HARTWIG WESSEL, Secretary and Manager of the Belle Plaine Canning Factory, was born in Holstein, Prussia, July 25, 1835, and is the son of Hartwig and Telsche (Pingel) Wessel. He came to America in 1852, settling in this State near Davenport, where he was engaged in farming for awhile. He then engaged as clerk with an agricultural implement house at Davenport and continued that connection till the fall of 1868, when he removed to Belle Plaine and engaged in the business for himself, which he continued five years, when on account of failing health he removed to one of his farms, remaining there until 1877, and then returned to the city. For the next three years he occupied his time in looking after his several farms, after which, in 1880, he, with his family of wife and three children, made a trip to Europe. He was gone a year and a half, during which time he visited his native land and the principal places of interest in Europe, returning to Belle Plaine in June, 1882. In the summer of 1883 he became identified with the Canning Company, of which he has been Secretary and Manager since its establishment. Mr. Wessel has two farms in Benton and one in Hancock County, aggregating 700 acres. He has held various local offices, having been Township Trustee, Assessor, Councilman and an officer of the School Board.
He was married at Davenport, Iowa. May 15, 1867, to Miss Maggie C. Nagel, daughter of Theis Nagel. Mrs. Wessel was born in Holstein, and came to America in 1852 with her parents, via New Orleans. Eight children were born of their union, of whom four only are living, three having died within six months of each other of scarlet fever and diphtheria, and one died about two years previous. Those living are Pauline, Etta, Frank and Harry. The deceased are Hartwig T., Jacob, Walter and Herman.
Mr. Wessel and family are members of the Lutheran Church and Mr. Wessell is a Republican in political belief. He was unfortunate in early life, and met with an accident by which he lost the use of his right leg, and has been obliged to use a crutch ever since. In spite of this serious impediment, he has, by active and energetic application, coupled with a superior financial ability, succeeded in accumulating a large property, and is recognized as one of the leading and successful business men of Belle Plaine.The Belle Plaine Canning Company, above mentioned, was incorporated Feb. 13, 1883, with a capital stock of $10,000. The first officers of the company were: President, A. J. Durand; Vice-President, A. J. Hartman; Treasurer, L. T. Sweet; Secretary and Manager, H. Wessel. The present officers are Dr. J. M. Furnas, President; David Butterfield, Vice-President; L. T. Sweet, Treasurer; H. Wessel, Secretary and Manager. The works were built in the summer of 1883, and have been operated continuously since. They have an annual capacity of 300,000 cans of goods, and have put up 200,000. The company make their own cans, and grow the greater part of the products used, sweet corn and tomatoes being their staple. Their best market is in the Missouri Valley, and they have been fairly successful considering the seasons. The goods have a fine reputation and sell readily from the factory.
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. 260-261.
Transcribed by: Sue Soden. Submitted to the Benton County IAGenWeb Project on January 28th, 2009. Copyright © 2009 The IAGenWeb Project.