Biography - L Hartsock

L. M. HARTSOCK. Up to a comparatively recent date no important change had been made in milling machinery invented and brought into use about the time of the adoption of the Federal constitution by Oliver Evans, of Pennsylvania. But in this as in other departments of industry American inventive genius saw opportunity for improvement, and as a result the gradual reduction process, or, sis it is known, the roller system, was introduced. This has produced so great a change that at the present day this system is adopted by all leading and prosperous mills in the country. Among those milling enterprises which have secured conspicuousness on account of the uniform excellence of their products, we notice especially the Nokomis Roller Mills, whose proprietor, L. M. Hartsock, is one of the representative business men of the place.
Mr. Hartsock was born near Johnsville, Frederick County, Md., November 9, 1841, and is a son of Nicholas Hartsock, who was a native of the Keystone State, but an early settler of Frederick County, Md. The latter was a farmer but also followed the trade of a mason. When but four years of age our subject was left an orphan, and as a consequence he knows very little of his ancestors on either side. When his mother died he was sent among strangers and grew to rugged manhood on a farm, receiving very little schooling, perhaps one or two months in a year, and that by going a distance of two and a-half miles each day to school. Under these circumstances his early life was not a pleasant or happy one.
When eighteen years of age, young Hartsock entered a flouring mill near Middleburg, Md., to learn the trade of a miller, and there he remained for about two years and a-half. After this he entered a mill at New Windsor, where he was foreman for about a year. After this he came to Illinois, was employed in a mill at Staunton for a year, then in 1867 he rented a mill at Bunker Hill, Ill., and operated it for one year. From there he went to Waterloo and was one of a company that operated a mill, and it was a "Waterloo" indeed, for the great decline in wheat, from $2.50 to 90 cents per bushel, caused a suspension and the loss of all he had. Not daunted in the least he went to work again, and from that time until the spring of 1872 he worked in different mills. At that date he came to Nokomis to work in the mill of E. A. Cooley & Co., but in 1873 this firm failed and the mill was shut down.
Soon after, however, Mr. Hartsock and a Mr. Hobson made arrangements to rent and operate the mill, and later on they purchased the plant. They prospered from the start and the partnership continued until the death of Mr. Hobson in 1883, at which time our subject became the sole proprietor. In 1888 the old mill burned down and in 1889 Mr. Hartsock in company with B. F. McGrew completed the fine, new one hundred and fifty barrel roller mill, of which he is sole proprietor, having purchased his partner's interest in January. 1892. He has quite a large trade from New England and New York as well as a large direct export business. After the many misfortunes of early youth, Mr. Hartsock is well deserving the large degree of prosperity he is now enjoying. All he has accumulated is the result of his own good, energetic qualities, and he is now very comfortably off in life. In politics, he has ever been a Republican, and socially he is a Master and Chapter Mason. He married in 1868 Miss Frances A. Cooley, a native of Indiana, and this union has been blessed by the birth of four children: Margaret at home; Arthur L., in his father's mills; Robert L. and Ethel, both now attending the public schools.

Extracted 10 Jan 2017 by Norma Hass from 1892 Portrait and Biographical Record of Montgomery and Bond Counties, Illinois, pages 306-307.

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