Grandfather Hartjen died December 5, 1929 at the age of 95. There ended not only a long life but one filled with more adventure and human experience than is often recorded.
Herman Heinrich Johann Hartjen came into this world December 9, 1835 at the village of Hauthaus, Oldenberg Germany.
It is difficult to imagine nearly a century later the conditions under which his childhood years passed, so vast have been the changes.
Under the stern struggle for existence in those days boys were men at an early age. Herman Hartjen was but 16 when he took up the work of a man as a sailor. This vocation followed for 14 years.
In those years most sea going commerce was in sailing ships, a mode of travel vastly different from the ocean greyhounds of today. A trip now reckoned in days was then extended to many weeks, and the life of the sailor was one of toil and hardship out filled with adventure.
Employed on ships devoted to both passenger and freight carrying Mr. Hartjen visited nearly every port in both hemispheres and acquired working knowledge of most of the language of Europe as well as a smattering of other dialects. At on time cruising the tropics yellow fever broke out and many of the crew died. Mr. Hartjen was one of those stricken.
At the break of the Civil War Mr. Hartjen was in an American port and during the four years of struggle was engaged in a civilian capacity helping operate ships that carried munitions and supplies to Union army by ocean and by river routes.
Seeing in America the land of promise Mr. Hartjen quit the sea and about 1865 found his way to Will County Illinois. For 2 years he worked as a farmhand then began farming himself in 1867. Her married Charlotte Schacht. They carried on the farm home in Will County until 1890 when they brought their family to Fraser Township where they've lived since.
In 1892 Mr. Hartjen was bereft of his wife but with the help of the children he continued to operate the farm.In 1897 his son Fred married and from that time on he made his home with this son.
After quitting the exciting life before the mast Mr. Hartjen settled down to quiet days and only when in a reminiscent mood would he relate some of the stirring events of his youth. During his 40 years of residence in the county he was esteemed as a kind and thoughtful parent, neighbor, and friend.
Left as survivors are his sons Fred of Fraser Township, August of Dumont MN, John of Fairmont,his daughter Mrs. Henry Peymen of Fraser Township.
He worshiped in Rutland Township Church for years.
* It was originally thought he was buried in Rutland Township Cemetery as that was where his wife had slept for years. That statement was crossed out in the paper and it was put he was to be buried at Lakeside Cemetery.
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