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Below is a family biography included in Portrait and Biographical Record of Berrien and Cass Counties, Michigan published by Biographical Publishing Company in 1893.  These biographies are valuable for genealogy research in discovering missing ancestors or filling in the details of a family tree. Family biographies often include far more information than can be found in a census record or obituary.  Details will vary with each biography but will often include the date and place of birth, parent names including mothers' maiden name, name of wife including maiden name, her parents' names, name of children (including spouses if married), former places of residence, occupation details, military service, church and social organization affiliations, and more.  There are often ancestry details included that cannot be found in any other type of genealogical record.

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LARS HANSON. No State in the Union gives greater encouragement to a man who desires to devote himself to agricultural life than does Michigan. Its resources are almost inexhaustible, and its climate is adapted to the cultivation of varied crops. Among the most enterprising and pushing of Berrien County’s farmers is Lars Hanson, who was born in Denmark April 6, 1834, a son of Hanson and Mary (Hanson) Oleson, whose entire lives were spent in Denmark. The mother was called from life when the subject of this sketch was about thirteen years of age, he being the second of their six children.

Lars Hanson resided in his native land until he was about twenty-three years old, and, owing to the poor health and extreme poverty of his parents, in early childhood he was compelled to beg for them in order to keep the wolf from the door. At the age of ten years he began earning his own livelihood, although he was always a weakly lad, and when about seventeen years of age he hired out to a prosperous and extensive farmer in Denmark, receiving $25 for his first year’s services. After remaining in the employ of this gentleman for five years, he decided to follow his step-mother’s advice and come to America, and upon landing in this country almost immediately went to Wisconsin, and hired out on a farm through harvest time — a period of six weeks. At the end of this time he went to Milwaukee, and shortly after to St. Joseph, Mich. He arrived in the latter place a total stranger, with little of this world’s goods, and with characteristic energy at once started out to seek employment. After a few days he secured a place as a farm hand with a man by the name of William Tryon, with whom he remained two years and four months. At the end of that time he had saved sufficient means to enable him to purchase eighty acres of land, for which he paid the sum of $800. This land was heavily timbered, and he at once set to work to clear it, and this he succeeded in doing, and has since added to it until he now has an excellent farm of one hundred and fifty-two acres, located about seven and a-half miles south of St. Joseph. He has been unusually successful in his chosen calling, and his good fortune is due to his integrity, honesty, business ability and the push which is lacking in so many young men.

In 1869 our subject was married to Miss Louise Seal, who, although American-born, is of German descent, and by her became the father of five children: John, Delia, William, Charley and Edward. Since locating on his present farm in 1859, Mr. Hanson has experienced many hardships, and for the seven years prior to his marriage kept house alone. He is a member of the Farmers’ Mutual Fire Insurance, has been a member of the School Board of his district twice, and filled the position of Township Assessor for two terms. Mr. and Mrs. Hanson are members of the Free Methodist Church at Tryon’s Corner, the building of which was due to Mr. Hanson’s liberality and push. He founded the first church of the kind in that section, and has always been one of its most honored Trustees. Schools, churches, and all things for the upbuilding of Royalton Township are of interest to him, and he is a useful, influential and highly respected citizen.

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This family biography is one of numerous biographies included in the Portrait and Biographical Record of Berrien and Cass Counties, Michigan published in 1893. 

View additional Berrien County, Michigan family biographies here: Berrien County, Michigan Biographies

View a map of 1911 Berrien County, Michigan here: Berrien County Michigan Map

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