from Past and Present of Mahaska County, Iowa by Manoah Hedge The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co. 1906
Jacob Watland, the senior partner of the firm of Watland & Son, proprietors of a large and well conducted hardware store, is numbered among the representative and enterprising citizens of new Sharon and moreover is entitled to distinctive mention in this volume as a veteran of the Civil war. He was born in the town of Stavanger, Norway, on the 21st of January, 1844, and is a son of Jacob and Elsie (Thompson) Watland, both of whom were natives of the land of the midnight sun. The father was a farmer by occupation and hoping to improve his financial condition in the new world he came to America in 1856, settling first in La Salle county, Illinois, where he engaged in farming. In 1864 he came to Mahaska county, Iowa, where he purchased eighty acres of improved land, making his home thereon up to the time of his death, which occurred when he was sixty-three years of age. His wife long survived him and died at the age of eighty-eight years. In their family were eight children, of whom Jacob was the fourth in order of birth and is the second of the three surviving, the others being Mrs. Martha Knudson, of New Sharon, and Osmund Watland, who is an implement dealer of Sioux City, Iowa. Jacob Watland was a youth of twelve and a half years when he accompanied his parents to America. He well remembers the trip across the ocean, which consumed seven weeks, the voyage being made in a sailing vessel which eventually dropped anchor in the harbor of Quebec. The parents were in limited financial circumstances, so that the children were early obliged to earn their own livelihood, and at the age of thirteen years Jacob Watland went to work by the month as a farm hand, being employed in that way until he became a soldier. On the 18th of January, 1862, responding to his country's call for troops, he enlisted at Ottawa, Illinois, and joined the boys in blue of Company C, Fifty-third Illinois Infantry, for three years service. On the expiration of that term he re-enlisted to serve until the end of the war and was mustered out at Chicago in August, 1865. He participated in several sanguinary but immportant engagements, including the battle of Shiloh, where he first saw the dead Confederates upon the field. He was also in the battles of Corinth, Memphis, Hatie's Run, the siege of Atlanta, and was with Sherman on the march to the sea. He afterward took part in the Carolina campaign and proceeded northward to Washington. He was never wounded nor taken prisoner, being very fortunate in those respects but he became ill with typhoid fevber and through a mistake was numbered among the dead. The man who was supposed to be Mr. Watland was buried and his parents, who received the report of his death, were making preparation to go after his remains, when he returned home, much to their surprise and joy. He was a faithful soldier, never faltering in the performance of any military duty and loyally followed the stars and stripes, even where the rebel hail fell thickest. When the war was over Mr. Watland asked for three years at the carpenter's trade in Chicago and then came to Iowa, where he operated his father's farm for a year. About that time he was married on the 24th of December, 1870 to Miss Bertha Munson, who was born in Norway in March, 1850. The young couple moved to Shelly county, Iowa, where Mr. Watland purchased one hundred and twenty acres of wild land which he improved and cultivated making his home thereon for fourteen years. During that time he developed an excellent farm and was classed with the representative agriculturists of his community, but desiring to give his attention to commercial rather than agricultural pursuits, he closed out his business interests there and came to new Sharon, whence he embarked in the hardware trade under the firm name of Radliff, Watland & Company. That firm continued in business until 1890 when a change in the partnership occurred and the name of Watland & Freligh was assumed. Six years later the firm became Watland & Son and under this style the business has since been carried on with gratifying success. They carry a complete line of shelf and heavy hardware, and also tools and likewise sell farm implements. There is only one other hardware store in the town, and they have a very good trade, their business methods commending them to the support and confidence of all. In recognition of his services in the civil war Mr. Watland drew a soldier's claim to one hundred and sixty acres of land in Oklahooma, and went there to prove it up. He also bought another tract of one hundred and sixty acres, making a half section of land which some day will be very valuable. He owns his store building in New Sahron and also has a nice home here. Unto Mr. and Mrs. Watland have been born seven children, but Elsie E., the eldest, died at the age of two years. The others are: J. A., who is engaged in business with his father, and he married Mollie Whiteman; Elsie E., the wife of Henry Stuck, cashier of the Traders Bank, at Vail, Iowa; Anna, the wife of Charles Vail, also residing at Vail, Iowa; Maynard F., who wedded Fay Williams; Elmer G., at home; and William P., who is employed in the store of Marshall Field & Company, at Chicago. Mr. Watland has always been a republican since becoming an American citizen. He served as treasurer of his school district for six years, and as a member of the village council for three years, and his co-operation in community interests has been of a beneficial and practical nature. He belongs to Henry C. Leighton post, No. 199, G. A. R., in which he is now serving as quartermanster, and he and his family are members of the Methodist Episcopal church. all that tends to promote material, intellectual and moral progress receives his endorsement and support, and he is today an honored veteran of the Civil war and one of the leading representatives of the Norwegian-American element in our citizenship.
Past and Present of Mahaska County, Iowa
Mahaska County, Iowa Genealogy