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Portrait and Biographical Album of Benton County, Iowa
Chicago: Chapman Brothers, 1887

PETER G. BERGEN, the largest stock farmer in Canton Township, was born in Mercer County, Ky., on the 4th day of August, 1826. His father, Garrett Conover Bergen, was also a native of Kentucky, born July 17, 1792. He was united in marriage with Mary Banta, born in Kentucky, March 4, 1794, and resided in his native State until 1831. He then removed to Johnson County, Ind, and settled near Franklin, where he followed agricultural pursuits and also carried on a successful tannery on his premises. He departed this life Sept. 22, 1872, his wife seventeen years previously, Aug. 23, 1855, while on a visit to her children at Vinton, Iowa. Peter G. Bergen, when five years of age, removed with the family to Johnson County, Ind., where he attended the district school, helped in the various duties of the farm, and also assisted his father in the tannery. March 28, 1848, Emily S. B. Gwinn became his wife; she was born in 1830.

Mr. Bergen with some friends came to Iowa to find a good location on the frontier. He soon entered about 200 acres of land in what is now Big Grove Township, Benton County, and returned to Indiana. In 1854 he loaded his household goods on a wagon, and, accompanied by his wife and only son, one child having just died, he started for his Iowa home. But good luck appeared to be against him; his wife was taken sick on the journey, and after he had crossed the Mississippi River his horses were taken with lung fever and both died. He then purchased a yoke of cattle, and at the end of the seventh week after leaving Johnson County, Ind., arrived at his new home in Benton County, Iowa. In the spring of 1855 he sold the land he had entered in 1852, and purchased 227 acres, which now forms Williams' Addition to the site of Vinton.

Aug. 20, 1855, Mrs. Bergen died, leaving one son — Andrew C., who was born in Johnson County, Ind., Feb. 3, 1849. He received the degree of Doctor of Medicine from the Long Island Hospital, June 29, 1870, and first practiced his profession at Shellsburg, Iowa. He then enlisted in the United States Army as Assistant Surgeon, and was with Gen. Custer in his Black Hills expedition in Dakota in 1874. He was afterward stationed at Ft. Stevenson, and in 1883 located at Sioux City, Iowa, where he is now practicing medicine.

Mr. Bergen was again married, Aug. 12, 1856, Martha A. Fleming being the lady of his choice. She was born in Scott County, Ind., Aug. 29, 1832. To this union four children have been born: Kirk James died in infancy; Oscar C., now a druggist in Sioux City, Iowa; William S. and Alice B.  Mr. Bergen pursued farming at Vinton with marked success until 1871, then sold out and purchased about 800 acres of land in Canton Township. Here he has given his whole time and attention to stock-farming, keeping over 100 head of cattle and often a large number of horses. He always ships his stock to the Chicago market, and by his shrewd business tactics, industry and economy, he has accumulated a comfortable fortune. He now owns over 1,000 acres of choice land in one body, which is well watered by Wild Cat Creek, and thus forms one of the best stock farms in Iowa.

In politics Mr. Bergen usually votes the Democratic ticket, but his favorite business claims his attention so closely that he takes no active interest in political affairs, only giving enough time to perform his duty as a citizen. He has never connected himself with any sacred or religious society, always preferring to go through life on his own individual merit.

Mr. Bergen's portrait will be found in connection with this sketch.

Source Citation: "1887 Benton County, Iowa Biographies"  [database online]  Benton County IAGenWeb Project. <>
Original data: "Portrait and Biographical Album of Benton County, Iowa." Chicago: Chapman Brothers, 1887, p. 231-232.
Transcribed by: Sue Soden. Submitted to the Benton County IAGenWeb Project on January 28th, 2009.  Copyright © 2009 The IAGenWeb Project.

Return to: 1887 Biography Index

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