"J" Biographies

Johannes Jacobson, who was in his lifetime a bold and enterprising spirit, and who came into Lyon County late, where he did much in the development of this section of the state, was born in Norway September 19,1828. He grew to manhood under the parental roof, and received such educational advantages as the public schools of his native country at that time afforded. In his early manhood he sailed on the ocean for several years, and was thoroughly experienced in the art of seamanship before the advent of steam. In 1876 he sought a home in the United States, and his feet first pressed American soil at Quebec, Canada. He did not remain in that city, but came straightway to Illinois, where he was employed as a farm helper for two years, going from there to eastern Iowa. In 1885 he followed the drift of settlement and made a home in Lyon County where he bought a handsome farm.

Mr. Jacobson was married April 11, 1852 to Miss Christina Gunderson, who was born in Norway in 1829. To this union have come eight children: Jacob, dead, Jacob (2), and Maria, also dead; Jennie is living; Martha is dead; Martha (2), Christina and Lena. All but the youngest child was born in Norway. She is a native of Iowa.

It was by hard work, good management and wise economy that Mr. Jacobson made such a substantial success of his life. When he died, April 11, 1902 he left a quarter section of well-improved and highly cultivated land to his widow and daughters. The farm has excellent buildings throughout and is provided with modern and up-to-date machinery. The grove on the farm is thrifty and affords great promise.

George E. Jeffers, now one of the leading agriculturists of Doon Township, Lyon County, was born in Oneida County, New York, where he was reared on the farm of his parents, and given but a limited winter term school education. Of a most industrious and ambitious spirit, Mr. Jeffers determined to seek his fortunes in the northwest, and in 1892 he arrived with his family in Sioux City, Iowa. He had but little money on hand, and his need of it immediate and urgent, so he did not hesitate to embrace the first opportunity to earn an honest dollar, and became a salesman for H.A. Johns Nursery Company, selling trees. In this line he was very successful. The following year he was engaged as clerk in the hotel of Henry Rice, at Doon, Iowa, known at that time as the "Bonnie Doon" house. Mr. Jeffers retained this position for some four and a half years, in the course of which a very warm friendship developed between him and Mr. and Mrs. Rice, they taking the greatest interest in his welfare, and he disposed to consult them at every step.
The wages, which he had saved while in the hotel, enabled him to rent Mr. Rice's farm, and he began raising stock. He borrowed what money he could, and put it all into stock. A large success met his ventures, and after some few years he was able to buy a quarter section of land within one half mile of the village of Doon. He has since bought an eighty, and another forty, and now owns a fine farm of two hundred and eighty acres, worth from $75.00 to $100.00 an acre. Mr. Jeffers rents the old Hubbard farm and altogether the family has some nine hundred and six acres under a fine state of cultivation. Mr. Jeffers had at one time about $3,500 invested in hogs, cattle (there being three hundred head of steers) and horses. He had 3,500 bushels of wheat, and about as much barley and oats. His threshing bill in one year was $275. The corn which he raised was a vast amount but it was all fed out on the place.

Mr. Jeffers has built on his place a horse barn 28 by 40; a corn crib 40 by 26; a hog shed 22 by 40; a cow shed, 26 by 36; granary, 30 by 26; and a home which is a model farm house. He built it for convenience and comfort, and has embodied in its construction all the modern improvements, hot and cold water, bathroom, and other ideas that it is good to see in a farmhouse. A view of Mr. Jeffers' residence will be found on another page of this volume.

Mr. Jeffers love a good horse, and on his farm may be seen at almost any time from fifteen to thirty head of good stock. He is a genial and hospitable gentleman, and loves to entertain his friends.

In 1883 occurred the marriage of Mr. Jeffers and Miss Emma J., a daughter of John Perry, a farmer of English descent. To this union were born three children: Bertha E., Martha J., and Irene. The mother passed away February 26, 1890, and Mr. Jeffers contracted a second marriage in August 1892, when Miss Nellie C. O'Brien became his wife. She was a daughter of John O'Brien, a native of Ireland, and by her marriage has become the mother of one child, Walter J.

In his political views the gentleman whose name introduces this article is a Republican, and has been a member of the school board for three years. He was nominated on the Republican ticket as the strongest man to run for supervisor in a district that is overwhelmingly Democratic. He went down to defeat, but by a narrow margin of only seven votes. Fraternally he is a member of Knights of Pythias Lodge No. 517, and also of the Modern Woodmen of America, and the Ancient Order United Workmen of Doon. He is open-handed, and honest and liberal to a fault. His father was born in New York, and was a soldier of the Union in the war of the Rebellion. He is still living. The Jeffers come of an old English line, and are worthy representatives of the best blood of the "tight little isle." Mr. Jeffers owns a hotel at Doon that he rents.

