More than a century ago George Washington said that “Farming is the most useful as well as the most honorable occupation of man,” and this truth has been verified throughout all ages. It is a matter of history that agriculture is the basis of the wealth of different countries yielding a greater revenue than mining and commercial interests combined. The great agricultural states claim in their citizenship many men of genuine worth and excellent business ability whose labors contribute to the upbuilding of large commonwealths. To this class in Iowa belongs Christian M. Badger, who now follows farming on section 10, Colfax township, and although he started out in life empty-handed, he has prospered in his undertakings and is today the owner of two hundred and fifty-six acres and a half of valuable farm land, from which he annually gathers good harvests.
Mr. Badger is a native of Pennsylvania, his birth having occurred in Union county, that state, on the 28th of September, 1853 . His father, Robert Badger, was also born in Union county, his natal day being February 22, 1819 . It is probable that the family was founded in America in colonial days. In early life Robert Badger learned the carpenter’s trade, which he followed in the Keystone state until his removal to Illinois in 1858. He took up his abode in Lena, Stephenson county, Illinois . He was a poor man with a large family and left Pennsylvania in debt. He hoped, however, to enjoy better business opportunities in the growing west and in this he was not disappointed. Here he improved the advantages which were offered him and was successful in his business, after which he returned to Pennsylvania, settled up his old debts there and with a clear record, again made his way toward the Mississippi valley. He took up his abode near Panther in Dallas county, Iowa, in the spring of 1870, and invested in one hundred and sixty acres of land, on which were no improvements save a small house and barn. The land was still uncultivated and he turned the first furrows on many an acre. He met with prosperity and not only made progress in a material way but also aided largely in the moral development of the community. In early life he became a member of the German Baptist church and in 1856 began preaching as a minister of that denomination. He did much to promote a knowledge of the Christian religion and the principles which it inculcates and as the years passed by, by precept and example, he did much for the moral interests of the community. His life was indeed honorable and upright, and he left to his family the priceless heritage of an untarnished name. He continued to engage in general farming until 1884, when he put aside active business cares and spent his last years with his son Samuel, his death occurring on the 24th of February, 1903 . For more than a year he had survived his wife, whom he had married in Pennsylvania and who bore the maiden name of Susanna Shiverly. She was born in Union county of the Keystone state, July 19, 1819, and was ever a faithful companion and helpmate to her husband, carefully and frugally managing the household while he was resolutely putting forth earnest efforts to acquire a competence that would enable him to pay off the old debts which he had left in the east. In later years they were enabled to enjoy more of the comforts and luxuries of life. Unto this worthy couple were born thirteen children, of whom five died in infancy. The others were: John and Samuel, both residents of Colfax township; Mrs. Susan Bowers, who died in Kansas, at the age of forty-nine years; Mrs. Kate Armagost, a widow living in Colfax township; Mrs. Mary Beaver, also living in Colfax township; Christian M.; David W., who follows farming in Colfax township; and Mrs. Elizabeth Myers, of the same township.
Christian M. Badger was a little lad in his fifth year when his parents left Pennsylvania and removed to Illinois . There he was reared and educated but his opportunities for attending school were very limited as his services were needed upon the home farm. As soon as old enough to handle a plow he began work in the fields, turning the furrows and dropping the seed, which in the due course of time was to bring forth abundant harvest. He continued to assist his father until twenty-three years of age, when he was married and started out in life on his own account.
It was on the 9th of August, 1877, that Mr. Badger was joined in wedlock to Miss Hannah C. Repp, who was born in Williams county, Ohio, March 6, 1859 . Her father, George Repp, was born October 11, 1827, in Pennsylvania, and in early manhood wedded Mary Jane Bell, who was born in New Jersey on the 3d of February, 1831 . They were residents of Ohio for a number of years and in 1868 drove across the country with team and wagon to Blackhawk county, Iowa, where a settlement was made, but in 1870 they came to Dallas county, Mr. Repp securing eighty acres of unimproved land which has since become the family homestead in Washington township. Thereon he and his wife still reside but the farm today bears little resemblance to the tract of land which he purchased thirty-seven years ago. Then it was raw prairie; today it is richly cultivated fields, and golden harvests annually reward him for the care and labor which he bestows upon his farm. Unto Mr. and Mrs. Repp were born eight children, of whom seven are yet living, as follows: Mrs. Badger; Clinton D., who is a resident farmer of Washington township, Dallas county; Mrs. Sarah E. Mills, who is living in Colfax; Mrs. Clara E. Halling, whose home is in Lincoln township; Noah Morgan, a business man of Perry, Iowa; Charles H., who is located in Washington township; and Hattie B., who is at home with her parents.
The marriage of Mr. and Mrs. Badger was blessed with six children and the family circle yet remains unbroken by the hand of death: Guy, the oldest of the family, married Arie Devilbiss and lives in Colfax township, where he follows farming. He has six children — Erma, Ivel, Orville, Lee, Marie and an infant. Cora, the eldest daughter, is the wife of Jacob Bubecker, a resident of Des Moines, Iowa, and they have two children, Marvel and Merritt. Effie, the second daughter, is the wife of Charles Book, a resident of Spring Valley township, and they have one child, Wilbur. Jesse, Ira and Joy, the younger members of the family, are still under the parental roof.
At the time of his marriage Mr. Badger began farming on his own account. He first rented land which he cultivated for ten years and with the money he saved during this period he was enabled to purchase eighty acres in Colfax township. This he cultivated for one year, after which he traded it for an eighty acre tract in Washington township, upon which he lived for five years. He then sold that property and bought the place upon which he now resides, on section 10, Colfax township. Here he owns two hundred and fifty-six and a half acres of fine land constituting one of the best farms of the locality. This is splendidly improved and he has a comfortable residence upon it, in the rear of which stand two barns and commodious outbuildings for the shelter of grain and stock. All have been erected by Mr. Badger and they indicate the spirit of enterprise and progress which has dominated him in all his business life. About eight years ago his home and its contents were destroyed by fire, only a small amount of bedding being saved. Notwithstanding this loss Mr. Badger has prospered in his undertakings through the good use which he has made of possibilities and opportunities. Idleness and indolence are entirely foreign to his nature. He works earnestly and persistently and with a zeal that accomplishes results. He feeds cattle for market and also operates a threshing outfit during the season. The fields produce the various cereals best adapted to the soil and climate and everything about the place is neat and thrifty in appearance, indicating the careful supervision of a practical, painstaking owner. Both Mr. and Mrs. Badger are members of the German Baptist church and Mr. Badger exercises his right of franchise in support of the men and measures of the republican party, but while he keeps well informed on the issues of the day and is never remiss in citizenship, he has not sought office, preferring to give his undivided attention to his business interests in which he has met with signal success.
Source: Past and Present of Dallas County, Iowa, by Robert F. Wood, S. J. Clarke Publishing Company Chicago, IL, 1907.