Cerro Gordo County Iowa
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WHEELER, J.H. Vol. II. Pp. 507-08. Lewis Pub. Co. Chicago. 1910


Among those citizens who contribute in full measure to the high standing which Mt. Vernon township enjoys as a progressive and altruistic community must be numbered Charles Harms, who is one of the fellowship pursuing the honorable vocation of agriculture. He is a native of Wisconsin, having first seen the light of day on the first of January, 1867. As is the case with a large percentage of America's finest and stanehest stock, Mr. Harms is of Teutonic extraction, his father, Henry Harms, having been born in Hanover, Germany, in 1830. The elder man answered the beckoning finger of opportunity from the shores of the new world and crossed the Atlantic about the year 1860. He located in Illinois and at the outbreak of the Civil war enlisted from Lee county in Company A of the Eighteenth Illinois Volunteer Infantry. He saw extensive service, his regiment being frequently in the thickest of the fight and in the battle of Gettysburg he was unfortunate enough to be wounded. At the time of his honorable discharge he had served for a period covering three years and three months. Shortly afterward he went to Lafayette county, Wisconsin, where he laid the foundations of a home, buying a small farm of ten acres and marrying. He remained there for something like a score of years, gaining in worldly goods, and in 1886 sold out his holdings and came to Cerro Gordo county, where he purchased one hundred and sixty acres of wild land at twelve dollars an acre. This was situated in section 16, Mt. Vernon township. It requires some stretch of imagination to realize that even at that time there were only about a dozen settlers in the township. Mr. Harms, the father, cleared his land and successfully cultivated it up to the time of his demise, which occurred on January 19. 1903. Mr. Harms' mother, whose maiden name was Catherine Tipp, was born in Hanover, Germany, in September, 1842, and died November 4, 1899. There were three children in the family, two daughters and one son. Mrs. Martha (Harms) Latham, born October 9, 1865, died April 21, 1897, and Miss Pauline Harms, died July 25, 1895.

Mr. Harms is the only one of the children living at the present time. He was only about eighteen at the time of his father's removal to Cerro Gordo county, and has always made his home upon the farm. He attended the graded schools and under the paternal tutelage became soundly grounded in the best agricultural methods. He now owns the old homestead of one hundred and sixty fertile acres, has erected the substantial buildings which grace it, has set out groves of trees, and improved it in every way, making it not only abundant in fruitage but also attractive in aspect. He stands well among his neighbors as a public spirited citizen and is now giving a faithful service as constable of the township. Both he and his wife are members of the German Lutheran church at Rockwell, to which they give not only spiritual but material support. Mr. Harms is an earnest supporter of the principles and policies inaugurated by the Republican party and takes a keen pleasure in studying public affairs and the best interests of the community.

On December 16, 1896, Mr. Harms took as his bride Miss Mary Johnson, who is a native of Cerro Gordo county, having been born in Mason township, December 7, 1878. She is a daughter of Peter and Augusta (Groluf) Johnson, both natives of Germany and now residing in Bath township. Mr. and Mrs. Johnson have been residents of Cerro Gordo county for over thirty years. Two children are growing up under the roof of Mr. and Mrs. Harms, these being a daughter and a son, Selena and Lyle H.

NOTE: Charles Harms died in 1940. Mary L. (Johnson) Harms died in 1944. Lyle G. Harms, born in 1907, died in 1965; his wife, Grace R., was born in 1914, and died in 1981. Interments were made at Mount Vernon Cemetery, Swaledale IA.

Transcription and note by Sharon R. Becker, February of 2014



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