Frederick Carl Hamann, BiographyPorter County biographical sketches . . . .

Transcribed biography of Frederick Carl Hamann

THE HAMANN FAMILY AND S. E., PORTER COUNTY SETILEMENT

Frederick Carl Hamann (1839-1921) left home -- his oldest brother's inheritance - -after his required years in the German army and came to America just after the Civil War. After a few years in Chicago he quit his job at a meat packing plant and became a farmhand for a man who sold cattle and hogs.

Hamann was interested in owning land and having his own stock farm; and when he heard about a German settlement in northern Indiana where land was cheap, he came to LaPorte. There he met the Johann Hillman family at the Lutheran Church and soon was courting a brown-eyed black-haired girl. When she refused marriage this 31 year old blond with a sandy cropped beard and blue eyes promptly persuaded her twin sister, Sophia Hillmann (1839-1910), to marry him (1870). He bought a lot with a small house and stabled his horse in the lean-to woodshed. Soon 10 acres were purchased near LaPorte which he tilled with his one-horse walking plow, a drag made of boards driven through with old rail spikes, a single-row hand corn-planter plus hand tools, to produce the family vegetables and corn for his horse and two pigs. For income he continued as a farmhand and pruned hedge fences, fruit trees, and bushes.

A few years later the LaPorte properties were traded for 40 acres in the southwest corner of LaPorte County -- rich upland, virgin woods and marsh bordering the Kankakee. With frugal living, long hours of hard hand labor in the fields by all the family, and raising cattle, sheep, and hogs, chickens, ducks, geese and turkeys, land purchases were increased to 600 acres, including 160 A. in S.E. Porter County. Gradually additions were made to the original 2-room house with a pantry and a summer kitchen until it became a stately 8-room 2-story white house with two long porches. A tool house, granary, chicken house and corncribs were built. The log barn was displaced with a 45-foot red barn which housed 8 horses, 2 colt or calf pens, a 3-horse binder, a 2-horse corn planter and hay mower, and a fringed-top surrey.

Hamann was civic minded. As soon as his citizenship was established he registered as a Republican. He once remarked that Democrats were like kittens that didn't have their eyes open yet. He, with his team and road scraper, and the neighbors (Heimberg, Miller, Stowell, Fluallen, Kellerman and Smith) ditched up the first east and west roadbed (c.r. 1300 s) and built the first one-room eight-grade schoolhouse in south Pleasant Twp. (Stowell, 1880) so that their children would have a place to receive education. In 1904-5, with a few other influential men, Hamann petitioned State sanction for dredging the Kankakee River to straighten and deepen the channel westward which made possible drainage of the sour soil and malarian marshes in south LaPorte and Porter counties to develop the many high-yielding valuable farms there today.

Sophia (Hillman) Hamann (1838-1910) was a trained nursemaid in Germany and a skilled seamstress. She hated the hard lonely life of pioneer farming, the malaria-laden summers, and the cold wet winters, and feared the Porter county prairie fires. She made the soap, washed the clothes with board and tub, churned the butter, did the cooking, baking, fruit and meat preserving-cleaned the gut and stuffed the summer sausage, liver, blood, and "bratwurst" that smoked with the ham and bacon and domestic duck breasts. She did all the family sewing by hand from heavy unbleached muslin undergarments, bedclothes -- sheets, corn husk and straw ticks, even fly covers for the horses, to stiff blue denim pants, overstockings, mittens, caps and vests with her own spinning wheel yarn.

Occasionally, once or twice a year, Sophia rode along when Hamann went to town with cloth sacks filled with wheat and rye to be ground into flour. When Anderson and Denzine set up the steam-powered roller mill, the trip was made to Kouts. Over ten miles, it took nearly all day with a team and wagon and was most uncomfortable. The roads were rough wagon tracks -- sometimes hot, dry and dusty; sometimes muddy, full of deep ruts with places where water reached the hubs. The wagon seat was no more than a buffalo skin thrown over a flat board laid across the top front of the box wagon. Hamann would make stops at Anderson's Shop for harness parts, collars, sweat pads, bits, buckles, halter rope; at the Salt Shed for a barrel of coarse salt (used for family and livestock consumption and for preserving beef, mutton and pork); at Fred Rosenbaum's Hardware for nails, steeples, barbed wire, the new hand post-hole digger, a grain scope, a milk pail (once it was an iron wood stove with four little "eisen" glass windows in the front door); at Hayes Blacksmith Shop for a welding job, plowshare or wheel repair or to have the horses shod for winter. Sophia would stop at Rosenbaum's General Store with her delicious butter (sold at 5 - 6 per lb.) and baskets of eggs. She would look longingly at the bolts of calico, velvets, and lace but always the trade went for sugar, small kegs of herring, kerosene, shoes for the children, thread, buttons, needles, and for those new jars and real zinc screw lids with MASON'S PATENT NOV. 30TH 1858 pressed in the glass.

Sophia mothered five children. Her health gradually declined after the death of their beautiful beloved Sophie (1877-1901). Louise (1872-1933), the oldest, was employed at EDISON ELECTRIC, Chicago, for many years. Edwina (1874-1969) m. Edward Salzer. William (1883-1928) farmed with his father and brother Fred until his marriage to Dora Heimberg (deceased at birth of their daughter Ardella (WATKINS mgr. Mound City, Kan.); William lost interest in his own farm in Pleasant Twp. And later operated a garage and restaurant in Kouts; m. Caroline Klemz. They have four children: Wilma (m. Elroy Edwards), Roland (m. Barbara Cunningham), Amy (m. Horst DeFries), Joan (m. Richard Hambrock).

Frederick II "Fred" m. Alma Schueneman, farmed the Hamann land until his death (1876-1951). Eleanor (1902-1945) m. Elmer Stassen of Wanatah. Their only daughter Lorraine (m. Dwight Lauman) is a legal secretary in Valparaiso; has two sons, Jeffry and Bradley. Robert Haman (m. Irene Alberding) owns farms in Porter and Stark County; has one son Ronald, farmer, m. Geraldene Birky. Renetta Haman (1913-1974) m. Dallis Timm, south county farmer; son Roger does trucking and Susan is a nurse. George Haman, m. Lenora Dust; owns farms in Jasper and Porter county; has one son, Leslie. Herbert Haman, m. Thelma Hyatt, operated the Hamann farm until retired; their daughter Barbara m. Russel Pumroy, Pleasant Twp. Farmer; Frederick III, m. Carol Harwood, is director mfg. service for INLEX PHARMACEUTICAL CO. Richard, career undecided.

Harold Haman, m. Marlene Stowers, (children: Thelma, Cindy, Troy) and Melvin Haman, m. Barbara Soplanda, (children: Brett, Tracy, Ryan). These two great-grandsons today operate the Hamann estate of 800 acres in LaPorte and adjoining Porter county with speed tractors and modern combines and raise as high as 75 head of beef cattle and 200 hogs annually.
 


Source: American Revolution Bicentennial Committee of Porter County. 1976. A Biographical History of Porter County, Indiana. Valparaiso, Indiana: American Revolution Bicentennial Committee of Porter County, Inc. 180 p.
Page(s) in Source: 115-116

This biography has been transcribed exactly as it was originally published in the source. Please note that we do not provide photocopies or digital scans of biographies appearing on this website.

Biography transcribed by Steven R. Shook

 

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