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Sheboygan County, Wisconsin Genealogy & History
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Evert Hartman

Source: Portraits and Bios

The early pioneers, who came to the unbroken wilderness in an early day, felled the trees of the forest and cleared the land ready for the plow, deserve much praise and commendation from the generations who have entered into reap the fruits of their labor. One of these men, who should receive one of the first places in the history of his adopted county and State, is the sturdy pioneer whose name appears at the head of this biography. He is well and favorably known in Sheboygan County, where he has lived since 1846, being one of the oldest settlers living.

Mr. Hartman is a native of Holland, born May 24, 1824, and is now the only living member of a family of five sons and a daughter born unto Derrick J. and Hattie (Tebokel) Hartman. He was reared in his native land until he reached the age of twenty-two years, and received a good education in the language of Holland. With his parents he came to America, setting sail from Rotterdam, the voyage on the Atlantic consuming forty-six days. They landed in New York City, and immediately went to Rochester, NY where they resided for six weeks. From that point they went by way of the Great Lakes to Milwaukee. The father purchased forty acres of unimproved land near that city, and while living there the family was stricken with sickness, and the mother, three brothers and a sister died.

With his father and the remainder of the family, our subject came to this county in 1846. They were compelled to take their axes and cut roads through the dense forests and thickets. On locating in the county, they took one section of land, paying $1.25 per acres. This property was in the midst of the forest and had never before been occupied by white settlers. Then the hardships and trials of the early pioneer were experienced, for they had very little to eat, not much clothing, and scarcely any of the comforts of life. The red men were still numerous in this section, but were not troublesome to the white settlers, except as beggars. The first home of the Hartman family was a rude log cabin, with puncheon floor, and the chimney was a simple stove-pipe thrust through the clapboard roof.

Milwaukee was the trading point of the family, and when our subject first saw it, it was a small village of not more than five hundred inhabitants. Port Washington had only two dwellings, and Sheboygan but three small stores. Where the court house now stands was a heavy growth of pine trees, and Eighth Street was a perfect wilderness. Many times did the settlers need provisions, and on one occasion Mr. Hartman visited Milwaukee on foot, taking what money could be raised in the neighborhood, with which he purchased three barrels of flour, a little meat and buckwheat flour. Upon his return these necessaries were doled out very sparingly to the settlers. All that the people had to sell were ashes and cedar shingles, which they would take to Milwaukee and exchange for provisions. There were no churches or schoolhouses, and the roads had to hewed through the thicket to Sheboygan and Milwaukee. The first road through this part of the county was cut through the timber by our subject and his neighbors. His father died in 1846, and his brother, the last of the family, passed away in 1890.

The marriage of Mr. Hartman and Jane B. Berkers was celebrated May 12, 1855. She was born in Holland, July 25, 1830. For thirty-eight years they have traveled the pathway of life together. Of their four sons and six daughters, the following eight are living: Hattie G., who is the wife of Henry Hyink, a resident and farmer of this county; Hannah B., who became the wife of Peter Dirks, a farmer of this State; Derrick J., who is engaged in handling agricultural implements in Cartburg, Wis.; Minnie, the wife of Henry Huibregtse, a hardware merchant of Iowa; Jane G., wife of David Lemkuil, a resident of Sheboygan; Delia, wife of Chester Mead, who lives in Milwaukee; Cena and Henry, who complete the family. The children have been given good education in both the English and Dutch languages, and have been reared to lives of usefulness. They have practiced the cardinal virtues of honesty, industry and economy, and are valuable citizens.

The first Presidential vote of Mr. Hartman was cast for honest Abe Lincoln, since which time he has been a loyal supporter of the Republican party. He is well informed and man of strong convictions and principles. He has been Township Supervisor several times. He is a firm believer in the education of the masses, is a true friend to good schools and all institutions which tend to elevate the standard of mankind. He and his family are members of the Dutch Reformed Church of Wilson Township, and since he has been a citizen of the county he has assisted in the erection of three churches. His homestead comprises two hundred and forty-four acres of good land, only two and a half miles from the thriving village of Oostburg; and eight miles from the city limits of Sheboygan. The home residence is neat and comfortable, and is surrounded by good outbuildings. Our subject and his wife are justly classed among the best citizens of the county, and are known far and wife for their sterling worth and integrity.


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