Cerro Gordo County Iowa
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WHEELER, J.H. Vol. II. Pp. 747-50. Lewis Pub. Co. Chicago. 1910


There is no citizen of Clear Lake who has had more of the experiences of the pioneer or who can tell in more entertaining fashion of the wholesome early days and the struggles in bringing the wild country into subjugation than Henry Garlock, for forty years a farmer in Cerro Gordo county, now retired and living in Clear Lake. Mr. Garlock is a man respected and popular in the community and he has reared a family of ten children to good citizenship. He was born in Jefferson county, New York, October 22, 1839, and is the son of Joseph and Nancy (Homing) Garlock, both natives of Herkimer county. New York. The father died in 1882, at the age of sixty-nine, and the mother, in 1897, at the age of eighty-four. They were the parents of eleven children, six of whom are living, as follows: Varney, living in Clear Lake; Henry; John, a resident of Minnesota; Sarah, wife of Edward Butler, of White Water, Wisconsin; Matilda, wife of Joseph Vincent, of Milton Junction, Wisconsin; and David A., of Clear Lake, Iowa. In 1848 Mr. Garlock's father decided to leave his native state and to go west to examine for himself the wonderful undeveloped resources of which report had so much to say. He went from Sackett's Harbor to Buffalo and then to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, in the latter place cutting ties for the first railroad built in that part of the state. He purchased a small farm within two miles of Milwaukee and cultivated this for a time, then removed to Rock county, Wisconsin, where he again devoted his energies to the tilling of the land. He finally went to Freeborn county, Minnesota, where he and his wife lived out the rest of their lives.

Henry Garlock was nine years of age when his parents went to the farm near Milwaukee, and here he passed his early boyhood. He remembers Milwaukee when it was no larger than Mason City is now. As he was forced by necessity to work out when a boy he received a somewhat meager schooling. He gives an interesting description of primitive school conditions. The house was of logs and the seats were logs split in half, with four holes bored in the round side into which sticks were driven for legs. The desks were slabs of wood put up slantwise against the wall all around the room. The teacher boarded around, as was the custom before free schools came into existence.

Mr. Garlock made a venture at independence early in life and began farming in Wisconsin, where he owned a small farm of sixty acres. In 1869 he sold out and came to Cerro Gordo county, locating in Grant township, where he purchased the southwest quarter of section 24 at four dollars an acre. It was absolutely unbroken country and Mr. Garlock made the first track leading from his place to Clear Lake. He erected a small house and for the first three years lived in it without its being lathed or plastered, despite the fact than an Iowa winter was as capable of sudden descents in temperature in those days as now. Mr. Garlock's wife proved a splendid pioneer's helpmate, and among other things drove the breaking plow for him, teams of oxen being used. When he built his first house he bought the lumber at Albert Lee, Minnesota. It was framed at Albert Lee and hauled to and placed on the foundation. It was fourteen by eighteen feet in dimension.

Later Mr. Garlock added one hundred and sixty acres to his holdings and expended such intelligent activities upon it that today it stands as one of the best improved farms in all Cerro Gordo county. His evergreen grove was quite the first set out in the locality. In the course of his career as an agriculturist Mr. Garlock has had many unique and sometimes unpleasant experiences. In the summer of 1907, when the corn was waist high and the oats budding out, a violent hail storm ruined everything and left the whole farm looking as if a steam roller had passed over it. The following year he had his barn and all his grain destroyed by wind, but has since rebuilt. He hauled his hay fifteen miles to Mason City upon one occasion and was offered the alternative either of selling it for two dollars and a half a ton or hauling it home again. In 1869 he sold wheat for forty cents a bushel. In 1870 he bought pork for two dollars and sixty cents a hundred pounds, and paid twenty-four per cent for money. From time to time Mr. Garlock has been engaged quite extensively as a stock raiser and feeder.

In May, 1907, Mr. Garlock gave up the active duties of an agriculturist and came to Clear Lake, where he purchased a house and remodeled it into a modern one. It has the additional attraction of an accompanying two and a half acres of land, and its owner has another house, with a similar grounds, which he rents. He has sold half of his three hundred and twenty acres to a son-in-law. Mr. Garlock has served as road and school officer in Grant township and has always stood for anything tending toward and betterment of the county. He is a well read man and keeps in touch of the vital questions of the day. He has raised a large family, none of whom have ever given him a moment's trouble, and he is proud of each and every one of them. Politically he has voted with both parties, for he tries to discover and to support the better man. He is a stockholder in the Farmers' Mutual Insurance Company. He is vice president of the Cerro Gordo County's Old Settler Society and is a member of the A. F. and A. M.. No 250, of Clear Lake.

On March 6, 1868, Mr. Garlock was united in marriage in Janesville, Wisconsin, to Miss Hannah A. Hurd, born in Saratoga county, New York. June 21, 1844, daughter of Denois and Mary Ann (Gifford) Hurd. both natives of New York. They moved to Wisconsin in 1854, where they followed farming. They came to Grant township this county, in 1895, and made their home with Mr. Garlock until their death, the father dying May 16, 1900, at eighty-four years of age, the mother on August 8, of the same year, at eighty-three years of age. Mrs. Garlock was educated in Wisconsin. Mr. and Mrs. Garlock came through from Wisconsin by team with three small children, journeying over poor roads. This union has been blessed by the birth of ten children, all of whom are living. They are: Sarah M., wife of Carter Dawson of Heckla, South Dakota; Dora N., wife of E. L. Moore, of Grant townstip; Henry, residing in Canada; Mary, wife of George Peck, of North Dakota; Maud wife of Ernest Bogardus of Chicago; Josephine wife of Ralph Wooster, of Texas; Sherman, living in Heckla, South Dakota; Bertha, wife of Wade Quarton, of Grant township; Reliance, wife of John Mellows, of Cedar Falls, Iowa; and Bernice, wife of Peter Knutson, of Clear Lake, Iowa.

Henry J. Garlock died on March 3, 1923. Hannah Ann (Hurd) Garlock died on January 31, 1931. They were interred at Clear Lake Cemetery, Clear Lake IA.

Transcription by Sharon R. Becker, February of 2014



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