This gentleman has devoted himself so earnestly and successfully to fruit and apple culture that he is quite commonly known throughout the neighborhood as "Apple" Johnson, on account of the variety and productiveness of his apple trees. His home farm on section 24, Richland Township, is one of the most widely known agricultural centers of Lyon County, and he is personally one of the most popular citizens of the community.'

Mr. Johnson was born in Norway, in May 1853, and came to this country in 1861. His parents were natives of Norway and removed to the United States in 1861, and the father died when only a month on this side of the ocean, at the early age of forty-three. His widow lived to be eighty years old, passing away March 8, 1902. They had two children, James, now a resident of San Luis Obispo County, California, and John H., whose name introduces this article.

John H. Johnson secured his early education in the public schools of Lafayette County, Wisconsin, where he worked out later by the month. While still a young man he spent seven months in Lyon County as a farm laborer, going from here to Kansas, where he remained two years. In 1878 he came back to Lyon County and settled on his present farm. He owns one hundred and sixty acres, and rents another quarter section in section 13, of Richland Township. As already noted he has been very successful in his farming operations, and following up advanced and progressive ideas of agriculture, he became one of the leading men of his day.

Mr. Johnson was married September 11, 1876 to Miss Sarah E. Clark, of Black Hawk County, Iowa. She is a daughter of Norman P. and Ricalia Clark, natives of New York and Pennsylvania, respectively. Her father was a carpenter, and died in Waterloo, Iowa in 1899, at the age of seventy-three. His widow died in 1901, when seventy-two. They reared a family of six children; all are living with the exception of Mrs. Johnson, who died in 1892 at the age of thirty-three years. She was the mother of the following children, all of whom are living, and at home: Bertha, who is a dressmaker; Ethel; Walter; Eva; Lawrence; Ellis and Ruth. Mr. Johnson is a man of considerable prominence in his own community, and has served as school director seven years, and for two years has been justice of the peace. In religious matters he is a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church.

Louis Johnson, one of the successful young farmers of Garfield township, still in his early manhood, with bright promise before him, as the testimony of a host of friends and well wishers attest, was born on a farm in Lyon County in 1877, and was the seventh member in order of birth of a family of ten children. He was reared to manhood in his native county, and given such schooling as the scanty opportunities of the times afforded.

Remaining at home until he was twenty-four years of age, Mr. Johnson then entered into business cares for himself, and bearing self so wisely and well that he has won a good standing among his friends and neighbors, may well be satisfied with the progress that he has made before reaching the age of twenty-seven years. He was married March 20, 1900, to Miss Caroline Grote. She was born in Illinois, while her father, Phillip, who was a life-long farmer, was a native of Germany. To this very happy union come one child, a daughter, Vilma, who was born in 1902.

As a home for himself and family, Mr. Johnson bought a farm of eighty acres in section 15, all wild prairie land, but of fine promise. Here he built a house 18 by 20 feet, as well as other buildings needed for the successful cultivation of the place, and has worked out a very profitable and creditable farm. In these years he has proved himself a public-spirited citizen, and has met every responsibility placed upon him in a broad and generous spirit. At the present time he is a farmer a quarter section of land, and gives his attention to both grain and stock raising.

Ole Johnson, who is an industrious tinner and hardware tradesman of Doon, Lyon county, was born in Norway, in 1836, where he remained until he was thirteen years of age. At that time he left his native land to seek the fortune the western world might have in store for him, and crossed to the United Stated in a sailing vessel, being six weeks on the water. For a short season he remained in the city of New York, and then made his way to Wisconsin, where he was employed for a time on a farm, and then learned the tinner''s trade at which he was working when the Civil war broke out. In 1860 he was engaged at his trade in McGregor, Iowa, and was so employed until 1861. That year he enlisted in Company C, Third Iowa Volunteer Infantry. The command was organized at Keokuk, Iowa, and from there it was sent to Missouri to do guard duty along the line of the St. Joseph and Hannibal railroad. The first severe battle in which Mr. Johnson participated was the fight at Blue Mills, where the command was ambushed by an over-whelming number of rebels. They were, however, finally repulsed and driven from the field. The regiment guarded the railroad until the spring of 1862. It was then sent south and fought in the great battle of Shiloh. They were then sent against the rebels at Corinth and from there to Bolivar, Tennessee, and Natchez, Mississippi. At this latter point the Union army overtook the forces of General Price, and fought them half a day, but losing heavily, the command retreated to Bolivar, and thence to LaGrange, Mississippi. The regiment was started for Vicksburg, but as the rebels had broken the line of supplies, it fell back to Memphis, where Mr. Johnson was discharged on account of sickness.

