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Fayette County, Iowa  

 History Directory

Past and Present of Fayette County Iowa, 1910

Author: G. Blessin


B. F. Bowen & Company, Indianapolis, Indiana


Vol. I, Biographical Sketches



~Page 1378~




In the above named gentleman is found a sample of the self-made, reliant, enterprising men who have made the West, one who has been a witness of and participant in the wonderful development which has characterized this section during the past half century. During his early life he passed through some unique experiences and his reminiscences of those earlier days are interesting. Mr. Hunsberger was born in Ohio in 1831 and is a son of Benedict and Maria (Shadel) Hunsberger. Both were born in canton Bern, Switzerland, where they were married. Mr. Hunsberger followed the trade of tinner with such success that in 1850 he was able to carry out a plan which had long been his cherished dream, namely, coming to America to give the wheel of fortune a turn in a new country. Arriving on the coast of the western continent, they proceeded to Ohio and there located. Not finding there the opportunities which he sought, Mr. Hunsberger, in 1854, came to Pleasant Valley township, this county, buying a small piece of land which he farmed carefully, at the same time following his trade, which he had learned in his native country. The first winter, as the subject of this sketch relates, they lived in a dugout, which was fairly comfortable, although according to our present-day idea of comfort this would seem an almost unendurable experience, and from this moved into a small log house. After a number of years’ sojourn in this temporary abode they sold the place and thereafter lived with their children. This experience of living in a dugout was only one of many pioneer experiences that read like fiction. Mr. and Mrs. Hunsberger were the parents of four children, there being two brothers and two sisters of the subject of this review. Although the children enjoyed the advantage of education in the common schools, Andrew Hunsberger was compelled, owing to the condition of the family exchequer, to find work to do, and since early life he has made his own way. His success has come from “sticking to his last,” in other words, he has kept steadily at farming. His first purchase of land was a tract of fifty-four acres, largely timber land with few improvements, but by dint of persevering labor the land was cleared and placed in a state of good cultivation, furnished with many improvements, and here he made his home for nine years.


Like many others at that time, Mr. Hunsberger then turned his eyes to the far West, whence reports had it that fortunes were quickly and easily made. About 1890 he went to Oregon, and there searched for sometime for a likely place for a home. However, after looking over the ground, he decided to return to Iowa. He purchased one hundred and sixty acres of land near Elgin after his return and made his home on this place for five years, at the end of which time he bought the one hundred and fifteen-acre tract where he now makes his home and where he does general farming. Many fine improvements have been placed upon this property, and most of the property is cleared and is under a high state of cultivation. It is rapidly becoming one of the best farms in the vicinity.


Mr. Hunsberger, in 1872, was united in marriage with Anna Spinden. They are members of the Lutheran church. Mr. Hunsberger is a Democrat in politics, but is not an office aspirant. Mr. and Mrs. Hunsberger are exceedingly pleasant and agreeable people and their fund of anecdote and information gained from travel and the experiences which either one or both have passed through, make them delightful entertainers.


~transcribed for the Fayette Co IAGenWeb Project by Doris A. Smith


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