Lee County Biography


Hartman M. Kersten is now living retired in Ashton, but for many years he was a most active, energetic business man, carrying on general farming and the raising of blooded stock. He is still the owner of a valuable farm property upon which is a large grain elevator. Lee county numbers him among her native sons, his birth having occurred in Bradford township, January 13, 1860, his parents being John and Christine (Hildebrandt) Kersten, mention of whom is made elsewhere in this volume. The country schools afforded him his early educational privileges and he afterward spent two winter terms in Northwestern College at Naperville, Illinois, attending there in 1881 and 1882. He then returned home and assisted his father through two succeeding years. He afterward purchased seventy acres from his father- in-law, located on section 36, Bradford township, while his wife inherited eighty acres adjoining. Upon this tract, then comprising one hundred and fifty acres, he began farming and converted the land into an arable section, readily producing good crops as the result of his progressive methods of tilling the soil. He erected modern buildings and made a specialty of raising blooded stock, handling largely Galloway cattle. As prosperity crowned his labors he purchased more land from time to time, becoming the owner of the Gleim farm of one hundred and twenty acres in Bradford township and also another tract of one hundred and nine acres in the same township. He likewise has other land in Lee county situated near Dixon. He continued upon the home farm until December, 1903, when he sold his blooded stock and removed with his family to Ashton, which he now makes his home, living retired in the enjoyment of well earned rest. In 1913 he erected upon his farm in Bradford township a grain elevator, having a capacity of ten thousand bushels, and he also built a private siding from the Northern Illinois Electric Railroad to the elevator, thus securing excellent shipping facilities.

On the 15th of January, 1885, Hartman M. Kersten was married to Miss Mary Gross, a daughter of Reinhart and Martha (Reinhart) Gross, who were natives of Kerr-Hessen, Germany. Unto Mr. and Mrs. Kersten were born three children: Arthur R., who owns and operates a farm in Ashton township, wedded Miss Minnie Henert and has one son, Clarence Hartman Kersten. Rosa C. is the wife of Edward M. Herwig, who owns and cultivates a tract of land in Bradford township. Alice E. Kersten is deceased.

Mr. Kersten is a member of the United Evangelical church and has taken an active and helpful part in the various lines of church work, serving for many years as Sunday-school superintendent. When a youth of thirteen he had been converted throwing the efforts and teaching of Christian Schuster and Joetchel. He is a progressive in politics and has been a delegate to republican county conventions. He filled the office of road commissioner and for eleven years was school director. Mr. Kersten believes firmly in promoting the public-school interests and in giving to the youth of the land the best educational opportunities possible. He is one of the prominent and prosperous citizens of Lee county, and while promoting his individual success, has always found time to aid in the general development and the advancement of the public welfare.

Transcribed by Karen Holt - 1914 History of Lee County Illinois Vol 2 by Frank E. Stevens.

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