Charles J. Haas


A highly profitable and productive farm of two hundred and eighty acres on section 19, French Creek township, Allamakee county, is evidence of intelligent labor along agricultural lines undertaken by Charles J. Haas, who was born upon the property October 4, 1872. As his father, who settled upon this property, was one of the most progressive men of his time, he follows in his footsteps and is considered the most modern and up-to-date agriculturist in French Creek township.

Joseph Haas, the father, a native of Germany, came to America when about twenty years of age, entering upon his first work at West Point, New York, where he subsequently removed to St. Louis, where he was engaged in railroad work as stone mason and stone cutter. Later he took contracts for putting in culverts and laying of steel and finally by branching out was enabled to make agreements which covered complete jobs of railroad construction. In 1851, Joseph Haas came to Allamakee county to see his mother, who had preceded him here and during his sojourn assisted in completing the building of the stone elevator at Lansing. Returning to St. Louis, he remained there until 1856, when a brother in Allamakee county wrote him that a railroad was then to be built form the junction to Waukon. Packing up his tools and instruments, he came with his outfit and teams to Allamakee county in order to be on the spot if construction should begin, but although the road had been surveyed its building was delayed for several years. He therefore turned his attention to agricultural matters and purchasing three hundred acres of land in French Creek township settled thereon. About thirty-five acres of this tract were under cultivation and a primitive log shanty was upon the farm. In 1857-8 Mr. Haas erected the stone house which still stands and here made his home, engaging in the breaking of the land and placing his acres under cultivation, continuing in general farming until his demise on August 31, 1900. Careful management and thorough and progressive methods resulted in gratifying financial returns and he was enabled to extend the boundaries of his farm until comprised six hundred and eighty acres. It was said of him by his old-time neighbors that he was the most up-to-date farmer in French Creek township, for it was he who installed upon his farm the first mowing machine, the first riding plow and the first threshing machine. In fact it was he who was always first to own any new machine, to try out its merits, and always first to adopt any new method. That he was successful his ensuing prosperity was the soundest proof. Joseph Haas was united in marriage, in St. Louis, to Miss Julia Remstein, a native of Germany, who came to the United States in the company of friends when a young woman, and at the time of her marriage was employed in St. Louis. She was a true helpmate to her husband during all her life, and after his demise made her home in Mankato, Minnesota, passing away at an advanced age in April 1913. It is but natural that a man of such advanced views as Mr. Haas should have taken an active part in the public life of his township, and he held all the township offices with the exception of that of assessor, ever discharging his duties to the satisfaction of his constituents. He gave his support to the democratic party and both he and his wife were members of the Catholic church. In their family were ten children: Joseph, who died at the age of twenty: Lawrence, of Hammer North Dakota; George, of Jackson Junction, Iowa; Ferdinand, a salesman for the International Harvester Company; Mary, the wife of Henry Sheltie, of Kansas; Matilda, of Great Falls, Montana; Julia, who married S. J. Ray, of Helena, Montana; Henry, of Waukon, this state; Charles L. J., the subject of this review; and Katie, the wife of Joseph Schultz, of Wilmont, Minnesota.

Charles J. Haas was reared under the parental roof and there were early instilled into his boyish consciousness the old-fashioned virtues of honesty and industry. In the acquirement of his education he attended the district schools and later a business college at Waukon, Iowa and at La Crosse, Wisconsin. Early he became acquainted with agricultural pursuits, acquiring thorough methods under the able guidance of his father and assisting him until his own marriage, after which he continued along the same line. He lost his wife soon afterward and then attended Upper Iowa University, after which he was for one summer employed by the Atlas Art Studio of Chicago, for which concern he solicited orders for photo enlarging. The following summer he was employed as fireman by the Chicago & Northwestern Railroad, running out from Eagle Grove, Iowa, and for the following two years held a position with the Plano Manufacturing Company, being stationed as agent in North Dakota. When his father passed away in 1900 he was appointed administrator of the estate and returned home. After the affairs were settled none of the other heirs wishing to take over the farm, he purchased the interests of the others and has since continued the operation of the old homestead with ever increasing success. He owns two hundred and eighty acres, all of which is in a high state of cultivation, and engages in general farming, planting grains most suitable to soil and climate, and giving a great deal of attention to stock-raising. His buildings are modern and up-to-date, substantial and suitable, and the latest machinery and implements can be found upon his farm in order to facilitate the labors that increase the yield of the land. Mr. Haas follows in every way in the footsteps of his father as a progressive agriculturist, and he has the distinction of being the first in French Creek township to own an automobile.

The first wife of Mr. Haas was Miss Alice O’Brien, a native of Allamakee county and a daughter of James O’Brien. Of this marriage one son was born, Charles James, at home. Mr. Haas was again married, his second union being with Miss Helen Tilzenberger, a native of St. Lucas, Fayette county, Iowa. They have six children: Viola Laona, Anna Marie, Evelyn Eleanora, Daniel Ferdinand, Bernard John and Merill Joseph.

In his political views Mr. Haas reserves independent judgment giving his indorsement to whatever candidates he considers best suited to the offices to which they aspire. He has efficiently served as township trustee and as school director has done much toward promoting the cause of education. Both he and his wife are members of the Catholic church, to which they give helpful support, and are highly respected and esteemed in French Creek township for their qualities of mind and character. While Mr. Haas has attained individual prosperity and is considered one of the most prosperous agriculturists of his district, he had done much toward promoting general advancement and had proven a serviceable factor in making this section one of the richest in the state. He is public-spirited in the best since of the word and is even glad to bear his share of time and money in promoting any worthy public enterprise.

-source: Past & Present of Allamakee County; by Ellery M. Hancock; S. J. Clarke Pub. Co.; 1913
-transcribed by Diana Diedrich

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