John G. Hamann
It is ever a source of encouragement to learn of the lives of those who have started out empty-handed but by means of energy and perseverance have acquired a fair degree of success. Such is the life record of John G. Hamann, who as a young man came to America practically penniless but rich in the possession of those qualities which enable an ambitious man to conquer conditions.
He was born in the province of Schleswig-Holstein, Germany, on the 28th of July, 1859, his parents being C. and Margaret (Redus) Hamann, who spent their entire lives in their native land, where the father engaged in farming. Seven children were born to them: Sophia, Johanna, Louise, Henry, John G., August and Wilhelmina. They are all living in Germany with the exception of John G. Hamann, who is the fifth in order of birth, and August, who is now a resident of Washington township, his brother having sent him a ticket and passage money.
In the common schools of the fatherland John G. Hamann obtained his education, and after laying aside his school books he was apprenticed to a shoemaker. After completing his term of service he followed his trade in Hamburg for a time, finally becoming so skilled that he was able to make a pair of shoes in eight hours. Having become possessed of that intense dissatisfaction which must ever affect an ambitious youth, who recognizes limitations which he feels must ultimately smother his aspiration, he became a soldier but after ten weeks he took passage for America, believing that here he could find the opportunities for which he longed.
He arrived in the United States in 1881, first locating in Henry county, Illinois, where he engaged in farming for four years. At the end of that period he removed to Crawford county, Iowa, renting a farm in Goodrich township, which he cultivated for several years, and then went to Washington township. He resided in the latter place until 1892, when he settled on section 16, Nishnabotny township, where he has ever since continued to live. Here Mr. Hamann has acquired six hundred acres of land, upon which he has placed three sets of improvements, putting them all up himself, and has set out shade and fruit trees. He engages in general farming and stockraising but makes a specialty of feeding stock for the market, being the heaviest feeder in his township. His ventures have all netted him substantial returns and in addition to his agricultural property he also owns two lots in Manilla.
In 1885 Mr. Hamann established a home of his own by his marriage to Miss Dora Smith, who passed away three months afterward. He married a second time. his choice being Miss Anna Suhr, a native of Germany, and they have become the parents of seven children: Henry, Albert, Alvina, Edward, Annie, Dewey and Flora, all of whom are at home with the exception of the second son, Albert, who is living on one of his father's farms.
The family all affiliate with the Lutheran church, while fraternally Mr. Hamann is identified with the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and the Modern Woodmen of America. He is also a member of the Gennania Association, which was organized through his suggestion and of which he has been the president almost continuously since it was founded. Since his naturalization Mr. Hamann has taken an active and helpful interest in all local affairs, and although he is a republican in principle he always casts his ballot at township and county elections for the men and measures he considers best adapted for the general interest. He has been road superintendent for ten years and has but recently been elected township trustee for the third term, while he is also president of the school board. Mr. Hamann has ever manifested the determination and diligence which has enabled him to successfully complete whatsoever he has undertaken. There have been difficulties and obstacles in his path to be sure but he has resolutely overcome them and today he is recognized as one of the substantial agriculturists of the county.
Source: History of Crawford County, Iowa. Vol. II. Chicago: The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., 1911.