Prominent among the leading and representative business men of Oostburg is Derrick J. Hartman, a son of Evert and Jane B. (Beckers) Hartman, both natives of Holland, the father born May 24, 1824. They were married May 12, 1855, and became the parents of ten children, of whom eight are thus recorded in the family genealogy: Hattie G., who is the wife of Henry Hyink, a farmer of Sheboygan county; Anna B., who married Peter Dirks, a farmer of this state; Derrick J., the subject of this sketch; Minnie, who became the wife of Henry Huibregtse, a hardware merchant of Iowa; Jane J., who was the wife of David Lemkuilal; Delia, who married George J ensima, of Riverside; Cena, who was the wife of John Krayenbrink; and Henry, whose sketch appears elsewhere in this volume.
The grandfather, Derrick J., was a native of Germany while the grandmother was born in Holland, and each received a good education in his native country. With their family they set sail from Rotterdam for America, the voyage across the Atlantic consuming forty-six days. They did not remain in New York city where they landed, but proceeded at once to Rochester, New York, where they stayed for six weeks. Therefrom they took passage for Milwaukee by way of the Great Lakes, and upon their arrival Mr. Hartman purchased forty acres of land in what is now the heart of that wealthy city. While the family resided there sickness attacked them and the mother and four children, three sons and a daughter, died, after which, in 1846, the father and the two remaining sons, Derrick J., Jr., and Evert, came to Wilson township where the father purchased a section of wild land at a dollar and a quarter per acre.
White neighbors were less numerous than red when Derrick J. Hartman and his sons built their log cabin, but the Indians proved troublesome rather than hostile to the early settlers. The first house erected by the Hartman family in Wisconsin had a puncheon floor and in lieu of a chimney a section of stovepipe was thrust through the clapboard roof. Derrick J. Hartman, the grandfather of the subject of this sketch, passed away in 1846 and his son, Derrick J., in 1890, while Evert, the father of him who today bears the honored family name of Derrick J. Hartman, attained the age of eighty-six years, his death occurring December 10, 1910. Since the year when he cast his first presidential vote for Abraham Lincoln he was a loyal supporter of the republican party and he and his wife were held in high esteem by a wide circle of friends and acquaintances.
Derrick J. Hartman attended the district school of Wilson township until he was fifteen years of age, when he began his business career by becoming a salesman of farm implements in the employ of Michael O'Grady, at a ten per cent commission. For six years he handled the business on this basis and at the end of that time he entered the manufacturing field, building a warehouse and machine shop at Oostburg, the product of which he handled successfully for twenty years. Eventually he sold his business and became a traveling salesman for the Champion Machine Company, with which firm he continued for three years, until their consolidation with the International Harvester Company, in whose employ he remained for two years. He then went to Guelph, Ontario, Canada, to represent the Gilson Gasoline Engine Works of Port Washington, Wisconsin, who were opening a new factory at that place of which Mr. Hartman acted as manager for a time. He then entered the contracting department of the company and sold "Goes Like Sixty" engines in a territory embracing the states of Wisconsin, Iowa and Michigan. While in the latter state he purchased a tract of timber land in Menominee county upon which he set a crew of lumbermen to work cutting fuel wood and cedar posts, and the products of one season were shipped to various points in Wisconsin. In 1910 he organized the D. Hartman Manufacturing Company, a concern which engages in the manufacture of a pea separator and washer, a machine used by nearly all the canneries in this state. To the Huntley Company of Silver Creek, New York, he has let the contract for manufacturing the machines on a royalty basis and the state of Wisconsin he has reserved as his own territory.
Besides his extensive manufacturing and selling interests Mr. Hartman is a stockholder in the Oostburg Evaporated Milk Company and the State Bank of Oostburg.
In September, 1889, Mr. Hartman was married to Miss Gertrude Westerbeeke a daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Westerbeeke, of Wilson township. In their family are two children, namely: "Edgar, who is engineer for the Oostburg Lumber and Grain Company; and Mabel, who fills the positions of bookkeeper and stenographer for the Oostburg Steel Foundry. Both the son and daughter make their home with their parents.
Mr. Hartman votes the democratic ticket but his extensive business interests have left him little time to devote to political matters. He is a member of the United Commercial Travelers Association and is prominent in the affairs of the Dutch Reformed church in which his wife is also an active worker. Mrs. Hartman exercises a helpful influence and enjoys a wide acquaintance in church circles, being a teacher in the Sunday school and a member of the Ladies' Missionary Society. The gratifying measure of success which has been accorded Mr. Hartman in his undertakings is wholly the result of his foresight and wisely directed energies, and the esteem in which he is held throughout his large circle of acquaintances is the reward of his honest effort and honorable business dealings.
Information gathered and adapted from History of Sheboygan County, Wisconsin, Past and Present
Carl Zillier, Editor
Pubished by The S.J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1912, Chicago, IL