A Klinkenborg political advertisement from the Rock Rapids Reporter, May 31, 1928.
Hailing from Lyon County, Iowa, Enno Edward Klinkenborg was a native of Germany who, following his removal to the United States, was engaged as a real estate broker in the aforementioned county and was an unsuccessful aspirant for the Iowa House of Representatives on two occasions. Born in Hanover, Ostfriesland, Germany on December 14, 1882, Enno E. Klinkenborg was one of nine children born to Jan and Sjamtje (Penning) Klinkenborg. Little is known of Klinkenborg's early life in Germany and he is recorded in the 1920 census as having immigrated to the United States in 1886. It is presumed his early education took place in Lyon County (as he is listed as a county resident in the 1895 Iowa census) and on June 1, 1910 he married to Gretje Kruse (1884-1972). The couple's fifty-year marriage saw the births of four children, including Elmer (1911-2002), Selma Irene (1912-2010), Anita Rose (1914-1996) and Ray John (1917-2014).
A resident of George, Iowa following his marriage, Klinkenborg operated the J.R. Beeman hardware store in Rock Rapids beginning in 1915 and was for many years a real estate agent and broker in the Lyon County area. In the spring of 1928 he announced his candidacy for the Republican nomination for state representative from Lyon County, and in June of that year won the Republican primary, narrowly defeating Leo C. Urlaub, 1,241 votes to 1,232. Despite his primary win, Klinkenborg wouldn't fare as well in the general election that November, losing to Democratic incumbent Otto J. Reimers by a vote of 1,945 to 2,684.
Klinkenborg would reenter politics four years following his legislative loss, entering into the race for Lyon County auditor in March 1932. As one of four Republican candidates vying for the nomination in the June primary, Klinkenborg would poll third on election day, garnering 435 votes to winning candidate N.C. Rogers' total of 1,281.
From the Lyon County Reporter, March 24, 1938.
In 1938 Enno Klinkenborg reemerged on the political scene when he was put up as a candidate of the "People's ticket" for Mayor of George, Iowa. In an intriguing contest, Klinkenborg's opponent for mayor was his older brother Evert (1866-1949), then the incumbent mayor of the town! In a contest referred to a "hotly contested city election" by the Lyon County Reporter, it was the elder brother who won out, with Evert Klinkenborg defeating his brother, 258 votes to 114.
With three losing candidacies behind him, Klinkenborg refrained from political activity through the majority of the 1940s. He remained active in the realty business and in 1944 was one of the founders of a permanent two county realty board for Sioux and Lyon County. In March 1946 he again ran for mayor of George on the People's ticket, but this time lost to George Freerkson. Not one to let a loss get the best of him, Klinkenborg announced he'd be seeking a seat in the state legislature that November, but this time ran as a Democrat (having previously run as a Republican in 1932.)
From the Lyon County Reporter, October 31, 1946.
Klinkenborg won the Democratic primary in June but lost out on a legislative seat that November, garnering 567 votes to winning Republican candidate Benjamin L. Datisman's total of 1,563. Klinkenborg continued to reside in George, Iowa after this loss and on June 1, 1960, he and his wife celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary, being profiled in the Lyon County Reporter (shown below). Sadly, Klinkenborg himself would die less than a month later at his home while being visited by his son Ray and daughter-in-law, on June 21, 1960. Following funeral services Klinkenborg was interred at the Evergreen Cemetery in George.
From the Lyon County Reporter, May 30, 1960.
From the Lyon County Reporter, June 23, 1960.
Portrait from the Bemidji Daily Pioneer, July 11, 1968.
Another "Enno" that entered politics is Enno Andre Cirks of Hubbard County, Minnesota. A former mayor of the town of Nevis, Cirks also was the Democratic nominee for the Minnesota House of Representatives from the 65th legislative district in 1968. Born in Ada, Minnesota on May 23, 1918, Enno A. Cirks was the son of Hiram and Minnie Cirks. Enno Cirks married in 1937 in Ada to the former Eleanor Aldean (1918-2019), with who he had one daughter, Julie.
In 1948 Cirks and his family removed to Nevis, Minnesota, where for several years he owned and operated the Nevis Creamery. In 1957 he purchased the Akeley Creamery, which he was affiliated with until its sale in 1966, having decided to enter into the insurance business. In the 1960s he was elected as Mayor of Nevis and was still the incumbent in that office in 1968 when he announced his candidacy for the Minnesota House of Representatives. In that year's contest, Cirks' opponent was another curiously named man, incumbent Republican representative Loziene Julius Lee (1907-1999), who was featured on this site in September 2015. Lee would win a fourth term that November, besting Cirks by a vote of 6, 709 to 4, 253.
Little else is known of the life of Enno Andre Cirks, excepting notice of his death on July 13, 1997, in Minnesota. He was survived by his wife Eleanor, who died a few days shy of her 101st birthday in March 2019.