PHILIP GREASER, one of the pioneers of 1854, has been a prominent and successful farmer of Canton Township, and is a native of Hesse-Darmstadt, Germany, born Nov. 29, 1822, his parents being George and Agnes Greaser. In 1831 the family determined to try their fortunes in the United States, and, crossing the Atlantic, settled in what is now Blair County, Pa., where they engaged in farming. Here the father died in 1881, aged eighty-nine, and the mother four years previously, in 1877, at the age of seventy-five years. There were twelve children in the family. One died in infancy, and one —George— was accidentally killed by a runaway horse, July 4, 188O, aged about fifty-seven years. Those living are Philip, Katie, Agnes, Barbara, Susan, Anna, Elizabeth, Margaret, Maria and John.
The subject of our sketch was the oldest of the family, and helped his father in the cultivation and improvement of the farm, in the meantime obtaining an education by attending the common schools, and in 1847 was united in marriage with Elizabeth Dilling. In 1851 he decided to come West, and crossed the Alleghany Mountains to Johnstown, thence by canal to Pittsburgh, thence by steamboat on the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers to Muscatine, Iowa, and thence by teams to Benton County, the journey occupying from March 25 to April 18, 1851. He at once purchased a claim, which now forms a portion of his farm, and also entered another tract, and on the 16th of May, 1851, settled near the place where he now resides. There was a log house partially built on the claim, into which he moved, completing his building during the summer. Mr. Greaser had about $1,800 when he arrived in this county, and with this was enabled to make a start; but his health was very poor for about two years. Other misfortunes overtaking him, he made but little headway for about ten years, and thus experienced many of the hardships and trials which were incident to pioneer life. Wheat in 1858 made but half a good crop and brought only thirty to forty cents per bushel.
In September, 1866, his wife died, leaving six children — Katie, now the widow of W. G. Donnels; Maria, the wife of David Hite; Agnes, the wife of A. J. Kaufman; George; Emma J., now the wife of William Brolliar; and Levi Henry.
On the 17th day of November, 1869, Mr. Greaser married Susan Miller, nee Chambers, born in Maryland, July 4. 1827. She came to Benton County in 1853. She has three children living by her former husband — Savannah, wife of James Dickinson; Emily N., wife of W. B. Arble, and Leroy L. Mr. Greaser has given his attention to mixed farming, and now owns 320 acres of land in one body. 80 acres of timber land and 160 acres in Osage County, Kan. He has also given his two sons 160 acres each in Kansas. At present he has most of his land rented, and lives a retired life.Politically Mr. G. is a Republican. He is connected by membership with the United Brethren Church, which he aids liberally to support. By hard work, economy and good management he has made a success in life, and now enjoys the fruits of his labor.
Source Citation: "1887 Benton County, Iowa Biographies" [database online] Benton County IAGenWeb Project. <http://iagenweb.org/benton/>
Original data: "Portrait and Biographical Album of Benton County, Iowa." Chicago: Chapman Brothers, 1887, p. 193-194.
Transcribed by: Sue Soden. Submitted to the Benton County IAGenWeb Project on January 28th, 2009. Copyright © 2009 The IAGenWeb Project.