Transcribed from "An Illustrated History of The Big Bend Country, embracing
Lincoln, Douglas, Adams, and Franklin Counties", published by Western Historical
Publishing Co., 1904.
JACOB HARDER, a farmer and stockman
residing three miles cast of Kahlotus, is one of the heaviest property
owners of Franklin county. His estate consists of almost thirteen
sections, a large portion of which is agricultural land and is producing
hay for his bands of cattle. He has the distinction of being the
first man in Franklin county to divert water for irrigation purposes, thus
demonstrating what an untold benefit irrigation would be to the county.
A detailed account of his life will be interesting and with pleasure we
append the same.
Jacob Harder was born on April 10, 1869, in
Schleswig-Holstein, Germany, the son of John and Kate (Rothman) Harder,
natives of Germany and now deceased. The old home place has been
in the Harder family for over four hundred years and is now owned by a
brother of our subject, Claus Harder. Jacob was educated in the common
schools until sixteen, then was apprenticed to learn the miller's trade,
which he followed for three years. After that, he spent three years
and three days in the German Cavalry, being enrolled in the Fifteenth Hussar
Regiment. He was promoted to the position of corporal and at the
end of his services was honorably discharged and now possesses a medal
won in the army by expert marksmanship. Upon quitting the army, he
came direct to Washington, locating on a portion of his present place and
engaging in the stock business with his brothers. His first efforts
were given principally to raising horses and at one time, Mr. Harder owned
about two thousand of these animals. He secured his start by purchasing
two hundred brood mares from the noted Indian, Wolf, who was the richest
Indian in the northwest, owning at one time four thousand horses.
In 1897, Mr. Harder disposed of his horses and since that time has given
his attention to sheep and cattle exclusively. His home place is
the headquarters of his business and is handsomely and wisely fitted out
with everything for comfort in a rural abode and for carrying on his business.
He owns some six hundred head of cattle besides a great many sheep.
In Chicago, on June 13, 1898, Mr. Harder married
to Annie F. Hennings, a native of Germany and the daughter of Carsten and
Katherine Hennings, also natives of Germany. Two children have been
born to Mr. and Mrs. Harder, Carl DeWitt, on March 3, 1899, and John Jacob,
on March 27, 1902. In every sense of the word, Mr. Harder is a pioneer
and frontiersman. He has seen this county develop from a wilderness
to its present prosperous conditions and has had no small part in its transformation.
Many came and succumbed to its hardships and were forced to retire but
he has weathered all the hard days of adversity in such a manner that he
has brought success out of it all, being now one of the wealthiest men
of the county. To instance how quiet were the times, Mr. Harder remarks
that during those dull days, a fine work horse would be sold for five dollars
and a cayuse for fifty cents. Thus some idea may be gained of the
terrible problems of pioneer life in attempting to secure a livelihood.
Mr. Harder is well satisfied with Franklin county, owing to its resources
and believes in its future. His excellent judgment and sagacity have
been rewarded in his bountiful success and the future looks very bright
for him. Mr. and Mrs. Harder are members of the Lutheran church and
are very highly esteemed people. Our subject has the following brothers
and sisters: Claus, on the old home place in Germany; John, in Nebraska;
Katherine, deceased; Anna, in Kiel, Germany; Max and Hans, in Franklin
county. Mr. Harder is a fine linguist and in addition to his mother
tongue, speaks fluently three languages. He is a man of stability
and talent and has won very many friends.
In this connection, we desire to mention an
incident in Mr. Harder's life, which shows the manner of man he is
and the spirit in him. At Wedel, Germany, he observed a man
drowning in the center of a mill pond. Hastening to the rescue, he
swam to him and succeeded in getting him to shore, thus saving his life,
even at the risk of his own.