Fred E. Romberg. One of the busiest and most capable public officials in Pottawatomie County is the present sheriff, Fred E. Romberg. Mr. Romberg is an Oklahoma pioneer. His home has been in this state nearly a quarter of a century. There are few people in the entire county who do not know him personally or of his work and standing. Whatever he does demands respect. Mr. Romberg has a number of important business interests, and is by no means entirely dependent upon his official position as a source of livelihood. It is an interesting fact from January 1, 1915, to May 1, 1916, he handled over 500 prisoners, who have been under his jurisdiction for varying lengths of time. Out of this number seventy-eight have been tried and have received penitentiary sentences, the remainder serving jail sentences.
The sheriff is still a young man, only about thirty-five. He was born in Miami County, Ohio, September 22, 1880. His ancestors were substantial German people. His paternal grandfather, Albert Ausbrook, married outside of his social class. He was born in Hanover, Germany, and when he married Fannie Romberg, who was a relative of the royal family of Hanover, it was necessary that in deference of her titled position he should change his name instead of his wife change hers, and thus the family name became Romberg instead of Ausbrook. The grandfather brought his family to America in 1809, and settled near Shenandoah, Iowa, where he died. After his death his widow went to the vicinity of Fremont, Nebraska, and homesteaded a claim. Albert Romberg was a farmer in Germany as well as in the United States, and in the old country had given three years of service in the German army.
Gerhard Romberg, who was until a few years ago a well known pioneer and substantial citizen of Pottawatomie County, was born in Hanover, Germany, in 1834. He came to the United States in 1851, sailing from Hanover, and going first to New York State and then to Ohio. He was a skilled marble cutter, and also an architect. In 1888 he moved out to Scribner, Nebraska, and established himself as a farmer and stock raiser. In 1891 he went to Oklahoma soon after the opening of the Pottawatomie Reservation, and acquired a homestead of 160 acres three miles east of Shawnee. That was the home to which he gave his supervision and on which he spent the remaining years of his life. His death occurred January 9, 1910. Gerhard Romberg was an active democrat, and while living in Miami County, Ohio, was elected to the office of county assessor, being the only democrat ever elected to the office up to that time. However, so strong were his partisan feelings that he refused the office as he could not conscientiously be associated with republicans in the performance of public work. He was a member of the Presbyterian Church, and belonged to the Knights of Pythias Lodge. As a young man he was claimed for an official position in the German army, and was very liberally educated, being well versed in history and astronomy as well as other subjects. He married Elizabeth Coppock, who was born in Miami County, Ohio, in 1839, near Ludlow Falls, and who died in that county in 1884. Their children were: Fannie, who married Frank Coppock, a farmer, and now resides in Wyoming; Lida, wife of Dan Coppock, living on a farm in Troy, Ohio; A. E., a farmer at Shawnee and also an inspector for the State Board of Agriculture of Oklahoma; and Fred E.
Fred E. Romberg attended the public schools at Scribner, Nebraska, graduated from high school in 1892, and soon afterwards came to live with his father on the homestead near Shawnee. In 1898 he was appointed a special officer of the United States Government for the treasury department. In 1901 he became deputy sheriff of Pottawatomie County, and on November 6, 1914, was elected sheriff beginning his official duties on January 1, 1915.
For a period of four years, 1911-14, Mr. Romberg served as county commissioner. He is prosperous, and his prosperity is measured by the ownership of 445 acres of land three miles east of Shawnee. One hundred and twenty acres of this are a part of his father’s old homestead. Mr. Romberg in the performance of his official duties resides in Tecumseh, having offices in the courthouse, and he also has official headquarters in the city hall of Shawnee. He has served as a member of the school board of District No. 32 and is affiliated with the Independent Order of Odd Fellows at Shawnee, with the Modern Woodmen of America, Camp No. 7781, at Shawnee, and with the American Horse Thief Association.
At Shawnee, in 1904, Mr. Romberg married Miss Althea Blain, daughter of John Blain, a farmer near Tecumseh. To their marriage have been born five children: Mabel, Fred, Jr., and Vaughn, all three of whom are now in the public schools of Tecumseh; and Vernon and Irene, both young children at home.