Mr. Johnson returned to McGregor, where his health presently recovered enough for him to resume his trade at Elkader. His home was maintained at that point until March 5, 1882, when he made his appearance in Rock Rapids, Lyon county. Here he worked at his trade four years, and then in company with his son rented some land the following year. The next year they took the farm of Robert Penman, which they cultivated for six years. He rented after this the farm of P. Converse, on which he remained thirteen years. By this time he had become so advanced in years and broken in strength that he sold out, and removing to a beautiful home in Doon which he had purchased expects to remain here the balance of his life.

Mr. Johnson was married in 1864 to Miss Mary Hidingar, who is German born. When she was five years old she was brought to this country by her parents. When she was ten she accompanied her parents to Fayette county, where she lived until she was old enough to care for herself at McGregor, where she was at work when she met Mr. Johnson. Their children are as follows: Frank, Lila, Henrietta, Alfred, and Mabel. Their daughter Ida died at the age of eleven months.

The parents of Mr. Johnson spent their lives in the old country. They were in very comfortable circumstances. The father was a man of more than ordinary ability, and was chosen sheriff of his district. He died respected by all who knew him. Their three children came to this country, and have become landowners and are prosperous. Mr. Johnson is independent in politics, and attends the Baptist church.

Henry Junge, now a well-to-do farmer and leading citizen of the township of Logan, Lyon county, presents in his own career a striking illustration of the field of opportunity this new northwest long offers the ambitious children of the old world, as well as the rich results that have long waited on industry and integrity. The readiness with which they adapt themselves to circumstances, and their willingness to pay any price of privation and labor for the prize opens the door, and they make the "wilderness blossom as the rose."

Henry Junge was born in Hanover, Germany, in 1866, where his father John H., sustained an honest name as an industrious farm laborer. Henry was the youngest member of a family of six children, and was reared to manhood in the old Fatherland under the parental roof tree. In 1882 he sought the larger life of the United States, and landing in New York city came straight through to Davenport, Iowa, where for some six years he found employment at farm labor, in which he was also engaged for some six years in Tama county. In 1894 he came into Lyon county, and for the ensuing twelve months was also engaged in farm labor. The second year here he bought the southwest quarter of section 14, Logan township, then an absolute wilderness. Now it is in fine cultivation. His first building was a structure which he used as both a granary and a stable. In 1896 he built a house and all the structures for the efficient handling of the place and thestoring of machinery.

Mr. Junge was married in 1896 to Miss Catharine Schmidt, who was born in Germany, where her father, Mathias, had won a good standing as a farmer in Schleswig. She came to this country in 1893. Mr. and Mrs. Junge are the parents of two children, Johnnie and Minnie

Mr. Junge devotes his time very closely to his farm, and has brought it forward to a high pitch of fertility. With the little capital he had to work with, and his small start, his friends consider that he has done wonderfully well, and that his career in Lyon county is to be regarded as a marked success.

W. G. Smith and W. D. Junkin are associated owners and editors of the Lyon County Reporter, an exceedingly bright and interesting publication emanating from Rock Rapids, and filled with local and state news after a most attractive fashion.

W. G. Smith was born in 1869, and received his education in the Rock Rapids high school. When he had reached the age of sixteen years he entered the printing office of the Reporter, and began learning the printer's trade. He was apt in leaning, and had soon so mastered all the intricacies of the calling that in 1899 he became editor and proprietor of the paper. Though a young man, he is taking rank with the best newspapermen of the state, and the Reporter is well worthy of comparison with any similar publication.

W. D. Junkin was born in Fairfield, Iowa April 13, 1865, and also secured his education in the public schools. He learned the printer's trade in his father's office. When he was eighteen he went to Montana where he spent the ensuing five years. He was quite a traveler, and attended the World's Fair in Paris. At different times he has seen much of the earth, and has a good idea of many nations and races. Under President Harrison he received appointment as a mail clerk, and held that position for about seven years, when he came to Rock Rapids. Here he bought an interest in the Reporter, and was made postmaster by President McKinley, an office he still holds and discharges its duties much to the satisfaction of its patrons. W. W. Junkin, the father of W. D., of Fairfield, Iowa, was ranked as the oldest editor in the state of Iowa. He died in February 1903.

W. D. Junkin married Miss Vermot Petty, and they have two children: Louise and Kathryn, both of whom are at home.


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