Biography of Martin E. Mortensen
Audubon County, IA Biographies

The large Danish-American element of the population of Audubon county is active in agricultural pursuits, prominent in the professions and successful in the marts of trade. The people from the little kindgom of Denmark quickly assimilate American ideas and customs and become active and component parts of the body politic in a short time after landing on the shores of this country. The Danish people of Audubon county are noted for their progressive attitude toward all things tending to improve the condition of all the people and have become thoroughly Americanized. Not a few of them have achieved wealth and local distinction since taking up their residence in this county, and the individual referred to at, the head of this article has not only succeeded in firmly establishing himself on an excellent financial footing in the land of his adoption, but has received distinguished political preferment from the people of Audubon county and is now serving the public very acceptably in his second term as county treasurer.

Martin E. Mortensen was born in Schleswig, Denmark (now a German province), on February 3, 186, son of Peter and Bodel Marie (Schmidt) Mortensen. He was educated in the schools of his native land and was reared to perform farm work. The labor on the little farm which his people cultivated was all done by hand and, was of the hardest kind. When he had attained the age of twenty four years, Martin E. Mortensen emigrated to America and came to Iowa, locating at Atlantic, in the year 1880. For two years after his arrival at Atlantic he worked at various, forms of labor in the city. In 1882 he came to Audubon county and "worked out" at farm labor in Lincoln and Cameron townships. being thus engaged for some years, at the end of which time he rented a farm for one year. This venture prospering, in the year 1889. he purchased from Mr. Neff a farm of. eighty acres in Sharon township, at a cost of twenty five dollars an acre. After tilling this farm for some time he sold it and invested in twos hundred acres of excellent land in Hamlin township, which farm is now tilled by his son, Peter E. Mortensen. In 1912. Mr. Mortensen retired from the farm, and moved to the town of Hamlin and in the following autumn was elected to the office of county treasurer on the Democratic ticket, being reelected in 1914.

In 1882 Martin E. Mortensen was married to Sine Marie Rattenborg, to which union have been horn six children, two of whom are deceased, the surviving children being as follow: Mrs. Mary Aagaard, of this county; Peter E., who lives on the home farm in Hamlin township; Mrs. Inger Aagaard, of this county. and Hans, formerly bookkeeper in the Bank of Gray, this county, now deputy county treasurer. Mr. Mortensen's mother came to America and resided with her children until her death, her husband having died in Denmark.

Mr. and Mrs. Mortensen are members of the Lutheran church. He is a stanch Democrat and for years has taken a prominent part in the political affairs of the county, being regarded as one of the leaders of his party, having filled various township offices in Hamlin township before his election as county treasurer. A perusal of the foregoing paragraphs, which tell the story of the rise of a poor Danish immigrant to a position of affluence and standing in the community, will convince the reader that America, more than ever, is the land of opportunity. The foreign born citizen will seize at any honest labor in order to gain a livelihood during his first years of residence and this industry accounts in great measure for his success. Mr. Mortensen's striking success may be attributed to industry, perseverance, keen financial ability and the inherent frugality which is a national attribute of the people of Denmark.

History of Audubon County, Iowa
Its People, Industries and Instutions
H. F. Andrews, Editor
B. F. Bowen & Company, Inc.
Indianapolis - 1915

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