Frank Hemminger, who owns a valuable farm in Iowa township and occupies a beautiful home provided with all modern conveniences, recalls clearly the time when this section of the county, now dotted with farm houses, was mostly wild land and the principal means of travel was by wagon or on horseback. Although it was only a third of a century ago the conditions were as primitive in many respects as during the very early pioneer period of the state. The railroad, the telegraph, the telephone and many other conveniences of modern times have effected a marvelous change. The appearance of the country has been transformed and today the farmer possesses many of the advantages of long settled communities and at the same time enjoys an independence and freedom of action unknown to dwellers in the cities.
Frank Hemminger was born in Somerset county, Pennsylvania, January 18, 1858, and is a son of Joseph and Susanna Hemminger, both of whom were natives of the Keystone state. The father was of Irish and German descent and spent his entire life as a farmer in Pennsylvania. There were thirteen children in the family, namely: Harriet and Lucinda, both of Pennsylvania; Israel, deceased; Adeline, also of Pennsylvania; Jacob; Cyrus, deceased; David and Nora, both of Pennsylvania; Edward, of South Dakota; Frank; Ferdinand, of South Dakota; and Benjamin and Marcellus, both of whom are deceased.
After receiving his education in the country schools of his native state, Frank Hemminger continued at the parental home until he reached the age of nineteen years. He then came west to Indianola, Iowa, where he continued for one and one-half years, at the end of which time he removed to Harlan, Shelby county, Iowa. He had no money when he arrived at Harlan and the weather was extremely cold. He husked corn in the snow and froze two of his fingers so severely that the nails came off. He finally earned enough money to buy a pair of gloves. He worked out by the month for two and one-half years and then located on section 23, Iowa township, Crawford county, and began farming upon raw land. This was before the railroad was built through the county and Wayland was the nearest market point. Mr. Hemminger prospered in his work and now owns three hundred and twenty acres on sections 31 and 32, Iowa township, being also the owner of one hundred and sixty acres in Custer county, Oklahoma. He has engaged as a general farmer, stock raiser and feeder but is now retired from active labor, his sons having charge of the farm.
In 1882 Mr. Hemminger was married to Miss Alice Berry, who was born in Knox county, Illinois, and of this union seven children were born: Effie, Frances and Hazel, all of whom are at home; Allie, who is teaching school; William; Gertrude; and John. The great sorrow of Mr. Hemminger's life was the death of his beloved companion, which occurred December 26, 1905. She was a devoted wife and mother, ever seeking to promote the happiness of those with whom she was associated. Her remains were interred in Nishnabotny cemetery.
When the house of Mr. and Mrs. Hemminger was first erected there was no schoolhouse in the neighborhood and they generously threw open their residence for school use for the fall and winter term. It was this spirit of kindness that bound the settlers together and softened the hardships of earlier days. Mr. Hemminger remembers driving to Denison with eggs and butter when he received only three cents a dozen for eggs and three cents a pound for butter. He assisted in stacking hay on the ground where Manilla now stands the year before the town was founded and also assisted in hauling lumber for the first building in the new settlement. Having bravely borne his part of the burden, he now enjoys a well earned reward and also the respect of all who know him. Politically he supports the republican party. He has never sought public office but has served as road supervisor of Iowa township.
Source: History of Crawford County, Iowa. Vol. II. Chicago: The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., 1911.