John H. Gertje is one of the enterprising pioneers who are laboring to bring the country that was once embraced in the Nez Perces reservation to a good state of cultivation and make it productive of the fruits of the field. His place is situated four and one half miles west from Ilo, and consists of one hundred and sixty acres of land, well improved, having good buildings and so forth. Mr. Gertje does a general farming business and raises stock sufficient to consume the products of his land, which makes it more profitable. He also finds time from his other duties to operate a first class threshing outfit in the fall and does a good business in this line.

John H. was born in Oldenburg, Germany, on April 23, 1869, being the son of John and Mate (Koramer) Gertje. The father was a native of Germany came to the United States in 1872 and now lives in Nez Perces County. He was born in 1836. The mother was born in Germany in 1836 and is still living. Our subject came with his parents to this land in 1872, being three years of age. They stopped a time in New York and two years later we find them in Waseca County, Minnesota, where the father bought land and farmed. There John H. received his education and in 1883 the family went thence to Roberts County, Dakota, where the father took a preemption, but at the end of two years he sold it and came to the Potlatch country, where he still lives.

Our subject went to carpentering when he became of age, and then farmed. He did well until sickness came into his family and then he was forced to meet misfortune and hardship. He removed to Asotin County, Washington, and raised fruit for two years and when the reservation opened he took his present place as described above.

On December 31, 1891, Mr. Gertje married Miss Minnie, daughter of Andrew and Frances Jackson. Mr. Jackson was a captain in the Civil War. To Mr. and Mrs. Gertje one child was born, Ruby Fay. On November 12, 1807, Mrs. Gertje was called away by death. On July 22, 1901, Mr. Gertje married a second time, Miss Josephine, a daughter of John P. Voitte, then becoming his bride. Mr. Voitte is a barber, in Davenport, Washington. Mrs. Gertje was born in Omaha, Nebraska, on September 16, 1879, and she has three sisters, Martha, Jennie, and Sadie, deceased. Mr. Gertje has four brothers and two sisters: George, Herman, Henry, Mary Tiede, Sophia and Edwin.

Mr. Gertje is an active Republican, always laboring for the principles of his party and good schools, and he is frequently found in the conventions.

Back to: Nez Perce Biographies

Source: An Illustrated History of Northern Idaho, Embracing Nez Perce, Idaho, Latah, Kootenai and Shoshone Counties, Western Historical Publishing Company, 1903