J. F. Harthun needs no introduction to the readers of this volume, for his; work as educator and editor has made him widely known. He is now publishing the Denison Zeitung, and its editorial writings indicate the wide range of his thought and investigation. Like a considerable proportion of Crawford county’s valued citizenship he is of German birth. He was born in Christfelde, in the province of Westpreussen, Germany, February 14, 1845, and was one of five children of Ludwig and Johanna (Frank) Harthun who were likewise natives of Germany. The father was a miller by trade as was his father before him, who made milling his life work and was killed in his mill, becoming caught in a wheel. His son, Ludwig Harthun, was engaged in the milling business for a nuoiber of years and later turned his attention to farming, which he followed in Germany up to the time of his death in 1872, when he was sixty-five years of age. His wife was one of a family of five daughters. Their parents were farming people and their father died in Germany at an advanced age. Mrs. Harthun passed away in Germany in 1888 at the age of seventy-two years. Both Mr. and Mrs. Harthun were members of the Lutheran church. Unto their marriage were born two sons and three daughters: Otto; Julius F.; Matilda, deceased, who was the wife of Ludwig Jarchow; Alvine, who died in young womanhood; and Ludowike.
Julius F. Harthun spent his youth in the land of his nativity and acquired an academical education, being graduated in 1867. He afterward took up the profession of teaching, which he followed in his native land until 1873, although in the meantime he served as a soldier in the Franco-Prussian war of 1870-1. He has a medal which he received in that country when a soldier and another that was presented to him on the occasion of the one hundredth anniversary of the birth of Emperor William L
In 1873 J. F. Harthun sailed for the United States and settled in New York, where he remained for four years, during which time he taught in a German private school and also gave instruction in three or four other schools. Subsequently he went to Detroit, Michigan, where for two years he was a teacher in a German academy. He was then elected principal of a school at Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, where he continued his educational labors for four years, after which he was offered a position in Omaha, where ^ new school had been opened. He continued as its principal for four years and in 1885 came to Denison where he taught school for three years. In 1888 he purchased the Denison Zeitung and is still editing the paper, of which he has made an attractive journal, devoted to the discussion of local and general news. It is published in accordance with progressive ideas in newspaper work and is accorded a good circulation.
In October, 1871, Mr. Harthun was married to Miss Alvine Daer, a daughter of August and Charlotte (Schuelke) Daer. Mrs. Harthun was born in Germany where her parents lived and died. She became, by her marriage, the mother of ten children : Herman, who married Blanch Burks and is a traveling man, living in Omaha; Anna and Julius, both at home; Hugo, of Kansas City, Missouri, who married Birdie Lang and has two children, Robert and Dorothy; Heinrich, at home; and five who are now deceased.
The mother passed away October 25, 1907, at the age of sixty-five years. She was a lady of many excellent qualities and a member of the Lutheran church. Mr. Harthun still holds membership in that church and belongs to various associations. He was the founder of the German Odd Fellows lodge in Denison called Sidonia Lodge, No. 393, of which he was the first noble grand. He became a member of the order on his birthday, joining Goethe Lodge, No. 112, I. O. O. F., of Fond du Lac. He is likewise president of the German Soldiers Society in Denison called the Landwehrverein and is president of the Deutsche Bruederschaft, which means German Brotherhood. He has been the leader of four singing societies at Denison, Charter Oak, West Side and Manning Association, and he is the financial secretary of the Westlichen Kriegerbund. He likewise belongs to the German Press Association and has much more than local reputation as an orator, having made many speeches throughout the country, even appearing in support of a political measure and again at the graves of friends. :He possesses both eloquence and natural oratorical ability, and on such occasions, as well as in his editorials, proves himself a clear thinker and cogent reasoner.
Source: Meyers , F. W. History of Crawford County, Iowa: A Record of Settlement, Organization, Progress and Achievement. Chicago: The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co. 1911.