"With the rapid destruction of our forests the lumber business, once one
of the largest and most flourishing of American industries, is now
declining in importance and will continue to do so. Somehow there is a
fascination about a saw-mill or a lumber yard. The bark-covered logs,
bearing the marks of their handling, their speedy conversion into lumber
by those powerful engines, the saws, the great piles of lumber, the odor
of the freshly sawed wood, and, perhaps more than all, the sense that all
this means construction, building, progress - these give to a lumber yard
an attractiveness. And a moment's thought will convince any one of the
great share which the lumber dealer has had in the building of shops and
factories, in the construction and furnishing of homes.
John Lehmann was born in Switzerland in 1833, and at the age of eighteen
came to America, leaving Bern February 8th, crossing the ocean on a
sailing vessel, and arrived at Turkey River, Iowa, on June 29th. He was
the son of John and Mary (Miller) Lehmann, who came to America in 1854
with a family of nine boys and three girls, seven of whom are now living,
and settled about one mile from Elgin, John Lehmann, Sr., and his brother
entered land in Clayton and Fayette counties. He farmed all his life and
died highly respected at the age of eighty-seven years.
John Lehman, Jr., was educated in Switzerland, and there assisted his
father on his farm. In America he worked on his father's farm and later
hired out. In 1858 he married Elizabeth Kohler, who was born in
Switzerland in 1839, and who came to this country with her father in 1854.
He now bought one hundred and forty acres of wild land, put up a house and
broke the land. He lived there until 1872, when he established a lumber
business in Elgin, and later took his youngest son into the business. In
1901 he sold out and retired. John and Elizabeth Lehmann are the parents
of nine children: John W., now a hardware merchant at La Porte City, Iowa;
Louise; Lena; Albert, who died September 10, 1868; George; Frederick;
Cecelia; Julia; Amelia.
Mr. Lehman is a member of the Iowa Legion of Honor. He was baptized into
the church in Switzerland. He is a Democrat, and was supervisor several
terms, township collector one year, clerk of the township ten years,
school treasurer at Elgin ten years, township trustee, and was elected
assessor, but resigned. His choice by the people to fill these offices
shows the confidence which his neighbors always have had in him.
In early days Mr. Lehman was much in demand to help survey land for the
settlers as he could control the length of his steps so well that he could
measure land almost as accurately by stepping as by the use of a chain.
His character and worth have attracted many friends who are the solace of
his declining years. Would that all our citizens could look back over a
life as well spent as his.