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The IAGenWeb Project

History of Benton County, Iowa
The Lewis Publishing Company, Chicago, 1910; Luther B. Hill, Ed.

Pages 820-822
O[scar]. C. BERGEN, of the firm and Royce & Bergen, dealers in nursery stock in Shellsburg, was born near Vinton, Iowa, August 20, 1862, and is a son of Peter G. and Mattie A. (Fleming) Bergen. Peter Bergen was born in Henry county, Kentucky, in 1826, and was a son of Garrett C. Bergen and his wife, old residents of Kentucky. Peter G. Bergen came with his family to Franklin, Indiana, where he was reared and educated; his father was a tanner, but Peter himself always followed farming. As a young man he married in Indiana, and in 1852 removed to Benton county, Iowa, locating first in Big Grove township, and later near Vinton, where he purchased a farm, part of which is now in the corporation of Vinton. This was the family home until 1870, when Mr. Bergen purchased Wild Cat Grove Stock Farm, in Canton township, which he carried on until his death in 1899. He had a farm of eight hundred acres, and was an extensive stockman, handling many cattle, and noted for his fine horses. He was a successful and prominent man in the community, and well known; he was universally respected and esteemed for his high character and sterling worth, and widely mourned. He married, first, in Indiana, Emily Guinn, who died at their home near Vinton, leaving one son, Dr. A. C., who was assistant surgeon in the United States army, and was sent with Custer on the Black Hills expedition; he was later stationed at various points, but finally retired from the government service and began private practice at Sioux City, Iowa, where he died in the fall of 1900, at the age of fifty-two years. Peter G. Bergen married, second, at Vinton, in 1856, Mattie A. Fleming, born in Scott county, Indiana, August 29, 1832, daughter of Robert and Nancy (Adams)) Fleming, both Kentuckians, who lived on a farm in Indiana. Her father died in Indiana and her mother died in Benton county, Iowa. Mrs. Bergen came to Benton county with her mother in 1855, and was married the following year. She and her husband had four children, namely: Kirk, who died at the age of nine months; Oscar C.; William S., in the employ of the Santa Fe Railroad Company, now in La Junta, Colorado; and Alice, who married A. N. Harbert, formerly a banker of Shellsburg, now in real estate and loan business in Cedar Rapids.

Oscar C. Bergen was reared in Benton county, where he has lived all his life with the exception of three years from 1883 to 1886, which he spent in the drug business in company with his brother. Upon his return he spent six years in the same business in Shellsburg. In the spring of 1892 he removed to the farm in Canton township, where he resided a year after the death of his father; he then located in Shellsburg, and he rents his farm of two hundred and fifteen acres.

Besides carrying on the nursery business, in which line they have been most successful, Mr. Bergen and his partner also handle and breed Short-horn cattle, which they feed for the market.  They are both men of business judgment and are energetic and industrious.

Politically Mr. Bergen is a Democrat, and he has always taken an active part in public affairs; has been candidate for county clerk, and has filled several local offices. Mr. Bergen is a member of the Masonic orders, including Cypress Commandery of Vinton, and also belongs to the Independent Order of Odd Fellows of Shellsburg and the Modern Woodmen of America. He and his wife belong to the order of the Eastern Star and are also members of the Methodist Episcopal church.

Mr. Bergen married, in 1891, Edith, daughter of Roderick Royce, mentioned extensively elsewhere in this work, and they have five children, namely: Royce, Peter, Clarence, Esther and Howard, all attending school at Shellsburg.

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