17 is Enough — Maybe!

On November 3,1907, the Davenport Democrat & Leader newspaper published an article offering a prize to the largest family in Scott County.   The newspaper believed that the contest would “bring out the fact that Scott leads the state in the matter of big families.”

 The prize was to be a dozen 11″x 14″ photographs taken by the Hostetler Studios of Davenport.  “Beside the value of the prize,” the newspaper says, “the winner will have the satisfaction of knowing that he leads the procession in grand old Scott.”

 One of the families showcased in the paper was the immediate family of Conrad and Margaretha (Puck) Dietz of Walcott, who had six daughters and nine sons, all grown.  There were apparently also several grandchildren, though an exact count was not reported.

 A proud Mr. Dietz is quoted in the article: “I believe it is the largest family in all of Scott County.  I certainly know it is one of the happiest.  I tell you, I have no use for parents who cannot point out a flock of children as part of their assets.” 

Mrs. Dietz was not quoted, but she was probably too tired to speak to the reporter.

 We have yet to find the article declaring the winner of the contest, but among our Hostetler collection of glass negatives is this group portrait taken under the name Conrad Dietz:

Dietz Family Ladies, c. 1910

It is most likely that these are the Ditez daughters–Meta, Tillie, Emma, Edith, Dora, and Martha–perhaps sitting for one of the contest prize photographs. 

So maybe seventeen was enough, after all!

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