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Hansen Biographies

The following biographies appear in History of Stearns County, Minnesota (1915) by William Bell Mitchell.

Michael Hansen, Sr.,
an early resident of Rockville, and for five years a soldier in the armies of Napoleon Bonaparte, was born in Luxemburg in 1784, there spent nearly all his life, came to America in 1857 with his good wife, and spent the remainder of his days with their son, Michael, Jr., of section 16, Rockville township this county, dying January 23, 1872. He married Marie Molitor, who was born in 1796, and died at the home of her son, Michael, .Jr., November 1, 1858, not long after her arrival in this country.

Michael Hansen, Jr., one of the pioneers of Stearns county, now deceased, was born in the Province of the Rhine, Prussia, Germany, December 16, 1811. He attended the schools of his native land, and was employed on his father's farm until about thirty-two years of age. In 1852 he came to America, and located in Illinois, where he remained for three years. In 1855 he came to Minnesota, and located on 160 acres in section 16, Rockville, township. A thrilling volume could be written of this hegira. Packing his goods on a wagon at Rockville, Ill., and bidding good-bye. to his friends there, he started with his family for the Northwest. The wagon was drawn by a yoke of oxen. Aside from the oxen and the household goods, his earthly possessions consisted of a herd of twenty cattle, possibly the largest herd brought into Stearns county in the pioneer days. In these days it is hard to picture that trip over the trackless wastes. Forests must be traveled, swamps traversed, rivers forded, and hills climbed. Part of the way there were no trails. Often the members of the family were up to their necks in water, often it seemed impossible to get the wagon out of the mire, and the feeding and managing of the herd became at times a serious problem. The family slept in the wagons, and did their cooking along the way. At last, five weeks after leaving Rockville, Ill., they arrived, as noted in Rockville, Minnesota. They erected a log cabin, broke and cleared the land, and experienced all the hardships of pioneer life. Indians were plentiful and unfriendly, and times were hard. But as the years passed, the family prospered. Mr. Hansen built a fine home and other buildings, and added to his holdings until he owned 240 acres. He was chairman of the first town board of his township, an subsequently, at different times, held nearly all the local town and school offices. For eighteen years he did excellent service as county commissioner. He died April 14, 1882.

Michael Hansen was married February 11, 1840, to Mary J. Borman, who was born in Prussia, March 1, 1817, and died in Rockville, this county, October 1, 1887. They had four children: Susanna (now deceased); Pierre, better known as Peter, of Rockville township; Mary (deceased); and Hubert, of St. Cloud.

Pierre Hansen, better known as Peter Hansen, one. of the pioneer settlers of Stearns county, was born in the Province of the Rhine, Prussia, July 9, 1847, son of Michael, Jr., and Mary J. (Borman) Hansen. Pierre, as a boy, came to America in 1852, with his parents, and in 1855 accompanied them on their now-historic trip through the wilderness from Rockville, Ill., to Rockville township, this county, where they secured a farm of 160 acres in section 16. It was on this farm that Pierre spent his later boyhood, receiving such education as the pioneer schools of the day afforded. As he matured in years he became associated with his father in agricultural pursuits. After his father's death in 1882, he purchased the home farm of 240 acres. He worked early and late, made many improvements on the farm, and has added to his holdings from time to time until the home place now consists of 840 acres. Aside from this he has another farm of 220 acres in section 35, in the same township. Both farms are fully equipped with buildings, stock and implements, and speak in themselves as to the thrift and good judgment of their proud possessor. Mr. Hansen has taken an active, part and interest in the affairs of the town and county, and for six years served as a member of the school board of his district. On June 1, 1874, he was united in marriage to Marie Classen, who was born in Luxemburg, December 26, 1853, and came to America in 1872. To Mr. and Mrs. Hansen eleven children have been born. Mamie was born June 22, 1875, and died November 11, 1883. Leo H. R. was born October 1, 1878, and lives in St. Paul. Charles was born August 5, 1877, and died July 25, 1907. Jennie was born January 11, 1880, and died November 11, 1883. John Pierre was born October 10, 1881, and died December 8, 1883. Mary J. was born December 10, 1883, and is now Sister Bernadette, O. H. B. Leona was born September 1, 1886. Harry was born July 15, 1888, and is associated with his father on the farm. He is president of the Farmers' Club, of Rockville. Pierre, Jr., born June 13, 1890, is now Rev. Father Leo, at St. Martin's College, Lacy, Washington. Aloysius, born April 5, 1892, and Secunda, born October 19, 1893, are at home. Pierre aud Susanna (Wengler) Classen, parents of Mrs. Pierre Hansen, were both born in Luxemburg, he in 1807 and she in 1817. Both died in their native country, he, July 16, 1878, and she, January 28, 1893. They were the parents of three children: Marie, now Mrs. Pierre Hansen, of Rockville; Mary, now Mrs. John Gregory, of Rockville; and Mathias, who still resides in the old country.

Hubert Hansen, attorney, was born June 16, 1858, son of Michael and Mary Johanna (Bormann) Hansen, the pioneers. He was the first white boy born in Rockville, in this county. After attending the public schools, he entered St. John's University, at Collegeville, Minn. He studied at the St. Cloud State Normal School during the terms of 1875, 1877, and 1879, graduating the latter year. During these years he also taught school, and by this means, in connection with hunting and trapping, earned the money to pay expenses. He taught school in District No. 18, Le Sauk; District No. 40, Maine Prairie; District No. 106, Farming; all in this county; and in District No. 5, Minden, Benton county. He graduated from the law course of the Iowa State University, June 20, 1882, and with intervals of public office holding has been in continuous practice in St. Cloud since 1884. Mr. Hansen was city justice from 1892 to 1896; and judge of probate from 1895 to 1901, and from 1905 to 1907. He has a flourishing insurance business and good law practice, and makes a specialty of probate matters. The family worships at the Catholic Church. Judge Hansen was married July 81, 1884, to Mary De Wenter, a native of St. Joseph, this county, born January 9, 1865, the daughter of John and Louise (Evers) De Wenter. They have five children: Marie Louise, John H., Alphonse J., Cyrille J. and. Hubert H. Marie Louise was born August 16, 1891. She was married May 12, 1918, to William G. Ryan, of Northampton, Mass. John H. was born March 4 (Inauguration day), 1893, and is located in Great Falls, Mont. Alphonse J., born October 17, 1894, is at home. Cyrille J., born, June 10, 1900, and Hubert H., born April 15 (Easter Sunday), 1906, are; at home.

Michael Hansen was born in the Province of the Rhine, Prussia, Germany, December 5, 1811, son of that Michael Hansen, who was born in Villa Masingen, Prussia, August 1, 1784. He fought in the French army under Napoleon, and on January 18, 1810, received a pension certificate which is still preserved in the family. The subject of this sketch obtained a good German education, and worked on his father's farm until he was about thirty-two years of age, having in the meantime served from April 1, 1833, to September 28, 1835, in the Prussian army. In 1852 he came to the United States, and after farming in Illinois for three years, he took a claim in Rockville, this county, in 1855. Though by trade, a turner, he devoted a large part of his life to agricultural pursuits. He was a leader in his community, was chairman of the first board of supervisors in his township, and occupied various local offices from time to time. In February, 1864, he was appointed one of the county commissioners by Governor Stephen Miller. Mr. Hansen died March 18, 1882, and his wife died October 2, 1887. Michael Hansen was married February 11, 1840, to Mary Johanna Bormann, and they had four children: an unnamed daughter (deceased); Susan (deceased); Peter, of Rockville township; Hubert, of St. Cloud.

Hansen Biographies

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