Bio: Hardrath, Herman Gottfried Sr. & Henrietta Mier
Contact: Stan

----Source: Written by Bud Hardrath & Transcribed by Crystal Wendt

Surnames: Hardrath, Mier, Molle, Nelson, Schuette, Sperll


Harold, Howard and Halbert "Bud" Hardrath Remember..................

Grandpa & Grandma



Herman Gottfried Hardrath Sr., born in Brandenburg, Prussia 17 December 1856 to Gottfried Jr. and Henrietta Mier Hardrath. In 1873 at the age of 16 Herman emigrated to Manitowoc County, Wis. from Gerzlow, Brandenburg, Prussia.

Emma S. K. Molle, daughter of Heinrich and Johanna Mandel Molle, was born 1 August 1858 in Manitowoc County, Wis. Heinrich and Johanna emigrated from Braunschweig, Prussia departing from Bremen and arriving in New York City 6 April 1852. It appears that they lived in Rochester, N Y and in Chicago before settling in Manitowoc County, Wis.

Gottfried Jr. and Henrietta and children Bertha, Charles, Emilie, William, Herman and Louisa emigrated by indirect steerage passage from Hamburg to New York City via Glasgow, Scotland and probably Gibralter or Marsailles, leaving Hamburg 10 September 1873 and arriving in New York City 25 September 1873. They probably landed at and were processed through the Castle Garden Receiving Station in NYC as the Ellis Island Immigration Center was not opened until1 January 1892. Passengers traveling steerage were confined to the lower deck where the ships steering mechanism was, hence steerage class. In 1890 steerage passage from Europe to New York City was bout the equivalent of $12.

Gottfried, wife and family settled in Manitowoc County Wis. where Gottfried’s brother Friedrich was a farmer. It was interesting to not that Gottfried landed in New York City 25 September 1873 and on 5 October 1873, 11 days after landing in New York City, George and Elizabeth Sperll sold to Gottfried Hardrath Jr. their 80 acre farm in Manitowoc County, Wis. for $4000.

Herman Hardrath is listed on the 1880 US Census as a farmer living with his mother and father. It is said that Herman and a cousin went to Caselton, North Dakota (At that time the end of the RR line.) to homestead land. The cousin homesteaded at the end of the track and married. Herman returned to Manitowoc County. Emma is listed on the 1860 & 1870 US Census as living with her parents but was not found on the 1880 US Census. Little is known of Herman and Emma prior to their marriage.

Emma Molle and Herman Hardrath married 20 March 1882 in Manitowoc County, Wis. they settled in Minnesota in the Red River Valley west of Crookston on or just north of the Red Lake River. Emma and Herman are listed along with sons Arthur (b. 10 Aug. 1883 in MN0 and Henry (b. 18 March 1885 in MN) on the 1885 Minnesota Census in Lowell Twp., Polk County, MN. One oral report is that Herman bought 160 acres of land from the Great Northern Railroad for $5 per acre with 5 years to pay for the land on any terms he chose. The railroad gave a $2.50 per acre credit for each acre plowed up and sewed to wheat. The railroad did this to encourage the growing of wheat, thus producing freight. It is also reported that Herman built a sod house for their residence. Before he could cut hay and plow he had to pick up buffalo bones which were sold. The bones were shipped to Chicago where they were ground up and sold for fertilizer. The only trees were those growing along the Red Lake River.

 Herman supposedly filed for a homestead. Daughter Clara Hardrath Nelson told the following: "Pa homesteaded some land about a days drive with the horses north of Crookston. To meet the rules for a homestead, the land had to be lived on for a part of the year. Pa built a cabin on the homestead and left Ma and Arthur there to occupy the land. Being there along with baby Arthur, Ma was frightened because of the wild animals and Indians that still roamed the country. While Ma was up on the homestead, Grandma (Emma’s mother) came from an unexpected visit and asked Pa where Emma was. Pa explained that Ma and Arthur were up on the homestead. Grandma told Pa to go and get here right now and to stop that foolishness. Pa hooked up the horses and brought Ma back. He sold his homestead rights for $60."

