Hans Bornholt, BiographyPorter County biographical sketches . . . .

Transcribed biography of Hans Bornholt

HANS BORNHOLT. Distinguished as a civilian and as a brave soldier in the war of the Rebellion, Hans Bornholt occupies a prominent and praiseworthy place in the history of Porter county, Indiana. Mr. Bornholt is a member of one of the best known families of this section, and a native of Germany, his birth occurring at Holstein, in the northern part of the German empire, March 4, 1838. He is the son of Max and Catherine (Haddenfelt) Bornholt. Max Bornholt was a well known German agriculturist, and his two eldest sons, Hans and Claus, who were the children of his first marriage, were born in Germany. After the death of his first wife Max Bornholt married Anna Hendricks, and the six children of this union were Catherine, Wiebke, Anna, Maggie, Max and Jacob. Mr. Bornholt was a member of the Lutheran church and he died in his native place at the age of seventy. He was a man of honor and uprightness and a leader in all worthy enterprises.

Hans Bornholt received a good common school education in the public schools in which the Fatherland takes just pride, and according to the laws of Germany remained in school till he was sixteen years of age. Then for ten years he worked with his father on the farm. He was young and ambitious, however, and hearing of the opportunities offered by the new world he determined to cross the Atlantic in quest of his share of them. He thereupon embarked from Hamburg and arrived in New York in March, 1864. He came directly to Valparaiso, where he had a German acquaintance, and he found work as a day laborer until February, 1865. He then enlisted in the Union army, as a member of Company B, One Hundred and Fifty-first Indiana Infantry, under Captain A. H. Goodwin. His first service took him to Nashville, Tennessee, where the regiment was sent to guard government property. While there he contracted a serious illness, but remained in camp until he was reduced in flesh to ninety-six pounds. He was sent to the hospital where he remained for ten days and then was returned to Valparaiso, arriving in such a weakened condition that he could not carry his knapsack from the station. It took him fifteen years to regain a degree of health and strength, and in all that time he was unable to do a full day's work. He has not fully recovered from the effects of that illness and probably never will.

On March 4, 1869, Mr. Bornholt laid the foundation of a home of his own by his marriage to Angy Harbach, a young countrywoman of his own, the daughter of Claus and Dorothy (Engwessin) Harbach. Holstein was likewise the place of her nativity, and her eyes first opened to the light of day on April 13, 1844. She immigrated to America in 1865, when she was twenty-one years old, and came direct to Valparaiso, where she joined her brother, Carson Harbach. Mr. and Mrs. Bornholt began their married life in Valparaiso, where they have ever since resided, and where they have encountered the best of fortunes. The following six children were born to gladden the Bornholt household: Carl F., Gustave E., Julius E., Hans Leo, Lydia A. and Angy R These young people received their education in the Valparaiso schools and were fitted by the example and precept of their parents for useful and honorable lives. Gustave E. married Grace Anderson, and their two children are Bruce and Ida Beatrice. He is county clerk of Porter county and generally regarded as a useful and honorable citizen. Carl F. and Julius E. are prominent stock buyers and Leo is employed at Gary. Lydia is a member of the parental household, and Angy R., a beautiful young woman, who on account of her charming voice was called the nightingale of the family, died at the age of twenty-one years.

Mr. Bornholt for eight years purchased cattle for Conrad Horn and then engaged successfully in the butchering business in Valparaiso, remaining there until 1886, when he bought his present farm. He traded town property for his farm, which comprised two hundred and forty acres, but previous to this, in 1885, he had bought eighty acres north of his present residence. In 1887 he purchased forty acres to the southeast, so that by 1894 he had three hundred and sixty acres, an excellent residence and substantial outbuildings. He ran a large dairy and shipped the milk to Chicago.

Mr. Bornholt is a loyal citizen of Porter county and has lived to see its remarkable development, his residence in this city having covered a period of forty-eight years. His business principles have been such as to win for him the confidence of the entire community, and in evidence of this was his election to the office of county commissioner, to which he brought services of a high character, his example of a servitor of the public interests bring one well worthy of emulation. He was, in addition to the other public offices he held, trustee of the city of Valparaiso for four years. In politics he is a loyal Republican and his patriotism and public spirit are the same as that displayed by him in the days when our gallant ship of state was threatened with destruction on the rugged rocks of disunion. He takes pleasure in renewing old comradeship as a member of the G. A. R., No. 56, of Valparaiso. He and his good wife are members of the German Evangelical church, of which he an elder, and they are interested in a helpful manner with all good causes advanced by this church. Mr. Bornholt is a self-made man, his success being entirely due to his energy, honest and good management. His pleasant and hospitable home is situated on Franklin street. .As in the later years of his life he looks over his well-spent life in retrospect, he believes that one of his greatest causes for self-congratulation is the fact that he adopted America for his home.

Mr. Bornholt once revisited the scenes of his Civil war experiences and was shown around by an old Confederate colonel. While walking by a river in Tennessee, Mr. Bornholt remarked: "This locality seems familiar; does not a turnpike come in just below here?" "Yes," said the colonel. "Well," said Mr. Bornholt, "I helped tear out the bridge here." His companion laughed loud and long. "And you captured a good horse, too, didn't you?" he inquired. Mr. Bornholt said he did, and the colonel explained that he had been chased by the Yankees and had abandoned his horse and waded the river. Letting by-gones be by-gones, he took Mr. Bornholt home with him and entertained him with true southern hospitality.

In 1892 Mr. Bornholt visited the land of his birth and thoroughly enjoyed the trip. He had then been away from his native place about twenty-eight years.

Source: Lewis Publishing Company. 1912. History of Porter County, Indiana: A Narrative Account of its Historical Progress, its People and its Principal Interests. Chicago, Illinois: Lewis Publishing Company. 881 p.
Page(s) in Source: 517-519

This biography has been transcribed exactly as it was originally published in the source. Please note that we do not provide photocopies or digital scans of biographies appearing on this website.

Biography transcribed by Steven R. Shook


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