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Below is a family biography included in History of Union County, Iowa published by S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., in 1908.  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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J. W. Hammans, a well known representative of the farming interests of Dodge township, living on section 26, was born in Jefferson county, near Fairfield, Iowa, January 12, 1853. His father, James M. Hammans, was a native of Indiana and when a young man of twenty-one years sought the opportunities offered by the middle west, taking up his abode in Jefferson county, which was then largely a pioneer district. Its settlers were comparatively few and its land was largely unclaimed. There were many difficulties and hardships to be met in establishing a home on the frontier but with determined purpose Mr. Hammans undertook the work of developing a new farm. He performed the arduous task of breaking the sod but soon the plow and the harrow had transformed the surface of his farm into well tilled fields, which in due time brought forth rich harvests. He was married in Jefferson county to Miss Keziah Ridgeway, a native of Indiana and a representative of an old New Jersey family. For many years after his marriage Mr. Hammans carried on farming in Jefferson county and eventually retired to private life, living in Glasgow for four years prior to his demise. There he died in 1885, at the age of seventy-two years, his wife passing away at the age of fifty years.

J. W. Hammans was the youngest son in a family of eight children, four sons and four daughters. The old home farm in Jefferson county was his playground in youth and his training school for life’s practical and responsible duties. The common schools were the medium whereby he acquired a fair English education and when not busy with his text-books he aided in the task of plowing, planting and harvesting.

On attaining his majority Mr. Hammans left home and was married on the 8th of January, 1874, to Miss Anna Harlan, a native of Van Buren county, Iowa, and a daughter of Nathan Harlan, a native of Indiana The young couple began their domestic life upon a farm in Jefferson county where they lived for two years and then came to Union county in 1876 settling in Dodge township, where they have since made their home. Mr. Hammans purchased eighty acres of land on section 36 and improved and cultivated it for more than a quarter of a century. He also extended the boundaries of his farm by the purchase of an additional tract of one hundred and sixty acres and there he lived until 1902, when he removed to his present place of residence on section 26, Dodge township, selling his original farm and purchasing four hundred and forty acres, constituting one of the large and splendidly improved farm properties of this part of the state There are two sets of buildings upon it and he has erected a big barn since taking up his abode here. Nearly all of the fields are enclosed with hog tight fences and the equipments are thoroughly modern, indicating the progressive spirit and enterprise of the owner, who has made steady progress in his business career and well merits the success which is now his. He has remodeled his residence and his home is comfortable and attractive. In the fields are seen large corn crops and he raises and feeds cattle making a specialty of shorthorns. He feeds from three to four carloads each year and also from three to four carloads of hogs. Until recently he raised the Poland China breed but now raises the Berkshire and Chester White hogs and his stock of the former breed are registered. He also raises good thoroughbred horses and all of his stock-raising interests are carefully conducted and bring him gratifying success. He is an excellent judge of farm animals so that he makes judicious purchases and profitable sales, the financial return from his stock adding not a little to his bank account annually.

Unto Mr. and Mrs. Hammans have been born eight children but they lost a daughter at the age of one year. The seven now living are as follows: Wallace, who is a farmer and stock-feeder, married Ella Ellis and they reside at Berthoud, Colorado. Arthur, a farmer residing in Berthoud Colorado, wedded Anna Reeves and they have two children, Myrl and Loyal. Earl, also a farmer of Berthoud, wedded Cloyal Reeves and has one son, Keith. Curtis is upon the home farm. Stella, Mamie and Pearl are also under the parental roof.

The parents and children attend the Baptist church of Dodge township and Mr. Hammans gives his political allegiance to the republican party with which he has been identified since attaining his majority. He has served on the school board for a number of years as director and has been a delegate to the conventions of his party. For thirty-two years he has made his home in this county and has witnessed the remarkable transformation that has been wrought as its wild lands have been reclaimed for the purposes of cultivation, making this one of the rich agricultural districts of this great state. Mr. Hammans has practically improved two farms since coming to Union county, has lived twenty-eight years on his first property, while five years of a busy and active life have been devoted to the further development and improvement of his present farm. He is classed among the progressive and active men of the county and has a host of warm friends who entertain for him the most kindly regard and good will.

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This family biography is one of 247 biographies included in The History of Union County, Iowa published in 1908.  For the complete description, click here: Union County, Iowa History and Genealogy

View additional Union County, Iowa family biographies: Union County, Iowa Biographies

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