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First Important Match
Meeting Farmer Burns
Off to Alaska
His Two Greatest Foes
Frank Gotch, Superstar
In Retirement
At His Peak
Meeting Top Celebreties
His Death
His Fame Endured
Others' Words on Gotch
The Controversy
Frank's Legacy

Frank Alvin Gotch was born April 27, 1878, on a farm three miles south of Humboldt, in north central Iowa. He was the last of nine children of Frederick Rudolph and Amelia Gotch. His parents were married in their native Germany in 1855 and immigrated to the United States in 1863. Frederick enlisted in the Union Army, Company A, 186th New York Volunteer Infantry, in 1864, and served under General Ulysses Grant in the Army of the Potomac. Frederick Gotch saw action in several battles, including the capture of Petersburg, but escaped serious injury and was mustered out in 1865. He traveled to Iowa and settled just south of Humboldt.

As a youth, Frank worked hard on the farm. He attended a small one-room school, most often in the winter months when he wasn't needed for farm work. He didn't particularly care for school, but loved to wrestle and box other boys, usually the older ones. He greatly admired bare-knuckle heavyweight boxing champion John L. Sullivan and dreamed of becoming a prizefighter.