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Hammer, Charles F.


Posted By: Janelle Martin (email)
Date: 4/9/2011 at 16:57:39

History of Hamilton County, Iowa, Vol.II, 1912, J.W. Lee, pp. 233-235.

Charles F. Hammer is numbered among the representative and public-spirited citizens of Webster City, Iowa, where he is now living retired after an active and honorable life spent in agricultural pursuits and in mercantile enterprises. He owes his success to his personal ability and energy. He started in life as a poor boy and has been guided in the expansion and development of his career by many outside influences. At seventy-eight years of age he has laid down the implements of his labor and is living among his friends in a happy and dignified old age. He is a native of Germany and his birth occurred in the province of Wurtemberg, in 1834. His parents, Fred and Christina (Meyer) Hammer, came to the United States in 1854 and settled in Houston county, Minnesota, where the father spent his youthful and active life as an agriculturist.

Mr. Hammer received an efficient education in the public schools of his native county and remained in Germany until he was twenty years of age. He learned the details of farming and of the general merchandise business before he came to America and had already determined upon developing his career along one of these lines before he settled in Minnesota. He remained in the latter state until 1871 when he went to Gallatin, Missouri, where he established an independent dry goods and clothing business. His commercial career was distinguished by honorable, sagacious and high-minded methods and the ten years which he spent in Gallatin were rewarded by financial success and by the respect and esteem of his fellow citizens. When he came to Webster City in 1881 he still continued his identification with the dry-goods business and became associated with his father-in- law in a large mercantile enterprise under the name of Hammer & Altmeyer. The copartnership was continued until 1899 and the energies and activities of Mr. Hammer resulted in the upbuilding of a flourishing and progressive enterprise. He continued his connection with the dry-goods business until 1899, when the stock of the concern was sold and Mr. Hammer retired from active life. He had always been keenly interested in the agricultural development of the state of Iowa and was actuated by a firm faith in its future prosperity along this line. With the judicious discrimination which always distinguished his investments Mr. Hammer in 1895 bought a farm of one hundred and sixty acres in Blairsburg township, six miles from the town seat. He paid for his property thirty-one dollars per acre and held it until 1910. During this time he received a large income from the rent of his land and eventually sold it for one hundred and twenty-five dollars per acre. He always regarded this as an evidence of the rapid rise of land values in Iowa and as a prophecy of the future prosperity of the state.

Mr. Hammer has been thrice married. In 1867 he wedded Miss Mary Altmeyer, whose death occurred in 1872. In the following year Mr. Hammer was united in marriage to his first wife's sister, Miss Rachel Altmeyer and their married life continued until her death in 1903. In 1904 occurred Mr. Hammer's third marriage. He wedded Mrs. Emma Hyatt, the widow of Judge Hyatt, a prominent politician and lawyer of Webster City, by whom she had one son, who is now residing in California. Mrs. Hammer gives her allegiance to the Christian Science church and is a practitioner in that organization. Mr. Hammer keeps his religious views independent and liberal and acknowledges the right of every man to think for himself.

His life was representative of the conservative German idea of unwavering and conscientious activity. With him retirement has not meant a mere quiescent waiting for the final summons. It is rather a pause after the heat of a struggle, a rest after a well lived life and a leisure for enjoying the advantages of intercourse with his many friends.


Hamilton Biographies maintained by Lynn McCleary.
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