from Past and Present of Mahaska County, Iowa by Manoah Hedge The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co. 1906
A. J. Harter is numbered among the early settlers of Mahaska county, dating his residence in the county from 1848 and in the state from 1847. Great have been the changes which have occurred during this time and since attaining his majority Mr. Harter has home his part in the task of transforming wild and unbroken prairie land into productive farms. He owns one hundred and sixty acres of well improved and valuable land on the south line of Mahaska county on sections 33 and 34, Cedar township, and his attention is given to the tilling of the soil and to the raising and feeding of stock. He was born in Licking county, Ohio, July 20, 1843. His father, James Harter, was a native of Pennsylvania, and is of German lineage. The grandfather, Jonathan Harter, removed from the Keystone state to Ohio with his family, becoming one of the early settlers of Licking county, and there James Harter was reared and educated. In the same county he was married to Polly Ann Abrams, who was born in Ohio and following their marriage he devoted his time and energies to general agricultural pursuits in Licking county for several years. In 1847, however, he sought a home in Iowa, spending the first year in Jefferson county and in 1848, came to Mahaska county, where he entered from the government a tract of land of one hundred and sixty acres of land in Cedar township. It was entirely wild and uncultivated, but his labors were soon manifest in the plowed lands and the good harvests, for he broke the sod and course of time planted and cultivated his fields which brought forth rich crops. Upon this farm he reared his family and spent his last years, passing away on the old homestead, after surviving his wife for several years. A. J. Harter is one of a family of seven children, all of whom reached adult age, while five are yet living. His youth was spent upon the old homestead, to which he was taken by his father when only four years old. As his age and strength permitted he assisted in carrying on the work of the farm, following the plow and aiding in planting and harvesting through the spring and summer months, while in the winter seasons he mastered the branches of learning taught in the district schools. In 1869 he left home and went to Colorado, spending three years on a ranch in that state, but in 1872 returned to Mahaska county. On the 26th of December, of the same year, Mr. Harter was married to Catherine Dixon, who was born in Keokuk county, Iowa, and is a daughter of John Harrison and Catherine (Wall) Dixon. The former died while serving his country in the Civil war and Mrs. Dixon passed away during the early girlhood of her daughter, Mrs. Harter, who was largely reared in Decatur county, Iowa,. and in Missouri. Following their marriage Mr. and Mrs. Harter located on a farm in Cedar township, commencing with forty acres of land which he developed and cultivated. Prospering in his undertakings he added to the place and lived thereon for seven years, when he sold that property and purchased where he now resides, or rather buying at first sixty acres. Here he bought sixty acres more and subsequently forty acres, and he now has one hundred and sixty acres all in one body. He has built a good house and barn and other outbuildings and has the place all fenced and tiled and with his farming he raises and feeds stock, devoting his attention mostly to horses and mules. Mr. and Mrs. Harter have become the parents of four children: E. Elsworth, who is carrying on the home farm; Evalena Dell and Leslie A., both at home; and Minnie May, who died October 2, 1899, at the age of twenty-three years. Mr. Harter exercises his right of franchise in support of the men and measures of the democracy, voting with the party since casting his first presidential ballot for George B. McClellan in 1864. He has since voted for each standard-bearer of the party since that time. He has served as school trustee, school director and road supervisor. He is a Master Mason, having been a member of Fremont lodge since 1874, and his son Elsworth is a member of the Odd Fellows lodge and Modern Woodmen at Kirkville. Mr. Harter has spent almost his entire life in this county. In the early days he drove seven yoke of oxen to a breaking plow in order to turn the sod on the prairies. He has helped to develop and improve four farms, has led a useful life and is an esteemed citizen, who has displayed many sterling qualities and deserves the confidence and esteem of the community.
Past and Present of Mahaska County, Iowa
Mahaska County, Iowa Genealogy