Cerro Gordo County Iowa
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HISTORY of CERRO GORDO COUNTY, IOWA
WHEELER, J.H. Vol. II. Pp. 766-68. Lewis Pub. Co. Chicago. 1910

BIOGRAPHY ~ ROLLER W. HEMMING

A man who enjoys a wide acquaintance in this part of Iowa, his business taking him not only over Cerro Gordo county, but over Pranklin county as well, is R. W. Hemming, farmer and auctioneer. He was born in Seneca county, Ohio, April 1, 1855 (sic, 1854 on his gravestone), his parents being G. W. Hemming and Lucinda (Roller) Hemming. The father was a Pennsylvanian, but removed to Seneca county when about eleven years of age. His father had been a farmer and he followed in the paternal footsteps in the matter of a vocation. He continued farming for a short time after his marriage at the age of twenty-four years, and then for five years engaged as traveling salesman for a dry goods firm in Cincinnati, Ohio. In November, 1861, he decided to go back to his old calling and he and his wife and six children drove thorough to Old Chapin, Franklin county, Iowa, where they remained until the following spring. They then went on to Shobe's Grove where the father had bought eighty acres of wild prairie land. The family lived for four years in a log house on an adjoining farm, but in 1865 the father built a log house on his own farm and to this the family removed.

Conditions in those pioneer days seem now almost incredible. The nearest market was Cedar Falls and that was sixty-five miles away, the trip requiring five days at the least and when the water was high, quite ten days. For the first seven or eight years they could go twenty-five miles to the Iowa river and not see a sod broken and the same is true of the country between their farm and Clear Lake, twenty-two miles away. They could live high when there was time to hunt, for geese, ducks, brant, crane and prairie chicken were numberless. A few deer and occasionally a stray buffalo wandered near, while the prairie wolves were thick. In 1867 the father purchased an additional forty acres, paying for the whole just one hundred dollars. His was a strenuous existence, attempting to subdue the wild country, breaking the sod, fencing and making other improvements. In 1884 he sold the old homestead and bought forty acres in Richland township, Franklin county, upon which he moved and there resided until his death, which occurred in 1892 at the age of seventy-two years. The mother was born in Ohio and died in Cerro Gordo county in April, 1903.

Mr. Hemming was the fourth of nine children, the others being: Emily, became the wife of John Cannam (sic, should be Cannon), of Springville, Utah; Irene, married James Cunning and died when about forty-six years of age; Madison is now living in Ottawa, Kansas; Richard, was killed in a railroad accident in Texas, being at the time in the employ of the government for which he bought saddle horses and beef cattle; Albert, is at present a resident of Pleasant Valley town ship, Cerro Gordo county; Aldie, is the wife of Hugh Caldwell of Lockwood, Dade county, Missouri; the two youngest died in infancy. The mother was a member of the Methodist church. In political principles the father was a Democrat.

R. W. Hemming was educated in the public schools of Franklin county and continued to reside upon the old homestead until he became of age. He then set out for himself and went to Grundy county where he worked for eighteen months on the George Wells farm. Returning to Franklin county he worked out breaking prairie with teams. When twenty-four he satisfied his ambition to become a land owner, buying eighty acres of wild land in Grimes township, Cerro Gordo county, for five dollars an acre. He broke the sod and for two years rented it to a tenant. After his marriage in 1882 he and his wife lived on this place for two years. In 1883 he bought ten acres upon which his present home is situated, the house being built in 1884, when he immediately moved into it. In 1886 he sold his original eighty acres in Grimes township. In 1892 he purchased eighty acres of improved land in section 23 and in 1894 eighty acres more in the same section, making in all one hundred and seventy acres in Cerro Gordo county which he can call his own. In addition he owns a half interest in one hundred and sixty acres in Edmonds county. South Dakota, and one hundred and sixty acres in Geneseo township. For the past four years he has rented his farm. For fourteen years he has engaged in the auctioneering business, his sales taking him over Cerro Gordo and Franklin counties. He is a Republican and for fourteen years has been a member of the school board. He is a member of the I. 0. 0. F. of Rockwell and both he and his wife are members of the Baptist church.

Mr. Hemming was married April 8, 1882, to Miss Bertha Geer, a native of Henry county, Illinois, and a daughter of Silas and Rebecca (Moore) Geer. They came to Geneseo township, Cerro Gordo county in 1873, the father buying a small place and working at his trade of stone mason during the rest of his life. He died in April, 1899, and his wife in August, 1905. Mrs. Hemming was the sixth in a family of seven children, her brothers and sisters being as follows: Laviuia is the widow of William Foster, of Mason City; Delia is the wife of Harmon Dills, of Manley; Loretta is the wife of Lee Bugher of Rockford, Iowa; Barton resides in Rockwell; Effie married John Leech and lives in Mason City; and Kate is the wife of Oscar Shindall. Mr. and Mrs. Geer were members of the Christian church and the father was a Republican.

Four children have been born to the marriage of Mr. and Mrs. Hemming. Harvey, who is a farmer in South Dakota married Edith Wilson and they have one son; Coy is a clerk in the Farmers' Co-operative store of Rockwell; Lola is in attendance at the Rockwell high school from which she will be graduated in 1911; George is also in school at Rockwell.

NOTE: Roller W. Hemming died at Rockwell IA on July 27, 1942. Bertha (Geer) Hemming was born in DeKalb County, Illinois, on April 5, 1864, and died on April 3, 1940. They were interred at Rockwell Cemetery, Rockwell IA.

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

 

 

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