No record of Herman purchasing any land in Polk County and no record of him filing for a homestead was found.

The last child of Herman and Emma born in Polk County, Mn. Was Herman Jr. (b. 20 May 1886). Oral history is that Herman Jr. was born in the sod house on the farm west of Crookston. Six years later on 9 June 1892, Herman Jr’s future wife, Elsa Lange, would be born in a log house in Green Grove, Clark County, Wis. and on 26 March 1913 Herman Jr. and Elsa would marry. When Herman Jr. was a little over a one year old, Herman Sr. and Emma and the three sons moved to Clark County, Wis. where they lived with the Henry and Johanna Molle, parents of Emma. Henry Molle had a farm in Section 35 in Green Grove Twp. Herman Sr. bought the farm next to and east of Henry Molle’s farm. Herman Sr. and Emma and their children continued to live with Emma’s parents while repairs were made on the house and barn. Daughter Clara (b. 19 Sept. 1887) was born while Herman Sr. and Emma were living with her parents. Shortly after Clara’s birth they moved to their farm next door. It was here that the rest of the children of Herman Sr. and Emma were born. Albert - b. 12 May 1891, Louis - b. 19 Sept. 1893, Martha - b. 18 May 1897, and Esther - b. 27 Aug. 1901. After selling the above farm, in the following years Herman Sr. and Emma lived on what was known in the 1930’s as the Henry Schuette Farm, the Albert Hardrath farm shown in the picture, a farm east of Loyal, the Village of Loyal and the Bright Farm.

Herman Sr. and Emma Hardrath’s Farmstead in 1913

L-R: Harry Schenk, Emma Hardrath, Herman Sr. Hardrath

Herman Sr. and Emma bought 80 acres of land, started a clearing and built the above buildings. In about 1915 this farm was sold to their son Albert.

As a farmer Herman Sr. produced and sold milk, grew and sold hay and grain and bred and sold horses. In addition to farming, Herman Sr. bought land, cut and sold the timber from the land then sold the property to a prospective farmer. For example he purchased 80 acres across the road from his farm for $1000, cut and sold the timber and sold the 80 acres to Charley Horner for $2000. Herman Sr. bought 80 acres a couple miles west of where he lived for $1000. His sons Henry and Herman Jr. sawed off the timber for their dad and hauled the logs to the Foster RR landing at Bright. After the timber was cut off, Herman Sr. sold the land to Ed Horner for $2000. He did the same thing with the 80 acres behind the land that Ed Horner bought. Plat maps from early 1900’s for Clark County has Herman Sr’s name on several pieces of property. Another source income for Emma and Herman Sr. was the interest on money they loaned to farmers, businesses and on occasion the school district. - - - Herman Sr. and Emma were active in the community helping to organize the Elmwood School District and with two neighbors, Mr. Klessig and Louis Boettcher, organize the Friedens Gemeinde Church (A Lutheran Congregation) now know as St. John’s Lutheran Church-Riplinger. Herman Sr. and Emma were thrifty, managed their money well and lived a very comfortable life. Herman Jr. spoke with pride when he told that they had driving horses to pull the top buggy or the cutter when they went to church or to town and that his mother had a rug on the parlor floor. He described his mother and father as being "Pretty Well Off".

Emma S. K. Molle & Herman Gottfried Hardrath, Sr.

Picture taken about 1920.

Emma Molle Hardrath died 20 January 1933 at her home in Bright in the big Brick house that she loved. She is buried in the Beaver Cemetery, Beaver Township, Clark County, Wis.

Herman Sr. died 19 September 1941 at the home of his son Henry in Green Grove, Clark County, Wis. He is buried next to wife Emma in the Beaver Cemetery, Beaver Township, Clark County, Wis.



© Every submission is protected by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998.


Show your appreciation of this freely provided information by not copying it to any other site without our permission.


Become a Clark County History Buff


Report Broken Links

A site created and maintained by the Clark County History Buffs
and supported by your generous donations.


Webmasters: Leon Konieczny, Tanya Paschke,

Janet & Stan Schwarze, James W. Sternitzky,

Crystal Wendt & Al Wessel