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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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Death often removes from our midst citizens whom we can ill afford to lose and the death of William H. Hammans on the 9th of September, 1906, was the occasion of deep and wide-spread regret, for he was regarded as a representative and valued citizen of the community in which he made his home. A native son of Iowa, he was born in Jefferson county, January 2, 1851, and possessed the spirit of enterprise and determination which has been the dominant factor in the rapid and substantial upbuilding of this state. Mr. Hammans was a brother of George Hammans, of Afton, of whom mention is made on another page of this volume. In the county of his nativity William H. Hammans was reared in the usual manner of farm lads and after mastering the branches of learning taught in the public schools he continued his education in Whittier College to the senior year. On putting aside his text-books he began farming in Jefferson county, where he carried on agricultural pursuits for a few years and in the spring of 1875 removed to Union county, later purchasing a farm near Afton. There he tilled the soil and cultivated his crops for a time but eventually sold the property and located near Lorimor, where he again carried on farming, then purchased a farm in Pottawattamie county, which he afterward sold and in 1883 moved to the farm which is now the home of his family. His investments were judiciously placed and throughout his business career he manifested determination, energy and reliability—qualities which go far toward winning success.

Mr. Hammans was married in Union county, September 7, 1880, to Miss Myrta Groesbeck, who was born and reared in Union county, a daughter of William Groesbeck, whose birth occurred in Portage county, Ohio, July 2, 1829. He came to Iowa in 1838, when a youth of nine years, in company with his parents, who first settled in Lee county, where he was reared and married. He wedded Miss Susan C. Fenner, also a native of Ohio and about 1854 they removed to Union county, casting in their lot with its early settlers. Mr. Groesbeck purchased a large tract of wild land in New Hope township and with characteristic energy began tilling the soil and developing the farm upon which he reared his family. Year after year he carefully conducted the work of the fields until the spring of 1895, when his life’s labors were ended in death and he was called to his final rest.

Mr. and Mrs. Hammans began their domestic life in Afton and later lived upon the Groesbeck farm, while subsequently they took up their abode upon the farm which is now occupied by Mrs. Hammans. Living a life of well directed industry and thrift, Mr. Hammans cultivated the soil and developed his farm, making it a profitable property. He built a large and neat two-story residence, also good outbuildings and thus provided ample shelter for grain and stock. He likewise set out two orchards and planted many fine forest trees, which add much to the beauty of the place and make it one of the attractive features of the landscape. He commenced here with three hundred and twenty acres of land and later purchased the greater part of the Groesbeck farm, so that he was the owner of thirteen hundred acres, thus becoming one of the most extensive landowners and prosperous citizens of Union county. His business interests were always characterized by sound judgment and keen discrimination. He was seldom, if ever, at error in determining upon the best methods to pursue and there was nothing indefinite in his plans. On the contrary they were carefully formed and promptly executed and his untiring energy and business ability gained him a gratifying measure of prosperity. Moreover he was thoroughly reliable and trustworthy in all his dealings and was never known to take advantage of the necessities of another in a business transaction. He became one of the well known and representative business men of the community, being numbered among the leading farmers, stock-raisers and feeders of this part of the state.

Unto Mr. and Mrs. Hammans were born nine children: Clauson G., Roy F., Ralph J. and William Howard, all of whom are associated in carrying on the home farm and the business interests of the family; Fred L. and Donald H., who are students in the schools of Lorimor; M. Ethel, R. Eva and Florence C., who are yet at home with their mother.

Politically Mr. Hammans was a republican, interested in the growth and success of the party, yet never seeking nor desiring office for himself. He held membership with the Afton Baptist church, while his widow belongs to the Baptist Church at Lorimor, and to its teachings he was most loyal and faithful. In all that he did he was actuated by high and honorable purposes and his many good qualities gained for him the respect and confidence of friends, neighbors and business associates in an unusual degree. At the death of her husband Mrs. Hammans took charge of the home farm, which she has since conducted with the aid of her sons, who are enterprising young business men and bid fair to attain a similar measure of success to that which crowned the efforts of their honored father.

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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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