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Clayton County >> 1916 Index

History of Clayton County, Iowa:...
edited by Realto E. Price. Chicago: Robert O. Law Co., 1916.


Unless otherwise noted, biographies submitted by Dick Barton.

Halsten S. Groth is the fortunate owner of one of the finely improved farm properties of his native county, the same comprising two hundred acres of fertile land in Section 7, Marion township, and including the old homestead place on which he was born, the date of his nativity having been May 19, 1861. Mr. Groth has here been actively concerned with progressive operations as an agriculturist and stock-grower during the entire course of his adult career, and he is distinctively to be designated one of the enterprising, successful and representative farmers of the county, with secure place in popular confidence and good will, thus nullifying any application of the scriptural aphorism that "a prophet is not without honor save in his own country." Mr. Groth is a son of Sven and Birget (Oin) Groth, both natives of Norway. The father was a young man at the time of his emigration to America and after remaining two years I Wisconsin he came to Clayton county and became one of the pioneer settlers of Marion township. Here, by energy and good business politics, he achieved large and worthy success as a farmer, and at the time of his death he was the owner of the substantial estate of two hundred acres that is now in the possession of his son Halsten S., of this review. Sven Groth, a man of unqualified integrity and honor, passed to eternal rest on the 3d of September, 1881, a zealous communicant of the Norwegian Lutheran church, as is also his venerable widow, who remains on the old homestead with their eldest child, subject of this sketch, and who celebrated in 1916 her eighty-fifth birthday anniversary. The second child, Helgrim, is a resident of Hebron, North Dakota; Rachel resides at Broadview, Montana; Barbo is deceased; Kittil and Bertin maintain their home at Maple, Cass county, North Dakota; Olena is the wife of Kittel Esk, of Finley, Steele county, that state; and the other five children died young. In the public schools of Clayton county Halsten S. Groth continued his studies until he had availed himself of the advantages of the high school at Elgin, and upon attaining to his legal majority he assumed, in the interest of his widowed mother, the active supervision of the home farm. About two years later he rented the place, and after the lapse of another year he purchased the interests of the other heirs and came into sole possession of the valuable property, upon which he has since made the best of modern improvements, including the erection of an attractive and commodious frame house of two stories and substantial and well equipped barns. He has also installed on the farm a silo that has a capacity of one hundred tons, and he brings to bear in his operations as an agriculturist and stock-grower the most approved of modern policies and facilities, with the result that his success has been of substantial and unequivocal order. He is a director of the Farmers' Dairy Company at Elgin, this county; is president of the Gunder & Clermont Telephone Company, is serving with marked loyalty and efficiency as township trustee, and is essentially one of the popular and influential citizens of his native county. His political allegiance is given to the Republican party and he and his wife are earnest communicants and liberal supporters of the Norwegian Lutheran church. Their attractive home receives mail service on rural route No. 4 from the village of Elgin. On the 24th of May, 1888, was solemnized the marriage of Mr. Groth to Miss Helen Skarshang, who was born and reared in this county, and of the five children of this union the eldest is Jessie Benora, who is the wife of Jens Halverson, their residence being in the state of Minnesota; Selmer likewise resides in that state; and Harry, Alma Sophia, and Arthur remain at the parental home.

John Groth is one of the venerable and honored pioneer citizens of Clayton county, where he has maintained his home for more than sixty years and where he has contributed his full quota to civic and industrial development and progress. He and his wife still reside on their fine old homestead farm, in Section 8, Marion township, and they have the high regard of all who know them, both having long been zealous and influential communicants of the Norwegian Lutheran church. Their attractive home now has manifold advantages that were notable for their absence in the pioneer days, and not the least is the free mail service afforded by rural route No. 4 from the village of Elgin. Mr. Groth was born in Norway, on the 19th of December, 1833, and is now the only survivor of the nine children of Halsten and Ragnild (Kittleson) Groth, who passed their entire lives in their native land, the subject of this review having been the youngest of their children. Mr. Groth gained his early education in the schools of his native land and was a youth of eighteen years when, in April, 1852, he embarked on the sailing vessel that gave him transportation to America. He landed in the port of New York City and thence came directly to Iowa, where he numbered himself among the pioneer settlers of Marion township. He purchased one hundred and ninety acres of land, in Section 8, and from the same he developed the well improved farm that now constitutes his home. He has won independence and definite prosperity through his own well ordered labors and enterprise and has long been numbered among the substantial exponents of agricultural and livestock industry in Clayton county, the while he has at no time failed to live up to the varied duties and responsibilities of loyal citizenship. He has had no ambition for public office, but is a stalwart supporter of the principles of the Republican party. On the 16th of January, 1862, was solemnized the marriage of Mr. Groth to Miss Guri Tollefson, likewise a native of Norway, and eleven children were born of this union. Halsten, the firstborn, died in childhood; Sarah remains at the parental home; Rachel is deceased; Halsten (second of the name) is associated in the work and management of the old homestead farm;; Tollef resides in the village of Elgin; Sophia and Kittle are deceased; Louis is a resident of Elgin, Fayette county; Sophia and Martin are still members of the parental home circle; and the youngest child, a son, died at birth.