Peter J. Martens
After nearly a quarter of a century devoted to the interests of agriculture in Crawford county, during which time he has witnessed the great development and progress of this section of the state; Peter J. Martens is now, as the result of his industry and business acumen, enjoying at his home in West Side the comforts of life for which he toiled so many years.
He was born in Holstein, Germany, October 23, 1852; a son of John H. and Margerette (Hansen) Martens, who emigrated to the United States, March 27, 1865, and settled in Wheatland, Clinton county, Iowa. The other children born to this couple are: Annie, who is the wife of Claus Binning and resides in Clinton county; Henry J., who lives in Council Bluffs, Iowa; and Herman C., whose home is in West Side. The mother died in 1865, only three weeks after arriving in this country, and the father survived her until May 10, 1893, when he, too, passed away.
Upon reaching the age of twenty years Peter J. Martens rented one hundred and sixty acres of land in Clinton county and worked there for about five years, at the end of which period he came to Crawford county and purchased one hundred and sixty acres. This he cultivated and continued to add to his property as his financial circumstances would allow until at the present time he owns six hundred acres, all of which is located in West Side township. At one time he was a stock raiser and feeder on an extensive scale and shipped thousands of head of cattle to the markets. On January 15, 1902, having acquired a sufficient competency to render him independent for the remainder of his life, he retired from active labor and is now residing at his home in West Side.
Mr. Martens was married May 11, 1875, to Miss Minnie Hohn, a daughter of Carl and Mary Hohn, of Clinton county. Unto them were born ten children, of whom the following survive: Ida, who became the wife of August Rohwer and lives in West Side; John, who resides on the old homestead in West Side township with his brothers Edward and Herman; Charles, who is in business in West Side; Louis, of West Side; Emil, who lives in Logan, Iowa; Jennie, who married Leroy Dolise and resides in Carroll county; and Ella, who lives at home. The other child, Clara, died in infancy.
Mrs. Marten's demise occurred in February, 1887. On December 1, 1888, Mr. Martens was united in marriage to Emma L. Kay, of Wheatland, Clinton county, a daughter of Gottlieb and Christina Grau.
Mr. Martens has always given his support to the principles upheld by the republican party and has ever manifested his interest in any movement that tended to the advancement of his community. For sixteen years he held the office of township trustee, for nine years he served as school treasurer and has also acted in the capacity of road supervisor, and whatever has been the nature of his officia! duties he has discharged them with efficiency and executive ability. In his religious views he is an adherent of the Lutheran church. He has made his way in the world without the assistance of either money or influence, he has made a host of friends and earned their high regard, and he has never had occasion to regret his determination to cast his lot in with the men of his adopted country.
Source: History of Crawford County, Iowa. Vol. II. Chicago: The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., 1911.