Henry Kuhlman has clearly demonstrated by his life what it is possible for an ambitious and determined young man to achieve in the United States. A German by birth, he was not only practically without means, but was unfamiliar with the customs and language of the country when he arrived in this country, but he was rich in perseverance and industry and today he owns eleven hundred and ten acres of highly cultivated land in Crawford county.
He was born on the 30th of May, 1850, and is a son of Frederick and Marie (Keuthan) Kuhlman, who spent their entire lives in the fatherland. They were the parents of ten children, three of whom, besides our subject, are now living: Marie, the wife of William Ahrens, of Germany; Louisa, who married Henry Hase, of Germany; and George, who is a resident of Charter Oak township, Crawford county.
The first twenty-three years of Henry Kuhlman's life were spent in the old country, but at the end of that period he felt that he possessed the ability to make something of his life were he only able to exercise those powers which he felt must forever lie dormant in the conservative atmosphere of the castebound land of his nativity. America seemed to offer the opportunities for which he longed, so crossing the Atlantic, he landed in this country on the 6th of April, 1873, and immediately made his way westward to Crawford county, Iowa. He worked out by the month during the first two years of his residence here, during which time he carefully laid aside a portion of his earnings until in 1875 he had saved sufficient to enable him to buy eighty acres of land, which formed the nucleus of his extensive realty holdings of the present time.
His homestead in Hanover township contains seven hundred and fifty acres, in addition to which he owns three hundred and sixty acres in Paradise township. It is all well improved and highly cultivated, and everything about his homestead gives evidence of the thrift, careful supervision and regard for details which are always active factors in the acquirement of success.
On the 7th of May, 1878, Mr. Kuhlman completed his arrangements for a home of his own by marrying Miss Hetten Martin. She is also a native of Germany and was born on the 29th of September, 1852, a daughter of Michael and Julia Martin. The mother died in the fatherland and the father came to America and made his home with his children until the time of his demise, twenty years later. Eight children were born unto Mr. and Mrs. Martin, as follows: Gusta, the wife of William Ockelbine, of Kansas; Paulina, who married Herman Minda, of Sac City, Iowa; Gustave, living in Charter Oak, this state; Albert, a resident of Mapleton, Iowa; Hetten, the wife of Henry Kuhlman; and Amelia, Frederick and Emil, all of whom are deceased.
Mr. and Mrs. Kuhlman have become the parents of twelve children, eight of whom are still living: Alwena, who was bom in 1881 and became the wife of Carl Teas, of Charter Oak township; Dora, whose birth occurred in 1882, and who married Herman Keipe, of Hanover township; Elizabeth, born in 1884; Henry, born in 1886; Herman, born in 1890; Gustave, born in 1893. George, born in 1895; Marie, born in 1897; two who died in infancy; and Emma and Lena, both deceased. All but the two eldest of those living are still at home.
The family attend the Lutheran church, of which denomination they are members. Ever since naturalization conferred upon him the full rights of citizenship, Mr. Kuhlman has supported the candidates and principles of the democratic party, and although he has never been an office seeker, he has served as a school director for the past two years. He is indeed a self-made man, as his success is entirely due to his unfaltering determination, persistent effort and tireless energy. His has not been a phenomenal record of brilliant achievements but the steady and substantial progress which is ever the reward of well directed effort when sustained by faithful service and incorruptible integrity. He has been a resident of Hanover township for more than three decades and during that period he has made many friends whose regard and respect he retains, and both he and Mrs. Kuhlman are highly esteemed in the community.
Source: History of Crawford County, Iowa. Vol. II. Chicago: The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., 1911.