Cerro Gordo County Iowa
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WHEELER, J.H. Vol. II. Pp. 653-54. Lewis Pub. Co. Chicago. 1910


A great part of the strength and prosperity of Cerro Gordo county is due to her agricultural class, and standing as a representative of this is Peter Harthan, who owns and operates a farm of eighty acres located in section 29 of Clear Lake township. Mr. Harthan was born in Bavaria. Germany, September 15, 1855, his parents being Henry and Christina Harthan. He was one of eight children, four of whom are living, as follows: Mr. Harthan; Henry, who is a resident of Clear Lake township; and a brother and sister who reside in Germany. The mother died in Germany when Mr. Harthan was a small child and he was reared by an uncle. He received a little education, but at the early age of ten was forced to begin his struggle with the world, and made something toward his livelihood by the weaving of baskets.

On July 13, 1872, when Peter Harthan was about seventeen years of age he came to the United States and obtained employment at West Chester, New York, in a sash and blind factory. He continuied there for about two years, and then came west, making his appearance at Clear Lake, April 18, 1874. For the following four years he obtained employment by the month as a farm laborer and then he and his brother Henry rented a farm in Union township, which they operated for two years. Mr. Harthan's next move was to come to Clear Lake township, where he rented land until 1887 and successfully engaged in its cultivation. He then purchased one hundred and four acres in section 31, Clear Lake township, and for over ten years (until the fall of 1899) he gave welldirected energy to the improvement and operation of this tract of wild land. He then traded this farm for one at Parker in Turner county. South Dakota, where he made his home until 1901. In this year he sold his South Dakota property and returned to Cerro Gordo county, where he purchased his present homestead of eighty acres. Mr. Harthan belongs to the ranks of the self-made men, his success being wholly attributable to his own efforts. He is a Democrat.

Mr. Harthan's wife was Miss Olive Thompson, born at Dubuque, Iowa, November 17, 1855. Their union occurred in 1877 and has been blessed by the birth of the following ten children: George, of Clear Lake township; James, at home; Grant, of Union township; Emma, wife of Fred Adams of Clear Lake township; Henry, of Clear Lake township; Samuel and Peter at home; Clara, wife of Casper Zoble, residing on the paternal place; and Ethel and Harry, at home. Mr. Harthan was preceded to America by his father and a sister, who located in New York in 1866. The father died at the age of sixty-eight years.

NOTE: In 1913, the family moved to West Cohasset MN, and in 1924 to Grand Rapids MN.

Peter Harthan died June 22, 1924 at Cohasset MN. Olive (Thompson) Harthorn died May 8, 1929. They and several of their children were interred at Itasca Calvary Cemetery, Grand Rapids MN.

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



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