Lee County Biography


Many years have gone by with their chances and changes since Christian Classen first set foot within the boundaries of this county, lie was then a poor man who had come here with his young wife to build up a home. They have worked long and well together and are now very comfortably situated on a good farm on section 28, South Dixon Township, that is provided with neat buildings and all the necessary improvements for carrying on agriculture.

Mr. Classen was horn at Yaver, Oldenburg, Germany, October 4, 1815, a son of Clause and Eliza (Varner) Classen, who were also natives of the same German village as himself, which is situated near the shores of the North Sea. His parents were well along in years at the time of his birth, and he was early deprived of their watchful care by their death, his mother dying when he was seven years old, and his father departing this life two years later. He was a farm laborer, and both he and his wife were upright, God-fearing people and conscientious members of the Lutheran Church.

Our subject is the only survivor of seven children. His brother John, who died some years ago in Palmyra Township, where he had been a well-known resident for a long time, had married in Oldenburg, and after the death of his wife came to this country with his two children, who grew to maturity in this county. His daughter,Eliza,subsequently died in her home in South Dakota, near Yankton. His son John, who is married, lives on a farm in Marshall County, Iowa.

He of whom we write grew up in the town of his birth and in due time took unto himself a wife, marrying the daughter of a neighbor, Sophia Christians, who was born July 14, 1823, in Oldenburg, coming of an old German family of that province, all of whom lived and died there except herself. A short time after marriage Mr. Classen and his bride decided to try their fate in the United States of America, whither so many of their compatriots had betaken themselves for the betterment of their fortunes from time immemorial. June 23, 1852, they embarked on a sailing-vessel at Bremer Haven, and on August landed at New York City. They came thence to this State,where they have since lived. He had but little means with which to begin life in a strange land, but he and his wife had health and strength on their side, and patiently and courageously bore the hardships that fell to their lot, and which were shared by the pioneers in many cases. For some years they lived at Sugar Grove, Palmyra Township, and then for four years Mr. Classen was engaged in farming in Whiteside County. Returning to this county he purchased his present farm in South Dixon Township in 1869, and now has it in excel­lent condition, everything about the place in good order and betokening the best of care. The fields are under good tillage and the pastures give sup­port to stock of approved grades.

Mr. and Mrs. Classen are people of true piety, consistent members of the Lutheran Church, with which they have been connected from their earliest clays and their Christianity enters into their everyday lives, enabling them to bear trouble when it has come to them, and making them kind, neighborly and obliging to all. Mr. Classen was formerly a Republican, but has transferred his allegiance to the Democratic party, believing its principles best for the guidance of the country of his adoption, to which he is sincerely attached.

Death early took from our subject and his wife their three children, but they were sustained and soothed in their sorrow by their firm belief in the life immortal when they shall all be gathered together in one household never to be separated again. Herman died at the age of eight months; Eliza, aged nine months and Lena when six years old.

Source: Portraits & Biographical Lee County 1892


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