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John H. Yarger, Massena

Rose Divider Bar

John H. Yarger, one of the leading business men of Massena, a Pennsylvania German by birth, was born in Center county, Keystone State, August 12, 1845. He is the son of William and Mary Yarger, both natives of the State, his father being by trade a blacksmith, acquiring the rudiments of his education in Pennsylvania. He followed his trade for twenty-five or thirty years before coming West, and in 1850 moved to Stevenson county, Ill. Instead of continuing work as a blacksmith, however, he devoted his life to farming and died in that county in 1891, the wife and mother passing away a decade later. Mr. and Mrs. Yarger had a family of five sons and five daughters. Two of the sons served in the War of the Rebellion, being connected with Illinois regiments. The father was in early life a Whig, and upon the organization of the Republican party joined that party. He was never a politician, however, or a seeker for office, but contented himself simply with voting as his conscience dictated. The grandfather of Mr. Yarger was also a Pennsylvania German, but died in his native State, never coming West to seek a broader life.

John H. Yarger remained in his native State until he had reached the age of seven years, when he removed to Monroe, Wis., where he completed his education and commenced his business career as a clerk in the general store of Whitney & Treat. He remained with that firm for three years, when his enterprising disposition induced him to seek better opportunities in California. He remained there about a year, returning then to his old position with Whitney & Treat, and retaining his clerkship until 1862. By that time his experience had become such that he formed a partnership with A. Perrine in the grocery business. Having had a breath of broad Western life, he decided to try his fortune in Texas, where he experimented for about six years in various farming and stockraising ventures. He also traveled several times through the Indian Territory, and in 1873 located in Cass county, this State, settling in Union township. He there purchased a fine tract of four hundred acres at $4.25 an acre, which he broke out and thoroughly cultivated, also improving it with good buildings and other necessary conveniences.

In 1886 Mr. Yarger became a permanent resident of Massena, engaging in the livery and real estate business and later in the hardware trade. He is still connected with the last named line of business and is considered one of the most successful and enterprising merchants in this part of the country.

John H. Yarger was married, in 1886, to Clara L. Denham, his wife being a native of Illinois. They have a family of three daughters and five sons -- Ida M., Orland, Clara (Mrs. Frank Bronden), Cornelius, John, Harlie, Hazel and Cecile. In politics Mr. Yarger is a Democrat and is prominent as a local leader, having served as justice of the peace, mayor of the city and as a member of the Board of Trustees. As indicative of his standing, it may be stated that he has been put forward by his party as a candidate for the supervisorship and was only defeated by eleven votes. He is a Mason and a member of the I. O. O. F. It will be seen from the above record that he is one of the pioneers of the county and also of the city of Massena itself, and in the more than thirty years during which he has resided in this locality his reputation has been expanding and the esteem in which he is held has become deeper and firmer.


From "Compendium and History of Cass County, Iowa." Chicago: Henry and Taylor & Co., 1906, pg. 573-574.

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