John P. Bardonner was born on e mile south of Cicero, Hamilton county, Indiana, June 24, 1858. He is a son of Henry and Mary (Merlau) Bardonner. Henry Bardonner was born in Wayne county, Indiana, in 1838 and died in Hamilton county, one mile south of Cicero, in 1908, at the age of seventy years. He was a son of Henry and Emma (Gates) Bardonner, both of whom were born in Hesse-Darmstadt, Germany , where Henry Bardonner spent his early life and where he learned the cooper's trade. There he was married and three years after his marriage his first child was born. He then came to America with his family and settled first in Wayne county, Indiana, where for a few years he worked at the cooper's trade and then in 1842 he moved to Indianapolis, where he learned of the fine land in Hamilton county. He went to Hamilton county, and entered two 80-acre tracts of timber land one-half mile northeast of Cicero. There he built a small house and a log barn and cleared up about forty acres of land. He then continued to improve this place, building a good frame house of four rooms and a good frame barn. Frame buildings were a luxury in those days, and the fact of his having frame buildings is accounted for by his being a good mechanic. Seven or eight years later a man by the name of Sims offered to trade his seven eighty-acre tracts of timber for his place and this trade was finely consummated. Mr. Bardonner made his place so attractive that Mr. Sims thought he would rather have it than the seven eighty-acre tracts of raw timber land. Years after Henry Bardonner's death the heirs of Mr. Sims, realizing what a bad trade their father had made, tried by various means to recover what the elder Sims had lost.
Henry Bardonner, Sr., was a remarkable man, a good mechanic, and very industrious. In addition to his 560 acres in Hamilton county he bought in later years, 200 acres in Missouri. He established all his children on good farms. In 1865 he retired and moved to Cicero, where his death occurred the following winter. His wife survived him a good many years, dying in 1880. They were the parents of the following children, one daughter and three sons, namely: Becky, Henry, Jr., Peter and John, all deceased but the last named.
Henry Bardonner, Jr., the father of the subject of this sketch, spent his childhood and youth on the old homestead of his father in Hamilton county. There he received his early education, worked as a boy in the saw-mill and helped his father on the home farm until he was married at about the age of nineteen years. He then settled on an eighty-acre tract of land which he received from his father, erecting thereon a log house, which served him for about eight years, and a log barn which served until 1874. He then built a good frame house of five rooms which still stands. It was there he spent the remainder of his life, his death occurring on December 23, 1908. His wife died on January 31, 1916, at Arcadia, Indiana. Like his father, Henry Bardonner was a splendid mechanic and his son, John, has still several treasured mementoes of his skill. He finally accumulated a tract of three hundred and sixty-nine acres of Hamilton county land and in addition to this several thousand dollars. On his farm he had built a large barn forty by sixty feet in 1874.
Mary Merlau, who was the mother of John P. Bardonner, was born in Germany and when seven years of age came with her parents, Henry A. Merlau and wife, to New Palestine, Indiana, where they settled and where she spent her early childhood and remaining days until her marriage to the father of Mr. Bardonner. Henry and Mary (Merlau) Bardonner were the parents of the following children: John P. who is the immediate subject of this review; Anna, Henry, deceased; Herman, deceased; Edward, George, Lizzie, Charles, Emma and Louis, the last named being deceased.
John P. Bardonner was born on the old homestead of his parents in Hamilton county. There he received his early education attending the old Brown school house. He remained at home helping his father on the old home farm until he was nearly twenty-two years old. For two years, 1881 and 1883, he worked in Hancock county and from 1884 to 1886 he worked at the carpenter's trade. In 1887 he was married to Emma Lantz, who was born in Sugar Creek township, Hancock county, in April, 1863, the daughter of George and Elizabeth (Manche) Lantz. The former was a native of Germany, and the latter a native of Hancock county. They were the parents of the following children: Molllie, Emma, William, Nettie and Henry, all of whom are living, and two children who died in infancy.
After his marriage John P. Bardonner lived on his father's farm for five years. He then moved to Sugar Creek township, Hancock county, and settled on a farm belonging to his wife's father. This was a tract of one hundred and twenty acres, forty acres of which belonged to Mrs. Bardonner, and the remainder she ultimately inherited. She also received a part of another hundred-acre tract and purchased the remainder of it. Since that time Mr. Bardonner has purchased about seventy-five acres, making a total of about two hundred and ninety-three acres of fine farming land owned by himself and wife.
Mr. Bardonner is farming about one hundred and ninety-three acres of this land now and he usually cultivates about fifty to sixty acres of corn and the same amount of small grain. He usually keeps about sixty head of hogs and from twenty to thirty head of cattle, some of which are full-blooded Shorthorns. He keeps about ten head of horses and attributes most of his profits to hogs and corn.
Mr. and Mrs. Bardonner are the parents of the following children: Nettie, Lawrence, Marie and William. Nettie married Fred Rushhaupt and they have three children, Dorothy and Emily, twins, and Charles Frederick. Mr. Bardonner is a Democrat in politics, and has served his township as supervisor for several terms. He was also road superintendent. He has been president and vice-president, as well as director of the New Palestine Telephone Company for fifteen years, and is one of Sugar Creek township's most substantial and progressive farmers.
Transcribed from History of Hancock County, Indiana, Its People, Industries and Institutions by George J. Richman, B. L., Federal Publishing Co., Indianapolis, Indiana, 1916. Pages 1147-1149.
Submitted by Sylvia (Rose) Duda, Laingsburg, MI November 28, 2001.
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