joseph and Sophia (Koso) Madowse, natives of Germany, the former a Mecklenburger, who were married in this country.

Joseph Madowse was born in 1834 and was about fifteen years of age when he came to this country in 1849 and located in the neighborhood of Chicago, where he began to work as a farm hand, later locating in Effingham county, Illinois, and married Sophia Koso, of McHenry county, Illinois, who was but a girl when she came to this country with her parents, and there he spent the rest of his life engaged in farming, his death occurring in 1869. He was the father of four children, of whom the subject of this sketch was the second in order of birth and one of whom died in infancy, the others being Anna, wife of F. P. Finck, of the precinct of Arago, this county, and Mrs. Mary Folly, of Effiingham county, Illinois. The widow Madowse married John Percival and to that union six children were born: George, of Effingham county, Illinois; William, of Barada precinct, this county, and a biographical sketch of whom is presented elsewhere in this volume; Fred, of Effingham county, Illinois; Sophia, wife of I. Bailey, of Coles county, Illinois; Mrs. Sadie Reugge, of the precinct of Arago, this county, and one who died in infancy.

Christ. Madowse was only four years of age when his father died. He received his schooling in the local schools of Effingham county, Illinois, and in February, 1883, he then being but nineteen years of age, came to Nebraska to make his home with his maternal uncle, Hans Koso, who had a farm twelve miles northeast of Falls City. Young Madowse arrived at Falls City on February 23 of that year with thirty-five dollars in his pocket and lost little time after his arrival in starting for the home of his uncle, walking out to the Koso farm twelve miles away. It was the first time he had ever been away from home and after he had proceeded on his lonely walk for some miles he realized that he was dreadfully homesick. He looked back toward the town he had just left and longed for his home in Illinois. He quenched his thirst in a small pool collected in a horse track in the highway and trudged along, arriving in due time at the home of his uncle. He remained there, however, but two weeks, at the end of that time securing employment on the farm of Fred Zorn, at a wage of sixteen dollars a month. A year later he rented a farm and started to farm for himself, “keeping batch” for three years, at the end of which time his sister, Mrs. Mary Fopy, began keeping house for him and this arrangement continued until his marriage in the fall of 1891. In the meantime Mr. Madowse bought a tract of one hundred and twenty acres of timber land in the precinct of Barada, paying for the same fourteen dollars an acre, and proceeded to clear and develop the same. Presently he bought a threshing-rig, operating the same by horse power until he later bought a tractor engine, and the proceeds of that venture went far toward keeping up the payments on his land, which he paid out in ten years. For twenty-three years Mr. Madowse continued operating his threshing-machine in season and became one of the best-known operators in that line in the county. He also gradually enlarged his landholdings and now, as noted above, is the owner of two hundred and ten acres in sections 32 and 33 of Barada precinct, where he has his home, and of seventy acres in the adjoining section 4 of Arago precinct, his place including ninety acres of natural timber, which he has retained. In 1907 Mr. Madowse began on a somewhat extensive scale the raising of pure-bred Shorthorn cattle and in that line has done very well. He also for some time has given considerable attention to the breeding of jacks and has two “Mammoth” jacks and, two jennets of excellent strain and has done much to promote the raising of mules in his neighborhood.

On October 23, 1891, Christ. Madowse was united in marriage to Mary Ruegge, who was born on a farm in the precinct of Arago, this county, in March, 1873, daughter of Frederick and Dora (Hoose) Ruegge, natives of Germany and pioneers of Richardson county, who are still living in Arago precinct, and to this union one child has been born, a daughter, Minnie, born on July 16, 1894. Mr. and Mrs. Madowse are members of the Lutheran church, as is their daughter, and Mr. Madowse is a member of the board of deacons of the same. He is a Republican and for years has given his earnest attention to local political affairs. In 1903 he was elected a member of the board of county commissioners from his district and held that office for two years. In 1912 he was again elected county commissioner and was re-elected, holding the office on his second period of service for four years. In 1903 he was elected a member of the school board for his local district and has held that position ever since, doing much for the advancement of the cause of education there. The Madowses have a very pleasant home and have ever taken an interested part in the general social activities of their home neighborhood, helpful in advancing all good causes thereabout.


Edwards, Lewis C., History of Richardson County, Nebraska : Its People, Industries and Institutions, Indianapolis : B.F. Bowen, 1917.

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