Lee County Biography

Conrad Hartman
Nelson Township


Conrad Hartman, one of the old settlers of the township of Nelson, living on section 22, has not only materially increased its wealth by his work as a skillful, practical farmer, but he has acquired a valuable property for himself, the possession of which places him among the most substantial men of the county. He is of German birth, although the most important part of his life since he attained manhood has been passed in this country. He was born August 4, 1813, in Kurfurstenthum-Hessen, Germany. He was educated in the excellent schools of his native place, and was reared to the life of a farmer. He rew to be a stalwart, active, wide awake young man, and at the age of twenty-four set out into the world to see something of life, having resolved to join an older brother who had preceded him to the United States some years before. He sailed from Bremen in 1837, and seven weeks later found himself in New York City, and from there he went to Somerset County, Pa., to find his brother, having first, however, to look around him in the great metropolis to get work to earn money to take him to his destination. After his arrival in Somerset County, he had $1 of that money left, but he soon secured a situatin as a farm hand at $9 a month. He prudently saved his earnings, and in time when he desired to marry he was justified in doing so, as he had the means to support a wife and provide a good home for her. He was married to the lady whom he invited to share his fortunes in Somerset County, of which she was a native, her name being Susannah Raymond. Her parents were Pennsylvanians by birth but were of German blood, their parents having been born in the Old Country. Her father, George Raymond, was a farmer by occupation, and be died in Somerset County before his daughter Susan was grown to womanhood. Her mother did not die until many years later when she was an old lady.

Our subject and his wife spent the early part of their married life on a farm in Somerset County, Mr. Hartman living there eighteen years in all, but after the birth of all their children, six in number, they came to Illinois to found a new home, and in 1855 located among the pioneers of Lee County, And here, in Nelson Township, the wife and three of the children died. John was young when he died, while George and Elizabeth were grown, and the latter was married at the time of her death. Mrs. Hartman was sixty-five years old when she died in 1872. She was a conscientious Christian and a member of the Lutheran Church.

The surviving children of that marriage are Lydia, wife of William Cook, a farmer in Western Nebraska; Susanna, wife of Henry Mason, and residing with him on a sheep ranch in Colorado. and David, a farmer in this township, who married Sarah Hax, and a biographical review of his life appears elsewhere in this work. The second marriage of our subject, which took place in this county, was with Mrs. Sarah Hax, nee Zorn. Mrs. Hartman was born in the town of Berlin, Somerset County, Pa., a daughter of Jacob and Gertrude Zorn, who were also natives of Pennsylvania, and were of Dutch ancestry. Her father farmed and also made brick and pottery for some years. He died at BerIin when nearly eighty years of age. His wife was not so old when she died. They were Lutherans, and stanch in the faith. Their daughter Sarah was first married in her native county to Peter Hax, with whom she subsequently came to Illinois. They settled first at Dixon, but afterward removed to Sterling, and while residing there Mr. Hax was drowned while bathing in Rock River. He left three children, namely: Milton, a resident of Dixon, who married Mary Bollman: Rosanna, wife of Cyrus Lint, a miller in Cameron, Mo., and Sarah, wife of David Hartman.

When Mr. Hartrnan came to this county thirty- six years ago, he was a comparatively poor man, but a strong right arm was his, and he was otherwise well equipped for the pioneer task that lay before him of delving h is fortune from the soil. He began life here on a new farm of eighty acres in Nelson Township, which is a part of his present home, he worked early and late, faced the hardships that fell to his lot in the newly settled country with unfaltering courage, was Prudent and economical when it was necessary, invested his money judiciously, and after improving his first purchase added to it and now has a farm which is one of the best in every particular in the township. It has an area of four hundred and forty acres lying on sections 22 and 14, the most of it under plow, and Mr. liartnian has erected a fine set of buildings. Good grades of cattle, horses and swine are raised on the place, and the various cereals and farm produce common to this region are grown here in abundance.

Our subject furnishes a good example of our so-cailed self-made men, as is shown by this biographical record of his life, as he has gathered together his riches by unremitting and well-directed toil, displaying keen common sense, good powers of calculation,and excellent business qualifications in his dealings, which have always been characterized by strict honesty and fairness, he is public spirited as a citizen, always interesting himself in whatever concerns his adopted township, contributing to plans to promote its prospertiy, and doing good work while he held the office of Highway Commissioner. Politically, he is a Republican and has always been loyal to his party. Religiously, he and his wife are members of the Luthern Church, and the entire community where they are so well known holds them in the highest respect.

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